Mexico and the Yucatan state specifically are among the most popular destinations for those who want a relaxing tropical getaway. And these are the best Yucatan beaches for a relaxing, sandy getaway!
If you’re a history buff, you will also enjoy Yucatan because the peninsula is home to many ancient ruins where you can learn more about the local history.
Read on to find out more about why these beautiful beaches on the Yucatan Peninsula are favorites among tourists and locals alike!
Best Yucatan Beaches
Get panoramic views of Cancun from the Dolphin Beach in the Hotel Zone where many of the famous Cancun all-inclusive resorts are located.
It is a distinguished beach because of its building-free territory despite its zoning. It is in close proximity to the El Rey, a Mayan archaeological site known for its temple ruins and iguanas.
On the beach itself, there are vendors selling snacks and fresh fruits if you forget to pack for a picnic. Otherwise, there aren’t restaurants or shops to protect the beach’s experience.
The beautiful beach is free with umbrellas for public use and has crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sandy beaches to complement the Cancun sun.
The bright Caribbean sea and the white sandy beach aren’t the only attractions at Mayan Beach. The Mayan Ruins of Tulum sit on a rocky cliff and overlook the beautiful scenery.
After touring the ruins, there is a stairway that leads down the cliff toward the beach, which is one of the best family beaches in Mexico and definitely worth a stop!
The surreal sinkholes at the Great Cenote, Cenote Calavera, and Cenotes Dos Ojos are excellent swimming, diving, and snorkeling locations. You can spend days exploring the beautiful cenotes in Tulum and nearby!
Xcaret is an eco-archeological park with underground rivers, tropical jungle trails, lagoons, and a rotating tower with panoramic views.
The caves of Rio Secreto and Aktun Chen and their rock formations are also extraordinary sights to see!
Another thing to note is that you are not too far from the Mayan ruins in Playa del Carmen at Playacar! This is a great area for history lovers!
Playa El Cielo
The snorkeling tours at Playa El Cielo are some of the most popular activities to partake in, making this a worthwhile stop on a Yucatan road trip!
The tours by Cozumel Tours & Excursions or Tortugas Cozumel provide professional assistance for your snorkeling experience, along with a multitude of other tour groups and beach clubs.
Submerge below the shallow waters and catch glimpses of the friendly wildlife, like starfish and stingrays!
On the sands, there are beach chairs and umbrellas where you can plant your anchor to relax. You can catch the attention of a server for some food, drinks, or beach equipment, like snorkel masks and fins, kayaks, and paddle boards.
Besides having the perfect Cancun white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, Xpu-Ha Beach is the most ideal place to go glamping.
With exo-luxury tents, air conditioning, hot showers, outdoor jetted tubs and jacuzzis, hammocks on the patio, a king-sized bed, and a mini fridge, the beach is almost forgotten; however, the convenience of being able to party and relax all hours of the day makes these hotel types even more attractive.
Serenity Eco Luxury Tented Camp is rated as the best in the area, and may even be the answer to your foodie prayers with its Mexican, American, and Asian-style menus.
Visiting this famous beach is one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen and other places on the Yucatan peninsula!
A walk on the seemingly endless white sandy beaches of El Cuyo is a therapy session we all need. The beach’s water is known to be calmer than neighboring beaches, and thus is an attractive space for kite surfers.
If you haven’t tried kitesurfing before, the local Naia Cafe offers classes and rentals, along with other watersport activities such as paddleboarding and kayaking.
The lack of beach clubs makes El Cuyo a serene escape from tourist beaches.
For something more thrilling, you can take a jungle-beach ATV Tour from El Cuyo to Las Coloradas and catch sights of untouched nature.
Within the proximity of Tulum Beach are the limestone sinkholes and the interconnected network of caves within the mountains and plateaus of the regional landscape; the Cenotes Dos Ojos, Cenotes Sac Actun, Gran Cenote, Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum, and Casa Cenote are the few of the many included within 216 miles.
These sinkholes are all popular swimming, diving, and snorkeling destinations that can enhance your adventurous experience.
Laguna Kaan Luum, a sinkhole-turned-lake, is just as beautiful as the cenotes with less of a crowd and is supplemented by the gorgeous surrounding jungle.
Travel back in time to the Tulum archaeological ruins as either a start or end to your trip!
In Progreso is Pig Beach, which is exactly as it sounds– a beach with pigs. The story of the pigs explains that eight piglets were found in an empty lot by authorities and raised by the Environmental Police Corps when they realized the piglets enjoyed playing in the sand and sea.
The piglets’ love for the beach gave the municipality the idea of making a Pig Beach to mirror that of the Bahamas– and voila!
A trendy destination where visitors can plan and take selfies with cute pigs whilst enjoying the typical beach experience of the clear Yucatan waters and white sands.
Punta Coco Beach
On the western point of the island is the less crowded, more secluded beach of Punta Coco. The shallow waters go on for a while, and the hammock and beach chairs are already provided, making it convenient for visitors to get right to relaxing.
Parts of the Punta Coco beach are a bird sanctuary, so beware of signs forbidding crossing; however, this allows the opportunity to bird watch–even from a distance– whether in the sky or in the waters!
Flamingos are a tourist favorite and most frequently spotted! End the night at the Casa Nostra Roof Restaurant with rooftop views of the sea and delicious food.
