7 Things That Make Cancun and Riviera Maya the Best Places to Beach

  1. Both Are Easy to Access. If you’re looking for a tropical vacation with white sandy beaches and crazy beautiful blue water, then a Cancun and Riviera Maya vacay are two incredible, easily accessible beaches to put on your list. Both are on the sunsational Yucatan Peninsula and luckily, many airlines fly there. Many major carriers, in fact, including American, United, Delta, Aeromexico, as well as Spirit and Sun Country fly right into Cancun. From Cancun, you can pre-book your transportation/shuttle on Amstar and take a comfortable, dependable ride to your hotel, whether it’s on the beach in Cancun or as far away as Tulum.
View from room at Paradisus Cancun, Mexico
(View from room at Paradisus Cancun, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/betsyar)

2. The Hotel Zone in Cancun. The world-famous Hotel Zone not only promises hotel after beautiful hotel on sugar-white sand, it also holds the allure of epic partying. There are oceans of places to throw down, get your drink on and shake your booty. But that’s not all. There are calm relaxation stations on delicious beaches where you can chillax, dive into your new beach read, get a massage and sip on your fruity cocktail all day long. Should you choose either or both, you’ll be one very happy beach camper in Cancun.

Boutique in downtown Tulum, Mexico
(Boutique in downtown Tulum, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/hope_504)

3. Boho-Chic Tulum in the Riviera Maya. What once was a wild rain forest next to ancient Mayan ruins is now Soho-in-the-jungle. Haute boutiques, art galleries and intimate cafes with cold beer and table-side guac are everywhere. You can rent a bike, stroll the quaint streets, shop or just wander. You’ll see many people in yoga gear, green smoothie in hand, milling about and looking very stylish. But don’t let that intimidate you. The vibe is chill and relaxed. The Tulum ruins are near, so a good excursion is visiting the ancients and learning about their funky half-human, half-animal gods, cooling off at the beach that’s right below the cliffs upon which the ruins sit, then heading back to downtown Tulum for a drink and watching the sunset.

Sea turtles at Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal, Mexico
(Sea turtles at Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/aubolio)

4. Snorkeling in the Riviera Maya. It’s some of the best in the world, thanks to the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Located a half a mile to a mile off shore, this snorkeler’s retreat has gorgeous waters full of ocean eye candy. Akumal, which means “place of the turtles,” is the place to see and be seen with the turtles. They’ll swim right up beside you. Coco Beach in Playa del Carmen also boasts some uniquely colored coral and fish. Paamul Beach offers a bit more–in addition to fabulous marine life, you can not only see lobster and other large fish. On this world-famous reef, you’ll find wave after wave of things to do and see. Isla Mujeres, also located on the Yucatan Peninsula, is yet another excellent snorkeling locale. You can hang with whale sharks or rather, “the puppy dogs of the sea.” From June to August, they show up to feast on the local fish spawn. But there’s more: you can also get a glimpse of dolphins and manta rays.

Isla Cozumel Beach Restaurant, Mexico
(Isla Cozumel Beach Restaurant, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/kayobx)

5. Cozumel is Near. This little island is just a seashell’s throw from Cancun. It’s about a 50-minute ride to Playa del Carmen from the Cancun airport, then you take a 45-minute ferry ride to Cozumel. You can steal away here for even more sand ‘n sun loving. There are tons of things to do here: water sports (the snorkeling here is incredible, too), bars, places to eat, shopping. You name it.

Tulum Ruins, Mexico
(Tulum Ruins, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/aolnoue_y)

6. Mystical Mayan Ruins. Though many come to throw down on the sugar-white beaches during their Cancun and Riviera Maya vacations, the majesty and influence of the Mayans here is undeniable and continues to attract travelers time and time again. The history and mystique of the Mayan culture can be felt–and seen–nearly everywhere: Tulum, Chichen Itza and Coba are great ruins to check out. And here’s the good news: many locations are accessible by bus and many tours are offered in the area. But bring your walking shoes and sunscreen. The sun can be intense.

Cenote in Mexico
(Cenote in Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/worldtrekker)

7. Refreshing Cenotes.  These enchanting phenomena are natural pits, or sinkholes, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. In and around Cancun and Riviera Maya, you’ll have many to choose from. You can swim, float, or just chillax. There’s nothing quite like them. And there seems to be an endless supply of them when you’re headed south on 307, the main road you’ll take down the coast. Cenotes you don’t want to miss include Cenote Azul in Playa del Carmen (just about an hour away from Cancun), Cenote Zacil-ha (Tulum) and Cenote Dos Ojos (Playa del Carmen/Tulum).

It’s a fact: Cancun and Riviera Maya are gorgeous beachy places to escape reality and have so very much to love. Beach therapy works wonders on body and soul. Don’t wait too long to treat yourself to the wonders of Cancun and Riviera Maya. 

Lisa Mitchell

I am a blogger for CheapCaribbean.com who is a travel junkie and addicted to the beach.

Notable Replies

  1. Kevin says:

    Snorkeling in Akumal Bay

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