The 15 Best Beaches in Playa del Carmen: A Local Guide

Wondering what are the best beaches in Playa del Carmen? Look no further.

I live in Cancun and Playa del Carmen is one of my favorite getaways when I am off duty! In this post, I will tell you all about Playa del Carmen beaches, in detail. Read on!

The beaches in Playa del Carmen are world-renowned for the transparent colors of the Caribbean Sea, warm temperatures year-round, long stretches of white sand, and stunning sea life.

To nobody’s surprise, most people who flock to Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya are drawn to the ocean.

After all, the Caribbean coast is well-known for being some of the most beautiful waters in the world!

Fortunately, beaches in Playa del Carmen are plentiful. And if that isn’t enough, you can venture a little further away for a larger variety of coastal sands.

I have the 15 best beaches in Playa del Carmen, including a few bonus beaches just outside of Playa del Carmen and the most popular beach clubs in the area.

With this list, you can keep yourself busy with only the best of the best.

Whether you’re here to soak up the sun, enjoy paddle boarding, snorkel, or just walk some long stretches of beaches, there’s something here for you.

The colorful signage of Playa del Carmen near the beach.

Best Beaches in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is built around one long stretch of beautiful, sunny beach. Different access points and neighborhoods break up the coast.

So let’s dive deep into the best beaches in Playa del Carmen.

1. Playa del Car/Playacar

Playa del Car, often called Playacar, is a higher-end neighborhood along the beach on the South side of Playa del Carmen.

The Playacar beach is stunning and usually less crowded than other beaches in Playa del Carmen.

Playacar is particularly popular amongst larger families who want more space and foreigners living in or near the upscale neighborhood.

If you stay in Playacar, you will likely have a small private access point in your neighborhood. You can still visit the public beach if you are not staying in Playacar.

The best way to get there is to walk to the Cozumel ferry, turn right before getting on the ferry where Senor Frogs is, and walk down to the beach.

Playa Car Beach in Playa del Carmen
Playacar Beach – Playa del Carmen

2. Playa Pelícanos

Playa Pelícanos is the public beach on the south tip of 5th Avenue, leading up to the Cozumel ferry and the end of 5th Avenue.

There are several access points to Playa Pelícanos.

🌊 Playa Fundadores

Playa Fundadores is the stretch of beach directly in front of Parque Los Fundadores, right next to the Cozumel ferry.

You can enter this beach from the large square right before it.

Playa Fundadores is popular among locals and has several popular beach bars and restaurants.

However, due to the central location and proximity to the ferry, it is a little noisier and more rowdy than other beaches in Playa del Carmen.

View of the Playa Beach near Parque Fundadores.
Playa Beach near Parque Fundadores

🌊 Calle 2 Beach

It gets a little quieter once you get to Calle 2 Beach. You can enter this beach from Calle 2 (street 2) off 5th Avenue.

This beach is still relatively close to the Cozumel ferries that come in and out all day, so there is still a decent amount of traffic in the water.

It also isn’t the cleanest portion of the Playa del Carmen. There tends to be a lot of sargasso (seaweed), and there aren’t any large, popular beach hotels or clubs near this section of the beach.

🌊 Calle 10 Beach

Calle 10 Beach is far from the ferry and feels cleaner and quieter. You can access Calle 10 Beach right from 5th Avenue, turning down Calle 10 onto the beach.

A popular paddleboarding group also leaves from the beach near Calle 10 beach for sunrise, sunset, and morning sessions.

The water is a little rocky in areas near Calle 10 Beach, so just be careful when you enter and exit the water. Always make sure you watch for rocks!

3. Playa Mamitas

Playa Mamitas is located near the intersection of Calle 28 Norte and the beachfront.

It is almost right in the middle of the infamous and lively 5th Avenue, one of the highlights of Playa del Carmen, so it is easy to access almost anywhere in town.

There are lots of restaurants, bars, and shops on the walkway as well.

Mamitas is a popular beach club, but it’s also technically on a public beach. You can access the water from the small stretch of sand in front of Mamitas or around the beach club.

Playa Mamitas gets very crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. But you do get servers, who walk the beach offering drinks, and sometimes snacks.

A mural near Calle 8.

4. Playa Coco

Playa Coco is located at the end of the touristy part of 5th Avenue. The easiest way to get to Playa Coco is to turn off 5th Avenue toward the beachfront on Avenue CTM.

