A natural paradise

For water lovers

Traveling through Quintana Roo in Mexico is a very good choice if you’re looking for water activities. In this paradise of the Yucatan Peninsula, there are places like Cancun, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, Holbox, Bacalar, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and much more in the Riviera Maya; it’d be a big mistake to visit without bathing suit, but above all, without a camera to capture all shades of blue you’ll see.


1.- Rivers

Few people know that Quintana Roo has rivers. Not like those seen on the mountain, they are crystal clear underground rivers! One of the best places to swim in a fully closed river with a safe environment is Xplor Park in Playa del Carmen.

Xplor, Riviera Maya

There are other kinds of underground rivers, like the ones in Xcaret: with both open and closed areas. These makes them a unique natural setting. In this type of rivers, you can observe the flora while floating in clear blue waters”.

Maya River, Xcaret

2.- Beaches

Unlike rivers, beaches surely are the first thing you think of when planning a trip to Quintana Roo. The image of the turquoise blue sea, soft white sand between your toes and a perfectly clear sky. If that’s what you expect when visiting Cancun and the Riviera Maya, you’re not going to be disappointed.
Not many know but Xcaret has a beach area. In this part, you can enjoy the sea in a different way: in the natural pools.

Xcaret, Playa del Carmen

You can’t talk about Quintana Roo without mentioning Tulum. Many say it’s the most beautiful beach in Mexico, we don’t know exactly, but certainly, it’s in the Top 5. What we can assure you, is that the archeological site of Tulum is the only Mayan settlement with a view to the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

Tulum, Quintana Roo

Atention! Very important info, read: 9 reasons to never visit Tulum

Quintana Roo’s coast is full of small bays which are great to enjoy a day at the beach because of their calm waters. Akumal is one of our favorites: famous for its marine biodiversity. If you’re lucky, you can see sea turtles swimming just a few meters from the sand.

Akumal Bay, Quintana Roo

Cancun and Playa del Carmen beaches are very popular for having a large extension of white sand to lay, play beach sports, or just walk by the seashore. An example of this type of beaches is Playa Delfines, better known as the “Mirador de Cancun”.

Delfines Beach, Cancún

If you want a more quiet beach, you must visit Holbox. Miles and miles of calm white beach await you when visiting this paradise island of Quintana Roo. In summer, the whale shark swims near Holbox: snorkeling next to them is a unique experience.


See more beautiful beaches, read: Falling in love with the beach in Quintana Roo

3.- Submarine Paradise

Quintana Roo hosts under its waters a coral reef that runs through most of its coast. There are many places throughout the state that are ideal for diving and admiring the underwater beauty. One of them, with a little creativity and innovation, has become a must for sea lovers: the Underwater Museum.

Subaquatic Museum, Isla Mujeres

To focus more on admiring the colorful underwater world of natural coral, we recommend Puerto Morelos. Rent a small boat and snorkel on the reef nearby. There are different snorkeling tours and activities in Quintana Roo, whether you hire one or choose to explore on your own, we assure you that you’re going to love the sea in the Mexican Caribbean.

Coral Reef, Puerto Morelos

4.- Lagoons

That’s right, we also have freshwater lagoons in Quintana Roo. Besides the beautiful coast, our state is also home to large lagoons habitat of much of the local flora and fauna. One of them, and probably the most beautiful one, is the Lagoon of Seven Colors in Bacalar.

Bacalar Lagoon

We are sure that almost every visitor has seen the Nichupte Lagoon: you will find it through all the Hotel Zone.There are many spots where you can admire it, three of our favorites are: Tajamar Malecon in Cancun, La Isla Shopping Village, and the Cancun Scenic Tower.

Nichupté Lagoon, Cancún Hotel Zone

A less-known but no less beautiful is the Lagoon of Isla Blanca in the Territorial District of Isla Mujeres. Located right at the northern tip of Quintana Roo, this lagoon is just a few meters from the sea. It’s one of the best places to camp, you can watch the sunset at sea and the sunrise over the lake.

Read: The best batural places you must visit in Tulum

Isla Blanca Lagoon, Isla Mujeres

5.- Inlets

It’s not very common to find inlets in other beach destinations, yet in Quintana Roo, we have several. After visiting places like Xcaret or Xel-Há, you’ll sure that their perfect places to enjoy the sea. In Xcaret, we recommend the inlet for people who want to snorkel in shallow waters, it’s the only place where you’re allowed to swim without a life vest.

Xcaret, Playa del Carmen

Minutes away from Tulum you’ll find Tankah: a small village home of a beautiful blue inlet. Not many know this side of Quintana Roo, which makes it attractive for those looking for virgin beaches and little-traveled roads. The Tankah inlet is famous for hosting concerts at New Year, who wouldn’t like to receive the year listening to music on the beach?

Tankah Inlet, Tulum

6.- Cenotes

We can’t talk about seascapes of Quintana Roo without mentioning cenotes. There are different types of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula: open, closed and semi-open. No matter which one you visit, swimming in its waters is a different experience.

Cenote Dos Ojos, Tulum

Open cenotes are a very good choice for snorkeling, as the sun shines beautifully underwater creating unbelievable views. In this type of cenotes is very common to see aquatic flora and small freshwater fish, we recommend you visiting Cenote Ha’ in Puerto Morelos.

Cenote Ha’, Xenotes

7.- Mangrove

Mangrove areas are very vast in Quintana Roo, in fact, is one of the most important ecosystems for our state. Throughout several rivers, lakes and inlets, you can admire the rooted branches at the bottom of the water. But be careful! marsh and mangrove areas are crocodiles’ favorite habitat! Better stay away from here.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

8.- Ports

There are two large marinas in Quintana Roo: Cozumel and Mahahual. Every year, we welcome tourists traveling on a cruise and stay in our destination for a few days. For residents, the arrival of the huge cruise ships is certainly a big event, can you imagine seeing such a large vessel reach an island so small?

Cozumel Marina

And then there’s Xel-Há!

In the Natural Wonder of Quintana Roo, located minutes from the archaeological site of Tulum, you can enjoy almost all water landscapes we list in this post. If you’ve visited Xel-Há, you know that its two main attractions are a huge inlet for snorkeling and the “River of Life” surrounded by mangroves. You can also visit open and semi-open cenotes, a beautiful beach, (home of sea turtle nests) and a “Black Lagoon” where you can do Snuba.

Río de la Vida, Xel-Há
Xel-Há, Tulum
Xel-Há Beach
Xel-Há, Quintana Roo

If you’re a water lover, be sure to visit Quintana Roo! bring together your whole family, pack your bathing suit and come and enjoy a vacation on the Riviera Maya.
Which aquatic landscape of Quintana Roo do you like more? Leave a comment.