Tulum is one of the top beach vacation destinations in the world, and the best beaches in Tulum have something for all types of travelers. Long stretches of fine white sand and mesmerizingly blue water have put the quaint Mexican town on the map for party animals and beach bums alike.
Located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, it attracts travelers from all around the globe to its miles and miles of pristine coastline, lush palm groves, and boutique hotels.
Tulum truly has it all. It’s easy to find a buzzing beach party or a spot to relax under the Mexican sun, undisturbed save from the gentle swishing of the turquoise waters. But for those looking to skip the usual tourist experience, here are some of Tulum’s best off-the-beaten-path beaches for a maximum paradise feel.
Looking for the best places to stay in Tulum? Once you’ve narrowed down your options, head over to Troupe to start planning your Tulum vacation. Troupe lets your travel buddies rank their preferred travel dates and vote on where to stay in Tulum.
The 6 best beaches in Tulum include:
- Playa Paraiso
- Playa Ruinas
- Soliman Bay
- Akumal Beach
- Sian Ka’an
- Cozumel’s beaches
Tulum’s best beaches for all types of beach days
1. Playa Paraiso: Paradise all day
Removed from the hustle and bustle of the main hotel zone, Playa Paraiso offers plenty of space for beach bums who seek a more zen environment. Stretching far and long across the coast, you can spend an entire day lounging on the sugar-white sands with crystal clear waters as far as the eye can see.
Come early to settle into your perfect spot. Bring your own equipment or easily rent sun chairs and a parasol for about $10 USD for the day.
2. Playa Ruinas: One-of-a-kind
Playa Ruinas is one-of-a-kind. With the historic Mayan ruins of Tulum nestled into the cliff above, it is one of the most iconic and beautiful beaches in all of Mexico. Within walking distance from Playa Paraiso, the fine-sand beach lined with swaying palm trees and dramatic views of the ruins is a popular hangout spot for locals and tourists alike.
Visit the ruins in your flip flops then head for a dip in the glittering turquoise waters of the Caribbean, or come early for a more tranquil environment and enjoy your own little paradise.
3 Soliman Bay: A well-kept secret
Located just north of Tulum, Soliman Bay is one of the area’s best-kept secrets for a beach away from the crowds. If you are looking for a day of solitude lounging in the sun, this tucked-away bay is where you want to be.
This secluded beach spot is perfect to take one of the famous long walks along the beach, exploring the rich underwater world snorkeling along the Caribbean shore, and just spending the day relaxing under a palm tree.
One of the best beaches in Tulum, Soliman Bay has calmer waters thanks to a reef, making it a great option for families.
4 Akumal Beach: Swim with sea turtles
Home to five beautiful blue bays, Akumal is one of the best spots in Mexico to swim with sea turtles. A 30-minute drive from downtown Tulum, this beach is a great option for families and more active travelers.
Dive shops and palapa-roofed restaurants serving fresh seafood and cold drinks make the soft sand beaches of Akumal Bay a top destination for travelers of all ages. Strap on your snorkel gear and get into the crystal-clear water to swim alongside the sea turtles or relax with a cocktail under the palm groves.
It is possible to bring your own snorkel equipment and see the turtles, despite what the snorkel salesman will tell you! However, your chances of seeing the turtles are much better if you use a guide.
5 Sian Ka’an: Raw and untouched nature
If you are looking for a virgin beach experience, it’s the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve you should visit.
The expansive protected natural habitat is home to hundreds of animals like jaguars, ocelots, dolphins, countless species of birds, turtles, and more. The largely undeveloped mangrove jungle offers a pristine experience of Mexico’s raw and untouched beauty.
Some of the beaches are only accessible by guided tour, but driving out a bit farther with a local is well worth it. You will find yourself in paradise, most likely with the whole place to yourself. The beaches closer to the parking lots might have a few more people lounging in the sun, but because it’s a bit of a drive from Tulum you will still have much more privacy.
6 Cozumel: The tropical island dream
Okay so it’s not in Tulum, but when you’re talking about nearby beaches, you can’t overlook Cozumel.
Just off the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula lies Cozumel, one of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful beach and diving destinations. This tropical island impresses visitors with a plethora of sandy beaches and is a great alternative to Tulum for serious beach enthusiasts (or those with some extra time to spend in Mexico).
Visit Punta Sur Ecological Park or Passion Island Beaches for some of the area’s best off-the-beaten-path spots to spend your day. Bring your snorkeling gear or take a guided tour to explore part of the world’s second-largest reef, right off the shore.
The best time to visit Tulum’s Beaches
The coast off Tulum has become notorious for the amount of seaweed (called sargassum) during certain times of the year. It makes swimming in the ocean nearly impossible and gives off a rather unpleasant smell that can carry on the wind for miles. While hotels will have cleaning crews out on the sand every morning, they can’t clean what’s in the water.
If your main goal in visiting Tulum is to spend time on the beach, the most enjoyable months to visit are September-March. There are groups on Facebook as well that will give you live reports of the current sargassum situation at different beaches in Quintana Roo.
Visiting during a high sargassum period? Check out one of the many amazing cenotes (natural swimming holes) that can be found all over the Yucatan Peninsula. Cenote Azul is our favorite in Tulum.
Want to explore more of Mexico? You may be interested in:
- These incredible hidden gems in Mexico
- This list of the best places to stay in Cabo San Lucas
- A selection of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres
- These fabulous swim-up rooms in Cancun
- Dine in style at one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta