Cancun has no official gay beach although Playa Delfines is considered the unofficial gay beach in Cancun. It’s very popular for singles and couples, especially during the weekend. In Playa Delfines, you will find many LGBT travellers sunbathing and relaxing with a cold beer. The main gay part of the beach is just south of the Iberostar hotel. Playa Delfines is located on the southern part of the hotel zone. It’s the highest point of the hotel zone and the only part were no hotels are build. You can find it at Km 20, just across the “Ruinas del Rey”. Playa Delfines can be reach by public transport, taxi or cars (parking space available)
There are several other public beaches at the hotel zone:
All the public local beaches can be easily reach by public busses or taxi, Be aware that not all the public beaches have parking space
Cancun’s Northside Beaches
These beaches are located on the north side of the 7-shaped island of Cancun. North side beaches are protected from the open ocean by Isla Mujeres. They all have tranquil water and are generally safe for swimmers of all ages.
Playa Las Perlas – Pearl Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 2.5
The first public beach if you go towards the hotel zone from down town Cancun.. Normally there are almost no waves there, making it safe for younger swimmers. There are several large and beautiful homes close to this beach. Because of its protected western location the water at this beach is not the magical turquoise colour of the beaches further east.
Playa Linda – Pretty Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 4
This beach is located just west of the Puente Nichupte, which is the bridge on the north side. Playa Linda is not one of Cancun’s finer beaches, and does not live up to it’s name. . There are kayak and jet ski rentals available on the beach at Playa Linda.
Playa Langosta – Lobster Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 5
This beach is located near the the big Mexican flag and the Casa Maya Hotel, midway along the northside of the island. The Playa Langosta beach is popular with locals. Playa Langosta is also the dock for Dolphin Discovery and for one of many Isla Mujeres Ferries. The water at this beach is tranquil and is generally safe for children
Playa Tortugas – Turtle Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 6.5
This beach is located between the big Mexican flag and the heart of the Hotel Zone.
Playa Tortugas has deeper water and better “grown-up” swimming than most other beaches along the north side. But it still has plenty of shallow areas for children. The water at this beach is a deep turquoise colour. There is a dock with a ferry to Isla Mujeres and an indoor craft and flea market. There are several restaurants where cold beer can be happily consumed beach-side. This beach is quite popular with locals on weekends.
Playa Caracol – Snail Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 9
This beach is located near Plaza Caracol and the Xcaret dock, close to the heart of the Hotel Zone. Playa Caracol has clear blue tranquil water. If this beach is crowded a short stroll west, to the left, will bring you to a lovely and less crowded beach. There are many water sport rentals along the beach to the west of Playa Caracol.
Cancun’s Eastside Beaches
Beaches on the east side of Cancun’s 7-shaped island face the beautiful Caribbean Sea. They generally have much bigger waves than on the northern side. Please observe the colour of the flags which indicates the safety of swimming, The sea here has the rich turquoise blue colour. If you stay in a hotel on the east side be sure to get up (or stay up) to watch the sunrise over the Caribbean; Cancun is blessed with perfect sunrises.
Playa Gaviota Azul – Blue Seagull Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 9.5
This beach is located near Plaza Forum and The City Beach Club. It is close to the heart of the Hotel Zone. There is no public parking for this beach. Playa Gaviota Azul is that lovely turquoise color that everyone loves.
Playa Chac Mool – Chac Mool Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 10
This beach is located across from Señor Frog’s, just south of the busy heart of the Hotel Zone. There is no parking lot for this beach. Playa Chac Mool is lovely, the water is a deep turquoise color and the waves are quite fun.
Playa Marlín – Marlin Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 13
This beach is located near the Carisma Courts and the Tucancun Hotel, behind Plaza Kukulcán.The water is always a lovely deep turquoise and good swimmers enjoy playing in the waves there. There are kilometers of great beach in either direction so if you find the beach at Playa Marlin to be crowded just take a little walk and find your spot. Access to this beach is behind Plaza Kukulcán.
Playa Ballenas – Whale Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 14.5
This beach is located just north of the Cancun Palace Hotel and just south of Le Meridien Hotel, parking and beach access are off of Calle Ballenas. Playa Ballenas is a superb beach with spectacular turquoise water and fun waves. Jet ski rentals and parasailing are available there.
