Quintana Roo, Cancún
Playa Delfines in Cancún is an unspoiled long beach between hotels. It often lacks the heavy crowds found elsewhere throughout the Hotel Zone and it offers the signature gorgeous water you’d expect from Cancún.
It is a beautiful, long public beach, with unreal blue sea. Just be mindful of heavy currents and riptides, since this beach is known for its rough waters. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards but make sure you are cautious yourself. Fortunately for those who enjoy surfing, these same conditions make it a great spot; the waves tend to be consistent and decent in size. There are no places to rent surfboards right on the beach, so you would have to bring your own.
Playa Delfines translates as 'Dolphins' Beach', and is one of the best places in Cancún to see these majestic creatures. Apparently, they can often be seen from the shore, but charter tours are also available for those wanting a more intimate experience. I have been here three times so far and had no luck seeing the dolphins…
The beach is also nicknamed El Mirador (The Lookout), thanks to its sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea and the sights of Cancún. As a matter of fact, large colourful letters saying 'Cancún' have been placed here recently at the car park, at the top of the beach hill, which provide the perfect backdrop for some terrific vacation photos (people queue here for a long time to get that 'lookout' photo, with the turquoise sea below). The sand is fine, but we are very spoilt here in Riviera Maya, so I must admit that it is a little bit coarser and darker than the exquisite fine sand of the more northerly beaches.
There are no restaurants on the beach but plenty of vendors selling drinks and food (and artefacts). They actually bring the meals from a restaurant at the end of the beach. The vendors aim at the locals; the food is traditional and less expensive than in many of the more tourist-orientated restaurants. Try local specialities like fresh fish wrapped in a banana leaf, or kibis, an old Yucatan favourite. You can rent boats and jet skis here. There is a playground for children and the (clean) restrooms are atop the hill by the free car park. There are plenty of thatched palapas on the beach and they are also free of charge. So just bring your towel and your water with you. Alternatively, there are deckchairs and umbrellas for hire here. Last time I was here with my friend Michelle in December 2017, we were offered beach chairs and an umbrella for $250 pesos for two.
This beach is located near the Mayan ruins called El Rey (The King), just across the road. El Rey is small but pretty. The old Maya seaport dating back to the 3rd century BC is certainly worth half an hour's visit before (or after) you hit the beach. If you are really interested in history, another 1.5km further is Cancún Mayan Museum, with fantastic exhibits of the sculptures and artefacts from all the Yucatán Maya sites.
How to get there:
The beach is easily accessible by bus, taxi or rental car. It is located at km 18 off Boulevard Kukulkán in the hotel zone. The beach is one of the few in Cancún with free public parking.
The parking spaces are always full but there are attendants who will navigate you to a space. They expect a tip for their help and believe me, you will need it.
From the car park you will descend to the beach below.
Getting There By Bus: Blue Line Stop #20, Green Line Stop #17.