Located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, the Riviera Maya is a tropical paradise, stretching from just south of Cancun to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum. It’s a perfect destination for travelers looking for a mix of adventure, culture, and relaxation.
In this post, you’ll find some of the best Riviera Maya beaches, so you can understand why it attracts so many visitors every year.
You probably already know that the region’s miles of sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters are a major draw for tourists. There are also a diverse array of activities and attractions available.
There are also many beautiful hotels near or right by the beach, all around the Riviera Maya. For example, Iberostar Riviera Maya resorts have properties all around the region.
From exploring ancient ruins and swimming in cenotes to snorkeling in some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, there’s something for everyone in the Riviera Maya.
The Best Riviera Maya Beaches
Tulum is famous for its ancient Mayan ruins. Also home to many cenotes, it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Mexico. Tulum also has one of the best beaches in the Riviera Maya.
Playa Ruinas is located right by the historic ruins. On top of its unique location, the stretch of sand is really fine and the water has a beautiful turquoise shade, even on rainy days. Another beach you should visit is Playa Paraiso, with its 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) of white beaches.
It’s worth spending a few days in Tulum enjoying the beaches, the beach clubs and the cenotes. Nowadays Tulum has a very much Bali-like vibe. Check out this Tulum itinerary to help you plan your visit.
2- Playa del Carmen
Located 34.2 miles (55 kilometers) from Cancun Airport, Playa del Carmen is one of the most popular beaches on the Riviera Maya.
The town has become a digital nomad hub and has changed a lot from the quiet fishing village it used to be three decades ago. Despite that, or perhaps because of that, it has become an exciting place to visit.
The long stretch of beach located in the central part of town is usually busy and quite lively. For those who prefer more peace and quiet, there are other beaches away from the city center.
Locals prefer to visit the quieter “secret beach”, located near the Marazul development. This part is much more relaxed than in the city center. To make it even more special, this secret Riviera Maya beach is located near a cenote, so you also have a freshwater pool to refresh and relax.
3- Playa Maroma
One of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya is Playa Maroma. It’s located 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) north of Playa del Carmen, and the same distance south of Puerto Morelos.
This private beach attracts a more selected crowd. That’s because there’s no public access to the beach, so in order to enjoy it, you need to buy a day pass from one of the resorts along the coast.
You could also book a room at one of the resorts so that you can have this beautiful spot right on your doorstep.
4- Puerto Morelos, A Top Notch Riviera Maya Beach
With a population of just over 10,000 inhabitants, Puerto Morelos is a quiet and quirky beach town. It’s easy to get there from Cancun Airport, with an easy 25-minute drive.
Even though the beach in Puerto Morelos is great, what really attracts visitors is the snorkeling opportunities. From here, you can go on boat tours to swim and snorkel in the second-largest coral reef in the world.
5- Akumal Beach Riviera Maya
Akumal is one of the most popular beaches on the Riviera Maya. Even though there are sometimes way too many people, you can always find a spot for yourself.
What also makes Akumal a special place, is the fact this is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with turtles that are not in captivity. It’s not uncommon for you to be surrounded by a couple of turtles when swimming.
That said, there are now some rules in place. In order to swim with turtles, you need to hire a private guide, who will take you to an area where the turtles usually swim. The fee is 300MXN, which is around 16USD.
The Most Beautiful Riviera Maya Beaches: Conclusion
Stretching from Puerto Morelos to Tulum, the Riviera Maya is one of the most beautiful and most popular destinations in Mexico. Whether you want to spend your time sunbathing, swimming in a luxury hotel pool or snorkeling, there’s always something to do.
There are many other beautiful beaches on the Riviera Maya waiting to be explored. Having a car is the easiest way to travel around this stretch of the Yucatan Peninsula. That way, you have the freedom to stop anywhere you want and enjoy the azure waters of the Caribbean sea.