It's not hard to see why the Mexican Caribbean is one of the world's top-selling vacation packages worldwide: from Cancun to Chetumal, it boasts a stunning coastline bounded by the most translucent of waters, bestrewn with ancient Mayan sites and luxurious resorts.
Due to the area's popularity, however, beaches can get a bit crowded, particularly in Northern Quintana Roo, closer to Cancun, where a majority of international tourists land, not to mention the sargassum situation, which worsens with every passing year.
Fortunately, there are still some pristine swimming spots to be found that are not only free of overtourism but that are also known for their striking beauty:
Punta Maroma Is One Of The Most Beautiful Beaches Close To Cancun
Punta Maroma is a sandy strip located 35 km from Cancun, south of the far more popular resort zone Puerto Morelos. It is considered by many the Mexican Caribbean's best-kept secret due to its relative remoteness.
Unlike Playa Marlin or Playa Delfines, which are popular day trips for vacationers basing themselves in Cancun's jam-packed Hotel Zone, Maroma is not as famous, despite being on the Highway 307 route, part of the tourist zone commonly known as Mayan Riviera.
Although it is certainly not development-free, it lacks the crowds and riotous nightlife that have transformed numerous sunny hotspots for the worse. Instead, Maroma is surprisingly quaint, having been named one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mexican Caribbean by México Desconocido.
According to the local travel publication, due to its distance from central Cancun, the sands are ‘almost virgin', allowing visitors who venture this far out to experience a different side of Mexico, where they can find peace and enjoy their beach day ‘calmly'.
A Crowd-Free Tropical Oasis
Other than walking the soft, warm white sands and swimming in the crystalline waters, they can practice diving and try and spot marine life, which includes dolphins, sea turtles, and other emblematic species that inhabit the Riviera.
Among other activities available, tourists can go on a 4×4 or horseback tour of the dunes, hike in the jungle enclosing the beach, snorkel, or fish, though the latter will require renting the necessary equipment and obtaining permission from beach authorities on-site.
If you're hoping to relax, bury your feet in the sand, and have a stress-free afternoon, you can do that too: the magazine mentions ‘excellent' restaurants and spas in neighboring hotels. TripAdvisor lists Secrets Maroma, El Dorado Maroma, Catalonia Playa Maroma, and Belmond's Maroma as some of the best resorts on the premises.
For a unique experience, guests who are either traveling solo or as a couple can book a rustic overwater bungalow in an all-inclusive, adults-only five-star resort.
Beach Access Is Not Free
While the beach is indeed a tropical oasis shielded from mass tourism, its seclusion is definitely not free of charge: there are no public access points, meaning only resort guests or those who purchase a day pass at one of the resorts are permitted entry.
When it comes to accessibility, Punta Maroma can easily be reached by taxi or car, but public transportation options may be more limited. One-way transfers cost, on average, USD $20 from Playa del Carmen and between USD $60 and USD $80 from Cancun.
Visiting with a rental car, tourists must take Highway 307 towards Chacala on the Cancun-Tulum route. Alternatively, those staying in a local resort can contact the concierge about arranging a shuttle from Cancun International Airport, some 35.3 km away.
Guided tours and excursions leaving from Cancun and other departure points along the Riviera are also an option. For instance, this USD$150 scuba-diving tour by Maroma Adventures will grant you access to the beach, as well as its protected coral reef. Hotel pickup is usually offered.
You can find out more about the Mexican Caribbean's many off-path gems here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.