The best Cancún beaches

For beach lovers, Cancún is a dream destination. This part of the Mexican Caribbean offers endless sunny days, powdery white-bleached sands and a sea that’s astonishingly blue. If you are lucky enough to visit the Club Med Cancún resort then choosing where to lay your towel on the beach is a big choice. That selection will depend on what you want most from your day by the water: solitude, the buzz of a busy crowd or something that offers the full range of watersports. Below we take a look at a few of the stunning locations on offer and provide our suggestions on where to go during your stay in glorious Cancún.

The Best Cancún beach for Couples

Winner: Xcacel Beach

If you are looking for somewhere to walk hand in hand and enhance the romance in your life then Cancún has a rich choice of stunning beaches where you can enjoy your time on holiday together. Our first pick, Xcacel beach, offers scenery, serenity and the added bonus of one of Mexico’s famous cenotes. What can be a more romantic couples holiday than the two of you enjoying magical moments together as you swim in the cooling fresh water?

You have to pay a small fee to enter the beach which supports the local sea turtle conservation programme. Time things right and you could be there when the tiny little creatures start their journey into the sea - an amazing memory for the both of you. Those of you who love animals can also volunteer to help with the care of the turtles. Xcacel is truly a fascinating and relationship-enhancing place to spend time with the one you love.

Runner up: Playa Pez Volador

Our second choice is one of the quietest, smallest and most beautiful beaches on our list. Playa Pez Volador - the Flying Fish beach - is a classic hidden gem that can be found near the main hotel zone. It really is stripped back nature without the mass rows of umbrellas you will see on the popular hotspots. That makes it all the better for couples who just want to spend time together, maybe read a book and then have a gentle swim. Even the calming surf enhances your feeling of being alone in the world. Pez Volador is a little hard to find, so look out for the massive Mexican flag that marks the entrance to the beach.

The Best Cancún beach for Families

Winner: Playa Langosta

So many of Cancún’s beaches are family friendly that it is hard to choose somewhere that won't provide you with both a beautiful playground and the facilities for those moments when the kids are bored, hungry or just want to do something other than lie on the sand. Our winner in this regard is Playa Langosta. The beach itself is perfect for larger groups, being both wide in its sands and shallow in its water, it allows little ones to learn how to swim and gives you the confidence they won't get into any trouble.

Public toilets mean you can deal with any problems such as changing nappies and there are plenty of restaurants nearby for when you all want to share a meal together. The floating inflatable park - Float Fun Cancún - just beyond the shoreline is another obvious attraction of Playa Langosta. Adults and children alike will enjoy the challenge of its adventure course. Need a break from the sand? Take everyone just across the road where you will find a sizable public park full of statues, artworks and big green spaces, ideal for a picnic.

Runner up: Playa Tortugas

Playa Tortugas offers a livelier vibe than many other beaches whilst being perfect for families. Once again the waters are shallow, relatively calm and safe for the little ones. You will see plenty of fun activities going on and it is a great place for a game of beach volleyball together. For an experience everyone will talk about for years to come, a bungee jump awaits the brave. This 85 foot drop off the pier provides amazing views and a real burst of adrenaline - all done in complete safety of course. This is also a great choice if you were planning a boat trip on your holiday with many tours using it as their starting point. Eating and drinking is not a problem with lots of places to choose in the local area. All in all, it is the ideal day out at the beach for all the family.

The Best Cancún beach for Water Sports

Winner: Playa Norte

Whether you are a surfer, snorkeller or wind sailor, the possibilities for watersports are endless in Cancún. Almost every stretch of beach offers an arena for the active. However, there are some spots that are better than others. For those who love diving underwater then we can highly recommend Isla Mujeres and Playa Norte. Only a short ferry ride away from your Club Med resort, the coast of this charming getaway is teeming with magical coral and wonderful creatures such as the local turtles.

It can also claim to offer some of the best sights in the Caribbean. There's even an underwater sculpture park to explore. You can rent water toys, kayaks and snorkelling gear for your adventures. A lack of strong current means access to the water is safe and easy. Afterwards, head to one of the many restaurants and taste the freshest seafood in Mexico.

Runner up: Playa Chac Mool

This popular surfing spot is a great place to start the sport with the Good Vibes Surf School on site to teach you the way of the waves. The waters themselves offer enough turbulence to make things exciting without the giant breakers that are strictly for the professionals. If surfing is not your thing, then sailing and water skiing are also regular pastimes on the beach. The strong current makes it a place where experienced swimmers can enjoy real challenges. Lifeguards watching on the beach means there will be someone to help if things get too difficult. A small car park is also convenient if you are planning to bring your sports gear with you on your break.

The most relaxing Cancún Beach

Winner: Playa Delfines

Sometimes on your holiday all you want to do is chill. Picking a spot that offers the best in Cancún’s remarkable tapestry of beautiful, relaxing beaches is tricky. We have picked out a couple of choices that don't specialise in loud sports or fancy restaurants but simply exist to soothe the soul while you read a pulp novel or just lie back and soak up the rays.

Our first choice from a huge list is Playa Delfines. The very definition of ‘languid’, it is one of the few beaches in the area where the backdrop is not silhouetted by large hotels or other buildings. Getting there is made easy with good bus access and parking. You can relax in the sea knowing you're being watched over by professional lifeguards. And El Rey - the most popular archaeological site in the region – is just across the road if you want to take a step back into the past. Above all, you can admire the stunning view on the wide, sloping shore under the shade of a thatched-roof shade. This is Mexican relaxation at its very finest.

Runner up: Playa Ballenas

If you just want to enjoy the sound of the ocean and the sea views, then Playa Ballenas is the obvious winner. The lack of crowds and empty spaces on the beaches means you can spend your time alone with your thoughts. You will be able to stroll for miles without running into another tourist. Loungers are available for hire but you might want to visit at sunset and just take in the stunning vistas. Restaurants and bars are within easy reach but not within earshot meaning you can have the best of both worlds; tranquillity one minute and a return to civilization after a short walk.

The Most Picturesque Cancún Beach

Winner: Playacar

Picturesque is a word that could be applied to almost every beach in Cancún. To stand out from the pack takes really unique properties. We have placed Playacar at the top of the tree due to its sand that is so blindingly white it must be bleached every morning. It truly requires you to be there to understand its dazzling beauty.

The beach constantly shifts in its size and dimensions due to tides and a short walk along the shore will soon bring you to cosy coves and private havens where the world seems to stand still. Playacar is popular due to its beauty and that means all the mod cons of the perfect beach day are available if you need them. But all you really require is the view, the powdery sand and the shimmering ocean to transport your mind to a better place.

Runner up: Xpu Ha Beach

We end with a runner up that delivers everything you could want from a Mexican beach. The white sands - check. The glorious sea - check. The breathtaking vistas worth visiting day or night - check. The laid-back vibe just adds to the beauty of the scene as you have the time and headspace to contemplate what you can see before your eyes. Somehow that water seems to be slightly clearer and bluer than anywhere else and it is excellent for a swim. It is also a beach away from the crowds, with the room to breathe and truly enjoy nature. A small part of Mexico that belongs to you just for the day.