The Segmental Info System
Cancun, which is a 7-shaped stretch of land separated from the mainland by a series of lagoons, is practically lined with beaches from one end to the other.
All of these beaches are public, despite the appearance of being privately owned by the hotels that front them. In essence, beach-goers can start at a beach on one end of the island, and walk along the water to the other end.
Water temperatures are at their hottest during the months of August and September, but any time of year is really a good time of year to swim along the beaches of Cancun. Because the temperatures remain hot throughout regardless of season change, the waters stay warm as well.
The beaches in Northern Cancun tend to be the best places to swim, due to the calming effect the nearby island of Isla Mujeres has on the wind and water. Regardless of where you choose to swim, make sure to check out Cancun's water-safety flags each day before you venture into the water. Cancun has established colored flags on beaches and in front of hotels to warn visitors of current water conditions.
|Green||Normal||...without fear but with caution|
|Yellow||Uncertain||...with extreme caution|
|Black or Red||Unsafe||...to the nearest pool!|
Most of the beaches in Cancun do have life guards on duty during the day, especially around the resort areas. The Mexican Navy also patrols the shores on a regular basis, allowing guests to feel safe from not only the ocean, but crime as well.
Sports are especially popular on the beaches. Hotels along the coast are known to provide their guests with equipment to play with, such as water skis, kayaks, beach volleyball courts, frisbees, and snorkeling equipment. If you aren't staying at such a resort, these items can often be rented from hotels at reasonable prices; as can lounge chairs, umbrellas, and towels. Guests who choose to snorkel along the beaches tend to surface unsatisfied, as marine life is not known to stay close to the sandy shores. Rather, the best snorkeling can be done inside caves and cenotes; though snorkelers on the beaches of the southern tip can sometimes get lucky and spot a few colorful fish.
Keep in mind that although there are no official nude beaches, it is perfectly legal for women to bathe topless. It is rare, but it does happen, so keep an eye open when choosing where to lay your beach blanket if you are traveling with children and feel that this type of activity is inappropriate.
After two hurricanes struck Cancun within two years of each other (Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and Hurricane Dean in 2007), the island's beaches began to erode significantly. As a result, Cancun's Beach Recovery Trust began work to restore the beaches in 2009 with a budget of $71 million. Over sixteen miles of beaches were refurbished with sand collected from underwater sand banks. Almost 180 million cubic feet of sand was used to fill in gaps caused by erosion, but as of 2010 the beaches have been restored to their original state, if not better than ever.
The north side of the island is where the boat docks are located. Despite the constant influx of ferries and cruise ships, the beaches remain clean, and the waters calm. Vacationers who are not the strongest swimmers, or simply like to play it safe will find it best to frequent the northern beaches, which include Playa Caracol, Playa Langosta, Playa Las Perlas, Playa Linda, and Playa Tortugas.
Playa Caracol tends to be the most crowded of the North Side beaches, most likely due to the restaurants and bars that surround the beach, as well as the shallow seabed that is perfect for frolicking children. Playa Langosta, Playa Tortugas, and Playa Las Perlas are the other three beaches with easy access to restaurants and bars. Those planning to grab a bite to eat, or who would enjoy a few cocktails out by the ocean, would do well to choose one of these beaches to spend their day at. While all of the beaches on the North Side are great for swimming and water sports, Playa Linda tends to attract the more adventurous traveler for dive tours and submarine trips. Shuttle boats to Isla Mujeres depart from each of the North Side beaches, except for Playa Caracol.
...Mayan Ruins located on the beach.
The east side of Cancun can be split into two sections: the lagoon side and the ocean side. There are no beaches on the lagoon side, and very few hotels to speak of. Beaches along the eastern coast experience slightly choppier waters, and are more suited for sun bathers, expert swimmers, and those participating in water sports. The beaches on this side of Cancun include Chac Mool, Gaviota Azul, Playa Ballenas, Playa Delfines, Playa Marlin, Punta Nizuc, and San Miguelito.
All of the beaches on the East Side are great for relaxing in the sand and participating in water sports, but two stand out. Playa Bellenas, because it is one of the most popular beaches in Cancun; and San Miguelito because there are Mayan Ruins located on the beach.
