Paradise found: 10 best beaches in Cancun

Cancun is known for its all-inclusive resorts, unparalleled nightlife, shopping and dining, but this world-class vacation destination just might be best known for its 14 miles of dreamy white sand beach. Cancun and the area to the south, the Riviera Maya, is home to some 150 miles of beach.

It is important for visitors to always pay attention to flags on the beach, which indicate water conditions. A black flag is the highest warning level meaning do not swim. A red flag indicates dangerous conditions; swim with caution. A yellow flag means there is no immediate danger, but still use caution while swimming. A green flag means that it's safe to swim. Some more remote beaches may not have flags, so it's especially important to swim with caution in those areas.

The best beach in Cancun's Hotel Zone is undoubtedly Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach), which is located at kilometer 20. This public beach is the only one in the "HoZo" that isn't home to any hotels or restaurants. There are also marvelous beaches in Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres and the Riviera Maya. True virgin beaches can be found in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.

Oh, and Cancun's beaches are made of white coral and will never heat up or burn your feet, so leave those flip-flops by the pool.



Puerto Morelos Beach is a small fishing village/resort town located just 20 minutes south of Cancun. There is something about its laid-back atmosphere that makes Puerto Morelos an ideal place to relax and unwind. The town is home to a very wide...  Read More

Riviera Maya
X'cacel Beach
Photo courtesy of diegocardini/iStock


X'cacel Beach is a white sand virgin beach; paradise found. On any given day, you'll find few tourists or even locals here. To find it, you'll have to look for the sign on highway 307 between Chemuyil and Xel-Ha. A small donation is required as...  Read More

Riviera Maya
Xpu-Ha Beach
Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse


A favorite for both locals and tourists alike, Xpu-Ha Beach (pronounced Shpu-Ha) is an escape from the hustle and bustle of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Located south of Puerto Aventuras, you'll be stopped at the entrance by a family and a rope...  Read More



Akumal is a small beachfront town located about 60 miles south of Cancun between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Akumal means "place of the turtles" in Maya. Visitors can snorkel off Akumal Beach just a few yards into Akumal Bay and witness sea...  Read More

Riviera Maya
Playa Maroma
Photo courtesy of LUNAMARINA/iStock


Playa Maroma (Maroma Beach), located at around km 55 of the Cancun-Chetumal Highway in the Riviera Maya is considered by many to be one of the best beaches in the world due to its size, the incredible blue color of the water and amazing...  Read More

Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
Photo courtesy of lkpro/iStock


If you're looking for spectacular virgin beaches, look no further than the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located south of Tulum. It includes more than a million acres, numerous habitats and 23 archaeological sites,...  Read More



Playa del Carmen, affectionately referred to as "Playa" by locals, is a funky cosmopolitan beach town located an hour south of Cancun. The beach, lined with endless boutique hotels and beach clubs is undeniably beautiful, but if one heads just a...  Read More

Playa Norte Isla Mujeres
Photo courtesy of YinYang/iStock


Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) is a small tropical island paradise located just off the coast of Cancun. Playa Norte (North Beach) is the stuff that beach vacation dreams are made of. The view: white sand and the aqua-blue Caribbean. There are...  Read More

Tulum Beach
Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse


Tulum is a lazy bohemian beach town about 80 miles south of Cancun's busy Hotel Zone. New York fashionistas and Hollywood stars have discovered the beauty and charm of Tulum, but it's still commonplace to be one of the few people on the beach in...  Read More

Zona Hotelera


Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach), also known as El Mirador (The Lookout), is located at km. 20 in the Hotel Zone. Most of the 14 miles of beach in Cancun are absolutely beautiful, but what makes Playa Delfines exceptional is the fact that there...  Read More


Meet Kristin Busse

After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.

Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University....  More About Kristin