Several high-end beach clubs are generally relatively quiet and quiet.

While this is a great place to avoid large crowds and swim (there is even a small reef you can swim to from this area), it isn’t very clean and is often crowded by dive boats.

The entrance of Calle 38 Playa Beach with white sand.
Calle 38 entrance

5. Playa Publica 88

Playa Public 88 is located a good 20-30 minute walk from all the action in Playa del Carmen.

If you keep walking south on 5th Avenue until the restaurants, bars, and hotels slowly fade away, you’ll reach Playa Public 88.

Playa Public 88 is located on Calle 88 and is popular amongst locals and expats.

The neighborhood near Calle 88 is becoming increasingly popular as a cultural hub of Playa del Carmen, but it’s still a pretty quiet stretch of beach.

There are not many beach resorts that clean up seaweed, so sometimes, it can be overrun with the strong-smelling seaweed that has been plaguing the Caribbean.

6. Playa Punta Esmeralda

Even further, we have Playa Punta Esmeralda located near Calle 110. You can take a long walk to Punta Esmeralda from the city center or take a quick taxi to the beach.

Playa Punta Esmeralda is unique because it has a cenote and a stunning and tranquil beach.

The cenote is a small freshwater lagoon just a few meters from the oceanfront. So, you can enjoy fresh and salt water, depending on your mood!

The cenote area is often crowded with children, especially during weekends and holidays.

However, you can easily find some quiet spots along the extensive coast of Punta Esmeralda.

The beach has more seaweed than other beaches, as no resorts are nearby to help clean up. Additionally, specific entrance points could be more rocky and rough at times.

There are no big restaurants or bars, but you can rent chairs and umbrellas from locals set up along the beach.

The Playa beach near Calle 38.
Playa Beach

7. Playa Xcalacoco

Playa Xcalacoco is located about 3 km from Playa del Carmen city center.

It is much more tranquil, as it is significantly further away and more challenging to get to than other popular beaches.

Playa Xcalacoco is also home to a lovely beach and a cultural cenote.

There is a lot of land and few people, so spending an entire afternoon here soaking up the sun and exploring the area is easy.

Several years ago, the city placed sand “whales” in the water to prevent large waves from hitting the shore. This has also helped keep the seaweed away most days.

The entrance to the water is rocky almost everywhere, so be careful when entering and exiting the warm Caribbean water.

Best Beaches Near Playa del Carmen

Some of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen are only a short trip outside of town.

If you’re up for the adventure, try to escape the draw of 5th Avenue and spend some time on one of these more exclusive beaches near Playa del Carmen. 

8. Playa Xpu-Ha

Playa Xpu-Ha is located halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, only a 30-minute ride from Playa del Carmen.

To get to Playa Xpu-Ha, you can take a taxi, rent a car in Playa del Carmen, hire a driver, or take a colectivo toward Tulum.

Playa Xpu-Ha is a hidden gem in the area, with a long stretch of pristine white sands, tranquil and warm waters year-round, and a stunning jungle backdrop.

For those seeking a break from the luxurious beaches of Playa Xpu-Ha, you can check out the nearby attractions in Xpu-Ha Ecopark.

View of the Akumal Beach with coral reefs.
Akumal Reef – Gopro photo

9. Playa Akumal

Playa Akumal is another popular beach destination from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

It is about a 30-minute drive from Playa del Carmen and is known for its abundant marine life and lively coral reefs.

Most people go to Akumal to snorkel with sea turtles, and while you definitely shouldn’t miss that opportunity, there’s so much more to do in Akumal.

The beaches are clean, aren’t too crowded, and have several beach-front, highly-rated restaurants.

You can enjoy a relaxing lunch on the beach, swim in the calm waters, and explore the exciting wildlife below the ocean’s surface.

Playa Akumal is one of the area’s most well-known and popular beaches, making it one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen.

Make sure you check out the spectacular Yal-ku lagoon near Playa Akumal.

10. Paamul Beach

Paamul Beach
Paamul Beach

Paamul Beach is another picturesque coastal point known for its tranquil ambiance, pristine white sandy beach, and crystal-clear turquoise waters.

Paamul Beach is about a 20-minute drive from Playa del Carmen toward Tulum.

Paamul Beach is another excellent location for snorkeling and swimming enthusiasts.

The sealife is lively, and the swaying palm trees surrounding the beach give the perfect atmosphere for relaxation and tranquility.

