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A Guide to Riviera Maya and Costa Maya Beaches

The photos don’t lie. The Mexican Caribbean is that blue, and the beach sand is that dazzlingly white. With 255 miles (411 km) of beach stretching along the Caribbean coastline from Cancun to Xcalak, this area has something for everyone. The beaches are one reason why we decided to call the Riviera Maya home, and why so many visitors return to this paradise.

All beaches are public spaces and are bursting with activities. Picture yourself on a white sandy beach, trade winds rustling in the palm trees while you swing in a hammock. Build sand castles with your children, or enjoy evening strolls with your loved one at sunset. You’ll be enchanted by the beautiful beaches, warm translucent waters, and picture-perfect weather that lasts all year long.

Riviera Maya Ranks in the Worlds Top 10 Beach Vacations

If you are looking for evening beach activities under a star filled sky, Playa del Carmen offers a vibrant, hip nightlife once the sun goes down. Couples and families looking to embrace the day together from sun up to sun down will enjoy Akumal Beach, Soliman Bay and Tankah Bay. The magnificent bays that define these beaches provide an endless list of water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, diving, beach combing, or simply relaxing in a hammock.

Sun-worshipers will discover their tropical paradise on any Riviera Maya beach, but Tulum is a special spot. Enjoy the powder-soft sands that are offset by clear blue waters on quiet beaches. Tulum beach, with its fascinating and prominent Mayan city ruins, offers a glimpse into Mexico’s mysterious past and bohemian lifestyle.

For true paradise seekers, the raw and unspoiled beauty of the unpopulated Caribbean will lure many travelers to Sian Ka’an Biosphere beaches.

Puerto Morelos, X’calcel, Xpu Ha, and Paamul beaches give locals and visitors a great getaway. Take advantage of great snorkeling and sea views that round off their Riviera Maya beach experience.

Costa Maya Beaches

The Costa Maya is the last frontier on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. The beaches located along the Costa Maya coast give you the feeling of the old Caribbean. The village of Mahahual offers civilization, cold cervezas and fish tacos. Paddle in sea kayaks, siesta under a palm tree, or go scuba diving. In the southern town of Xcalak the adventure begins with fishing, eco-hotels, and pure fun.

Raw, Untamed & Unembellished Beaches

Costa Maya beaches are known by few but loved by those who take the time to visit this southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. With little development and more reliance on the natural beauty of the sea, beaches and palm trees, the Costa Maya is a great place to visit and step back in time. Enjoy a stroll on the seaside boardwalk, step into one of the seaside restaurants that serve up fresh seafood, or just listen to the waves while you relax on your vacation. Costa Maya beaches are pure, raw, fun waiting for you to discover.

No matter what kind of beach holiday you prefer or what slice of the Riviera Maya shoreline suits your needs, you will find what we call ‘heaven’: pearly-white sand, natural shade from slender palm and coconut trees, crystal-clear waters, and fragrant sea air.

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Xpu Ha Beach

A popular local hangout in the Riviera Maya is Xpu Ha beach. Located just south of Puerto Aventuras, Xpu Ha is great for beach side restaurants with fresh fish and authentic flavors.

Mahahual Beach

With a feeling of the old Caribbean, the village of Mahahual has beautiful beaches with lots of water activities to keep you in the sea. Top it off with beachside restaurants and you have close to perfect.

Akumal Bay

Located 100 km (62 miles) south of Cancún, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, this beach town has some of the finest white sand beaches in the Riviera Maya with lots of palm trees for shade.

Xcalak

Xcalak is the most southern point of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, so get ready for a remote small beach area that has more of an emphasis on fishing, diving and ocean life than beach life.

Maroma beach

This spectacular stretch of beach halfway between Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen is yet another restricted area for hotel guests and vacation rental visitors. Quite and peaceful describe Maroma.

Paamul beach

Paamul Beach, 21 kms (12 miles) south of Playa del Carmen, is a great beach day with snorkeling, diving or kayaking. Enjoy ceviche, tacos and a cerveza at the beachside restaurant overlooking the sea.

Playacar Beach

This residential and resort area a hop, skip, and a jump from Central Playa del Carmen, offers a long stretch of beach for resort guests and vacation homes renters that love long walks on the beach.

Playa del Carmen Beach

Playa del Carmen has over four miles of glorious beaches making it a hot spot. Enjoy the sunshine at a trendy beach club or meet up with seasoned Playa locals who love the sea view from this chic city.

Playa Secreto Beach

This beach is in a gated community just south of Puerto Morelos that only vacation rental guests having access to this beach. If you are searching for a quiet area with few people this is the spot.

Puerto Aventuras Beach

Puerto Aventuras, rightly renowned for its marina, has some lovely beaches that can be enjoyed during your stay. With few vacationers knowing about the beaches of Puerto Aventuras, you will have the shore of the Caribbean to yourself or at least feel like you have it to yourself. Families like the intimacy felt on these beaches that provide a great playground for children.

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