Updated January 2023
These are by far the best public Cancun beaches! These are safe for swimming making this one of the best beach vacation destinations in Mexico! There are 22 Kilometres of of beautiful sandy public beaches in Cancun so there should be one that will suit your taste!
Cancun offers a few "Blue Flag" rated beaches. These are safe public beaches for swimming and also offer disabled friendly access to the water. Most of these are perfect for sunbathing, but some may not be the safest for swimming due to high waves which are obvious but undercurrents (a current of water below the surface, moving in a different direction from any surface current) are not noticeable and can be dangerous - even the most easterly beaches.
Color coded safety signs indicate beach conditions as follows:
• Blue - safe conditions to swim.
• Yellow - changeable, use caution and be sensible.
• Red - unsafe and dangerous. Do not swim!
Always have a safe and happy beach vacation. The type you want to remember for the right reasons!
Seaweed issues: Much time and effort is made to keep Cancun beaches clean and seaweed free. However in late fall there is more seaweed than usual on many of the beaches. So if you want the best possible beach vacation in Cancun try to stay away in October and November.
Hurricane season: Usually from start of June to late November.
Best month to visit Cancun: Mid January to April.
Parking: Some parking at some beaches but visiting by bus is probably a better option to access public beaches. Choosing a waterfront hotel closest to the beach that suits your lifestyle will save you hassle of parking.
If you have not been to Cancun beaches in a while, there has been a restoration and maintenance project since 2008. This project ensures high quality beaches and it has increased the size of many Cancun beaches. So… if you cannot remember the beaches being as big as they are now that is the reason why!
At appx. 2.5 km. of the "Hotel zone". This Cancun beach is safe for swimming. Blue Flag rated, the protected waters of this small public beach make it popular with locals. If you're not staying at one of the nearby resorts, it may be difficult to access public facilities and water-sports equipment. Playa Las Perlas is a public beach. It is recommended to bring your own snacks or picnic lunch. Lifeguard usually on duty.
At Km. 4 of the "Hotel zone".
This beach is along the Nichupte Channel, so boat traffic and the ferry to Isla Mujeres can make it difficult and possibly not the safest beach for swimming. The scenery is lovely however, and you won't find a much better place to people watch. Good restaurants drinks are close by. A great place to book your submarine tour and diving tour and any kind of boat tours!
At Km. 5 of the "Hotel zone".
Possibly the most beautiful of Cancun beaches, but then again there are no really ugly ones and each has its own features. Playa Lagosta is probably the best family beach with calm, crystal clear shallow waters and gentle waves. This makes this beach a great place to swim. "Float Fun" is close by and a lot of fun for families. This beach is one of the favorites with tourists as it is in close proximity with the resorts (particularly at spring break). It is also close to several yacht clubs, shops and restaurants. Tour boats will whisk you away to the more quiet Isla Mujeres and party cruise boats leave from the docks close by.
At 6.5 km of the "Hotel zone" in front of Hotel Dos Playas Faranda. Lined with cafés, bars and restaurants (some offer beachside service) and plenty of sand you may not want to leave this beach! You may want to do some parasailing or rent a seadoo or kayak. Excellent swimming and facilities at both ends and even a few shops for the ladies to browse through. A good beach for those learning to scuba dive or snorkel. At the pier there is a platform for bungee jumping. It is rated as one of the best Cancun beaches for accommodations close by. Lots to do for the younger crowd and good nightlife spot.
In the middle of the "Hotel zone" at Km. 8.
This beach is calm and fairly safe when one is concerned about undercurrents. As its name suggests there are some seashells and small rocks on this beach so some protective footwear may be suggested. Rocks jut out from the water marking the beginning of Punta Cancun. You may rent sport activity gear from a few shops near this beach. A favorite beach due to its shallow sand bed and long pier to walk. Sail boarding, water skiing and parasailing are favoured watersports at this beach. Playa Caracol is also close to the shopping district. Close to the Xcaret dock to take you to this wonderful attraction.
Closest and best beach hotels closest to Playa Caracol: Hotel Riu Palace Las Americas or Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancún All Inclusive or Hotel Riu Cancun
Starting at Km. 9 of the Hotel zone the waves of these Cancun beaches
may start to get a little larger as there is no protection from from
Isla Mujeres. The ocean truly gets its beautiful turquoise blue colour
in this area and you also get fantastic sunrises!
Here are the some of the best Cancun hotels on the beach with spa and fitness center. See why Cancun is Mexico's # 1 waterfront destination!
Located at Km. 9 of the "Hotel zone".
Gaviota Azul is most likely the most beautiful beach in Cancun. The water is transparent and swimming on a beautiful clear day is simply unforgettable. Swimmers need to use extra caution in the waters of this scenic beach because of the larger waves and some undertow. Body surfers however love this beach for its waves. It's great for watersports. Restaurants are close by for convenience. It has a youthful atmosphere and lots of music. In the evening it comes to life with a lot of nightclubs around it. Probably known as the best party beach. Great pictures can be taken if you are a bit higher and in full daylight to catch that beautiful blue water.
Located at Km 10 of the "Hotel zone".
This Cancun beach is safe for swimming. Blue Flag rated, this is the first beach on Caribbean waters, and the warm, shallow water is great for walking in - just beware the undertow! A bit rocky at the northern part but much better a bit south. Public facilities are available at this beach.
Located at Km. 13 of the "Hotel zone".
Safe for swimming. This Blue Flag rated Caribbean beach is extremely popular. The sand is simply perfect beach sand! This beach is great for water sports and you may be able to find rental equipment. This Cancun beach is very popular for tourists with easy access to great restaurants etc.. If you prefer quieter beaches you can easily find one by simply walking in either direction.
Located at Km. 14 of the "Hotel zone".
Blue Flag Rated, Playa Ballenas is a very popular beach as well. Close to some of the very finest Cancun beach hotels. You may also rent Jet rentals, parasailing and banana boat rides are available in this area. Just of few of the reasons Cancun beaches are so popular! They can be relaxing and exciting all at the same time!
Located at Km 20 of the "Hotel zone".
The Playa Delfines is outside the hotel zone. It is quite a ways out of the Cancun center but one of the most loved. With its iconic "Cancun" sign it is one of the big tourist spots for taking pictures. The sand is a bit darker and coarser. This being the case you will not find all the conveniences of being in front of the luxurious waterfront hotels. There are however restrooms, a small children's playground and you may rent chairs and umbrellas. Blue Flag certified There are lifeguards on duty a lot of the time but swimming needs to be done with extreme caution. Playa Delfines is one of the few Cancun public beaches that offer public parking, showers and washrooms. However, the buses could be easier than trying to find parking during busier days.
If you would like to get away from the crowds of Cancun we would suggest once again to plan a day at Isla Mujeres! Best Blue Flag rated beaches on Isla Mujeres are Playa Centro, Albatros Beach with its club but the best is Playa Norte with its beautiful white sand beach so soft it has been described as talcum powder! Here are the best things to do on this beautiful Island. There is plenty to see and do on this island but just relaxing on the beach is unforgettable. Scuba divers love the Underwater Museum.
Find more of the best Mexico beaches from this Cancun beaches page!