Riviera Maya Beaches
Situated along the eastern coast of Mexico in Central America, Riviera Maya is a popular holiday destination for couples and families, thanks to the superb year-round weather, top selection of activities and picture-perfect beaches.
Most of the beaches in the resort feature soft white sand alongside warm crystal-clear waters. Although some of them are run by beach clubs which charge entrance fees, a large number are completely free to enjoy. With everything from secluded bays and rocky coves to bustling beaches with water sports and coastlines framed with shops and restaurants, there is something to suit everyone.
Fun & lively
The Central Akumal beach is perfect for families and couples looking for a place to spend the day. Close to many hotels, shops and eateries, this is the original Akumal beach and features soft white sand, so no shoes are required. There are two diving shops here – the Akumal Dive Centre and the Akumal Dive Shop – offering scuba courses, reef diving, fishing trips and sailing excursions. As well as sun beds, shades and lifeguards, you’ll also find a number of small restaurants on the beach serving food and beverages throughout the day, providing the ideal places for a spot of lunch or refreshing drink to cool down.
The wide sandy beach in the north of Playa del Carmen is quieter and more relaxed than many of the others in Riviera Maya making it a popular place for families. Here the sea is clear and calm, so it’s perfect for snorkelling and swimming. There is a number of sun loungers and parasols and you can try your hand at a variety of water sports, including diving and boat hire. As well as the onsite beach bar and restaurant, North Playa del Carmen beach is also lined by a number of cafes, eateries and hotels.
The beach at Puerto Aventuras is another bay ideal for families to spend the day. Here you’ll find soft white sand peppered with palm trees, sun loungers, shades and loads of services. The sea is usually very calm, making it perfect for snorkelling and swimming, as well as a variety of other water sports, including pedalo hire, yachting and jet skiing. You’ll find a number of beachside swimming pools, although these are private, as well as several restaurants, bars and dive shops in the nearby marina.
If you want to try your hand at some water sports, head to the Central beach at Playa del Carmen. One of the longest established beaches in Riviera Maya, this bay is lined by several, restaurants, bars, dive shops and water sport kiosks.. Here you’ll find a great choice of water sports available, including scuba diving, boat hire and pedalo hire. Facilities include sun beds, parasols, showers, bars and restaurants.
Although a large section of the beach at Playacar is reserved for all-inclusive resorts, there are sections which are free for the public to use. This pure white sandy beach offers loads of activities, including snorkelling, diving, jet skiing, parasailing, and yachting. The list of facilities is extensive and includes sun loungers, parasols, showers and life guards.
Xpu-ha beach is one of the most beautiful in Riviera Maya and is a great place to have a go at snorkelling or diving during low surf. Most of the floor under the water’s surface is sandy, so you won’t need any protective footwear. This soft powdery beach is regularly cleaned and raked, making it a top choice for families with young children who can play safely. At Xpu-ha beach you’ll find a handful of amenities, including sun beds, shades and water sports.
Playa Paraiso in Tulum is one of the best beaches in Riviera Maya for snorkelling. With soft white sand and calm blue waters, this bay features sun beds, shades, affordable parking, beach bars and restaurants. The crystal-clear sea creates the ideal conditions for snorkelling, with many tropical fish to be seen just a short distance offshore.
Shingle beaches & rock pools
At Half Moon Bay Beach in North Akumal, you’ll find a coastline made up of a mixture of fine sand and rocky sections. Footwear is required if you want to go for a swim, due to the rough ground under the sea, which creates the ideal conditions for snorkelling. Facilities come in the form of sun loungers, shades, beach bar, restaurants, water sports, dive shop and kayak hire.
The Yal-ku Lagoon in North Akumal is made up of solid natural limestone with a few stairways to enter the water. The ideal way to enjoy a dip in the sea if you’re not fond of sand, this lagoon has virtually no wave surges or currents, meaning the water is always calm. Here you’ll find loads of tropical fish, making it a popular place for snorkelling. Although there is an entrance fee, the small price is more than worth it.
Situated around 34km away from Playa del Carmen, Kantenah beach is the ideal place to go if you’re in search of a secluded bay, away from the hustle and bustle of tourist resorts. Here facilities are limited to sun loungers and parasols, although the fantastic snorkelling opportunities more than make up for it. The lack of things to do usually leaves this beach quiet, meaning you’ll always be able to find your perfect spot, even during the peak seasons.
If you want to get an all-over tan, head to the beach at Hidden Beach Resort in Kantenah. This adults-only bay provides an uninhibited environment where you can enjoy sunbathing, beach activities and games in the nude. Here you’ll find fine white sand, clear blue waters and a number of facilities, such as sun beds, shades, showers, boat hire and water sports to enjoy.