If a vacation filled with surf and sun is what you're after, there is no better place than Cancun. The beaches on the island are kept clean and are certainly tourist friendly. Whether you dream of baking in the sun, swimming in the cool waters, or zipping across the waves on a water ski, you won't be disappointed in Cancun's beaches.
|Albertos Beach||14.1 mi. South of Cozumel||East||Cozumel|
|Dzul Ha||3.4 mi. South West of Cozumel||West||Cozumel|
|El Faro||Downtown Playa del Carmen||East||--|
|Paradise Beach||9.1 mi. South West of Cozumel||East||Cozumel|
|Playa Akumal||0.4 mi. Southeast of Akumal||East||--|
|Playa Ballenas||7.9 mi. Southeast of Cancun||East||--|
|Playa Bonita||11.8 mi. East of Cozumel||North East||Cozumel|
|Playa Bush||14.1 mi. South of Cozumel||East||Cozumel|
|Playa Caracol||7.0 mi. South of Isla Mujeres||East||--|
|Playa Chacal||3.2 mi. South-Southwest of Akumal||East||--|
|Playa Chacmool||7.5 mi. East-Southeast of Cancun||East||--|
|Playa Chen Rio||8.6 mi. Southeast of Cozumel||South||Cozumel|
|Playa del Carmen||Downtown Playa del Carmen||East||--|
|Playa Delfines||8.6 mi. Southeast of Cancun||East||--|
|Playa Garrafon||2.1 mi. South-Southeast of Isla Mujeres||South East||Isla Mujeres|
|Playa Lancheros||1.3 mi. South-Southeast of Isla Mujeres||South||Isla Mujeres|
|Playa Langosta||5.3 mi. East of Cancun||East||--|
|Playa Las Perlas||3.9 mi. East of Cancun||East||--|
|Playa Linda||4.6 mi. East-Southeast of Cancun||East||--|
|Playa Los Cocos||2.2 mi. Northwest of Isla Mujeres||North West||Isla Mujeres|
|Playa Marlin||7.6 mi. Southeast of Cancun||East||--|
|Playa Mia||9.1 mi. South West of Cozumel||East||Cozumel|
|4.6 mi. West of Isla Mujeres||None||--|
|Playa Norte||7.3 mi. Northwest of Isla Mujeres||East||--|
|Playa Oriente||8.4 mi. Southeast of Cozumel||East||Cozumel|
|Playa Palencar||11.0 mi. South-Southwest of Cozumel||East||Cozumel|
|Playa Pancholo||2.2 mi. North-Northwest of Isla Mujeres||North West||Isla Mujeres|
|Playa Paraiso||0.8 mi. South of Isla Mujeres||South||Isla Mujeres|
|Playa Pescador||0.5 mi. South-Southwest of Isla Mujeres||South West||Isla Mujeres|
|Playa Punta Morena||8.4 mi. Southeast of Cozumel||South East||Cozumel|
|Playa San Fransico||8.2 mi. South West of Cozumel||West||Cozumel|
|Playa San Martin||10.7 mi. South of Cozumel||South West||Cozumel|
|Playa Secreto||2.8 mi. South-Southwest of Puerto Morelos||East||--|
|Playa Tiburon||0.8 mi. West-Northwest of Isla Mujeres||North West||Isla Mujeres|
|Playa Tortugas||6.8 mi. South of Isla Mujeres||East||--|
|Playa Tulum||2.0 mi. East of Tulum||East||--|
|Playa Uvas||4.4 mi. South West of Cozumel||West||Cozumel|
|Playa X-Puha||Xpu Ha||East||--|
|Playa Xhanan||14.2 mi. East of Cozumel||North East||Cozumel|
|Punta Nizuc||10.6 mi. South-Southeast of Cancun||East||--|
|Santa Pilar||4.5 mi. North-Northeast of Cozumel||North West||Cozumel|
|Sunset Beach||1.5 mi. West-Southwest of Cozumel||North West||Cozumel|
|2.1 mi. East of Tulum||North East||--|
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.