Cancun Beach FAQ

Here is information on beach safety, water temperatures, nudity and more.

For a listing of publicly accessible Cancun beaches check out our Cancun Beach List which explains how to get to each of Cancun’s public beaches.

You are Free to Roam Mexico’s Beaches
All beaches in Mexico are Federal Property and everyone is free to roam them at will. From time to time you will see members of the Mexican Military patrolling the beach, carrying machine guns, this is normal so don’t be alarmed! How they survive the heat in those uniforms we’ll never know.

Beach Safety
Nearly all publicly accessible beaches (and many hotels) have a lifeguard on duty. The waters along the north side of Cancun’s 7-shaped island are generally safer for non-swimmers and weak swimmers. The beaches on the east side have rougher surf and can be more dangerous. Sometimes the undertow can be very strong and people can be pulled out or to the south quicker than they expect. Lifeguards know the waters here and know the signs of riptides and dangerous undertow; it’s always wise to listen to them if they signal you.

Water Temperatures
The water temperatures in the Caribbean can go above 80°F/27°C beginning around June and ending usually by November. Water temperatures cool off a few degrees in the winter and spring. Many locals do not swim in the ocean during the cool water months. But for most tourists even the cold water here feels warm. Visit the Cancun Weather page for more information.

Nice Cool Sand
Cancun has 22 kilometers (almost 14 miles) of sand which is crushed coral rather than crushed rock. Because of the composition of the sand the beaches here do not get hot. The sand here stays cool to the touch regardless of how hot the day is. At some beaches the sand is so fine that it clings to you, and all your stuff, like powder.

Many people want to know if there are nude or topless beaches in Cancun. Perhaps the city’s sexy reputation is a little misleading in this regard. There are no nude beaches in Cancun although there are several clothing optional resorts in the area. Some women choose to go topless along Cancun’s beaches, and this is accepted.

Cancun has many marinas and places along the beach where you can engage in watersports. You can find sailing, para-sailing, water-skiing, catamaran rides, kayaks, jet-skis, banana boat rides, hobie-cat rentals, pedal boats and even kite-surfing in Cancun.

Good snorkeling is found near the reef and near rocky places with calm water. Cancun does not have many of these places. Many people do snorkel at the southern end of the Hotel Zone down near the Westin Hotel and Club Med. There are rocks there and the water is calm enough for the fish. Some people also see fish near the many piers and docks off the north side of the Hotel Zone. But if you want top-notch snorkeling the best advice is to take one of the many tours available here. Many tours go down to Puerto Morelos where the reef is near shore and is protected as a marine sanctuary. Great snorkeling can also be found at Xcaret, Xel-Ha and at Yal-ku (our favorite), which is a bay at the north end of Akumal.

For a listing of publicly accessible Cancun beaches check out our Cancun Beach List