The amount of seaweed on Riviera Maya beaches varies from one day to the next, depending on ocean current activity, although seaweed tends to get worse during the summer months.
Read on for the essential guide to beaches in the Riviera Maya.
What Are the Beaches Like in Riviera Maya?
Each beach along the Riviera Maya has its own unique qualities and vibe to offer.
Take a turn on the coastline and the landscape is transformed from flat endless stretches of white sands with rolling waves to dramatic rocky outcrops and inlets full of beautiful coral and colorful marine life.
But the one thing that unites them all is the sparkling crystal-clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
What Are the Best Beaches in Riviera Maya?
Here is a list of the best beaches in the Riviera Maya:
- Playa Maroma: Situated in the town of Punta Maroma, Playa Maroma is one of the most beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya. Fringed by crystal-clear turquoise waters and lined with swaying palms, the beach is very clean. Although Playa Maroma is a private beach, visitors can purchase a day pass to enjoy a full day on this beach, inclusive of food, drinks and water sports.
- Playa Xpu-Ha: Another gorgeous gem of the Riviera Maya, Playa Xpu-Ha is considered one of the region’s best beaches as it is situated in a relatively untouched area. Its location far from the noise of the resorts gives it a calm and tranquil vibe. The beach boasts endless stretches of golden sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters that make it a very scenic and romantic spot.
- Akumal: Situated between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, Akumal boasts fine beaches with soft white sands, turquoise seawaters and swaying coconut palms. A beautiful protected area, Akumal is especially popular for the opportunity to swim with sea turtles. This is because the little beach town is a feeding ground for giant sea turtles which can be spotted here year round.
- Puerto Morelos: Situated between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos is an old yet charming fishing village. Besides its dream-like beaches, what makes this place truly special is the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park, which is part of the world’s second largest coral reef system. Here, visitors can dive or snorkel among fascinating turtles, sea fans and sponges.
- Playa Paraiso: The Mayan ruins at Tulum boast the most spectacular ocean vista in the region. After a hike in the jungle and a stroll through the ancient walled city, you are suddenly struck by the breathtaking sight of the blue ocean against a backdrop of cliffs and ruins. Descend the steep staircase and immerse your feet in the soft sands and playful waves of the Caribbean Sea.
- Playa Mamitas: One of Playa del Carmen’s most popular beaches, Playa Mamitas is located close to the iconic Quinta Avenida. A private beach with fine sands, clear blue waters and beach chairs to relax on, Mamitas is the perfect spot to go to with family or friends. The beach has a variety of restaurants and bars: some with music and dancing, while others are more family-friendly.
- Playacar: Boasting soft white sands and crystal-clear blue waters, Playacar is a beach away from the crowds. Visitors can relax and soak up the ocean breeze or enjoy a stroll along the beach checking out different shops and hotels. Adventure travelers can try out scuba-diving and kiteboarding, or take a break from the water to see the ancient Mayan ruins near the center.
- Playa Xcalacoco: Undeniably beautiful, Playa Xcalacoco is another tiny gem of small cabanas and remote beach. The beach is very well-maintained, so you can expect clean waters and no seaweed. There are sandbags for kids to play on at sea, as well as locals selling food, drinks, trinkets and more. Be sure to bring some water shoes as the beach is quite rocky.
- Punta Bete: A hidden gem in the Riviera Maya, Punta Bete offers a secret hideaway for travelers who want to escape it all. The slice of paradise hosts both upscale luxury boutique hotels and some rustic spots where you can rent a cabana or pitch a tent in the sand. Visitors can also enjoy fresh seafood and cold drinks at one of the beach-side restaurants.
- Beaches of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve: If you crave wild, remote beaches or fancy a day at the beach away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds, then the Sian Ka’an Reserve is your best bet. Here, visitors can reconnect with untouched nature amid idyllic beaches, mangroves and jungle greenery, and enjoy the great biodiversity of the reserve’s flora and fauna.
Which Resort in Riviera Maya Has the Best Beach?
Playa Maroma is the best beach in the Riviera Maya, and Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun is the best resort found on Playa Maroma.
Which All Inclusive Resort in Riviera Maya Has the Best Beach?
The best beach in the Riviera Maya is Playa Maroma, while the best all-inclusive resort on Playa Maroma is Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun.
Nestled on a breathtaking stretch of soft white sands, Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun is an adults-only all-inclusive resort. There is a large infinity pool overlooking the sandy courtyard lined with coconut palms and tropical greenery that leads to the private beach – Playa Maroma.
Here, guests can enjoy a massage as they relax on shaded sun loungers and plush private cabanas. There is a bar with adult-sized swings where guests can sit while sipping on cocktails. The beach is also a haven for diverse water sports including snorkeling, which is available right off the beach.
What Ocean is the Riviera Maya on?
The Riviera Maya stretches along the Caribbean Sea coastline of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
Can You Swim in Riviera Maya?
Yes, it is possible to swim in the Riviera Maya, depending on the sea water conditions on any given day. However, it is recommended that you stay out of the water when the ocean is rough and turbulent, with strong currents and a lot of waves. Also be sure to always follow the instructions given by the lifeguards.
