Are you planning a trip to Mexico and wondering what are the best beach towns in the Yucatan Peninsula? You’ve come to the right place!

The Riviera Maya is the ultimate destination when it comes to beach holidays. There are so many places to visit and more importantly, so many beautiful beaches! 

It’s perfect for people who want to relax and enjoy some stress-free holidays but also for adventurers looking for cool activities.

In this article, you’ll find all the best beach towns in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

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1. Tulum

Escultura Ven a la Luz in tulum
Tulum ruins in mexico

Tulum is by far the most famous beach town in Mexico. It’s located on the Riviera Maya and is famous for its Mayan ruins, beautiful beaches and cenotes.

Tulum is an excellent destination for people who want to relax, enjoy some yoga on the beach and have some adventurous day trips.

The best place to stay in Tulum is Tulum Beach. That’s where you’ll find all the hotels and beach clubs.

If you are on a budget, Tulum Pueblo (town centre) will be a better option. It’s a lot cheaper and there are a lot of shops.

No matter what, make sure to visit the Tulum Ruins. They are one of the best archaeological zones in Mexico. Perched on the cliffs with the beautiful beaches, there is nothing that beats it!

You will also find a lot of cenotes around that are worth visiting such as the cenote dos ojos which is known for its scuba diving opportunities.

2. Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos Beach in Mexico
Puerto Morelos in Mexico

Puerto Morelos is a small village on the Riviera Maya, conveniently located only 30 minutes from Cancun Airport. It’s not as famous as the other places mentioned in this article but it’s a great place to visit if you want some tranquillity and a beautiful beach.

The first place to visit should be the beach. The water is incredibly blue and it’s by far one of the best beaches on the Riviera Maya.

When you get there, you’ll find a pier where you can walk and take in the views of the beach and the leaning lighthouse.

You can also get some food from one of the beach clubs. They are a lot more affordable than in Tulum or Playa del Carmen.

Finally, if you like water activities, make sure to book a snorkelling tour of the Great Mayan reef. You’ll see loads of species of fish and maybe even turtles.

3. San Miguel de Cozumel

main square in cozumel
town hall in cozumel

This is the main town on the beautiful island of Cozumel and a great place to spend a few days during your trip to Quintana Roo.

You can easily get to Cozumel with the ferry from Playa del Carmen. You will arrive in San Miguel de Cozumel and can explore the island from there.

The town is both very lively and relaxing. The park Benito Juarez is a great place to start since you’ll find the letters Cozumel as well as a beautiful tower.

There are loads of souvenir shops where you can find gifts. As you walk around, you’ll find a lot of bars and restaurants with live music.

If you want a coffee, make sure to go to Coz Coffee Roasting company, they have a delicious peanut butter coffee!

You can also rent a scooter or a car from San Miguel de Cozumel and explore the island. San Gervasio Mayan Ruins and Punta Sur eco park are beautiful places you should add to your bucket list.

Finally, no trip to Cozumel would be complete without going snorkelling and seeing the starfish at El Cielo and Palancar. If that’s something you’re interested in, you can book this boat tour which includes 3 snorkelling spots and a swimming stop.

4. Playa del Carmen

Parque Los Fundadores in playa del carmen mexico
quinta avenida in playa del carmen

Playa del Carmen is a resort town located 1-hour drive from Cancun. It used to be a small hippie village but has become a very popular destination in recent years. 

You will find beautiful beaches in this area but it’s mainly a great destination for day trips since it’s conveniently located near Cozumel island and the theme parks such as Xplor and Xcaret.

The town itself is also worth exploring. You can join the local food tour and discover loads of local spots and typical Mexican food such as tamales, tacos, corn mushroom quesadilla and more.

In the evening, head to Quinta Avenue for bars and live music. Finally, if you like clubbing, you can go to Coco Bongo which is one of the most famous nightclubs in the world.

5. Holbox

photo of playa holbox at sunset
streets of Holbox

Isla Holbox is a remote island and a great place to spend a beach holiday if you are looking for some tranquillity.

The town is very small and authentic. Here there are no cars, only buggies and bikes on dirt roads.

It feels like the time has stopped in Holbox but yet you still have all the comfort of modern days.

You can easily get to Holbox with the ferry from Chiquila. Once you get there, check into your hotel and start relaxing.

If you want to explore the island (which you should), opt for the 3-island tour. This will bring you to Punta Mosquito and Bird Island which are the best spots!

You can also enjoy some beach time on playa Holbox. In the evening, check out the various restaurants and bars. Holbox is very lively and there are some incredible tacos and cocktails around.

6. Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres in Mexico

This is another option if you are looking for an island town. Isla Mujeres is located just off the coast of Cancun and it’s a popular day trip from there since there is a fast ferry.

You can also stay for a night or more in one of the beautiful hotels.

Like Holbox, there are no cars on Isla Mujeres and most people get around with golf buggies. While the island is not bigger than Holbox, more of it is accessible (most of Holbox is a reserve and not open to the public) which means that there is more to explore in a way.

In terms of beaches, the best one is playa norte. It’s close to the ferry terminal which makes it very convenient.

7. Akumal

Akumal in Mexico
Akumal beach in Mexico

Akumal is a very small town located on the Akumal Bay between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. 

It’s incredibly famous for its wildlife and particularly the turtles. If you want to go swimming with turtles, this is the place for you.

The village itself is very small so it’s not necessarily somewhere where you’ll want to stay for a few days but you can easily book your accommodation in Tulum and head to Akumal for a day trip.

8. Bacalar

Bacalar in Mexico
Bacalar lagoon in Mexico

Bacalar is a bit of a special one because it’s not on the coast but on a lagoon. In that having been said, since there is a beach all around the lagoon and in the town, it does make it a beach town!

It’s one of the pueblos magicos (magic town) of Mexico and is incredibly pretty.

It’s very close to the border with Belize and since it’s quite a detour from Tulum, a lot of tourists decide not to come. This is amazing because it makes it less busy and a lot more authentic.

The best thing to do in Bacalar is to sail on the lagoon of 7 colours. It’s a 3-hour boat tour which also includes drinks and kayaking at the end.

You’ll go to the pirates canal and discover several cenotes. The views are absolutely fantastic, you will love it.

I also particularly recommend going to Los Rapidos which is a lazy river with unique sulphur rock formations.

Now that you know everything about the best beach towns in the Yucatan Peninsula, it’s time to go and explore. Have fun!

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