13 Best BEACHES in CANCUN Hotel Zone To Visit in 2023
Cancun’s popularity comes from its white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. It also boasts luxury hotels overlooking the ocean. Nestled in the Yucatan Peninsula, this beach town is also famous for its nightlife. This is one of the reasons why it draws the crowd during Spring Break.
Aside from its beautiful beaches, Cancun is home to numerous attractions too. Think of Mayan ruins, cenotes, and even an underwater museum. In fact, you can visit Chichén Itzá from here. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you should not pass up.
Not only that, but downtown Cancun, or El Centro, is also popular. It’s because of its traditional houses and laid-back vibe. And don’t get me started on other hotspots near Cancun!
Most tourists book a stay at Cancun’s Hotel Zone with good reason. This area is known for its all-inclusive beachfront resorts. Staying in one of these hotels means having easy access to the powdery white sand beaches and blue waters. Most of the beaches in Cancun are public.
However, some resorts have private beaches for their guests alone. If this is the kind of perks that you are looking for then book a stay at one of the inclusive hotels at the Cancun Hotel Zone.
Cancun does have some of the best beaches in the Yucatan. However, I suggest that you branch out as well. You will not be disappointed with the choices here. Not sure where to head to? I got you covered.
13 Most Popular Beaches in Cancun Hotel Zone
One of the main reasons why tourists head to Cancun is to see its amazing beaches. And this beach town doesn’t disappoint! In fact, you will find beaches with calm waters suitable for families. There are others where you can swim with sea turtles and other marine life. And then there are those beaches that are tucked away from the crowd. Wondering what these beaches are? Let’s take a look.
- Playa Delfines
Playa Delfines is one of the best areas in Cancun with good reason. It boasts soft white sand and crystal blue waters. Aside from that, there are no hotels nearby to interrupt the ocean views. No wonder locals and tourists alike love this beach. Playa Delfines is also called Dolphin Beach. If you want to see pods of dolphins swimming in the area, head to El Mirador. This is a platform that overlooks the ocean. Climb up it to get a good view of the waters.
What’s great about this beach is that it is accessible to everyone. There is a large free parking area for those who will be driving here. Also, there is a bus stop close by. You can head to the beach by going down a flight of stairs. I recommend that you come here early in the day to find a good spot on the beach.
- Playa Gaviota Azul
If you are looking for a beach suitable for young kids, this is it. This curved beach has crystal blue waters and soft sand. You can access this beach from the public entrance beside Mandala Beach Club. What’s great about Playa Gaviota is its calm waters. Families love to hang out here because young children can play in the water. Aside from that, you can also go snorkeling here.
Want to take cool photos? Head to the man-made sea barrier called Cubos. Climb up the concrete blocks to get Instagram-worthy shots. You can also rent a kayak just past this wall. There is plenty of tropical fish and other marine life here. Take note that the beach can get pretty loud at night. It’s because there are nightclubs nearby. You can walk further down to the beach near the Hyatt Hotel if you want to get away from the noise.
- Playa Chac Mool
There is no doubt that Playa Chac Mool is a great place to hang out. It lies on Kukulkan Boulevard which leads to the Zona Hotelera. Although it is near the busiest section of Cancun, the beach tends to be quiet. This is especially true in the morning which is the best time to visit. In fact, this is a good spot to watch the sunrise or sunset. The skies will be painted in various hues that make a pretty picture.
The best way to come here is to either ride a bus or taxi. Free parking slots are limited so unless you are here early in the day, it is best to use public transportation. It will take around 20 minutes to get here from downtown. Lifeguards are on duty until 5 pm. Also, there are public restrooms and showers that you can use. If you want to learn how to surf, this is a good spot to learn. After all, the waves here are gentle so you can practice your lessons.
- Playa Tortugas
Are you traveling to Cancun with your family? Then make your way to Playa Tortugas. Aside from its calm, shallow waters, the beach is soft to walk on. If you are a party animal, you will love the atmosphere here. In addition, there is no shortage of fun activities on this beach. Think beach volleyball, bungee jumping, and others. You will find Playa Tortugas on Cancun’s northern tip near the Hotel Zone. This is a popular spot among the locals.
If you want to take your beach experience to a whole new level, you should go bungee jumping. The platform is 25 meters high and will give you a good view of the area. This is not for the faint of heart. On a good note, it is a great way to level up your experience here. Meanwhile, you can grab some cocktails at the nearby bars and restaurants. Afterward, you can go snorkeling or swimming in the waters. There is a coral reef within the area that you can explore.
