Top 5 beaches in Cancun

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Top 5 beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya

There’s no way you can think about Cancun and not think of beaches. The Hotel Zone has great options, but why stop there? All along the Riviera Maya, there’re unique beaches waiting for you to discover. It only takes the will of adventure and enough sunblock! Here we listed our Top 5 beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, so once you land at Cancun Airport you’ll know where to go. Take your time and make your dream vacation unforgettable.

1. Playa Chac Mool

Playa Chac Mool

Starting off with a favorite, Playa Chac Mool is a beach of about one mile in length. Located at Kilometer 10 of Kukulkan Boulevard in the Hotel Zone. From this list, it’s the most accessible one since is right in the Hotel Zone. It’s very easy to get there by public transportation. Whether you come from another hotel or downtown Cancun, buses usually stop at this beach. From Downtown Cancun, it should take you about 20 minutes to get there by public transportation. 

As a public beach, Playa Chac Mool charges no entrance fee. You can enjoy palapas, umbrellas, and chairs, use public bathrooms and showers, lifeguards, etc. These amenities and the location makes Playa Chac Mool quite famous between locals and tourist, so you might want to get there early if you want to get a nice spot with a palapa, either way, the beach is beautiful at any time of the day,

This beach is ideal If you want to practice surfing, sailing, or other water sports. As a plus, Playa Chac Mool is one of the beaches that hosts the turtle nesting season from May to December, so you might be able to see some protected areas where turtles have left their eggs.

2. Playa Delfines

Cancun-sign-playa-delfines

Witness sunsets and sunrises like never before at Playa Delfines. This public beach has been known as one of the best beaches in Cancun for several years. What visitors love about this beach and what makes it famous is the fact that it is the only place where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea. 

This is a very common stop for visitors and locals to enjoy the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises. And if you were wondering, this is the place where you can find the famous “CANCUN” sing and snap a photo with the ocean as background. And just to add up to this great place, the Archaeological Site of El Rey is just across the street, so if you want to switch it up a little bit, you can easily enjoy the ruins and views of this place.

You must know there are no restaurants in the area, so if you are planning to go, just pack a cooler with your favorite snacks. Be aware of the rules and help maintain the beach as clean as possible by not bringing glass bottles, not smoking, leaving no trash, respecting the turtles and remembering that pets are not allowed.

3. Playa Norte Isla Mujeres

Playa Norte Isla Mujeres

Located at Isla Mujeres, once you get to the Marine, walk or take a taxi for about 0.43 mi to Playa Norte. Famous as one of the best beaches in the Riviera for its clam and crystalline waters that make you feel like you’re in an endless pool. 

Also a public beach, with an extension of 0.62 mi of white and fine sand. Visitors love how easy you can walk 200 m from the shore and the water level will still get you to your waistline. 

Sunsets here are to die for, the views are unbelievable and the whole atmosphere is so serene, you’ll never like to leave.

Playa Norte is not only known for its beauty, for you, history lovers here’s a historic fact about it, Playa Norte was also actually the place where Spaniards set foot in 1517 when they made their first expedition with Francisco Hernández de Córdoba as their leader.

 

4. Playa Maroma

Playa Maroma

As fourth on our list, without a doubt, Playa Maroma deserves to be talked about. It is known for being one of the most difficult beaches to visit but it is worth the trip. The only way to get there is by car or bus. You can take a bus in ADO Cancun or a Playa Xpress to the beach. It is located 35 km south of the Cancun Airport and about 10 km north of Playa del Carmen. 

Although Playa Maroma is a public beach, you will be asked to pay a fee that will be paid back to you as drinks or food at the beach club.

Once at Playa Maroma, you’ll get to dive into the fun with water sports, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and much more! 

5. Playa Xpu-ha

Playa Xpu-ha

Located about 30 min south of Playa del Carmen, you’ll find a hidden treasure between locals. Playa Xpu ha is still to be discovered by tourists, in the meantime, it doesn’t get crowded and is one of the purest beaches in the Riviera Maya. 

