Cancun has one of the world’s best stretches of sand, with more than 4,300 square miles of pristine, powdery paradise in the form of five Blue Flag Beaches*, each with its own vibe and activities. We spoke with the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau to find out the best of the best, and here’s what we discovered.
Named for reclining stone statues that are found at many Mayan ruins, Chac Mool is in Cancun’s Hotel Zone and a recently re-certified Blue Flag Beach. Travelers can enjoy a dip in the clear water, but some days the winds make the water better suited for water sports. The beach’s wide stretch of sugar white sand encourages sun tanning, and it’s near all-inclusive resorts, the tourist-favorite Senor Frog’s, and the craft market Coral Negro. It’s a powdery paradise that’s easy to reach and easy to enjoy.
This newly certified Blue Flag Beach is popular with the locals on the weekends. And why wouldn’t it be? Located near the Maritime Terminal Puerto Juarez (which connects the mainland to Isla Mujeres), this beach has virtually no waves or rip currents in its shallow waters, making it a perfect escape for families with young children. The spectacular sunrise views make it a great place to start the morning, and the nearby restaurants make it a great place to spend the evening.
Escape to Delfines, an idyllic beach in the Hotel Zone that is far enough away from the large resorts to be a quiet retreat. Be mindful of the currents and riptides here, but you won’t find a better beach for stunning views of the Mexican Caribbean and the hotel strip. Free parking, on-site showers, and the Cancun sign — perfect for that family portrait — make it a tourist-favorite. The beach is also close to El Rey Ruins, an ancient Mayan village that is now home to hundreds of iguanas.
The small beach of Las Perlas draws some crowds, but it would be a mistake not to visit this sand beauty and re-certified Blue Flag Beach. Offering calm waves for water sports, Las Perlas’ protected, serene waters also make it one of the safest places to swim in Cancun. Pick-up volleyball games are also common, and the restaurants lining the beach are top-notch, making for a great break from sun. And its short distance from Cancun’s Hotel Zone makes Las Perlas a worthwhile escape.
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A large stretch of sugar sand on Cancun’s east side, Marlin may never feel crowded, which means travelers can easily find a spot to work on their tan. But most likely, travelers will venture to this newly certified Blue Flag Beach for its rough waters, which make it a perfect destination for sail boarding, parasailing, and surfing. Nearby restaurants and bars offer a relaxing retreat from all the action.
* Blue Flag Beaches are awarded certification based on the compliance with environmental education and information; water quality; environmental management; and safety and services.
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