- Playa Marlin
Meanwhile, Playa Marlin offers respite to those who do not like crowds. You will find this beach behind Plaza Kukulcan. However, the free parking area here tends to fill up quickly. If you want to visit, be sure to do it early in the day. The best time to go here is during weekdays when most locals are at work. This way, you will have a large portion of the beach all to yourself. You can bring a good book to read while enjoying the sun.
Aside from that, there are hotels near Playa Marlin that you can stay in. Unless you are a guest in one of these hotels, stay away from the private beaches. Also, you shouldn’t use the hotel sunbeds as they might ask you to leave. Another thing to keep in mind is that there are bigger waves here on windy days. This means that you might not be able to go further from the shore.
- Playa Maroma
Playa Maroma lies between Cancun as well as Playa del Carmen. Here you will find plenty of all-inclusive luxury hotels. The beach itself is pristine which complements the different hues of the ocean. There is a small marina on the beach too. This is where you can go on boat tours along the coastline. You don’t really need to go on a snorkeling tour here. After all, you can go snorkeling near the shore and still see amazing corals.
If you are looking for an inclusive resort, try El Dorado Maroma. It is famous for its overwater bungalow rooms. This is the only resort that offers this type of accommodation. On a good note, you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the beach. After all, there are plenty of beach hangouts on the shore.
- Playa Norte – Isla Mujeres
Playa Mujeres is one of the best places to visit while you are in Cancun. In fact, you should head to Playa Norte which is on the northern tip of this small island. It boasts a white sand beach and sparkling blue waters. The best part is that the water is shallow near the shore. This makes it a great spot for families with small children. In addition, the calm waters make it suitable for swimming for all ages.
You can get here from Cancun’s Hotel Zone or from Playa Tortugas. A round-trip ferry will only cost you around $25 USD which is not a bad price. Once you reach the island, you can either walk to Playa Norte or rent a golf cart. This is the mode of transportation here. I suggest that you come here early in the day. This way you will be able to enjoy the beach longer while the crowd hasn’t come yet. If you really want to appreciate its beauty, why not stay here for a day or two?
- Playa Ancha
Meanwhile, Playa Ancha is the perfect place for those staying in the Hotel Zone. After all, it lies in the center of this hotel strip making it accessible to everyone. This may be a small beach but the calm waters and white sand beach draw families to it. What’s nice about Playa Ancha is that it doesn’t get as crowded as the other beaches. If you want to avoid the crowd, this is a good place to be.
Aside from that, this is a great spot to do some shopping. There are plenty of stores here that sell native products that you can bring home with you. In addition, there are several restaurants nearby where you can sample local dishes. You can head to the beach during the day and then spend the rest of the afternoon shopping. You can even watch the sunset at the beach! Afterward, head to one of the nightclubs at Kukulkan Boulevard for a night of partying.
- Playa Forum
Another example of Cancun beaches that you should check is Playa Forum. You will find it on the north side of the town. It sits between Chac Mool and Gaviota Azul. Its location is one of its advantages because it is near some of the best restaurants in the area. Not only that but it is also near shopping malls. You should check out Forum by the Sea shopping mall for local and international brands.
Aside from that, this beach is close proximity to Cancun’s party spots. Think Coco Bongo as well as Mandala Beach Club. I suggest that you either take a taxi or ride the bus to get here. Parking is limited here so better leave your rental at the hotel. Playa Forum is a party beach thanks to the live music blasting from the nearby nightclubs. On a good note, this beach has a quiet side to it which is usually in the morning.
- Playa Marinero / Playa Langosta
Meanwhile, Playa Langosta sits between downtown Cancun and the Hotel Zone. This makes it accessible to everyone within the area. You will find many kayaks here that you can rent to explore the coast. Aside from that, the waters here are calm and suitable for swimming. It can get pretty busy during the weekend. But come here on any day of the week and you’ll find it quiet and enjoyable.
There are parasols, beach chairs, and food stands here. Restaurants are also available where you can order some delicious meals. If you want to have access to modern amenities, you can get a day pass from one of the beach clubs here.