As you get to the beach, you’ll be asked to pay a $50 MXN entrance fee per person, this is about $2.50 USD. Make sure to bring cash, since the credit card is not accepted.

Playa Xpu Ha is open daily from 10:00 am–6:00 pm. Here’s a pro tip: get there as early as you can to get the best spot at the parking lot and at the beach. Lucky for you, there are various beach clubs available on-site. There’s plenty of space for everyone, or you can even bring your own things and have a picnic at the shore! If you decide to do so, don’t forget to bring a blanket, an umbrella and a bag for your trash.

Enjoy paddle boarding, snorkeling, banana boat rides, and other water sports at Playa Xpu Ha.

 

Hope you find this article useful! Check out our previous article on Best Things To Do in Cancun.

Best Things To Do in Cancun 

Looking for fun things to do in Cancun this Summer? From beaches to archaological sites, and much more! Some tourist would rather stay in their hotel and chill out all thay, I mean, who wouldn't? But if you are up to explore the city, here's a list of things you at least should check out while in Cancun!

 

1. Go to the Beach!

The Hotel Zone is full of great beaches for you to enjoy, some have beach clubs, water sports, and other activities for the whole family. But if what you're looking for is the dream beach with white sand, few people, and turquoise waters, check out these beaches and enjoy what nature has to offer:

  • Playa Chac Mool
  • Playa Delfines
  • Playa Norte Isla Mujeres
  • Playa Maroma
  • Xpu-ha
  • Puerto Morelos Beach

Here's a map for you to check them out:

2. Chichen Itza

Enjoy the best Chichen Itza Tours to visit this Wonder of the World. Chichen Itza was named one of the 7 Wonders of the World in 2007, but long before that it was pretty well known for travelers visiting Cancun, Riviera Maya, and the Yucatan Peninsula.

Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico near Valladolid, Yucatan, a nice little Colonial town that you must visit and it is also really close to Cancun, one of the most visited cities for tourism.

Chichen Itza Tours
Chichen Itza Tours

3. Downtown Cancun

Cancun Downtown is home to some really nice Boutique Hotels and small hotels and Airbnb as well as nice trendy bars for locals. The center of Cancun has a great variety of restaurants with an excellent prices, it also offers bars with a fabulous atmosphere and with the best atmosphere.

Cancun Downtown

 

4. Tulum

Tulum is a beautiful natural destination about 1:30 to 2:00 hrs from the Cancun Airport. Tulum is the new trendy jewel of the Riviera Maya with an Eco Chic Style with travelers visiting from all over the world. But of course, Tulum is Home to the beautiful Tulum Archaeological Site.

Tulum has a lot of eco-friendly hotels and resorts, most of them are considered "Eco Luxury" trying to balance Nature with glamour. But still one of the best things about Tulum is its pristine waters and its white sandy beaches that run for miles and miles, making it a great place to go jogging on the beach or just relax lying on the sand.

As we said, Tulum is home to the Tulum Ruins, a beautiful Mayan Archaeological Site with the best Ocean View of all. The main building of the site is right in front of the water and visiting this place is a must for anybody staying anywhere in Cancun or the Riviera Maya. For this you can check our the Tours you can do especially the Tulum Tour.

Tulum Tours
Tulum beach

5. Visit a cenote

  • Cenote las Mojarras. is one of the first things you need to visit, it has a zip line and a base to jump off from. This cenote is closer to Puerto Morelos but is a great day-trip activity to try with the whole family.
  • Swim in Cenote Kin Ha, and immerse yourself in a 40-meter cenote. The whole scene will leave you breathless. The stalactites and the natural shapes that the cave has taken are marvelous and mysterious. 
  • Cenote Siete Bocas is another of Cancun’s most spectacular cenotes. Ideal to relax and leave all stress behind. It’s also not very known and it’s mainly visited by locals so if you don’t want to bump into crowds, this is the place for you.
Cenote Las Morrajas Cancun
Cenote Las Morrajas

6. Snorkel

A snorkeling tour in Riviera Maya is definitely an experience you should not miss on your trip. The Riviera Maya has everything you need! The adventure starts as we cross the Caribbean Sea on high-speed pneumatic boats to the best spots to go snorkeling in Riviera Maya: INAH Reef.

