Quintana Roo, Cancún
Playa Langosta is a large public beach in Cancún, with extremely shallow waters, making it a popular family beach.
In translation Playa Langosta means 'Lobster Beach'. I can't tell if the waters are full of lobsters. If so, they must be further away from the beach full of people.
The beach is next to Hotel Casa Maya and The Royal Cancun Hotel is on the other side but the space in between is large.
Cancún has about 20km of beaches. There are two types of beaches here: the north side beaches with tranquil water and the east side beaches which have more exciting waves. Playa Langosta is the former type. In fact, the waters are extremely shallow, full of children just paddling. Well, I am an adult, but I also enjoyed just sitting in the sea and splashing around. The beach is covered in powdered coral sand that never gets hot. It is so pleasant to walk on! And it invites you to build sand castles although the locals build pyramids with their children, as you would expect the Maya to do.
On the other hand, in all honesty, I found the seawater a bit oily and I could smell a bit of sulphur. At first I thought it came from two ferryboats docked at the pier, destined for Isla Mujeres. But the boats did not leave during the entire day that I stayed here. Is it because nobody bought tickets? After all, there are too many piers here from where you can take a ferry to the island. Still, I loved just sitting in the shallow waters, sunbathing and people-watching. The pier divides the beach into two parts and a lot of people sit in the water under the pier, to keep in the shade. You can also hire sunbeds (80 pesos for one), umbrellas (100 pesos), tables with four chairs (200 pesos for the set).
There is a set of floatable slides in the sea, which seemed popular (see my first photo). You have to buy a ticket (300 pesos for tourists, 150 for the locals). The slides are attended to by staff and you will get a lifevest, in case you fall off when running on the plastic 'pavements' between the slides.
Vendors hawk coconuts, mangoes, 'kibi' and doughnuts, impressively balancing their heavy wares on their heads. I tried them all. The fresh mango is always a delight and they sell it to you cut in strips, so no effort required. The same applies to coconuts. They put a dash of chili on them. How otherwise, this is Mexico. As for 'kibi kibis', as the vendors call them, once I tasted them, I realised that they are influenced by Lebanese cuisine. And no wonder. Until recent years, Mexico did not have many restrictions on immigration, making it attractive to the Europeans and Middle Easterners who took part in the great movement to the Americas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Lebanese were part of that movement (fleeing oppression from the Ottoman Empire regime), attracted to Mexico by the Porfirian foreign immigration policy. The first wave arrived between 1880 and 1910 on Mexico's eastern shores and settled in the Yucatán peninsula and the Gulf coast. The Arabic kibbeh is originally made of bulgur, minced onions, and finely ground lean beef, lamb, goat, or camel meat with Middle Eastern spices. Here they fry the mincemeat wrapped in a tortilla and they serve it with pickled red cabbage. I could not detect any chilli; it was not spicy.
The beach has great restrooms and shower facilities, and a great playground (although it is situated by the car park, a bit of a walk from the shoreline). They all looked new when I was here in July 2018. And everything worked! Water in the showers and the toilets, which does not happen everywhere in Mexico. There are no restaurant services, nor any shops, so it is a must to bring your own drinks. There is wheelchair access to the beach and the car park is free. However, in order to get a place in the car park, you need to arrive in the morning, as it gets full quickly. This is a popular beach with the locals. I noticed one family with a wheelchair sticker on the car and they got priority for the car park, which is attended by staff. Nice to see that, amongst all that traffic pouring in from the main highway there is always a personal and humane touch.
How to get there:
The beach is located in the Hotel Zone, on Boulevard Kukulcán, at km 5. The car park is right next to the Casa Maya Hotel, midway along the north side of the island.
Getting there by bus: Blue Line Stop #74, Green Line Stop #77.