Riviera Maya is a coastal paradise with a wide variety of beaches and something special to enjoy no matter what kind of experience you're looking for. Local beaches come in many shapes and sizes, with some better for fun and thrills and others more suited for relaxation.

    No matter which beach you choose, you'll find yourself met with soft sands and welcoming waters that make the Caribbean so inviting. Whether you're in a town or out in nature, the clear waters are always shining. Check out the best beaches in Riviera Maya.

    1

    Playa Akumal

    Spot sea turtles in a natural habitat

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Playa Akumal is a stunning beach in the town of the same name and is home to a local turtle population as well as relaxing sands and opportunities for watersports. The name Akumal means "place of turtles," so you shouldn't be surprised to find quite a few turtles in the area.

    You can see the turtles underwater when you go snorkeling, but you'll have to remember that there are rules against touching them. Additionally, you'll find plenty of opportunities to relax and to visit the quaint shops and eateries nearby. You'll find it all on the eastern coast of Akumal.

    Location: Carretera Tulum, Yodzonot, 77776 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

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    2

    Playa Xpu-Ha

    Discover a local hangout

    Playa Xpu-Ha is far more popular with locals than travelers, so you can enjoy tranquil, uncrowded surroundings around turquoise Caribbean waters by beachside restaurants. You can set up your beach chair here and let the water's breeze take over for a peaceful and relaxing experience away from life's hustle and bustle.

    When you visit this beach, you'll find quite a few small beachside restaurants available. There, you'll find all the ice-cold beer you'll want, along with food like fish tacos that are always made fresh. See it for yourself just south of Puerto Aventuras.

    Location: México 307 107, 77734 Q.R., Mexico

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    3

    Playa Xcalacoco

    Explore a relatively quiet beach

    • Food
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Playa Xcalacoco tends to be one of the less-visited beaches, allowing you to enjoy its natural splendor, local restaurants, and watersports without worrying about crowds. As a local favorite, this beach is typically only occupied by residents of the area. You won't even find a substantial parking lot, and many visitors walk here from Playa del Carmen.

    On the beach itself, you'll find plenty of space to open up a chair and relax, but swimming and snorkeling are available as well. Don't forget to check out the local restaurants, too. They may be small, but they offer incredible fresh seafood. It's all available just north of Playa del Carmen.

    Location: Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    photo by Alfonzo Buscemi (CC BY 3.0) modified

    4

    Playa Pescadores

    Relax among sunny shores

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Adventure

    Playa Pescadores is known for its relaxing warmth, soft sands, and inviting waters that make it the perfect place for unwinding or taking part in beachfront fun. Although the area is relatively secluded, the beach is still simple to get to, so you can enjoy tranquil surroundings easily.

    Some watersports are available here too, along with beach games like volleyball. Snorkeling is especially popular, however, thanks to the crystal-clear and calm waters. Experience it all for yourself due east of Tulum.

    Location: 109, 77780 Q.R., Mexico

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    5

    Paradise Beach (Playa Paraiso)

    Check out a beach by historic ruins

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Adventure

    Paradise Beach (Playa Paraiso) is a popular beach in Tulum that is located near iconic ruins, letting you enjoy both fun in the sun and a step back in time. The ruins themselves are visible from the beach and just a short walk away if you feel like exploring.

    When you visit the beach, you'll find soft sands, inviting waters, and plenty of people looking to enjoy the fun as well. If you want to secure a lounge chair here, be sure to arrive early. You'll find this beach a few miles east of downtown Tulum.

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    Location: Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    6

    Playa Maroma

    Visit an exclusive beach

    • Luxury

    Playa Maroma is one of the best beaches around, but also one of the most exclusive, as you'll need special access to enjoy the soft sands and tranquil waters. To get onto this beach, you typically have to reserve a stay at one of the local luxury hotels, but having lunch at a local restaurant can work, too.

    When you get to the beach, you'll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city, as the area has been designed to offer tranquility and all the pristine Caribbean white sand and turquoise water you could want. The tropical landscape backdrop makes it even more picturesque, and you'll find it a few miles north of Playa del Carmen.

    Location: Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    7

    Playa Ruinas

    Enjoy a beach with stunning aesthetics

    • History

    Playa Ruinas is, as the name suggests, located next to some prominent Mayan ruins, letting you explore the history and the soft sands of the Caribbean coast. The ruins are perched atop a cliff overlooking the beach, as the Mayans tended to build around incredible viewpoints.

    The beach here is relatively calm, though you'll still find plenty of visitors stopping by after seeing the ruins. When you're here, you can go for a swim or relax easily enough on the warm sands. It's all available east of Tulum.

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    Location: Zona Hotelera Tulum, 77765 Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    8

    Playa Puerto Morelos

    Cast your cares away at a quiet fishing-village beach

    • Families

    Playa Puerto Morelos is a quiet beach that lets you immerse yourself in the local culture, as it's located within a friendly fishing village and a picturesque jungle. Nature lovers will enjoy the surroundings since mangroves and cenotes are both easily accessible right from the beach.

    The fishing village on the coast offers easy access to the beach with the conveniences of town, like shops and restaurants, being well within walking distance from the sandy shores. The waters here are known for being quite gentle as well, making it particularly family-friendly. You'll find it about halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

    Location: 77580 Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    9

    Paamul Beach

    Experience the best of the basics

    Paamul Beach is a stunning local shore where you can enjoy all the classics of a coastal vacation, including sand, sea, sun, and endless fun. The waters here are inviting whether you're looking to swim, go snorkeling, or venture out farther with a bit of kayaking.

    If you're more interested in relaxation, this beach can provide plenty of room to set up a chair, and beer is easily accessible at beachfront restaurants and bars. Check out everything this beach has to offer among its white sands and towering palm trees just north of Puerto Aventuras.

    Location: Carr. Cancún - Tulum, Paa Mul, Q.R., Mexico

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    10

    Playa Las Palmas

    Take it easy at a quiet beach

    • Families

    Playa Las Palmas is a great alternative to the busier Playa Paraiso and features soft sands, welcoming waters, and plenty of open space. This beach sports a notably natural vibe with vibrant greenery and even umbrellas and lifeguard stands made from local materials.

    Despite the tranquility of this beach, you can easily access it from Tulum, as the major beach in the area is just to the north. Its quiet nature also makes it a great destination for families. You'll find it all just south of Playa Paraiso and east of Tulum's downtown area.

    Location: San Jose del Cabo, Zona Hotelera, 23405 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico

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