Quintana Roo, Cancún
Playa Linda means Pretty Beach. It is pretty indeed, but tricky to get to.
It is a north-facing beach in Cancún so it is less likely to get the seaweed that has troubled the Caribbean lately. It is tricky to get to, but if you manage, you will have it yourself. This position also makes it tranquil; there are hardly any waves.
However, the sea bottom is covered in sea grass and is a little bit oily from all the boats passing by. There are remedies for the issue with the sea grass. Just swim in the next bay on your left, when facing the sea (Aquamarina Beach Hotel) or on your right (Occidental Costa Hotel). Here the sea grass has been removed, making it comfortable to swim in.
You won't be able to hire deckchairs or use a restaurant.
Playa Linda is at El Embarcadero, the launch site of the Pirate Galleon Cruise ships (Captain Hook). You can see the entrance from a distance, by a tall Rotating Scenic Tower, right by a bridge. The car park serves both the Cancún Theatre and the pirate cruise ships. Restrooms are available here, right next to the ticket office (for the car park, Cancún Theatre, and pirate cruise ships).
When you try and enter the car park, they will tell you that there is no public beach there. This is because there is a hotel on the beach (Occidental Costa Hotel). However, you can still access the beach: just pass the hotel deck chairs at the first bay and you will come to a spot with palms and nobody else. You will have the beach to yourself here. Technically, you can put your towel down on the hotel beach as well, as all beaches in Mexico are federal property, allowing access to the general public.
I came here with my friend Ximena and we found a spot under the palms – just perfect. Great views, with wooden piers to the left, and they continue to the next bay, and Isla Mujeres opposite, across the sea. We enjoyed the stroll along that adjacent bay and we had a swim there as well. The fishermen had frigate birds and pelicans cruising over their heads, as they were feeding them with fish. We paddled in the bay. The sand was so soft that it almost felt like mud as I waded further in. I personally don't like that 'sinking' sensation so instead I decided to float. A lot of speedboats and waverunners pass by, making it a pleasant location for boat spotting.
I also liked the coastal plants which are in abundance here, such as geiger trees (Cordia sebestena), with beautiful orange flowers (their fruit is edible), sea grape (coccoloba uvifera), spider lilies and beach cabbage (naupaka), both with delicate white flowers. Such plants protect the sand dunes, stabilising the beach surface against wind erosion and providing a habitat for wildlife.
How to get there:
Location: Hotel Zone, Boulevard Kukulcán, at km 4.
This beach is located just west of the Puente Nichupté, which is the bridge on the north side. Parking is at El Embarcadero and the Teatro de Cancún. After parking, walk past the Occidental Hotel and settle at the end of the deckchairs.
Getting there by bus: Blue Line Stop #80, Green Line Stop #81.