Adjacent to Paamul Beach is Paamul Village, a small residential area home to several high-end beach clubs, restaurants, and bars.

11. Playa Maroma

Playa Maroma is not just one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen but arguably one of the best beaches in all of Mexico!

This breathtaking beauty is about 30 minutes from Playa del Carmen, toward Cancun.

Playa Maroma is still one of the region’s best-kept secrets, mainly because the only way to access the stunning beaches is through one of the all-inclusive resorts or beach clubs along the coast.

If you have the time to spend at least one day at the beach, it is well worth it. Playa Maroma is located in an environmentally protected area known as Maroma Bay.

For this reason, the local communities and resorts are committed to sustainability and conservation.

12. Playa del Secreto

“Playa del Secreto” translates to “Secret Beach” in English and lives up to the name. Playa del Secreto is a true hidden gem, one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Secreto is about 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen, between Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Secreto is a small, pristine, excluded beach that cannot be accessed by public transportation. This beach is also in a tiny residential community with few public access points and fewer amenities.

You won’t find many restaurants, bars, and markets nearby, so bring everything you’ll need just in case.

13. Playa Virgén

Playa Virgén is another top-rated and relatively secluded beach near Playa del Carmen. It is only about 40 minutes from Playa del Carmen, just past Playa Maroma.

This beach has a vast, wide stretch of sand, making it the perfect spot for families or those looking for more space to lay out and enjoy the sun.

While it is off the beaten path compared to the best beaches in Playa del Carmen Center, there are still several amenities to enjoy.

There are few restaurants, and you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas from the existing facilities.

The signage of "Playa del Carmen"  at Punta Esmeralda.
Punta Esmeralda

14. Playa Paraíso

Playa Paraíso, or Paradise Beach, has earned its name and reputation as one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen.

It’s located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

The beach is known for its postcard-perfect scenery, swaying palm trees, and tranquil atmosphere.

You can easily enjoy the sun-soaked waters here and snorkel around to glimpse into the magical underwater realm of the Caribbean.

There are several beach clubs at Playa Paraíso, as well.

Many of these beach clubs offer affordable day passes, beach chairs, and even some water sports activities and other organized activities.

15. Playa Coral

Playa Coral is actually in Cancun, Mexico. However, if you’re traveling with a dog, it’s an important beach to note because it is one of the only formally pet-friendly beaches in the region.

No public beaches in Playa del Carmen officially allow dogs for several reasons.

One main reason is that many beaches near Playa del Carmen are turtle nesting grounds, and dogs or pets can disrupt this sanctuary.

That said, you will notice many family dogs, stray dogs, and other friendly dogs walking up and down most Playa del Carmen beaches.

Playa 88 and Playacar are popular for the pups, especially in the early mornings or sunset.

While most law enforcement doesn’t enforce dog laws, it isn’t always a guarantee. So, it’s better to be safe and consider a trip out to Playa Coral for them to roam freely.

View of the Playa Beach with sargussum seaweeds.

Things to know about the beaches in Playa del Carmen

Regarding beaches in Playa Carmen Mexico, things are pretty straightforward.

However, let’s review some important things about the beaches in Playa del Carmen to help you have the best time.

📌 How do you avoid seaweed in Playa del Carmen?

Seaweed (sometimes called sargasso) has become more of a problem in recent years.

Seaweed used to only be present during the hottest weeks, but as each year passes, the seaweed presence seems only to increase.

Unfortunately, planning a trip around when the seaweed, or sargasso, will be on the beaches and in the water is hard.

Most hotels, resorts, and beach clubs in Playa del Carmen will clear all the seaweed off the beach, giving you a pleasant stay.

However, if the seaweed seems especially bad, you can always hop over to a cenote to cool down or enjoy your hotel pool.

📌 What is the most beautiful beach in Playa del Carmen?

All of the beaches in Playa del Carmen are beautiful in their way.

Playa Akumal is one of my favorite beaches because it is easy to access and has excellent snorkeling and sea life.

At the same time, the beaches in Playa del Carmen central are right there, with tons of restaurants, bars, and shopping malls nearby for all your beach needs.

However, all beaches in Playa del Carmen are beautiful. After all, you are in the Caribbean, home to some of the most stunning waters in the world.

View of Playacar during sunrise.

📌 Are the beaches in Playa del Carmen swimmable?

