Are you looking for the best beaches in Tulum for your upcoming trip. We have been visiting Tulum for 6 years and have all the answers for you.
Tulum is a quiet and beautiful town on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Tulum is a tropical paradise that has become very popular for its ivory sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters.
From the picture-perfect white sandy beaches of Playa Paraiso and the stunning and family-friendly Playa Ruinas to the more secluded and peaceful sands of Playa Secreto, there rest assured that you will find your type of beach here.
Expert Tip: Tulum’s South beaches and North beaches are a bit harder to reach
Ideal for: Relaxing at the beach, sunbathing, Swimming, Snorkelling, Families with kids
If you were only to visit one beach and one beach only in Tulum, then that should be Playa Paraiso, or “Paradise Beach.” This is where all your tropical turquoise beach dreams come true. Every time I visit Playa Paraiso is like a postcard that just came to life with its crystal clear waters and soft ivory sand. It is the best beach if you are looking to spend your day sunbathing and relaxing, as there are plenty of palapas, beach chairs, and cabanas that you can rent for the whole day.
It is also home to several luxury beach hotels, beach bars and restaurants, but it is best known for its namesake beach club offering rows and rows of cabanas, lounge chairs, palapas, and beach beds, making it a perfect location to spend your day soaking up the Caribbean sun under the palm trees. The best part is that the servers weaving the white sands will bring anything you need.
You can swim in the beautiful warm water and snorkel in the nearby coral reef. The coral reef just off-shore feels like an aquarium as it is home to a large variety of tropical fish and marine life. This is a very family-friendly beach, with its shallow waters and lifeguards on duty, so you can enjoy some quality time at the beach.
Ideal for: Swimming, Sunbathing, Visiting the nearby Tulum ruins, and Families with kids
Playa Ruinas, as the name suggests, is a beach located a short walking or biking distance from the Tulum Mayan ruins. We love this beach cause it’s more secluded than some of the other beautiful beaches on our list in Tulum, making it ideal for those looking for a more peaceful and less touristy day at the beach.
The beach is backed by dramatic cliffs making the experience the to the majestic Caribbean Sea even more special. Despite being less crowded, there are plenty of beach beds and beach chairs available for rent making the beach one of our favorite spots for sunbathing and swimming.
Another great thing about Playa Ruinas is that you can start your day early and explore the nearby ancient Mayan city (walking and biking distance) before the big crowds arrive and then head over to the beach to relax and enjoy a refreshing drink. If you are visiting the ruins, we highly recommend using a guided tour to really get immersed in the rich history of the area.
The beach is also family-friendly, with shallow and warm waters and plenty of space for kids to play. Make sure that you pay a visit to Playa Ruinas during your trip….how often do you get to swim right next to ancient ruins?
Akumal Beach is yet another beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters and soft ivory sand. This location is one of our favorites as it is one of the best spots to explore what lies under the turquoise waters.
The coral reef is not far from the shore, offering some excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities and many chances to get up close and personal with the fish and marine life. You can also sign up for a guided snorkeling or diving tour to explore the reef…we highly recommend it!
But the highlight of Akumal Beach is the turtles that swim in these waters. The beach is one of the biggest nesting grounds for large sea turtles and our favorite spot for wildlife watching. It’s also an excellent place for kids as Akumal Beach will make them feel like a real-life Dora the Explorer.
The beach is very popular with tourists, which means that it can feel very crowded, especially at weekends.
Expert Tip: If you want to swim with a turtle, your best chances are early in the morning (before 8 am)
Ideal for: Swimming, Sunbathing, Visiting Casa Cenote, the Best beach for Families with kids
Now, this is where things get interesting, as Playa Casa Cenote is a truly unique Tulum beach located on the very edge of a freshwater Cenote (natural sinkhole). If you have never swum in cenote waters, then you need to experience this.
