Thalassophile: a lover of the sea and ocean. Sound familiar? Whether you’re looking for quiet seclusion to take in the sights, or an incognito section of the Caribbean Sea to explore, Cancun‘s got the sands for you. Find more inspiration in our sightseeing guide.

Host to vibrant beaches, sunny weather and a string of Mayan ruins. The latter has watched the ebb of the Caribbean Sea for the last 4,000 years. So it’s easy to see why the Mesoamerican people of the Yucatan Peninsula, right through the ages to today’s tourists choose Cancun. Find cheap flights to Mexico’s beach with Netflights today, experts in flight comparison searches.

Beach 1: Puerto Morelos

Located 20 minutes south of Cancun, Puerto Morelos has retained its relaxed fishing village persona. There are a few restaurants and bars for afternoon and evening entertainment and a decent market. There’s also the leaning lighthouse, blown over by Hurricane Beulah in 1967. However, the real draw is for the shallow waters, deep enough to snorkel the Mesoamerican Great Barrier Reef. Inland there’s a limestone sink hole (cenote) where Mayan peoples made offerings to their blood thirsty deities.

Beach 2: X’Cacel Beach

It can be tricky to find but the reward is a peaceful atmosphere and a local sea turtle conservation project on the shore. A donation (10-20 pesos) gives you access to see the turtles and covers the entrance fee to the cenote, concealed in jungle offshore. Furthermore, as a remote and protected area (no resorts can be built here) the reefs are in pretty good shape. You’ll need your own car to get here and we suggest you park near to the guard shack. Watch you don’t trample any mounds of sand that could be the roof of a turtle nest.

Beach 3: Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen’s (the city) most popular public access beach. Playa del Carmen is right behind the Coco Bongo nightclub and part of the Mayan Riviera cruise ship route. Consequently, crowds are thick, particularly in the hotel area. Things are pretty lively – the Coco Bongo club is a strange mix of Las Vegas shows and the Mexican fiesta party style. It’s the party atmosphere that people come for as the sands aren’t as silky and the water isn’t as clear as elsewhere. For more information on Mexico’s wild nightlife, take a look at our lifestyle and culture page.

Beach 4: Playa Maroma

You’ll need to be a guest at one of the resorts to gain access to this huge beachfront. Many have luxury spas, ocean front massages, candlelit dinner service on the beach and other exclusive features. It’s a spot for a little luxury and maybe a little romance. Come here and escape from the hustling and bustling coastline further north. What’s more, Punta Maroma to the south is a good spot for snorkelling and the ruins of Tulum are an hour away down the highway. Some of the resorts provide complimentary access to their water sporting equipment, to include sailing and windsurfing.

Beach 5: Playa Delfines

Also known as El Mirador, meaning ‘The lookout’, this 14-mile stretch of coast is the last on the hotelera boulevard. The sand might not be as fine a quality as others but it’s secluded. There are no hotels or restaurants, it’s well serviced by bus routes and has free parking. Apart from this, there are little to no facilities so bring your own supplies. Pay attention to the swimming signs and lifeguards, as undertows and rips are common.

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