The Best Beaches in the Mayan Riviera
What is it about a beautiful beach that irresistibly draws us? Is it the inner calm we sense from soaking up the sun, feeling the tropical breezes and hearing the waves lap the shore? Is it the freedom of being barefoot and far away from the stresses of daily life?
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world can be found in the Mayan Riviera. The sand is sugary-soft and the aqua water shimmers in shades of brilliant blue, thanks to the Meso-American coral reef system. The further south down the coast you go, the softer and finer the beaches get! If you feel like venturing out to find your favorite beach, then grab your lounge chair, towel, cooler of drinks and check out one of these gorgeous spots. You won’t be disappointed!
About 10 minutes (18 km) south of Playa del Carmen is the sheltered cove of Paamul. If you’re looking for a nearby beach with a laid-back vibe and few tourists, this spot is for you. A small RV park, restaurant and beach cabins are nestled in the sparkling aqua-blue bay. The snorkeling is fantastic right off the shore or you can explore the beach around the point. XpuHa, about 20 minutes (35 km) from Playa, is kite-boarders’ paradise! Park under the shade of a palm tree near the campground and stroll down to a private spot in the “W” shaped bay.
For a fun-filled day for the whole family, visit the cute town of Akumal (about 35 km south of Playa), where you can snorkel with turtles and sting rays right off the beach! Well-developed, Akumal has dive shops, souvenir stores and great restaurants on the bay (try the pulled-pork sandwich or hamburgers at LolHa). There are plenty of palm trees on the beach for shade, and a footpath leads to the point where you can watch waves splash in and create geysers in the limestone shelf.
For the more adventurous traveler, Xcacel is a must! You can reach this picturesque beach by combi or taxi; it is about 45 km south of Playa del Carmen. The scenery is spectacular—think Corona commercial perfection! The waves can be more aggressive since this coast is not protected by the island of Cozumel. There is a shady picnic area (but bring your own chairs and cooking gear) and bathrooms on-site. A charming path leads into the jungle where you can take a refreshing dip in a small cenote!
My vote for the most beautiful beach in the area is split between Paradise Beach in Tulum (65 km south of PDC) and Playa Delfines in Cancun (60 km north of PDC). Expect stunning crystal blue water, champagne surf, and miles of powdery soft white sand. It has to be seen to be believed!
Let yourself unwind as the Caribbean soothes your senses…there’s no place like the beach!
Written by Kelly G.