Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is the most popular travel destination in the country, home to the legendary Riviera Maya and hot spots like Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, plus the island of Cozumel, a popular Western Caribbean cruise port of call.
Whether you're looking for all inclusives and high energy, or laid back, off-the-beaten track exploration, the cultural and gastronomic hub of Mexico's southeast, picturesque towns and jungle environments, the mystique of 18 archeological sites and four historic 'Magical Towns' and a hundred intriguing cenotes or natural pools, chances are, your holiday will also involve beach time. Lots of beach time.
The state has almost 250 miles of some of the highest rated beaches in the country. These 7 consistently rank in the top spots for the most beautiful beaches in Yucatan:
Celestun: A natural and eco-tourism paradise, Celestun is home to exceptional landscapes where beaches dotted with abundant coconut palms and mangroves are an ideal setting for outdoor activities. This area is part of the World Heritage Special Reserve of the Ría Celestun biosphere, which is home to approximately 400 species of migratory birds that arrive between December to March, making for an incomparable natural spectacle.
Telchac: An hour away from the capital city Merida lies the peace and quiet of the port of Telchac. Its calm waters are perfect for swimming in complete tranquility. Here, you can also visit the Museum of the Sea, which exhibits species of marine fossils, snails, shells and more.
Xtampu & X'Cambo: Not far from Telchac is the beautiful Rosada Lagoon, with its unforgettable vivid pink color. It comprises part of Xtampu’s lagoon, where — in addition to taking spectacular photos — you can learn about the process of salt extraction. While in the area, you can also immerse yourself in ancient Mayan culture by visiting the archaeological zone of X'Cambo, one of the few ruins close to the coast, which is believed to have been an ancient fishing port that supplied the main Mayan cities with food.
Cancunito: Located in Río Lagartos — a three hours drive from the capital and very close to Las Coloradas, famous for its large pink pools — Cancunito stands out as one of Yucatan’s most spectacular virgin beaches. With its fantastic natural setting, this tropical paradise has abundant mangroves as well as coastal dunes. It's part of an ecosystem where species such as Hawksbill, White, and Loggerhead sea turtles arrive to spawn.
San Felipe: Half an hour away from Cancunito lies the small fishing and tourist port of San Felipe, where you’ll find rustic wooden houses in a mix of cheerful colors. Enjoy a day at the town beach with its white sands, turquoise waters and tranquility are a relaxing escape. San Felipe has become one of the most popular spots in Yucatán for nature lovers who come for its vibrant natural surroundings.
Río Lagartos: A small traditional fishing port that today is one of the best kept “secrets” in the Yucatan Peninsula, the town lies right at the entrance to the well-known Ría Lagartos Reserve Natural Park, where you can explore a fascinating environment that’s home to crocodiles, sea turtles and hundreds of species of birds, including flamingos and pelicans.
El Cuyo: At the northeastern tip of Yucatan, El Cuyo is just three hours from the state capital. This little paradise is one of the most unique corners of the state, lying right at the end of the Costa Esmeralda. Its main claim to fame is being the place where the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea meet. The mix of currents and winds make the area ideal for sports such as sailing and kitesurfing.
Images courtesy of Yucatan's Ministry of Tourism
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