The beaches in Playa del Carmen are very swimmable most of the time. The water is warm year-round, calm, and crystal clear.

That being said, if the weather is terrible if a hurricane is coming in, or if the seaweed is out of hand, it is not as pleasant of an experience.

But luckily, there are hundreds and cenotes and pools within arms reach of Playa del Carmen.

📌 Are the Playa del Carmen beaches safe?

The beaches in Playa del Carmen are safe and frequently patrolled by police, the Guardia Nacional (National Guard), and sometimes the Marines.

However, you need to practice typical safety protocols on any public beach.

Don’t leave your belongings unattended on the beach, don’t be too flashy with your valuables, and stay alert as much as possible.

Best Beach Clubs in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is known for more than their endless array of public beaches, with a large selection of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen.

Beach clubs Playa Carmen is also a great way to spend the afternoon.

The Playacar Beach with huge waves -view from the ferry.

👍🏼 Mamitas Beach Club

Mamitas is a “trendy hangout for cocktails & international dishes, with beach loungers, evening DJ sets & a pool.”

Mamitas Beach Club is one of the most well-known, high-end beach clubs in the center of Playa del Carmen, off 5th Avenue and Calle 28.

You can easily walk here from almost anywhere in town and enjoy being in the heart and soul of Playa.

If you want to relax near the beach, Mamitas has over 300 lounge chairs for guests.

If you’re going to enjoy the pool, you can enjoy one of the many large, open hangout areas.

They have children’s areas, 18+ areas, and immaculate clean services throughout the entire property.

👍🏼 Coralina Daylight Club

Coralina Daylight Club is described as a “High-energy beachfront bar featuring live entertainment & music, plus an outdoor pool.”

Coralina Daylight Club is just a block away from Mamitas Beach Club, located on Calle 26, right on the beach.

It’s the place to go if you’re looking for a party and to enjoy a younger, more lively crowd.

Coralina Daylight Club is less popular than Mamitas, so there are often fewer people.

The energy is much more vibrant and electric, especially during the busy season between December and April.

The lifeguard tower in Playa del Carmen.

👍🏼 Mandarino Beach Club

Mandarino Beach Club is located at the end of the main stretch of 5th Avenue. It is right on the beach, with CTM.

Mandarino Beach Club is much more tranquil, less party focused, and often not very crowded.

This is the perfect beach club for couples seeking tranquility and space from the sometimes overly zealous crowds on 5th Avenue.

Unfortunately, the beach in front of Mandarino is not as nice as other parts of Playa del Carmen.

There are a lot of small fishing boats and dive boats coming and going throughout the day, and the water doesn’t look as clean and fresh as the other end of 5th Avenue.

However, Mandarino has a lovely pool for couples or individuals to enjoy and a relaxing ambiance.

Mandarino Beach Club is perfect if you aren’t here for the beach and want more peace and quiet.

👍🏼 Lido Beach Club

Lido Beach Club is more of a beach restaurant than a beach club, but it’s very popular among locals, expats, and travelers.

Lido Beach Club is a high-end restaurant between Calle 10 and 12 off 5th Avenue.

Lido Beach Club is simple, with comfortable tables and chairs set up throughout and some beach loungers near the ocean.

It doesn’t have a pool and isn’t as inclusive as other beach clubs in Playa del Carmen, but it’s a popular place to meet up with friends or enjoy a relaxing lunch with a nice view.

Best Beach Resorts in Playa del Carmen

If you want to spice up your stay with more luxury, you might be interested in one of the best beach resorts Playa Carmen.

Let’s look at some of the most popular options for travelers to the Riviera Maya.

🛏 Thompson Playa Del Carmen Beach House

View of the luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen with a cozy bed and a balcony with an amazing view of the beach.
Thompson Playa Del Carmen Beach House – Photo © Expedia

The Thompson Beach House is one of the most recognizable and luxurious resort options in Playa del Carmen.

Thompson Beach House, by Hyatt, is a grandeur building filled with style, class, and total magnificence for your stay in the Riviera Maya.

Each room has working air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a robe, slippers, and complimentary toiletries.

Some rooms have a private seating area with a lovely pool or ocean view.

Most guests have very positive remarks about the accommodating staff, the incredible location only a block from the ocean, and the spotless and spacious rooms.

Thompson Playa del Carmen Beach House should be your top pick for an upscale beachfront retreat.