Playa Delfines – Dolphin Beach
See Above. The northern part of the beach is the unofficial gay beach
Playa Punta Nizuc – Point Nizuc Beach
Location: Hotel Zone – Boulevard Kukulcán – km 24
This beach is located at the southern tip of the 7-shaped island of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, close to the Nizuc waterpark. Playa Punta Nizuc is located away from the crowds and the hotels, near the Parque Nizuc Water Park. It’s location around the corner of the southern tip of the 7-shaped island means that the water there is placid and has almost no waves. Unlike most of the beaches in Cancun, the beach at Playa Punta Nizuc is bordered by jungle rather than hotels. Parking is plentiful and access to this beach is easy.
OTHER THINGS TO VISIT ON THE HOTEL ZONE.
El Rey archaeological site
This pre-colonial Mayan City is now inhabited by hundreds of iguanas which have made the spectacular ruins of this ancient Mayan city, right in the heart of Cancun’s hotel z0ne their home.
The El Rey ruins are all that remains of an ancient Mayan city, abandoned following the arrival of the Spanish settlers. As you explore the 47 stone structures and let your imagination fill in the details and colour of ancient Mayan life. Climb to the top of the highest structure to find a Mayan temple and the burial site of an important Mayan figure.
Some of the stone walls are still adorned with ancient paintings. While the murals have deteriorated with time, it is still possible to make out images resembling kings and other significant members of the community. While not as grand as other Mayan cities, El Rey is still highly atmospheric and offers an accessible introduction to the original inhabitants of Cancun.
El Rey Ruins are located at KM 20 along Cancun’s hotel zone at the lagoon side. The ruins are just across from Playa Delfines. They are best reached by bus or taxi, and paid parking is available in the hotel district. Entrance to the ruins is available daily for a very small fee,
Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm.
San Miguelito Archaeological Site:
Just beside the new Mundo Maya Museum. After visiting the museum ( the entrance fee is for the museum and the ruins), go back down to the ground level and follow the path that leads to the San Miguelito archaeological site. This is considered a small site, but it’s certainly a pleasant surprise to find this green oasis of 1000 square meters of jungle with meandering paths leading to a variety of ancient structures in the middle of Cancun’s hotel zone. The Maya inhabited the site over 800 years ago until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors (roughly 1250 to 1550 A.C.). The site contains some 40 structures, of which five are open to the public, the largest being a pyramid of 26 feet in height. San Miguelito’s ideal location, on the coast of the Caribbean Sea and near the Nichupté Lagoon, facilitated its residents’ involvement in the ancient Mayan system of trade, and allowed them to make use of routes around the lagoons, reefs and mangroves.
Opening hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm. Closed Mondays.
Museo Maya Cancun
Visitors to the popular resort area of Cancun are mostly looking for fun in the sun on Cancun’s beautiful beaches, but many will be pleased to know that during their visit they can also learn about the ancient Mayan civilization that developed in the area. Opened to the public in November 2012, the Maya Museum is located in the heart of the Cancun hotel zone. Besides a museum, there is an archaeological site, called San Miguelito, on the same grounds (which stretch over 85,000 square meters).
About the Museum and Exhibits:
The museum is housed in a modern white building with large windows which was designed by Mexican architect Alberto García Lascurain. Three white columns made of delicate leafy patterns representing the vegetation of the area sit in a fountain at the entrance to the museum. These were designed by Jan Hendrix, a Dutch-born artist who has lived and worked in Mexico for over thirty years.
On the ground floor of the museum you’ll find the ticket booth and bag check area; you’ll be asked to leave any large bags as they’re not permitted inside the museum. There is a cafeteria on this level also, and gardens with paths leading to the archaeological site.
The exhibition halls are located on the second floor, accessed via elevator (the museum is wheelchair accessible). They are elevated to 30 feet above sea level to protect the collection in case of flooding. There are three exhibition halls, two of which are permanent and one which is used for temporary exhibits. The museum’s complete collection contains over 3500 pieces, but only about a tenth of the collection is currently on display (some 320 pieces).
