Playa del Carmen is located in the middle of the Riviera Maya, a stretch of pristine Caribbean coastline stretching from Cancun in the north to Tulum in the south. Most of the places I love to visit from Playa are located to the south of town, such as Akumal, Xcacel and Cenote Azul, but I recently discovered another piece of paradise in the form of Tulum’s Paraiso beach (which literally means paradise!).
My previous visits to Tulum had proved a little fruitless, and I had actually wondered what all the fuss was about. I’d ventured south to explore the ancient ruins which overlook the ocean, but that day the clouds decided to open up, preventing me from appreciating the true beauty of the beach.
The other time I visited Tulum, I was a little confused by its layout. The pueblo (town) is set just off the highway almost five kilometers away from the beaches, with the ruins situated at the northern end. If you don’t have your own transport, this means utilizing the collectivos (vans) and taxis to get around, as it is too far to cover on foot.
On my last visit, however, we had access to our own vehicle, which allowed us to explore at our own pace. We decided to hit the beach just south of the ruins, which had public access and parking.
The beach in front of the Paraiso beach club was busy with happy locals and tourists enjoying the sea and sun, but we still managed to secure a spot under the shade of a natural umbrella – a coconut palm.
We took to the crystal clear water which reflected a bright turquoise blue. As soon as I entered the water, I was filled with such a deep feeling of appreciation for being able to spend time in the Mayan Riviera. It truly is such a beautiful part of the world, and it’s beaches are something to behold.
What’s more, they are completely free!
There are many resorts along the coastline of Tulum that provide access to the beach for the cost of a sun-lounger or a meal at their restaurant, but honestly, I prefer the public beaches where locals and tourists mingle and enjoy the beach together.
Paradise is available to everyone, and is not something that has to be earned or bought. It is simply there, waiting to be enjoyed by everyone who takes the time to do so. The crystal clear, invigorating waters, the white sandy shores lined with palm trees and flanked by jungle; it is nature’s gift to us in this part of the world.
Looking around at the contented beach-goers – kids burying themselves in the fine sand; elderly couples perched on chairs under umbrellas; tourists taking multiple ‘selfies’ of themselves against the spectacular Caribbean backdrop – it seemed that everyone else felt the same way.
We were experiencing paradise on earth, and there was simply no other place any of us wanted to be that day.
Tip: ‘Paradise’ beach is easily accessed form Playa del Carmen, less than an hours’ drive south. Turn left at the traffic lights before the town, then left at the T-junction near the beach. After about 2-3 KM, turn right at the sign which says “Public Access to Beach”, then pull up a piece of sand under a palm tree and enjoy!