I have been to Mexico 3 times already, and it is only fair that I finally write a post about the best beaches in Mexico. Those who know me, also know that I love hanging by the beach, and that is why I have put together a post on the best beaches in Sardinia. So I thought about doing the same for Mexico, which is a wonderful country to visit, with a rich culture, welcoming people, fantastic food, and spectacular landscapes.
In my 3 times in the country, I was lucky enough to visit some beautiful beaches. I obviously have my favorite ones – some to which I have a special emotional attachment for I have visited them with my sister, or with my ex boyfriend.
So, the following is a list of all the best beaches to visit in Mexico, with some additional tips on where to stay in the area. Also keep in mind that as an Italian, I don’t need a visa for Mexico but can get one on arrival. Other nationalities may need it and they can get a visa online thanks to iVisa.
The Best Beaches In Mexico
Tulum Playa (aka Playa Paraiso)
It is undeniable that Tulum Playa is one of the best beaches in Mexico. It is also known as Playa Paraiso, and for a good reason! Imagine a gorgeous white sand beach lined by palm trees, that is so long and wide that rarely gets busy. It is the perfect place to stop over after having visited Tulum archeological site (which is only 500 meters away), one the top places to visit in Mexico.
As with most of Mexico beaches, in Tulum Playa there are nice beach clubs, where it is possible to hire a table, chairs and an umbrella. On site restaurants are usually nice, and there are showers and toilets too. Good beach clubs offer guided snorkeling or swimming in the clear turquoise colored water.
Here are some great tour options in Tulum:
- Tulum & Coba & Cenote Full-Day Excursion
- Dos Ojos Cenotes & Tulum 5-Hour Guided Tour
- Snorkeling Adventure in Cenote and Reef
- Mayan Culture & Cenote Half-Day Excursion
- Aktun Chen Cave
- Tulum Snorkeling Tour
Where to stay in Tulum
Tulum is one of the top places to visit in Mexico and has a great selection of accommodation options for all budgets, and of good restaurants. A good hostels is El Jardin De Frida, which also has lovely private rooms and even an entire apartment that can be rented. It has a gorgeous garden, an equipped kitchen, a bar and cozy common areas. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Tulum Naa is a more modest option, but it has good beds, clean bathrooms and it is located near the main intersection, from where it is easy to get on a bus to reach some of the top Mexico tourist attractions such as cenotes, Coba archeological sites, and even some other Mexico beaches. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Azucar hotel is located right on the beach, near Sian Kaan reserve (one of my favorite places to visit in Mexico, not to mention a UNESCO site). The area is a bit harder to reach – when I visited, I had hired a car. It is beautifully isolated, and bungalows are right on the beach (imagine waking up to the sound of waves and being able to directly step onto one of the best beaches in Mexico). Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Canibal Royal – Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is home to some of the best Mexico beaches. It really does not matter what kind of beach experience one is looking for – Playa del Carmen has it. The city has five beaches, all offering something a little different.
Canibal Royal is the quietest of the city’s beaches. It is not as easy to get to as the others are. As a result, it is practically unspoilt. There is not even a bar or restaurant, so it is a great place to enjoy a picnic. Easy to see why I think it is one of the best beaches in Mexico.
The two main beaches in Playa del Carmen, on the other hand, have chic beachside lounges where it is possible to sip a sunset cocktail or get busy with a game of volleyball or football. I do love having a sunset cocktail while on holiday, so I know where I will go!
Here are some great tour options in Playa del Carmen:
- Whale Shark Safari Snorkeling Tour
- Reef Diving in Playa del Carmen
- 3-Hour Dune Buggy Tour and Cenote Swim
- Day Trip to Chichen Itza
Where to stay in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is one of the most famous places to visit in Mexico, and as such there is a huge offer of accommodation options for any budget. From luxury resorts right by the beach such as Playa Riviera Tendenza, to apartments such as Suites Quinto Sol, to hostels such as Izsla, there’s really something for everyone.
Playa La Entrega – Huatulco
Playa La Entrega is a beautiful white-sand beach, with plenty of trees for shade and it can definitely be considered one of the best beaches in Mexico. It is popular with both locals and tourists. It is a good place to get back to the old way of enjoying a beach.
There are numerous “palapas” (huts with hay roofs) that serve mainly simple seafood. If looking to eat something strictly local (trying local food is one of the top things to do in Mexico), search for tlayudas!
Here are some great tour options in Huatulco:
- Full-Day ATV Tour to Waterfalls
- Huatulco Discovery: 8-Hour Tour by Land and Sea
- Coffee Farm and Waterfall Tour with Local Lunch
- Snorkel in the Huatulco Bay
- Huatulco Bah: Bahías Boat Tour & Snorkeling Experience
- Huatulco National Park Sightseeing Cruise
- Tequila Mezcal Tasting in Huatulco
- Genuine Coffee Tour – 3 Levels of Huatulco
- Mexican Cooking Class
Where to stay in Huatulco
Huatulco has some incredible accommodation options, and they are actually cheaper than what one may think. If treating oneself to a fabulous room is one if the top things to do in Mexico, then Agua Azul la Villa is the place to stay. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Playa de Balandra – La Paz
Playa de Balandra, in La Paz, is one of the most beautiful Mexico beaches. This is a great place to go when are looking for a nice walk that offers stunning beach scenery. It is a series of shall bays, so the sea is quite unlike anything one may have seen before.
The water in Playa de Balandra looks almost white, something that makes it one of the top places to visit in Mexico for snorkeling.
Get to know the city of La Paz better with this full-day private tour.
Where to stay in La Paz
As with the rest of places that offer access to Mexico tourist attractions, the selection of places to stay in La Paz is excellent. Casa Juarez is a superb choice, with incredibly large and cozy rooms. Check here to book now and here to read more reviews.
Punta de Mita – Riviera Nayarit
Punta de Mita is a coral sand beach that is wide enough not to get too crowded. It’s also a fantastic place to go surfing, since there are plenty of long wave breaks, and in most places the water is shallow. It’s easy to see why it is one of the best beaches in Mexico.
There are various restaurants on the beach – just to remind everyone that eating is one of the top things to do in Mexico. They are generally linked to the hotels and resorts that line the beach, and they are known for serving good food.
Where to stay in Riviera Nayarit
Riviera Nayarit is one of the top places to visit in Mexico. Needless to say, there are some amazing hotels and resorts in the area. Casa de Mita has incredible rooms overlooking the ocean – though it is on the expensive side. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Playa Norte – Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is definitely one of the top places to visit in Mexico. It can be reached on a short ferry ride from Cancun. Any post on the best beaches in Mexico is bound to mention the gorgeous Playa Norte.
Picture a fine white sand beach that is lined with palm trees and where the water is shallow and with little to no current. Yes, it is one of the nicest Mexico beaches.
On very hot days, Playa Norte gets a bit busier. This is because there is usually a light breeze, which makes it a more comfortable place to be than the other beaches in the area – one more reason to name it among the best beaches in Mexico.
Here are some great tour options for Playa Norte and Isla Mujeres:
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres
There’s a great selection of places to stay in Isla Mujeres, as this is one of the top places to visit in Mexico. Casa Sirena is an exceptional small hotel with gorgeous stylish room and a terrace overlooking the ocean. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Ensenada – Baja California
Those who enjoy surfing will definitely agree that Ensenada, in Baja California, is one of the best beaches in Mexico. It is located near the border with the USA, so it gets busy at the weekends. The best waves are in the winter months, though the water gets cold then and a wetsuit is necessary to get in.
Here are some great tour options for Ensenada:
- Valle de Guadalupe Wine Tasting Tour
- Ensenada Shore Excursion
- Ojos Negros Valley Cheese & Wine Tasting Tour
- Las Cañadas Canopy Tour
- Ensenada Full-Day Guided Coastal Tour
Where to stay in Ensenada
Ensenada is one of the coolest places to visit in Mexico and has a good range of accommodation options. Typically, those who go opt to stay in holiday homes (which are convenient because it is also possible to cook) such as Ochoa’s House; or for places that have spectacular ocean views such as La Mansion Residency Suites.
Playa Las Gatas – Zihuatanejo
I love snorkeling, and so I can’t help but mentioning Playa Las Gatas as one of the best beaches in Mexico: it is heaven for snorkelers. It is a safe place to learn but it still offers plenty for experienced snorkelers to enjoy. Getting to Playa Las Gatas requires hopping on a water taxi from the Municipal Pier in Zihuatanejo. You could also get there with this tour from Ixtapa. As a result, it rarely gets overcrowded.
