Did you know that the Mexican government actually assessed the Yucatan Peninsula and mapped out what is now the Mayan Riviera as a tourism destination? They did and dedicated many years to building up the area in the most careful and well-managed ways. They began by making Cancun, considered to be the northern most point of the Mayan Riviera, a gateway. With an airport and great roads, it is the most common place people enter the region. After that, it is all about the beaches, and below, we explain some of the best Mayan Riviera beaches to visit during your stay.
With more than 75 miles of coast, it is not surprising that there are so many amazing beaches in the Mayan Riviera. The calm seas, the wonderfully clear waters and the impressive natural sites that frame the region, all add up to a wonderful place to travel, and yet again, many come for those beaches along the Caribbean Sea.
While it is important to note that there are some rip tides offshore, most of the beaches are in sheltered bay areas and remain safe and ideal for swimmers, divers and beachgoers of all ages.
So, which beaches number among the “best”? That can be a bit tricky because best can mean a few things. For you, best might mean “free” or “white sands”. That means we need to narrow it down a bit.
Firstly, many beaches in the region are owned by resorts and not always open to the public. Below are the beaches that can be enjoyed for free or for a small fee paid to the owners:
Playa del Carmen
Here you will want to visit the lovely Maroma Beach. It is often described as one of the loveliest in the world. It is close to many resorts and hotels, and yet its surroundings have been lovingly preserved. You can enter the beach, for free by using paths from the Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, El Dorado Maroma Beachfront Resort, or the Maroma Resort and Spa.
At the southern end of the Mayan Riviera is thriving little Tulum. Once an off the beaten path, it is now where the savvy travelers head. It is home to Pariaiso Beach, and it too is ranked as one of the best in the modern world. It is framed by some of the most stunning jungle scenery, and the fact that the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum sit just above the beach only add to its appeal.
Both the name of the beach and the town, it is tucked directly between Tulum to the south and Playa del Carmen to the north. Its name means land of turtles and as you might guess – sea turtles lay their eggs here and visitors can see the adorable babies making their way to the sea once or twice each year. It is set in a smaller fishing village and is often described as both laid back and remarkably safe in terms of the sea waters, tides and conditions.
Here you can find Xpu Ha Beach just south of the downtown area. This is, in fact, described as a hidden or secret spot by many and features wonderful snorkeling and fishing. However, you will mostly find swimming and sunbathing as the key activities in the shallow and clear waters here. Note – some of the best restaurants in the Mayan Riviera are also in the fishing village nearby, and you can savor authentic Mexican cuisine here, too.
As you can see, you have many options, and anywhere you go you are likely to discover little beaches that are gems to the locals who are fortunate enough to inhabit the Mayan Riviera.