Couldn’t be happier with the choice of Thompson. Location was perfect, very clean,beautiful and spacious rooms, comfortable bed, heated floor beside the bed. Service was amazing by the pool and beach area. I would highly recommend and would definitely return.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ maria, october 2022

🛏 Hilton Playa del Carmen, an All-Inclusive Adult Only Resort

View of a spacious hotel room in Playa del Carmen with a cozy bed, tables and chairs, flat screen TV and a balcony.
Hilton Playa del Carmen – Photo © Expedia

Hilton Playa del Carmen is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort in the heart of Playa del Carmen.

This is the perfect option for individuals or couples that want to relax by the pool or beach most days and completely unwind from the chaos of life.

There aren’t many all-inclusive options within Playa del Carmen Central and even fewer adult-only options.

So, Hilton Playa del Carmen is a true gem amongst high-class resorts.

Each room has a garden or ocean view, a hot tub, an LED TV with satellite channels, plush robes and slippers, BOSE sound system, and practically everything you need during your stay.

Hilton prides itself on world-class service, first-class amenities, and various activities and entertainment options. Hilton Playa del Carmen meets all of these standards and more.

Everything! The staff was very friendly, the hotel was clean and all the facilities were great.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ vered, october 2022

🛏 Paradisus Playa del Carmen

The Parasidus Playa del Carmen hotel with a cozy bed and a partition for the huge tub.
Paradisus Playa del Carmen – Photo © Expedia

Paradisus Playa del Carmen is another all-inclusive resort perfect for families, couples, or individuals wanting luxury, comfort, and convenience in an all-in-one bundle.

This high-end resort is 3 kilometers from Playa del Carmen city center and is surrounded by lush jungles and mangroves.

The atmosphere gives it a more relaxing and peaceful vibe than other hotels in the center of all the action.

Each room has a modern bathroom, including a sensory tub, rain shower, and other amenities.

While Paradisus Playa del Carmen is a little further away from the best beaches in Playa del Carmen, it is stunning, relaxing, and an ideal choice for families and couples seeking an all-inclusive option.

This is our third time staying in Paradisus and although this was the shortest stay (one night) it was amazing as always!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ daniela, april 2023

When is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen?

The best time to visit Playa del Carmen is typically during the dry season, from November to April.

During this time, you can expect moderate weather, not much rain, and cooler temperatures (also less seaweed).

The peak tourist season is typically from December to March.

The peak tourist season usually brings higher prices, larger crowds, and possibly more difficulty making reservations– so plan accordingly.

Aerial view of the Playa del Carmen.

Frequently Asked Questions about Playa del Carmen’s Beaches

What is the best beach in Playa del Carmen without seaweed?

Finding a beach without seaweed can be almost impossible when the seaweed is in full force.

However, Playa Xpu-Ha has a little more protection, which means slightly less seaweed.

If you want to escape the seaweed in the Riviera Maya, you can also check out Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, as the sides of the islands have complete protection from the seaweed.

What is the most popular beach in Playa del Carmen

Playa Mamitas is the most popular beach in Playa del Carmen, which large crowds can see at all times of the day.

People flock to Playa Mamitas for the beauty and convenience of it. 

A hammock near the beach of Playa del Carmen.

Are there white sand beaches in Playa del Carmen?

Yes, Playa del Carmen is world-renowned for its white sand beaches and picture-perfect waters.

While the influx of seaweed during scorching months makes it more challenging to enjoy the white sands, it is there.

Are there any nude beaches in Playa del Carmen?

No, there are no nude beaches in Playa del Carmen. Public nudity is not permitted on public beaches or in most public areas.

Some adults-only resorts will have clothing-optional areas, but it’s important to double-check and comply with local regulations.

View of the white sand beach of Playa del Carmen.

Wrapping Up: Best Beaches in Playa del Carmen

You have many options for finding the best beaches in Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen is a supreme beach destination, with dozens of options within the city center or surrounding area.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get pristine weather and spotless beaches.

When the weather permits, there is nothing like the beaches in Playa del Carmen, from long stretches of white sand to the warm, calming ocean waters.

Unfortunately, seaweed is becoming more and more prevalent, which does it make it difficult to enjoy the beaches.

If the seaweed is out of control during your stay, you’ll have hundreds of cenotes to explore or at least hotel pools to help you stay cool.

Hopefully, with this guide to the best beaches in Playa del Carmen, you have everything you need for your trip to Playa del Carmen!