After a spectacular snorkeling tour in Riviera Maya, back on board, and before heading back to the beach, you will enjoy light snacks and beverages. There is nothing like this activity you definitely try it! 

We recommend you try snorkeling in the following sites:

  • Punta Nizuc
  • Isla Mujeres
  • Museo Subacuático Cancún: MUSA
  • La isla de Cozumel
Snorkeling in Cancun
Snorkeling in Cancun

 

7. Clear boat ride

Clear Boat Ride Cancun
Clear Boat Ride Cancun

This 100% transparent boat is an experience you most definitely don’t want to miss! There sure is nothing like this, start the tour in the Nichupte Lagoon, a natural reserve of more than 3 thousand hectares, and then head towards the wonderful Caribbean Sea. By the end of the tour, you’ll have enjoyed sailing the seas like never before. And who knows, you might bump into fish, turtles, snails, manta rays, starfish, and different types of sea life.

8. Grupo Xcaret Parks

Grupo Xcaret has developed eco-archaeological parks, starting with Xcaret, where you can experience the natural and cultural richness of Mexico. Experience Mexico, its traditions, flora, fauna, and more like never before. This are the parks open from Grupo Xcaret:

  • Xcaret
  • Xoximilco
  • Xplor
  • Xenses
  • Xenotes
  • Xavage
  • And Xcatet Expeditions

 

9. Interactive Aquarium

Find a diverse group of sea species in the Interactive Aquarium of Cancun like sea urchins and starfish or reptiles such as turtles, tortoises, and fish. Fishes like the surgeon, yellow surgeon, sailfish surgeon, and mammals such as the dolphin or the sea lion, among other species that you cannot miss.

The best part of this interactive Aquarium is that you’ll be able to interact with dolphins and other sea animals. Just 25 min away from Cancun Airport, located inside Plaza la Isla which is one of the most visited shopping malls in town. 

Interactive Acuarium Cancun
Interactive Acuarium Cancun

10. El Rey Archaeological Site

El Rey is one of the most important archaeological sites on Cancun Island. Although it originated as a small settlement in early times, it was not until the Late Postclassic period (1200 - 1550 A.D.) that it reached its most important stage of growth. According to research, it is believed that El Rey, along with nearby San Miguelito, formed the core area of a settlement dedicated to maritime trade and fishing activities. Getting to this archaeological site only requires a 15 to 20 minutes drive. 

Interventions carried out at the site have made it possible today to visit many of the structures lined along the main roadway and its two small plazas. The most important building is a pyramidal base with a temple, in which at least two construction stages can be observed. Also of interest are buildings 1 and 4, which are palaces with large galleries with colonnades that supported flat roofs; by their dimensions, they seem to be administrative constructions, in which meetings were arranged between the ruling groups. Annexed to these buildings are others of lesser importance.

Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. 

Entrance Fee: $65 MXN

El Rey Archaeological Site
El Rey Archaeological Site

11. Museo Maya

The first Archaeological Museum of Cancun, originally located in an area annexed to the Convention Center of that city, was inaugurated in 1982, with the purpose of spreading among local, national, and foreign visitors the culture of the pre-Hispanic Mayas settled in the north of the state of Quintana Roo. In September 1988, the small Museum suspended its activities due to the serious damages generated to the building by the onslaught of hurricane Gilberto, reopening its doors to the public in July 1994. The successive hurricanes that hit the coast of Quintana Roo damaged the building again and the museum had to close definitively in 2004. 