Playa Las Gatas has yet to get over commercialized – one more reason it is one of the must see Mexico beaches. However, there are still several very good seafood restaurants that offer nice food and spectacular views.
Here are also some great tour options for Zihuatanejo:
- Las Gatas Kayaking and Snorkeling Tour
- Ixtapa Zihuatanejo City Tour
- Horseback Riding in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo
- Ixtapa Island Escape
Where to stay in Zihuatanejo
Troncones – Guerrero
Troncones is a three-mile long beach that is at the same time a surfer’s paradise and very popular with eco-tourists. It easily is one of the best beaches in Mexico. The good thing about it is that it is perfect for relaxing but also for great activities.
I generally prefer active holidays with the chance to spend a bit of time on the beach too, and Troncones is a great destination for that. For example, here it is possible to enjoy a ride across the sand or a hike in the mountains behind the beach. After an active day, being able to relax in one of the tidal pools is heaven.
Where to stay in Troncones
The choice of places to stay in Troncones is a bit more limited. I guess it reflects that it isn’t as touristy as the rest of the country, though I still think it is one of the nicest places to visit in Mexico. There is a good hostel (Troncones Point Hostel). Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Holbox Beach – Holbox Island
Holbox is beach perfection – needless to say, one of the best beaches in Mexico. It is a natural, relatively unspoilt spot, that one is bound to love. It is within easy walking distance of nearly everywhere in the town.
Easy to see why Isla Holbox is one of Mexico tourist attractions: it puts together amazing Mexico beaches which are fully equipped, with the convenience of a small town with restaurants, a fishing pier and dock.
Here are some great Holbox Island tour options:
- Holbox Island Discovery Tour
- Kayaking Tour through Mangroves
- Eco Classic Tour of Holbox
- Private Snorkeling in Cabo Catoche
Where to stay in Holbox
As all the other places to visit in Mexico, the selection of places to stay in Holbox is fantastic. Casa Punta Coco is a very stylish place, at literally one minute from the beach. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Xpu-Ha Beach – Riviera Maya
Xpu-Ha Beach is a perfect white sand beach. It isn’t very well known yet, so it is quite quiet. To me, it has to be one of the top Mexico beaches. It offers old school charm, and is a real tropical paradise. It is the kind of place where it is possible to play football, volleyball or just chill out in one of the local beachside restaurants. While you’re there, check out the Sea Turtle Conservation Experience.
Where to stay in Xpu-Ha
Sayulita – Nayarit
Sayulita, in Nayarit, has a reputation for being a quiet, beautiful beach during the day, to then become quite a lively place after nightfall. Big parties and raves are frequently held here. It definitely is one of the best beaches in Mexico for people who are keen to party.
However, it is very popular with surfers in the winter months when the waves are a bit bigger. It is easy to hire boards, and book surfing lessons. So whether looking for some quiet time to surf and relax, or for some fun at night, this is one of the top Mexico beaches.
Here are some tour options from Sayulita:
Where to stay in Sayulita
Akumal – Riviera Maya
Akumal is one of the best beaches in Mexico for snorkeling. Easily accessible from either Playa del Carmen or Tulum, it is a long, white fine sand beach famous for the fact that beautiful marine turtles live in the area and they are easily to spot when swimming. I wholeheartedly recommend to follow a guide though, because these animals should never be disturbed.
Where to stay in Akumal
Akumal is located close to some of the most famous Mexico tourist attractions, so there’s an excellent choice of places to stay. Unico is a fantastic place to stay for those that have a budget to splurge. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Other Places To Visit In Mexico
The fact that Mexico has 6,000 miles of coast means that the above is just a taste of the type of beaches one can find in this beautiful country. However, there are many stunning and beautiful places to visit in Mexico that are not just beaches. Some of these hidden gems are mentioned here.
Personally, I find it is always nice to mix things up a bit and visit some beautiful archeological and natural sites (it is a fact that Mexico tourist attractions go well beyond its amazing beaches) as well as spending time on the beach.
There are some incredible places to visit in Mexico, but it is undeniable that Mexico beaches are among the top Mexico tourist attractions.
Have you ever been to Mexico? What did you like the most about it?