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5 Things to Know about Cancun Beaches

by Cara Gourley on February 22, 2011

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There’s nothing I like better in Cancun than spending the day on the beach. I love walking around with my feet in the sand, joining in a game of beach volleyball and swimming in the beautiful water. And even though I’m not a kid anymore, I still enjoy the occasional sand castle.

Everyone loves the beach in Cancun; it’s one of the biggest draw for the city. Snorkeling, scuba diving and swimming are quite popular.

Here are some things about the beaches in Cancun that everyone should know:

1. Beaches are Public

From the high tide line, all beaches in Mexico are public land. This means that you can walk for along the white sandy beaches of Cancun for miles.

Not all of the beaches have public access but you have the right to walk and swim at any beach in Cancun.

Some hotels and resorts have restricted areas close to the hotel with private lounge chairs and umbrellas. If you do not want to bother with vendors, check that the hotel you are staying at has this option.

2. Cancun’s Beaches are Patrolled

If you are staying in the Hotel Zone, you may see a member of the Mexican Navy patrolling the area. The local police also patrol the beaches on 4-wheelers.

3. The Water Temperature is Warm Year Round

While sometimes there cold spells, the water in Cancun is usually around 80 degrees year round. The winter months are colder – an average of 78 – and the summer months are warmer – around 84.

This means that even if you are visiting in December or January chances are you will get a chance to go swimming in Cancun
Cancun Lifeguard with a red flag on a Cancun beach

4.  Most Beaches in the Hotel Zone have Lifeguards

If you are staying in the Hotel Zone, you can expect to see lifeguards along most of the popular beaches from 9am to 6pm. You can spot them by their red cross t-shirts and red shorts. Some hotels have their own as well.

This does not mean that you shouldn’t look out for friends and family while swimming. Drowning is a very real danger in any ocean setting.

5.  Flags Indicate the Beach’s Safety

You will see colored flags along the beach. These flags indicate the swimming conditions and safety. You should pay attention to them in order to stay safe.

  • Black Flag: Dangerous. Don’t swim.
  • Red Flag: Use extreme caution, dangerous.
  • Yellow Flag: Use caution.
  • Green Flag: Safe to swim.

What else would you like to know about Cancun’s beaches?

Cara is the Director of Web and Video Production at All About Mexico. She loves traveling, taking photos of everything and writing about Mexico. You can follow her on twitter - @allaboutcara.
Cara Gourley
View all posts by Cara Gourley
  • Larry Steinberger

    I love the beach so this info is very informing

  • Angela Jimenez

    Do the beaches shrink in the winter with high tide? (end of December)

  • Jesse

    I’m not a lifeguard there, but I am a lifeguard. We’re not law enforcement and therefore can’t tell you that absolutely can’t swim in a rip. Only if you are doing something illegal can a lifeguard call law enforcement on you to make an arrest. (i.e. drinking alcohol if prohibited on the beach or starting a fight, etc). Swimming in a dangerous rip (where the black flags would be) isn’t illegal but please be aware that if you decide to swim in it against lifeguard’s warnings, we still legally have to enter the water to save you. The best case scenario is that you’ll hate us for ruining your fun. The worst case scenario is that a lifeguard will give their life to save yours. Please consider this at least. We HAVE to attempt to save you or we can be arrested and charged with negligence, abandonment, etc.

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