7 can’t-miss beaches in the Riviera Maya


October 13, 2020

Surely when you think of an earthly paradise, the Riviera Maya comes to mind. This incredible place, located in the Mexican Caribbean, has become the favorite tourist destination for locals and foreigners alike.

What is so special about the Riviera Maya?

When we think of this paradise the first thing that comes to mind are the beautiful beaches with clear turquoise waters and white sand, and possibly you remember that this is a place where we found a perfect balance between nature and comfort.

Throughout the area you will be able to experience adventure in the impressive archaeological sites and cenotes, as well as connect with nature in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, or have fun in the theme parks.

Along the coasts, you will find incredible places to do all kinds of ecotourism activities, the best restaurants to eat and enjoy the best entertainment.

If you are thinking about spending your next vacation in this place, here is everything about the beaches you have to visit in the Riviera Maya.

1. Akumal

Imagine spending the day on one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, and it has managed to maintain a balance between nature and tourist activities.

Akumal means ‘place of the turtles’ and is historically the first beach of the Mexican Caribbean.  It is located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

This beach is named for being the nesting site of various species of turtles, which you can observe, mostly between the months of April and October.

Akumal is considered one of the best beaches in the world thanks to the many tourist attractions, restaurants and luxury hotels.

One of the most popular activities in this beach is snorkeling in the crystalline waters. In this area there is a coral reef which allows you to admire turtles and a great variety of colorful tropical fishes.

We advise you to be very respectful when swimming near the turtles' habitat.

The scarce waves and the wide sands of barely half a meter deep make it possible to enjoy a kayak trip.

Besides spending the day at the beach, there are other tourist attractions in Akumal:

  • Visit the Akumal Monkey Sanctuary.
  • Yal-Kú Lagoon, a wonderful natural aquarium.
  • Half Moon Bay, a coral bottom cove ideal for snorkeling.
  • Look at the crocodiles in Uxuxubi.
  • Visit Centro Ecológico Akumal.
  • Have fun in the Kantun-Chi Eco-Park.
  • Explore Aktun Chen Park.
  • Swim in the spectacular cenotes of EcoRancho Mayamar
  • Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery.

If you are looking for a more rustic experience, in Akumal you can also stay in cabins. In this place you will find an environment full of possibilities to enjoy ecological entertainment and ecotourism activities.

 Swim with turtles in Akumal
It is advisable to keep a minimum distance of three meters and not to touch them.

2. Playa Paraiso

As the name implies, this beach not only looks like a paradise but it is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, and it is possible that after getting to know it, you will want to move to Tulum.

In Playa Paraiso you will have a more intimate connection with nature.  Its soft waves are ideal for long walks by the sea, admiring the landscape and feeling the fresh breeze.

In addition to the white sand, the clear water has so many shades of turquoise blue that you will be unable to distinguish them all.

The best thing is that this beach is located a couple of kilometers from the Tulum Ruins, which makes this place the ideal destination to visit after the tour of the archaeological site.

As in most beaches of the Mexican Caribbean, the water temperature is warm so swimming in the sea will be a very pleasant experience.

We suggest you stay at one of the resorts to join the tourist activities they offer.

During your stay in this paradise, enjoy the best of the Caribbean gastronomy in one of the restaurants, where they prepare delicious dishes and mix refreshing tropical cocktails to cool you down from the heat.

We also suggest you visit one of the theme parks that are close to the area, such as Xel-Ha.

If you want to know more about this wonderful place we recommend you to read everything you need to know about Playa Paraiso in Tulum.

 lounge chair in Playa Paraíso
Even though it is a public beach, it is not so crowded, which allows you to enjoy in peace and tranquility all that this beach has to offer.

3. Punta Maroma

Located just 10 minutes from Playa del Carmen and 35 kilometers from the Cancun International Airport, Punta Maroma was recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by Discovery Travel & Living.

Here you can witness the true tranquility of the Caribbean Sea, making it one of the favorite destinations for newlyweds.

In this exclusive private beach you will find modern hotels that respect the natural environment and that will allow you to enjoy all the amenities while you marvel at the beautiful views of the Riviera Maya.

These are some of the things you will find in this beach:

  • Beach lounge chairs along the entire coastline.
  • Cabins in the interior of the sea, better known as overwater bungalows, at the Dorado Resorts
  • Rent equipment and do water activities such as snorkeling.
  • Enjoy a camel ride.
  • Make the tour of the beaches on horseback.
  • Boat races.
  • Kayak
  • Parachute.
  • Quad bikes.
  • Fishing
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Yacht pier.

In addition to your visit to Punta Maroma, you can take a walk in Punta Bete for various water sports, excellent restaurants, rustic cabins and camping area.

Another option to visit nearby is Xcalco, which has a small archaeological site worth exploring.

aerial view of Punta Maroma
To access this beach you need to purchase a day pass at one of the hotels in the area or at the Beach Club.

