Beaches in Cancún are a popular reason to visit this city, as is the nightlife scene. Many beaches offer both, with gold and white sand, turquoise waters, and a party atmosphere. Here you can relax on the soft sands and snorkel, surf, or swim in the endless, clear sea.

    You can head for beachside bars with elegant furnishings and gorgeous vistas while enjoying strong craft cocktails. A vacation to Cancún offers a world of excitement for families, groups, single travelers, and couples alike. Here are the 10 best beaches in Cancún.

    1

    Chac Mool Beach

    Get away from the crowds and relax with a book

    Chac Mool Beach, or Playa Chac Mool, is a peaceful place to take some downtime from exploring to sprawl out on the warm sand and wade into the Caribbean waters. It's a quiet beach, not overly crowded, with beachside equipment rentals available for those who want to engage in some casual water sports. The surf is calm, so it's a safe place to swim.

    For those who just want to slather on the sunblock, lie on the white sands, and read a good book, this is the place to get away from the hustle and bustle. It's just 22 minutes east of downtown Cancún.

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    2

    Caracol Beach

    Explore the resources of an eco resort

    Caracol Beach, or Playa Caracol, is on the northern tip of Cancún and offers access to an eco resort area with a water park, fine dining, a spa, and shopping plazas. It's located on the northern tip of Cancún about a half hour from the heart of downtown. The beach is accessible by public transportation, with limited parking available.

    The beach is free to the public and offers umbrellas, sun beds, and other amenities. A supermarket can be found nearby for supplies. The water here is clear and calm for safe swimming.

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    3

    Forum Beach

    Hit a lively beach in the area's nightlife hub

    Forum Beach, or Playa Forum, is a vibrant mix of everything you're looking for in a beach, from restaurants and bars to shopping, white sands, and turquoise waters. The beach is right in the heart of the Hotel Zone about 20 minutes east of downtown, which places it in one of the area's hottest nightlife spots.

    It can get a bit wild after dark when the party crowds hit the bars and clubs. If you're looking for a lively spot to relax on the beach, go swimming, and drink and dance the night away, Forum Beach is the place to go.

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    Location: Unnamed Road, Punta Cancun, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Phone: +52 984-158-2318

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    4

    Gaviota Azul Beach

    Head for one of the area's leading party beaches

    Playa Gaviota Azul, or Gaviota Azul Beach, is located along the Hotel Zone strip around 20 minutes outside of downtown Cancún and is a popular beach with a lively nightlife. It's just a few steps away from some of the hottest bars and nightclubs in Cancún.

    This is hands-down a party beach with a vibrant atmosphere, and it definitely skews more toward the adult end of the spectrum. The parties can get raucous and rowdy at night, so if the nightlife scene is what you want, this is the place to be.

    Location: Punta Cancun, Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

    Phone: +52 314-732-8514

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    5

    Punta Maroma

    Explore a renowned snorkeling point

    Punta Maroma is a stunningly beautiful beach along the Riviera Maya that's famed for its azure waters and outstanding snorkeling opportunities. You can enjoy water sports here as well as relaxing in the soft sands and swimming in the cool surf. The beach also offers a wealth of resorts and clubs where you can enjoy a vibrant nightlife or just spend the day being pampered.

    This beach is an ideal spot for those who love an active nightlife, as well as those who want somewhere to spend the day with the kids. It often makes its way onto lists of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

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    6

    Marlin Beach

    Go parasailing just steps away from a shopping mall

    Marlin Beach offers a broad stretch of white-sugar sand and an endless expanse of azure waters just steps away from a vast shopping mall with many amenities. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, and swimming is monitored by lifeguards watching over the crowds. Marlin Beach is known for its powerful waves and strong undertow, so swimming can be risky.

    The waters are, however, ideal for parasailing and other water sports. This is a bustling and popular beach situated about a 25-minute drive southeast of downtown Cancún along Kukulcan Boulevard.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan 13, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

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    7

    Ballenas Beach

    Rent a Jet Ski and careen over the waves

    Ballenas Beach offers a long stretch of clean white sand, tranquil azure waters, plenty of space to stretch out, and the opportunity for water sports. You can rent a Jet Ski and hit the waves to careen and bounce your way across the Caribbean. You can relax on the cotton-candy-soft sand with a good book. You can wade into the clear waves and cool off from the heat.

    One of the most attractive things about this beach is that it isn't overly crowded, so if you want a space to go to relax in peace and quiet, Ballenas Beach is a good choice. It's just 26 minutes southeast of downtown.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan 5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

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    8

    Playa Linda

    Go people-watching and catch panoramic views

    Playa Linda is one of many beaches nestled within the Cancún Hotel Zone, placing it within easy reach of shopping, dining, and a thriving nightlife. Its name means "Pretty Beach," and it is lovely with soft, white sand and deep, clear, light blue waters. You can lie on the sand and watch the boats along the channel or catch a ferry to Isla Mujeres.

    This isn't a swimming beach; the range of boating activity makes that dangerous. It is, however, a great place to watch people, relax on the shores, or climb a 300-foot viewing tower to catch panoramic views of the area.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan, Kukulcan Boulevard, Zona Hotelera, Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

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    9

    El Niño Beach

    Take the family to a beach built for kids

    El Niño Beach, or Playa Del Niño, is a tiny beach that is the place to go if you've got kids, as you'll find swing sets, playgrounds, climbing structures, and calm waves. This is also a beach that's preferred by locals, so you won't have to deal with gigantic crowds of vacationers taking up space. It's nestled north of the catamarans, about 20 minutes northeast of downtown Cancún.

    Here you can relax on the beach while the young ones burn off their energy whether it's swinging and climbing or swimming in the calm surf. It's the place to go to escape the crowds and just enjoy a quiet few hours at the beach.

    Location: López Portillo 2-85, 84, 77525 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

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    10

    Las Perlas Beach

    Play beach volleyball and tackle some water sports

    Playa Las Perlas, or Las Perlas Beach, is the closest public beach to downtown and offers shallow waters, water sports, and beautiful sand and water. The beach is a designated Blue Flag area, which means it has to follow strict standards for water quality, environmental care, and safety.

    Designated swimming areas are marked by buoys and are overseen by lifeguards. You can go snorkeling here to see brightly colored tropical fish or rent Jet Skis, catamarans, and paddleboards. You can even take a boat tour across the bay. It's just about 15 minutes east of downtown.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan km. 2.0, Kukulcan Boulevard, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

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