Playa Akumal, or “Place of the Turtle” in the Mayan language, is a famous snorkeling spot where visitors can swim with turtles.
For the best chances to swim with the turtles, visit during their nesting season between June and November.
Half-Day Sea Turtle and Cenote Snorkeling Guided Tour and the Tulum Ruins Private Tour with Turtle and Cenote Snorkeling are popular options for visitors.
For places to stay, there are many beachfront hotels and villas in Akumal.
The Yal-Ku Lagoon, just a few miles away, is nestled within the jungle and is one of the most popular snorkeling locations in Mexico.
Maya Chan Beach
For a private beach experience, you will have to seek a private beach resort like Maya Chan Beach. It is accessible by reservation only and is an all-inclusive resort that gives visitors the liberty to plan their own vacation.
The Mayan-inspired all-you-can-eat buffet and the All-Day Open Bar are one thing, but what about the glass-bottom kayaks that let you see the world beneath you?
Each party is able to select their own private, shaded part of the beach to go with their room, with a large thatch-roof palapa or an open and airy pergola.
Progreso is a port city popular for its cruise ships and spa resorts. Malecon is its famous boardwalk that gives you the chance to walk alongside the beach and view the incoming cruise ships to the pier.
The Reserva Ecológica El Corchito, consisting of Cenote Helechos, Cenote Pajaros, and Cenote Venado, are all nestled in the beautiful jungle environment with ancient paths and crystal clear waters.
Progreso is in close proximity to the inland Mayan archaeological site of Dzibilchaltún and the Xlakah Cenote, which you can view with a guide from local tour companies, such as the Wow A Tour group.
Enjoy the clear blue waters located at the very north of Isla Mujeres near Isla Mujeres Town.
The beaches of Playa Norte are decently shallow as well as calm, making it a family-friendly place to stop by and enjoy.
You can see the ferries giving thirty-minute to hourly tours, in which you can consider taking yourself, as well as rental boats from local companies.
There are private yacht rentals, snorkeling, whale shark tours, and Isla Mujeres boat tours available to enhance your experience at Playa Norte.
Rent a golf cart around the ferry port and tour the beaches and island for yourself!
Chicxulub is famous for sharing its name with the crater that wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago; the Parque Científico in Sierra Papacal, which is 30 minutes away, has a display for those wanting to examine further the history of this impact.
Otherwise, the Chicxulub beach is a tranquil, small, typical Yucatan beach with signature white sands and turquoise waters.
It’s a prominent fishing town, thus the cuisine is renowned for its seafood, which you can check out at the local favorite, Captain Flores.
For comfort food, head over to Mamma Mia’s for their squid rings!
Isla de la Pasion
Isla de la Pasion is a secluded island with all the beach amenities you’re looking for: clear waters, white sands, snorkeling, palm trees, hammocks, lounge chairs, picnic tables, snorkeling, kayaking, an open bar, and buffet-style meals.
There are soccer and volleyball courts and equipment along with boat tours around the island.
The All Inclusive Passion Island by Twister Excursion goes through the Disney cruise line which is raved to be one of the best, it’ll have you and the family soaking wet from the water games before you even reach the beach!
The beach itself is relaxing and quiet.
Celestun is a small fishing village and visiting is one of the best things to do in Merida if you’re heading west of the city.
It is home to a 591 square meter wildlife reserve called the Reserva de la Biosfera Ría Celestún in which a large flamingo colony and other wildlife and birdlife inhabit.
It holds a great diversity of environments including mangroves, dunes, and low rainforests, and thus is a resting place for many migrating species.
Take tours on the Playa Norte Celestun with a motor boat to see the flamingos up close; the Celestun Biosphere Reserve Tour by Travelezza Yucatan Peninsula has a highly rated staff with an educational and leisurely tour experience
Playa Mahahual is a small beachfront town located on the southeastern tip of Quintana Roo; its destination is the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, which is part of the world’s second-largest barrier reef and makes Mahahual one of the best places for diving in the Mexican Caribbean.
The shallow water is ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and the colorful reef and coral walls and marine wildlife are easy to spot.
Perhaps you can even find some lost treasure in the seabed, as there are over 60 sunken ships from the 16th and 17th centuries, from both Spanish and English vessels.
If you’re looking for the signature Yucatan beach, unspoiled and without the crowds and unnecessary prices, then Playa Uaymitun may be what you’re looking for.
You can relax with quality and without the pressure of getting to one place or the other before it gets packed or overwhelming; the serenity of the beach, its sands, shells, waters, and the close proximity to Merida can give you peace of mind to relax and plan the next steps for your vacation.
Perhaps spend the day sunbathing and clearing your mind to the sounds of the waves.
Half Moon Bay
Snorkel and swim with the sea turtles in the colorful coral reefs at Akumal’s Half Moon Bay.
You can also catch sites of fish, rays, and squid in the azure blue waters.
The Lol Ka’naab beachfront condos are tourist favorites and are not only close to the beach, but also to the restaurants in the area. La Cueva del Pescador, Turtle Bay Bakery and Cafe, and Imelda’s Ecocina are popular restaurants with authentic dishes and ideal locations to check out.
The beach itself is not too far from other important sites in Akumal, such as the Cenote Santa Cruz and the Centro Ecologico Akumal.
Did we miss any beautiful Yucatan beaches?
Let us know your favorite beaches on the Yucatan Peninsula in the comments. Thanks!
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.