The cenote offers a very welcome refreshing break from the salt water of the ocean. It really feels like swimming in a massive natural pool. The waters here are very calm, making it ideal for kids. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the nearby Casa Cenote. We highly recommend taking a guided tour to the cenote and, if you are comfortable with spending time in the water, a guided snorkeling or diving tour. What lies under the surface is just stunning.
For those looking for a more relaxed experience, you can rent a beach chair and spend your day sunbathing and ordering refreshing drinks.
Ideal for: Water sports, Swimming. Snorkelling, Partying, Families with kids
Every beach in this list features crystal clear turquoise waters and thin and soft white sand. And Papaya Playa is no exception. The beach is ideal for sunbathing and swimming, and snorkeling in the nearby reef. You can also try a variety of water sports, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and even windsurfing. But we really enjoy visiting Papaya Play every time we are in Tulum because of the really comfortable beach chairs and beach beds, great service, and amazing music and nice shade from the palm trees. This is one of our favorite places to unwind and relax.
Another great thing about Papaya Playa is the beach yoga and meditation classes available. The beach is also great for families as it is safe for kids, and there are plenty of activities for children to enjoy and a variety of kid-friendly restaurants and accommodations in the area.
Tulum ruins are also not very far, making this beach a perfect spot to explore the area.
For the partygoers, be sure to visit during the weekends to enjoy Papaya’s DJ-fueled parties (the full-moon parties here are just epic)
Ideal for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Sunbathing, Families with kids
Playa Pescadores (Fisherman’s beach) is just another jaw-dropping beach in Tulum. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with most beaches here. And we might be getting repetitive, but Playa Pescadores shares some of the same perks with have mentioned above with crystal-colored turquoise sea, thin white sand, palm tree shades, and a glimpse of the majestic Tulum ruins in the distance.
Come here early in the morning to see the local fishing boats going out for the catch on the day. This is yet another gorgeous beach, in the same stretch as some of the other beaches on this list. It is a great spot to swim, snorkel in the nearby reefs, or just relax in one of the comfy sunbeds. You can also take a boat tour to explore the reefs of the area and swim with some sea turtles.
Another perfect beach for families with many activities and great restaurants and beach bars.
Ideal for: Swimming, Snorkeling, Sunbathing, Families with kids
Now for those looking for one of the most iconic Instagram spots in Tulum, Ahau Beach Club is a must. The entrance to Ahau Tulum Beach Club is 30 feet tall (10m) wooden sculpture of a female figure prying open her chest and forming a lush green walkway entrance into the resort. Ahau Beach offers some of the same great features as its many neighbors.
This is also our favorite watersport beach in all of Tulum. The reason for that is that the Mexican Caribbean Kitesurf, which is, in our opinion, the best watersport provider in the region. Here you can take surfing or kitesurf lesions or rent a paddleboard and explore the waters.
Expert Tip: Make sure you explore the nearby Cenote Manatí and enjoy the fresh water and the amazing mangrove forest.
Tulum is a tropical beach paradise and the beaches here are like postcards coming to life. Tulum has some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of the Caribbean Sea, with turquoise waters and soft white sand.
Both Cancun and Tulum have stunning soft white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. The water in Cancun is more light turquoise, and the hotel zone in Cancun has hands down the best beaches in the region. However, if you are looking for a more secluded and authentic experience away from the crowds, then Tulum is the better option.
Unfortunately, sargassum (seaweed) is present in Tulum and all of the Yucatan Peninsula. It appears when the water temperature rises during the summer months and disappears as the sea cools down during the winter months.
Puerto Escondido is a beautiful beach town that almost never gets any seaweed. Puerto Escondito is your best bet in the area if you want to avoid seaweed. It is worth noting that most luxury hotels in Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen do an excellent job of cleaning seaweed from the shore on a daily basis.
Tulum is generally a much safer destination than Cancun. Tulum is a quiet small town, while Cancun is a bustling city with more tourists and security issues. It is worth noticing that crime in Tulum has been on the rise recently, given the massive influx of tourists. However, both Tulum and Cancun are relatively safe for tourists.
Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?
I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 CancunAirport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
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