- Playacar Beach / Playa del Carmen
Also referred to as Playa del Carmen, Playacar lies just outside of Cancun. This is a gated community of hotels and residences that you can visit too. The gates keep away the crowds that descend upon Cancun during the high season. The good news is that you can access Playacar Beach easily since it is a public beach.
The main attraction of Playacar Beach is its white sand. Take a stroll along its expansive beach and you’ll see plenty of luxury hotels and residences lining the beach. You will need to bring your essentials with you if you want to spend the day here. It’s because there are no restaurants or food stands nearby. Of course, hotel guests will have free access to the beach and the amenities here.
- Costa Mujeres
You need to add Costa Mujeres to your list of beaches of Cancun. This relatively new community lies half an hour away from the Hotel Zone. Here you will find several inclusive resorts, golf courses, and more. In addition, there are restaurants that serve local and international dishes.
Aside from that, there are various landmarks to explore here too. There are archaeological sites you can visit. Also, you can head to the Chacmuchuc Lagoon while you are here. The famous beach area here is Isla Blanca. If you have booked an inclusive stay in one of the hotels here, it will only take a short walk to get to the beach. On the other hand, you can rent a car so you can drive here. I suggest that you bring food and drinks with you. After all, there are no restaurants or food stands nearby.
- Playa Caracol
Playa Caracol is a small beach that lies on the northern tip of Cancun. It is popular among families because of its shallow water. Aside from that, there are two docks bordering this beach which you can explore. In fact, I suggest that you head here in the afternoon to take photos. Guests can either ride a bus to get here or drive their rental car. However, there are a few free parking areas near here. There is a paid parking space in the area which is another option to consider.
There are hotels on this beach if you want to spend more time here. Hotel guests can take advantage of the sun loungers at the beach. If you are here just for the day, you can rent beach chairs and loungers instead. There are some parts of the beach that are for hotel guests only. But since this is a public beach, there are areas that you can explore for free. Fortunately, this beach is near restaurants and bars. If you are feeling hungry, you can easily get to them. Don’t forget that there is an eco-resort nearby with a water park. You can bring your kids here for some added fun.
Other Beaches to Visit in Cancun
Are you looking for the best public beaches in Cancun? Aside from the ones mentioned above, I also recommend the following:
- Punta Cancun Beach
This is the busiest public beach in Cancun with good reason. It is near nightclubs and bars here that give it that party atmosphere. Aside from that, it is also a good spot to just sunbathe or go swimming. You can place your beach towel under the palm trees for some shade too if you like.
- Playa Linda
Playa Linda lies in a public area in the Hotel Zone. It is a good place to go on boating trips to see the dolphins. At some point on the beach, you will see the sea joining the lagoon. This is one of the highlights of the boat trips here. If you want to see a magnificent view, check out La Torre Cancun. This revolving tower will give you a great view of the surroundings.
- North Beach
Meanwhile, North Beach was once recognized as the best beach in the Riviera Maya. One of the reasons behind this is its stunning blue waters. On the beach itself, you will find rows of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. You’ll enjoy hours of entertainment on North Beach.
- Playa Publica Puerto Morelos
If you are looking for the best snorkeling spots in Cancun, this is one of them. The beach itself lies in the heart of this small fishing village. You will have direct access to it from the downtown area or from the Hotel Zone. Aside from the water sports, you should go snorkeling here. The coral reefs are thriving with plenty of marine life calling it home.
- Playa Ballenas
For those who want a quiet beach to spend time in, Playa Ballenas is where you should be. It’s tucked behind luxury resorts. The water conditions here are not that good. It’s because of the big waves and strong currents. However, the beach itself is quite stunning. It’s pristine and white in color. You can play beach volleyball or go strolling here if you like.
Where to Stay in Cancun?
Are you looking for the best hotels to stay in Cancun? The good news is that there is no shortage of options. Most of the luxury hotels here come with numerous amenities.
For example, they have outdoor pools, a kids’ club, and private beach areas. Among the best options here are:
- Le Blanc Spa Resort
- Hyatt Ziva Cancun
- Garza Blanca Resort
Budget travelers will find a good space to stay in Cancun’s downtown. There are hostels and apartments here for those who are looking for cheap accommodations.
Not sure whether to stay in the north or south end of the Hotel Zone? It doesn’t matter where you book a room, what’s important is that you’ll have free access to the beaches here. You can lie on the beach, go snorkeling, or do scuba diving. Whatever activity you want to do, Cancun is the best place to experience them.
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