Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico, Costa Maya is a laid-back, peaceful town that’s smaller and less crowded than other vacation hotspots nearby. Costa Maya beaches are some of the best in Mexico, and Costa Maya Village is small and easy to navigate on foot.
Many travelers consider it one of the most inviting and comfortable stops along Mexico’s Caribbean side, which is more protected from waves and swells than the Pacific side. The area is full of beautiful sights and natural wonders, like Mayan ruins and underwater playgrounds full of colorful fish.
From snorkeling and scuba diving to beach clubs and natural experiences, here are some of the best Costa Maya beaches to visit during your vacation to Mexico.
At first glance, Mahahual Beach may seem like just another beautiful, tropical beach. It’s a wide, soft-sand beach with a shallow drop-off. But what makes this potentially the best beach in Costa Maya is what’s just beneath the surface: the northern part of the Meso-American Barrier Reef. The reef extends for more than 600 miles and is the second-largest reef in the world, right after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Because Mahahual Beach is so shallow and gentle, one of the best things to do in Costa Maya is to get in the water and scuba dive with the marine life that calls the reef home. Fortunately, you can go on an introductory dive to try scuba without being certified, keeping you in shallow water where the surface is never more than a few fin kicks away.
Of course, you’ll learn the basics before you get in the water, and a certified instructor will be on hand to ensure your safety during the dives. There’s also a small village in Mahahual worth visiting after you’ve had your fill of the beach.
La Bamba Beach
If you prefer your beach experience to be all about rest and relaxation, head to La Bamba Beach, about 20 minutes south of Costa Maya village. This beach is home to La Bamba Beach Club, a private oasis where you can take it easy for the afternoon. Sundecks and palm trees surround the beach, and the beach club itself has loungers and umbrellas, kayaks available to borrow, hammocks, and a private restaurant and bar.
While there are dozens of activities available in the area, it’s nice to take a day to recharge in the middle of your vacation. Many people consider La Bamba the best beach in Costa Maya for doing just that.
To find a beach where you’ll have your choice of activities to choose from, head north from Costa Maya to Uvero Beach, about 40 minutes away from Costa Maya Village. Uvero Beach is a quintessential Costa Maya beach with plenty of space to relax in the sand on a lounger, grab a cocktail or fruit drink, or get out on the water.
You can rent kayaks or sign up to take an exciting ride on a banana boat from the beach. If you prefer to take it easy, lay in the sun with a good book or get a relaxing beachside massage.
Take plenty of photos when you visit the beach at Seven Colors Lagoon, also known as Bacalar Lagoon. It’s so named for the various shades of teals and blues that color the water, making it look like a destination straight from the South Pacific.
Interestingly, Bacalar Lagoon isn’t even on the ocean—it’s an inland lake with beachy areas perfect for people who don’t like waves. It’s almost always less crowded than the coastal beaches closer to Costa Maya Village, and public piers and beaches provide plenty of space to spend the day. Floating or tubing on the calm water is also a great option.
Venture further into the lagoon on a boat, or explore some of the cenotes (underwater sinkholes) which are so small and deep that the water usually takes on a sapphire blue hue. You’ll find a few small restaurants and shops in the nearby town, plus a historical fort, which has since been converted into a museum.
If you prefer fishing to tanning, Xcalak may be the perfect beach for you. Xcalak (pronounced ish – ka – loc) isn’t as developed as its neighbors to the north. It’s a small town, and because it’s only around seven miles from Belize, it has a culture that blends both Mexican and Belizean traditions.
The huge Meso-American Barrier Reef runs the entire length of Xcalak Beach, which means the water is both teeming with wildlife and quite calm, as the reef protects the beach from strong waves and swells.
Many people come down here to fly fish as large snook, tarpon, and bonefish call the area home. Fly fishing tour operators offer day trips from the beaches at Xcalak, and since the town is otherwise pretty sleepy, it’s best to go through an operator rather than arranging a trip yourself.
Discover these beautiful Mexican beaches on a cruise to Costa Maya. Spend your day in port lounging on incredible stretches of sand, then experience the luxurious accommodations, globally-inspired dining, and impeccable service on board.
Browse our cruise itineraries to Costa Maya and book your next vacation in paradise today.