4. Xpu-Há

Xpu-Ha means two-water stream, and is located 20 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen. This place is another example of the tranquility, nature and services that make the Riviera Maya unique.

It is considered a practically virgin beach, the sand and crystalline waters make it the ideal place to relax and enjoy life.

At first sight you will understand why this place is a must and an option you should not miss in the Riviera Maya.

Xpu- Há is a public beach but all the accesses are private, that is why we suggest you to buy a day pass in one of the luxury hotels of the area, to also enjoy its amenities and delight yourself with its great gastronomic variety.

What is so special about this place?

The sea of Xpu-Há is only half a meter deep and its turquoise waters simulate a giant swimming pool, making it ideal for safe swimming and family relaxation.

In addition, Xpu-Ha is an ecological reserve surrounded by mangroves and coral reefs, home to many marine species such as turtles, rays, sea urchins, crabs and a great variety of fish; making it the right choice for snorkeling.

You can also experience the thrill of camping by the sea since they also have a well maintained camping area with restrooms and showers.

Xpu-Ha has its own lagoon and you can observe the Manatee Cenote.

Banner of real estate developments in Tulum.

5. Mamitas Beach

If you are looking for a party atmosphere, Playa Mamitas is the best option.We have written before why Playa del Carmen is a great option to visit in the Riviera Maya, and Playa Mamitas is one of the reasons to do it.

You will find an endless number of bars and restaurants with the best nightlife atmosphere.

The constant events and numerous beach clubs make this place one of the most popular beaches in the Riviera Maya, and it is also very close to Playa del Carmen's 5th Avenue.

This is a public beach but if you want a more exclusive service during your stay, we recommend Mamita's Beach Club, the most popular restaurant in the area, with an excellent oceanfront view, private pool, lounge chairs, and the best in food and drinks.

This beach has hosted incredible musical events, such as concerts by David Guetta and Tiesto, as well as being the scene of the Jazz Festival and the BPM Festival which are held annually.

seashore at Playa Mamitas
In addition, the natural beauty and bohemian, cosmopolitan atmosphere of Playa del Carmen has made this place a celebrity hotspot.

6. Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos is a town with a unique personality. The calm, bohemian and relaxed atmosphere of this beautiful fishing village will allow you to connect with the simplicity of the people.

Here you will find wonderful natural attractions such as cenotes, mangroves and a lush jungle.

What is truly special about this place is the Puerto Morelos National Reef Park, which is part of the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Imagine spending the day swimming in the clear waters, and then doing one of the following ecotourism activities:

  • Tours through the jungle in all terrain vehicles or bicycles.
  • Sliding at full speed on a zip line while admiring the landscape of the Mayan jungle.
  • Observe the different types of birds that live in the jungle and the surroundings of the beach.
  • Water activities such as sailing, catamaran trips, kayaking and snorkeling.
  • Cenotes tour.

In addition, you will be able to marvel at the tourist attractions of this place:

  • The inclined lighthouse.
  • The Botanical Garden (one of the largest in Mexico).
  • The handicraft center Hunab-ku.
  • The theme park, Native Park Puerto Morelos.

Thanks to all this, Puerto Morelos is a must-visit beach in the Riviera Maya.

Puerto Morelos
On the beach you will find several Beach Club to sunbathe on a beach bed while enjoying a drink and the beautiful view of the sea.

7. Xcacel

The entrance to this paradise is located on the road from Playa del Carmen to Tulum, it is ideal if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle since it is of limited access.

Like Xpu-Ha, Xcachel is a protected natural reserve, so this beach only has a small restaurant and bathroom and shower service.

The bay is a sanctuary for turtles so there are specific sections for water activities such as fishing and snorkeling.

Xcacel is one of the best kept secrets of the Riviera Maya. Accompanied only by the breeze, the soft white sand and the clear waters you will be able to connect with nature without interruptions.

South of the bay you will find a wreck, there is also a cenote, which is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm.

seashore in Playa Xcacel
Access hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The Riviera Maya, a must-visit destination

The Riviera Maya is a world-class tourist destination thanks to the paradisiacal beaches, considered the most beautiful in Mexico and the world.  

In all the beaches you will find white sand and clear waters, but each one will surprise you with the natural attractions that make them different from each other.

The Riviera Maya has much to offer, it is an earthly paradise where culture and modernity find a perfect balance.

Relax in this place with a diversity of flora and fauna, learn more about the Mayan culture and enjoy the maximum in the resorts with luxury amenities.

All of the above will make you want to make your visit a permanent adventure. That is why many Mexicans and foreigners decide to move to the Riviera Maya.

If you want to know how, take a look at the 5 reasons to invest in the Riviera Maya.

Also, if you want to know more about this wonderful place, we suggest you read our articles Where is the Riviera Maya? And 15 things to do in the Riviera Maya that will make you want to move.

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