What is the Water Temperature in Riviera Maya?
The water temperature in the Riviera Maya averages at between 78 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and 82 – 84 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. There is a current that runs along the Yucatan Peninsula bringing warm waters from farther south. This means that visitors can comfortably enjoy swimming, surfing, paddle-boarding, snorkeling or scuba-diving in the Riviera Maya all year round.
Is There a Seaweed Problem in Riviera Maya?
No, there is no seaweed problem in the Riviera Maya. In fact, on some days you may not find any seaweed in the Riviera Maya, while on other days there will be a lot. Generally, seaweed does not accumulate on the beaches of the Mayan Riviera as it often washes away thanks to sea current activity. Moreover, hotel staff will usually clear the seaweed daily to maintain a beautiful beach.
What Time of Year is Seaweed Bad in Riviera Maya?
Seaweed season in the Caribbean stretches from May through October. For most of the Caribbean, including the Riviera Maya, the worst time of the year for seaweed is in the summer.
Can You Snorkel in Riviera Maya?
Yes, you can snorkel in the Riviera Maya.
Is Riviera Maya Good for Snorkeling?
Yes, the Riviera Maya is good for snorkeling. In fact, the Riviera Maya is home to the Great Mesoamerican Barrier reef, the world’s second largest coral reef system. This stunning reef provides a magical underwater world of crystal-clear waters teeming with colorful marine life, which is a paradise for snorkelers.
Where is the Best Snorkeling in Riviera Maya?
Here is a list of the best places to snorkel in the Riviera Maya:
- Puerto Morelos: What makes Puerto Morelos special is the fact that the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System stretches closer to the shore here than along any other part of the Mayan Riviera. As such, the area is an underwater dream world teeming with barracuda, sting rays, lobsters, seahorses and gorgeous fire coral.
- Cozumel: Cozumel is renowned for its amazing snorkeling, thanks to its close proximity to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is found just a short distance off its coast. Add this to the warm blue sea waters and breathtaking depths of up to 30 feet, and you end up with an absolutely perfect spot to snorkel.
- Akumal: It is with good reason that Akumal is one of Mexico’s most popular snorkeling spots: the small beach town is a feeding ground for giant green sea turtles. Turtle sightings are common throughout the year in Akumal. Snorkelers can also see spotted eagle rays, parrotfish, manta rays and grunt fish, as well as a wide array of corals, sea fans and anemones.
- Cenotes & Cenote Rivers: In the Riviera Maya, snorkelers can enjoy a unique opportunity to go underwater in one of the many cenotes (freshwater sinkholes) and rivers made from connecting little cenotes. Hotel Xcaret Mexico is a good spot for visitors to go snorkeling in cenotes and see fish as well as underwater stalagmites.
- Xcacel: A tiny bay in the Mayan Riviera, Xcacel is a protected beach where sea turtles come to nest each year. Xcacel boasts some beautiful coral formations that are found quite close to the shore, where snorkelers can see a wide variety of fish. However, snorkelers will need to bring their own gear as there are no rental shops available.
- Xel-Ha Park: Located just outside Playa del Carmen, Xel-Ha Park is a great spot for first-time snorkelers. Here, beginners can access a calm and protected part of the sea using stairs that lead to the ocean. Although the lagoons have rock walls, they are easy to swim over. Xcaret Park is another good place where beginners can try their hand at snorkeling.
Is the Water Clear in Riviera Maya?
The clarity of seawater in the Riviera Maya depends on the presence/absence of waves. On a sunny clear day when the Caribbean Sea is generally calm with no wave activity, the waters surrounding the beaches of the Mayan Riviera will be clear. However, on a stormy, rainy day with strong waves, the waters will be rough and turbulent, thereby reducing clarity.
Are There Sharks in Riviera Maya?
Yes, many shark species are found in the Caribbean seawaters around the Riviera Maya, including bull sharks, whale sharks and nurse sharks. However, there is no need to be worried about sharks ruining your vacation as incidences of shark sightings and attacks are rare in the Riviera Maya.
Can You Swim With Dolphins in Riviera Maya?
Yes, it is possible to swim with dolphins in the Riviera Maya.
Here is a list of places where you can swim with dolphins in the Mayan Riviera:
- Dolphin Discovery: Dolphin Discovery is located in the marina of the little town of Puerto Aventuras. In the surrounds of a tropical green island with a natural lagoon, visitors can be kissed, hugged or even enjoy a ride from the dolphins. You can also take a stroll around the walkway as you watch the beautiful animals interact in their natural habitat.
- Delphinus Riviera Maya: Nestled on 10,000 square meters of incredible natural scenery, Delphinus is one of the top spots for dolphin swims in the Mayan Riviera. Visitors can learn about dolphins, watch them from a platform or enjoy playtime with the cute animals. Delphinus Riviera Maya is situated just 10 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, next to the Xcaret Eco-Park.
- Dolphinaris: Dolphin encounters by Dolphinaris are provided away from the open sea at 5 dolphin swim facilities located in various towns in the Riviera Maya, including Tulum, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel. Here, visitors can enjoy magical dolphin encounters within beautifully designed natural settings, surrounded by palm trees and overlooking the open water.