Six years later, construction began on the new Mayan Museum of Cancun, designed with great respect and in harmony with the pre-Hispanic structures and the landscape of the archaeological site of San Miguelito (1250-1550 A.D.), which also opens its doors along with the museum, thus forming a large complex of just over 80 hectares inaugurated by the President of the Republic on November 2, 2012.

You can locate the Museum in the 16.5 km in the Hotel Zone, besides the Omni Hotel. Many important pieces that belong to the Mayan Civilization are held in an exhibition within the museum, including the Archaeological site of San Miguelito. You can easily visit the museum during the following hours:

Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. 

Entrance Fee: $65 MXN

Museo Maya Cancun

Hope you find this article useful, check out our previous blog on Top 5 Islands to visit in the Riviera Maya - Cancun Airport 

Top 5 Islands to visit in the Riviera Maya

Visiting the Riviera Maya? What about an Island-like vacation to get away from the rush of the city and enjoy a stress-free life with a piña colada in your hand. Are you up for the task? Here we listed our Top 5 Islands to visit in the Riviera Maya that you don’t want to miss out on… 

1. Isla Blanca 

Isla Blanca Beach

Isla Blanca is the only one on this list that isn’t actually an island, we think it deserves a spot on our Top 5 Islands to visit in the Riviera Maya. It’s called “Isla” because it’s so isolated from the city, it feels as if you were on any other island of the Yucatan Peninsula, but it is actually a beach. Isla Blanca is located in the Isla Mujeres Municipality in the State of Quintana Roo, about an hour away from downtown Cancun

It’s one of the few islands that are preserved to perfection in Mexico. The name “Isla Blanca” comes after its great shore of white sand that divides the Chacmuchuc Lagoon from the Caribbean sea. The cost is about 20 km long and the shore is 500 m to 850 m wide. y su parte más ancha es de 850 mts. Above all, the island is called this way because the water can cross the shore from side to side in the narrowest part. 

 

One of the most common things to do in Isla Blanca is fishing, cycling, and kite-surfing. On the other hand, the site allows you to see the clearest waters and the mangler, which has beautiful orchids. The beach is still so pure that you can appreciate the fauna such as pelicans, turtles, monkeys, toucans, iguanas, and more. 

As we said, you can get to Isla Blanca by car and park in the public parking lots just before the beach. But if you’d like to take your car inside the beach, you’ll have to pay $30 USD per vehicle. 

You can visit the beach between 9 am to 4 pm.

If you don’t have your own car you can choose to take public transportation, which you’ll find in Av. López Portillo with Tulum in the following schedules:  7:00 am, 11:00 am y 4:00 pm.

Location: Isla Blanca

 

 

2. Isla Contoy

Isla Contoy

This is definitely a movie-like island, the perfect spot to disconnect from the city rush. Isla Contoy is a Natural Reserve and a Refuge for National Fauna since 1961. Located north of Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy is an islet with no human habitats and is home to the most amount of birds, that’s why it’s also known as “Isla Pájaros”. 

The islet has a long shape of 8 km long and 800 m wide. It’s surrounded by a variety of flora and fauna, in which a great reef is also located, holding a great number of marine species and birds.

You can enjoy a refreshing swim in the waters of Isla Contoy and even snorkeling and discover what lies underneath the turquoise waters. The reef Ixlaché is the second-largest reef in the world and it’s home to manta rays, fishes, crustaceous, turtles, and others.

Get to explore Isla Contoy by following the trails that go around the island. You’ll amaze yourself with over 70 different species of birds.

You can take a ferry from Cancun, Puerto Morelos, or Isla Mujeres, and do a day trip to Isla Contoy. We do recommend you book ahead since there’s a limited amount of people allowed to go per day.

 

Location: Isla Contoy

3. Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres one of the most visited islands in the Yucatan Peninsula is a beautiful, peaceful paradise just across the Bahia de Mujeres from Cancun, Mexico. Isla Mujeres is the way to go if you’re looking for a more laid-back time in the Caribbean. Still, there are plenty of things to do! Snorkeling, water sports, exploring, and more…

You don’t want to miss out on going to Punta Norte, Isla Mujeres to go to the beach, located right in the north of the Island, is where the water is clearer and with hidden treasures within.

