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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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Puerto Morelos Beach

Visitors love the feeling of simpler days and old Mexico charm in Puerto Morelos. This beach town has one of the largest stretch of beach in the Riviera Maya with beach restaurants serving great food.

Sian Kaan Beach

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, just south of Tulum, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most sensitive eco-systems in the area. The beaches are raw, and mostly untouched.

Soliman Bay

This off-the-beaten-track beach destination has remained Riviera Maya’s best-kept secret for a long time. Snorkeling and kayaking is a favorite past time after lunch at Chamico’s Restaurant.

Tankah Bay

Sheltered from the noise of civilization by lush mangrove jungle and protected from waves by an outer reef break, Tankah beach is a wonderful place for you to relax, sunbathe and explore the exotic underwater life. This beach is very different from its neighbor, Soliman Bay. Check out the beaches of Tankah and the adjacent cenote, Cenote Manatee, a mangrove cenote that is full of underwater life.

Tulum Beach

Tulum’s wide sandy beaches helped to put the Riviera Maya on the world-tourism map. Located around 145 km (75 miles) south of Cancun, this is a popular beach location and for good reason.

Xcacel Beach

If you’d like to experience what the fine Caribbean beaches were like before the Riviera Maya became a hot spot for Hollywood stars, honeymooners and vacationers, head to X’cacel beach. It’s the #1 beach where turtles go, and a local favorite! Nestled away in a remote location, enjoy soft sand beaches, a small freshwater cenote and off shore snorkeling that is accessible from the shore.

Xcalacoco beach

This is an old Playa del Carmen hang out just a few kilometers from North Playa del Carmen. Tranquil beach meets blue seas in this beautiful part of the Riviera Maya just outside popular cities in the area.

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