11 Best Beaches in (and near) Playa del Carmen
If you’re headed to Playa del Carmen, chances are you’ll want to hang out at some beaches. We’ve compiled this list of our favorite beaches in Playa del Carmen and surrounding areas. Our Playa del Carmen beach reviews are based on our own experience living in the area, and what we have found during our time in the area.
In short, Playa del Carmen has some of the best beaches in Mexico. If you’re in town, you won’t have any problem finding a good place to sit on the beach or hit the water. However, here are a few of the best beaches in Playa and the surrounding area. Our list is not in any particular order.
Staying in Playa del Carmen? Be sure to check out our favorite hotels in Playa!
1. Xcaret Eco Park
Xcaret is an eco park and not a real public beach. However, the beaches in the park are definitely worth seeing. In addition to tons of activities and entertainment, you can find relaxing beaches on the lagoon in Xcaret. Especially during the week, you can find a super relaxing spot on the beach inside the park. Xcaret is just a few minutes south of Playa del Carmen, and an easy taxi or collectivo ride from anywhere in town. Many hotels also offer private transports directly to Xcaret. To learn more about Xcaret park, you can read our post comparing Xel-Ha and Xcaret at https://therivieramaya.org/xel-ha-vs-xcaret/.
2. Blue Venado
Blue Venado is just a few more minutes south, and a truly amazing place to visit. The area, Punto Venado, offers a handful of activities including ATV’s, horseback riding, cenotes, and a mountain bike park. Blue Venado Beach Club is on a little inlet and offers palapas and chairs on some of the most beautiful waters around the Riviera Maya. You can take a taxi down to the beach, a collectivo, or drive yourself. It’s relatively easy to get to, offers activities for the whole family, and has a super relaxing setup. You can find more out about them on their website at www.BlueVenadoBeachClub.com.
3. Mamita’s Beach Club in Playa del Carmen
Mamita’s is one of the hottest beach clubs in the area, and offers one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen for young people, single adults, and those who wish to party. If you’re looking for Playa del Carmen beaches where you can let loose, dance, and have a good time at night, Mamita’s is where it’s at. There are regular DJ’s, music festivals with artists from around the world, and always new things going on. You can sit by the bar, hang out in the sandy beaches, or play in the water with some of the available watersport activities.
4. Xpu-Ha Beach
Xpu-Ha is a little area a bit south of Playa del Carmen with some amazing beaches. The water is clear and incredible shallow. You can often walk out a few hundred feet without the water going above your waist. Xpu-Ha is much quieter than many other beaches in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding areas, which can create a nice and romantic vibe. You can bring your own food, or eat at one of the little restaurants on the shore. If you want a beach in the area without a lot of people, definitely check out Xpu-Ha. You can read more about Xpu Ha in our post Xpu-Ha Beach – One of Our Favorite Beaches in the Riviera Maya.
5. Mahekal Beach (Formerly Shangri-La Beach)
Shangri-La was a hotel resting at the end of Calle 38 in Playa del Carmen. No longer open, it is now the Mahekal. However, the beach remains roughly the same. As this beach is a bit north of a lot of the action of Playa del Carmen (and ten blocks north of Mamita’s), it offers a little bit of quiet without leaving town too much. This is one of our overall favorite Playa del Carmen beaches. It’s pretty central, not too busy, and beautiful. You can swim, get a drink, enjoy delicious food, or just sit under a palapa in the sun.
6. Playa del Carmen Beach at Parque Fundadores
Parque Fundadores and the area immediately surrounding it act as quite a big tourist and commercial center in Playa del Carmen. Resting at the south end of 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, Parque Fundadores is a little square right on the beach. This beach is popping, with tons of activity, the ferry to Cozumel right there, and lots of people. If you want to get the full entertainment and tourist experience, the beach right here is a great place to chill. There are many fun things to do in Playa del Carmen, and you really can find most of them right here from this beach.
7. North of 48th
If you are looking for some of the more swimmable beaches in Playa del Carmen, you may consider heading up north of Calle 48. The beach in Playa del Carmen can be hectic, and you can find quieter beaches if you go a bit north. Depending on where you are staying, you can often walk up here. Keep in mind that these beaches have less people and are less touristy. You’ll likely see more locals and have less amenities. However, you’re still pretty safe up here, and you can find a little more peace and quiet on the beach!
8. Playacar Beaches
If you head just south of the ferry terminal in Playa del Carmen, you get into Playacar. You’ll see the beautiful Playacar Palace just south of the pier, and a few miles of gorgeous beaches. Playacar is a gated community just south of the center of Playa del Carmen, and the beaches here are beautiful. There are frequently a lot less people on the beaches down here. If you want full-service and chairs with umbrellas, you can stop at one of the hotels. If you want a quiet beach and to be alone, you can walk past the hotels to find a quiet spot pretty easily. Playacar has some of our favorite spots on the beach in Playa del Carmen, and offers a great opportunity to find a quiet stretch.
9. Mr. Sancho’s
Mr. Sancho’s is on our list, although it is across the way in Cozumel. There are many awesome things to do in Cozumel, and the beaches are fantastic. Mr. Sancho’s is one of the most popular places on the island, with tons of offerings for the whole family. You can relax in a chair on the beach, enjoy local food, play in their waterpark, or engage in any number of sports and activities they offer. In addition, Cozumel has some of the best snorkeling in Mexico. If you want to get in the water and see the life, Cozumel definitely has beaches for you!
To get to Cozumel, you can check out our Cozumel Ferry Guide from Playa del Carmen.
Playa del Carmen Beaches and Seaweed
If you read the local news or are looking at travel information, you may hear about the seaweed on the beaches in Playa del Carmen. This isn’t unique to this area; the seaweed problem is reaching across the Riviera Maya and Caribbean. The seaweed grows out in the ocean, and the change of temperature and tides bring it in. It may be gross at first, but it generally doesn’t smell and is really not that bad.
The seaweed tends to be worst from May to July, although it may show up other times of year. If seaweed is too much for you to handle, check out a Playa del Carmen beach right in front of a hotel. The bigger hotels tend to clean up the mess more quickly and efficiently, and you sometimes can’t even tell there was ever seaweed present.
Playa del Carmen Beach Safety
Finally, make sure to stay safe while on the beach in Playa del Carmen. The beach isn’t especially dangerous, and you don’t need to be anxious while visiting. However, you can be smart. Don’t leave valuables sitting out when you’re in the water, and make sure you keep an eye on your belongings. You may want to investigate if travel insurance is worth it for you and your family. The beaches here aren’t really any more dangerous than beaches in the United States; just be smart about where you choose to leave your belongings!