This article about the Best Toddler Friendly Beaches in Playa del Carmen was written by toddler travel expert Celine Brewer and may contain affiliate links.
Visiting Mexico with a toddler is such a fun idea for a family vacation in the sun! And, in our opinion, Playa Del Carmen is one of the best beach destinations in Mexico. Parents will love the vibrant Mexican atmosphere around town, while toddlers will love playing for countless hours on the beach in Playa del Carmen.
Many families will simply stay at the beach at their toddler-friendly all-inclusive resort, but if you’d like to venture out a bit, we recommend these two Playa Del Carmen beaches for toddlers.
The 2 Best Playa Del Carmen Beaches for Toddlers
1. Xpu-Ha Beach
We have visited Mexico over 10 times, with and without kids, and we can easily say that Xpu-ha is the nicest beach in Playa Del Carmen, and probably all of Mexico. Located approximately 35 minutes south of town, this toddler-friendly Playa Del Carmen beach is secluded and not very busy. There is only one major resort on Xu-Ha beach, with a few other boutique hotels, allowing large stretches of this beautiful Mayan Riviera beach to be unoccupied.
The two main reasons Xpu-Ha is a great Playa Del Carmen beach for toddlers is that it is very clean and the water is shallow. As a parent, I get nervous when the beach has litter on it, but during our visits to Xpu-Ha, it was always remarkably clean. Having calm, shallow water also allows your toddler to play in the water much easier than a beach with deep water and large waves.
When the sun shines, the brilliant turquoise color of the water will simply blow your mind. The waves at Xpu-Ha beach are typically quite gentle, probably because it is protected by a point jutting out into the ocean at the north end of the beach. This beach is perfect for babies and toddlers who might want to venture into the water a little, especially if you remember to bring all the beach essentials for toddlers!
There isn’t much in the way of services at Xpu-Ha beach, just a bar and some equipment rental shops, so make sure to bring enough food and supplies for the outing.
How to get to Xpu-Ha Beach
As with all beaches in Mexico, Xpu-ha is open to the public. If you are not staying at a resort on the beach, you will need to use one of the access roads. Each of these roads charge a modest access fee.
Here is the location of Xpu-Ha beach on Google Maps – just plug in your starting point to get directions. Watch for this sign to our favorite Xpu-Ha beach access road, which was the most affordable at 30 pesos (~$2usd) per adult (kids are free).
Family-Friendly Hotels on Xpu-Ha Beach
You’ll be excited to know that one of the top 25 resorts in the world (*per Conde Naste Traveller UK) is located right on Xpu-Ha Beach. Despite its multi-award winning status, Hotel Esencia is a family-friendly beach resort.
2. Punta Esmeralda Beach
Located at the north end of town is a toddler-friendly Playa Del Carmen beach called Punta Esmeralda. This “locals beach” is partially protected from the open ocean, hidden nicely behind a point jutting out in the ocean, which helps make the waves quite small as they come to shore. The water at Punta Esmeralda takes a long time to get deep, which means your toddler can get into the water and play quite easily.
What makes the Punta Esmeralda beach good for toddlers is the cenote in the middle of the sandy beach. The cenote is a small shallow lagoon fed by fresh water you can actually see bubbling to the surface. The water eventually flows into a small stream snaking around a sand peninsula into the ocean. This beautiful and unique location makes the Punta Esmeralda cenote one of the best kid-friendly cenotes in the Maya Riviera.
The Punta Esmeralda cenote and stream are both shallow enough to enable your baby or toddler to splash around in the edge of the lagoon. The current in the stream is noticeable, so be careful when your kids are in there.
What makes this Playa Del Carmen beach for toddlers so special is there are no waves in the cenote lagoon. This has the effect of making this beachfront cenote like a little freshwater wading pool.
There is also a small playground with several slides which a baby or toddler will find fun if they need a break from playing in the Punta Esmeralda sand or water.
How to Get to Punta Esmeralda
Here is the location of the Punta Esmeralda beach on Google Maps. There is a paved access road leading to Punta Esmeralda, where you will find plenty of free parking along the access road. It’s located on the southern-end of this special Playa del Carmen beach for toddlers.
Where to Stay at Punta Esmerelda Beach in Playa Del Carmen
If you’d like to stay close to the unique beach cenote at Punta Esmeralda beach in Playa Del Carmen, check out the 5-star Paradisus Playa del Carmen All-Inclusive resort.
Don’t miss our Guide to Visiting an All-Inclusive with a Baby!
Essential Beach Gear for a Baby or Toddler
Before you go enjoy these toddler-friendly Playa Del Carmen beaches, be sure to read these my Sun Safety Tips for Babies on a Beach Vacation. Then, be sure to pack these toddler beach essentials to have the best family day on the beach possible!
- Reef-friendly baby sunscreen
- Toddler sun hats
- Toddler sunglasses
- A travel-friendly Pop-up Outdoor Baby Tent & Protective Sun Shelter
- Plastic beach toys – give a baby a shovel and pail and they will sit happily for hours!
- Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard – suitable for use for the whole family
- Swim diapers
If you don’t want to pack all those toddler beach essentials, you can rent baby equipment include beach essentials in Mexico.
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.