 

The island is the place where everyone goes if looking for calm crystal clear waters. Walking along the shore of the beaches in Isla Mujeres, you’ll find many options to have lunch or have a drink. Enjoy exploring them all! There’s no way to go wrong here!

You can take a ferry from Puerto Juares in Cancun between 5:30 am to 11 pm, and the returning hours go from 6 am to 12 am.

Location: Isla Mujeres

 

4. Isla Cozumel

As one of our Top 5 Islands to visit in the Riviera Maya, the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean, and third-largest in the country, Isla Cozumel sits off the tip of the peninsula, very close to Playa del Carmen.

Measuring about 30 miles long and 9 miles wide, Isla Cozumel, whose Mayan name translates to “Island of the Swallows”, has become a cruise ship favorite, as well as a hotspot for divers, since it’s one of the best dive sites in the world, with reef walls plunging to incredible depths.

Home to a large diversity of birds and vegetation. The eastern side is lined with rugged limestone cliffs and a wide-open ocean, meaning plenty of waves that are better suited to surfing than swimming.

 

For those who want to go exploring, rent a car and cruise through the natural parks, mangroves, and jungle. If you do so, we encourage you to begin your visit to Punta Sur, where you will find a park and an ecological reserve. Take a look at the Faro Celarain, a modern lighthouse that contrasts with the Templo Caracol, a pre-hispanic construction. To visit the archaeological zone you will have to make a prior reservation at the Centro Nacional de Antropología e Historia. The park is open to the public from Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM.

 

Finally, take a tour through the island’s museum, admire the Reloj Publico, built-in 1910 in the town of San Miguel, and then, and walk around the Monumento al Mestizaje, an ode to the Mexican mestizo race.

Location: Cozumel

5. Isla Holbox

Is there such thing as paradise on earth? Yes, there is, and it’s called Holbox. Enjoy the sun on your skin while walking in a beautiful small town with amazing views and a relaxing lifestyle. There’s no rush when in Holbox, the Island is full of things to do but relaxing is on the top of the list. Enjoy kitesurfing, kayaking, tour with whale sharks, and more.

 

Your read correctly, every year Holbox hosts the migration of whale sharks, an activity you can immerse into. Scuba diving with the sharks isn’t allowed so you’ll need to book a snorkeling tour with an operator that will take you out to find the beautiful creatures. Keep in mind that the whale shark season is between mid-May to mid-September.

Also, Holbox has become quite famous over the last years because if one of the few places where you can see bioluminescent waters at night. Caused by microscopic phytoplankton, the water glows blue when agitated by waves or splashing. The best ways to experience bioluminescence are by night snorkeling or night kayaking.

 

As we said when on vacation, doing nothing is actually doing something! Explore the town and snap some cool photos of the painted buildings, and eat their signature dishes like the famous lobster pizza and marquesitas! Savor a tropical cocktail. Lounge in a sea hammock. This island should be treasured for its slow-paced pleasure. 

Holbox beaches are beautiful and a great way to spend the day relaxing, swimming, and snorkeling.

Location: Isla Holbox

 

Shuttles between Terminals

Cancun Airport >> Information >> Terminal Shuttles

Shuttles between Terminals at Cancun Airport

Ever wonder if Cancun Airport has services that offer shuttles between terminals? Well, it does, and it’s FREE, accessible, and available for any traveler. It essentially works for passengers whose flight itinerary requires them to go from one terminal to another.

The shuttle service between terminals at Cancun Airport is safe and comfortable. The shuttle goes by every 30 minutes, which is always good but it’s always better to be there with time so you don’t rush once you arrive at your terminal. 

Busses are located right outside of the terminals, just go to the exit door of your arrival terminal and look for the 

Make sure you check your travel documents to know which terminal you’re departing from and which one are you arriving at and must be picked up by your private transportation.

Cancun Airport Shuttle