The Best Beaches in the Riviera Maya
Destinations | 8 minute read
It’s no wonder that the Riviera Maya is one of the most romantic and fastest-growing honeymoon destinations in Mexico. The roughly 90-mile stretch of coastline that begins just outside Cancun and stretches south Coba and Tulum, Mexico’s only archaeological site by the sea, delights barefoot beach combers as well as luxury-seeking lovers.
Here, honeymoon couples are surrounded by the same amazing natural beauty that Mayan Kings found centuries ago. Today, you can find plenty of tranquility, scores of pristine, hideaway beaches, and as much sophisticated dining, sports and nightlife as you want. The area is truly a beach lovers’ dream come true.
How do couples choose the right beach for them? We spoke with some honeymooners, some journalists and some tourism officials on the scene to bring you their selection of the Top Ten Beaches in the Riviera Maya. We’re sure that you’ll find one that you love.
10. North Playa Beach.
Playa del Carmen is one of the trendiest tourist towns on the Riviera Maya. It is noted for its lively nightlife as well as for its dazzling beach. The beach is just a few steps from the town’s bustling 5th Avenue shopping, bar and dining scene. Relax on the fine white sand or take a snorkeling tour during the day, then party all night at one of the famous local beach clubs. Every day is a full day of fun and romance.
9. Paamul Beach.
Total peace and quiet with a stunning view – a beach with no interruptions. Bring watershoes or sandals to brave the sharp rocks in the water, but explore with snorkels and you’ll be rewarded with an expanse of bright coral reefs and colorful marine life. Finish your beach day with a late lunch and ice cold beer or cocktail at the local restaurant. The romantic Caribbean vista is top notch, especially with your guy or gal in one hand and a cold drink in the other!
8. Playa Maroma.
Just about 8 miles north of Playa del Carmen is Playa Maroma, an idyllic powdery white-sand beach with turquoise waters. Called one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by National Geographic, Playa Maroma’s classic Caribbean beauty made it an easy shoe-in for our top 10.
7. Soliman Bay.
Soliman Bay, is a horseshoe-shaped wedge of paradise tucked into the southern Riviera Maya. Walk hand-in-hand, bathe in the sea and sun, or venture off for a kayak and snorkeling trip. Dry off and grab lunch at one of the local restaurants, then head ten minutes down the road to check out the beach tucked beneath the ancient ruins of Tulum.
6. Tankah Bay,
Just ten minutes north of Tulum, Tankah Bay is known for its quiet atmosphere and a gorgeous fresh and salt water pool formed from underground rivers. The main draws for Tankah Bay are the calm water and relaxing vibe of the peaceful, generally uncrowded beach. While you’re here, also check out Soliman Bay to the north or take a half day trip to the dramatic ruins and the dazzling beach at Tulum. Swimming in the clear aquamarine waters beneath a cliff capped by the dramatic ruins of an ancient civilization is an experience in itself!
5. Kantenah Beach
Blink and you’ll miss it! Kantenah Beach is only marked on the main highway with a very small sign, making it a secluded wonderland for honeymoon hearts. Relax on miles of silky sand or take a romantic walk to Xcaac Bay in the southern section of Kantenah, and you’ll discover a paradise-within-a-paradise for swimming and snorkeling. Bring coolers for a picnic on the beach or dine at some of the laid back restaurants along the coastline.
4. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve Beaches.
This protected biosphere area south of Tulum is home to several beaches with nothing in sight but sea, sand and sun. These beaches are as secluded as any you’ll find in the Riviera Maya. Low-key, romantic and intimate, these beaches are perfect for those honeymoon days when sun, sand and your sweetheart are all you need to have the perfect time.
3. Xpu Ha Beach.
Xpu Ha lies between Puerto Aventuras and Akumal in the southern Riviera Maya. It’s more of a local spot than a tourist draw. Couples come here to escape the crowds and to snorkel, fish, kayak, sunbathe, swim and picnic on the powdery white sand. Xpu Ha Beach is home to tons of funky beach clubs serving lunch by the calm water along with live reggae, or just cocktails by the sound of the waves.
If you didn’t think reptiles could be romantic, you’ve clearly never been to Akumal! Meaning “Land of the Turtles” in Mayan, Akumal is a prime spot for sea turtles to lay their eggs. Even if you don’t get to see the babies hatching and scrambling for the water, take a snorkeling tour and swim right alongside adult turtles for an experience you won’t forget. The crystal blue water is also home to a vast array of reefs teeming with marine life, making the area ideal for Scuba diving. But even if you stay on land the beaches in Akumal have what is probably the softest sand you’ll ever wiggle your toes in.
l. X’cacel Beach.
X’cacel Beach is the Riviera Maya’s best kept secret. It is quiet and secluded, with soft white sand and water so blue that the sky looks dull in comparison. You’ll find it nestled between Chemuyil and Xel-Ha Nature Park, with an attendant at the entrance who collects the $2 fee. Make sure to head to the southern end of the beach. There, you’ll find a narrow trail on the right, leading to a beautiful natural pool hidden in the jungle. They only imaginable downside to this beach is the fact that it is so secluded that there’s really nothing there except for a basic changing room. You’ll have to bring in everything you want, and remember that there is no bathroom access.