The first hall is dedicated to the archaeology of the State of Quintana Roo, and presented in roughly chronological order. One of the most notable aspects of the collection is found here, the skeletal remains of La Mujer de las Palmas (“The Woman of the Palms”) and a replica of the context in which they were discovered. She is believed to have lived in the area some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago and her remains were found in the Las Palmas cenote near Tulum in 2002.
The second hall is dedicated to Mayan culture as a whole and includes pieces found in other areas of Mexico: besides Quintana Roo, the Maya World encompassed the present-day Mexican states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatan, and stretched into Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and part of Honduras.
The Museo Maya de Cancun is located at Km 16.5 in the Hotel Zone. It is easily accessible by taxi or public bus from anywhere in the hotel zone.
Address: Boulevard Kukulkan Km 16.5, Hotel zone.
Admission: Entrance to the museum is 65 pesos (dollars are not accepted), and includes admission to the San Miguelito archaeological site.
Opening hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm. Closed Mondays.
Swim with sharks, kiss a sea lion and hand-feed, or dive in with, a pod of dolphins at one of Mexico’s premier aquariums.
Acuario Interactivo, in the heart of Cancun, offers a range of hands-on activities, both inside and out. Located within the popular La Isla shopping center, the aquarium is known for its engaging activities, setting it apart from most traditional aquariums. The Interactive Aquarium of Cancun is an adventure the whole family can enjoy, whether you wish to get wet or not.
Begin your visit at the Interactive Aquarium with a walk through the exhibition tanks. Get up-close with rays, eels and clown fish as you explore the aquarium’s 13 tanks. Each tank is designed to replicate the natural environments of the species that live within them, and together they hold almost 28,000 gallons (106 cubic meters) of water. See the fish that are unique to the local coral reef, such as the piranha, as well as species from more distant waters.
Continue through the tanks until you reach the contact area. Here, you’ll have a rare opportunity to interact with the animals in a controlled environment. Feed turtles by hand, stroke a giant manta ray and receive a cheeky kiss from the resident sea lion. This is an excellent educational experience, with helpful staff on hand to answer questions.
The Interactive Museum is well known for its shark enclosure. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to get in the water as tiger sharks and bull sharks swim just feet away. Snorkels and masks are provided, but be sure to bring your swimming gear. End your day at the aquarium with a visit to the dolphin pool. A daily dolphin show is offered in the afternoon, and swimming with the creatures is possible for a fee. Be pushed through the water by the playful animals, as you learn about how they live in the wild.
Cancun’s Interactive Aquarium is located in the center of the hotel precinct and can be reached on foot from many hotels and resorts. It is serviced by bus and taxi, and there is some paid parking available in the hotel precinct. The aquarium is open daily, and an admission fee applies. You have to pay extra to dive in with the marine creatures and pre-bookings are recommended.
TO VISIT JUST 5 KM NORTH OF CANCUN
The El Meco archaeological site
EL Meco is a site that stands on its own even though it is not the largest of sites. It is located just north of the centre of Cancun which makes it easy to visit even though many people skip it for seeing other places. For less than $4 USD you can see these ruins. These ruins are also very close to Cancun in comparison to the 2 1/2 hour trip to other ruins deep in the Yucatan Peninsula.
About: El Meco was perhaps first inhabited in the 3rd. century and then abandoned for. It was being repopulated around the 11th Century. This site no doubt had a deep connection to Isla Mujeres and was an important port. From the top of the Castillo structure you can get an impressive view of the surrounding area. This was the tallest structure in the area and could have been an important control point to survey incoming ships. The principal structure is 12.5 meters high (41 ft.). El Meco is bigger than the two site on the hotel zone.
Directions: Drive North out of Cancun on Avenida Lopez Portillo also known as the Cancun-Puerto Juarez road. The site is located at Km.27. The ruins are just off the road on the left. There is a small parking lot. There is good signage. You can take from the centre of Cancun a public bus to Puerto Juarez (Isla Mujeres ferry harbour) and then further to Punta Sam. Taking a taxi is possible as well.