Beaches of Cancun

    View of Playa Tortugas Cancun

    The beaches of Cancun differ from those I grew up near; Brooklyn, Long Island, and New Jersey.  For one thing, even on 90-degree days, the sand won’t burn your feet!

    Back in the day, the family would frequent Jones Beach on Long Island or Reis Park in the Rockaways, Brooklyn. Later, after I was married we’d go to Spring Lake and other Jersey shore beaches, and they all had one thing in common: the sand got hot!

    When I moved to Cancun in 2020 during the Pandemic, I didn’t notice it at first. But after a while, it dawned on me that the sand wasn’t hot. Even today, July 4th, 2022, it was 90 degrees and I had no problem walking barefoot on the beach, And not just by the surf, but anywhere.

    The beaches in Cancun, Mexico are terrific, after all, it’s the Caribbean — crystal clear water, beautiful hues of blue and green, and just the perfect temperature.

    Thus far I have frequented only two beaches here, but you know what they say: if it ain’t broke…

    Beaches of Cancun


    Playa tortugasThe closest beach to me, about 7 minutes from downtown, is called Playa Tortugas. It’s sort of cozy, and although it extends quite a bit, there are rocks that give it the feel of a smaller cove. When walking from the parking lot to the beach, turn right, and you can rent an umbrella and chairs in front of the restaurant for MX250 peso (about US$12). Moreover, the restaurant has pretty good food, good margaritas, and is inexpensive — freshly grilled fish dinner will run you about US$7.

    Playa Tortugas adventuraThere is also a dock there where you can catch the ferry to Isla Mujeres, an island about 20-30 minutes away. You can also buy 1/2 day or full day party boat tours. They slow cruise out to Isla Mujeres with an open bar, stopping for a bit of snorkeling on the way, and an all-you-can-eat buffet on the Island. A few hours there, and then the boat returns. The 1/2 day will run about US$40.

    The tower to the left offers bungee jumping.


    Club Mandala CancunIf you continue down Kukulcan Blvd, past Playa Tortugas for about another 5 minutes or so, you’ll pass the party enclave, with many bars, restaurants and clubs. The road will curve right and then in a few minutes more, you’ll pass La Isla, which is the higher-rent outdoor mall with more restaurants. Lastly, when you pass KUKULCAN Mall on your left side, you want to take the next left (there is a sign to Playa Marlin). Go one block to the end, turn left, and a few blocks down on the right you’ll see the entrance.

    Of the beaches of Cancun, Playa Marlin [to me] has the nicer beach for sure, although my friend Nuria would argue for Playa Blanca. Playa Marlin, however, is expansive as far as the eye can see in either direction, and the water is an amazing mix of blues and greens.

    Playa Marlin Cancun

    Here too you can rent an umbrella and chairs, also at a cost of MX250 pesos for the day. They also can accommodate you with food and drinks from the nearby hotel restaurant, though the prices are slightly higher than Tortugas. Being a much larger beach, and a bit further from town, it doesn’t get quite as crowded as Tortugas either.

    There are some good restaurants close to Playa Marlin if you’re looking for a nice meal at sunset on the lagoon. Puerto Madero de Buenos Aires is very good, but most anything along the few-mile strip in that part of Kukulcan will be very good, as it is a high-end tourist area.






    • Brie Austin


      An author, reporter and former NYC columist, now a New Theory contributor in Buenos Aires.

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