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. If you know me, you should 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 this country, which is a wonderful country to visit, with a rich culture, welcoming people, fantastic food, and spectacular landscapes.
I obviously have my favorite beaches and most of them are in the Yucatan Peninsula – some to which I have a special emotional attachment for I have visited them with my sister, or with my ex boyfriend. Besides, I am massive fan for bright, white sand, so I will look for that any time I am planning a beach hangout.
So, the following is a selection of the best beaches in Mexico, with some additional tips on where to stay in the area.
The Best Beaches In Mexico
Quintana Roo has a very high number of beautiful beaches and it is undeniable that this is one of the best beaches in Mexico, facing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is also known as Playa Paraiso, and for a good reason! Imagine a gorgeous white sand beach, palm fringed, that is so long and wide that rarely gets busy. It is the perfect place to stop over after having visited the archeological site (which is only 500 meters away).
As with most the beaches in this country, 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 expeditions in the clear turquoise waters.
For more activities, check out these options:
Where to stay in Tulum
This is one of the top places to visit in the country and has a great selection of accommodation options for all budgets, and of good restaurants. You will find several all-inclusive resorts, and some cheaper accommodation.
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 other tourist attractions such as cenotes, Coba archeological sites, and even some other 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 the country, not to mention a UNESCO site). The area is a bit harder to reach – you need a car to get there. 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
Playa Canibal Royal – Playa Del Carmen
This nice, laid-back beach town is home to some of the best beaches located in Quintana Roo. It really does not matter what kind of beach experience you may be looking for – you will find it here. 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 unspoiled. There is not even a bar or restaurant, so it is a great place to enjoy a picnic. Easy to see why this is one of the best beaches in Mexico.
The two main beaches in town, on the other hand, have chic beachside lounges where you can sip a sunset cocktail or get busy with a game of volleyball or football. It’s a great place for a sunset drink.
Should you be interested in more activities, these are some good options:
Where to stay in Playa del Carmen
There is a huge offer of accommodation options for any budget in Playa del Carmen. From luxury high-end 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.
If you want to experience one of the best resorts in the country, go to Secret Maroma Beach Riviera. It’s right on Playa Maroma, one of the most pristine beaches in the area, immersed in the rain forest and striving to protect the local environment while at the same time providing a fantastic experience to its guests.
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 white sand, palm trees shallow water and with little to no current. Yes, it is one of the nicest beaches.
On very hot days, this beach 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.
If a day at the beach is not your idea of fun, check out these options:
Where to stay in Isla Mujeres
There’s a great selection of places to stay here. 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
Playa Delfines – Quintana Roo
This is one of the most popular beaches in the area. It doesn’t have the incredibly fine and white sand that is so typical of this coast, but you will find that the views are gorgeous and the vicinity of some Mayan archeological sites makes it all the more charming. Significantly less crowded than other beaches in the area, keep in mind the current in this part of the ocean can be quite strong so approach it with caution.
For more activities in the area, you may want to consider a day trip to Chichén Itzá, Ik Kil Cenote & Valladolid such as this one.
Where to stay in Cancun
Make sure to look for hotels in the Zona Hotelera for easier access to the beach. Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina is an excellent hotel with very large, modern and comfortable rooms, and all amenities for a perfect stay. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Mayan Monkey Hostel is the best place to stay for backpackers on a budget. You have the option of staying in dorms, but there also are nice private rooms. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Holbox Beach – Isla Holbox
This is beach perfection – needless to say, one of the best beaches in Mexico. It is a natural, relatively unspoiled spot, that you are bound to love. It is within easy walking distance of nearly everywhere in the town.
This small island is a favorite of tourists as it puts together amazing beaches which are fully equipped, with the convenience of a small town with restaurants, a fishing pier and dock.
For more activities, you may want to consider a kayaking tour through the mangroves.
Where to stay in Isla Holbox
The selection of places to stay here is fantastic. Casa Punta Coco is a very stylish place, at literally one minute from the beach. However, it is an adults-only place. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Xpu-Ha Beach – Riviera Maya
This 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 beaches. It offers old school charm, and is a real tropical paradise. It is the kind of place where you can play football, volleyball or just chill out in one of the local beachside restaurants.
Where to stay in Xpu-Ha
Akumal Beach – Riviera Maya
Yucatan Peninsula is packed with good beaches and there is no doubt that this is one of the best beaches in Mexico for snorkeling. Easily accessible from either Playa del Carmen or Tulum, it is a long, fine white 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
This beach is located close to some of the most famous tourist attractions, so there’s an excellent choice of places to stay. Unico is a fantastic place to stay if you have a budget to splurge. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
La Entrega – Huatulco
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” (thatched-roof huts) that serve mainly simple seafood. If you are looking to eat something strictly local search for tlayudas!
For more activities, check out these options:
- Coffee Farm and Waterfall Tour with Local Lunch
- 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 you may think. Agua Azul la Villa is the place to stay for a fabulous room. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
De Balandra Beach – La Paz
De Balandra beach, in La Paz (Baja California Sur), is one of the most beautiful 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 here looks almost white, something that makes it on of the best places for snorkeling.
Where to stay in La Paz
Playa del Amor – Cabo San Lucas
The beach town of Cabo San Lucas is home to some of the best beaches in Mexico and Playa del Amor certainly is one of them. This is a remote Pacific beach which is wide, with white sand and with unique rock formations – the only issue is that you can only access it by boat! But other than that, it is a fantastic place to spend a day – but keep in mind the beach is not equipped.
This part of the country is an excellent place for whale-watching, so definitely don’t miss the opportunity to do that. You can book a tour here.
Where to stay in Cabo San Lucas
You will find no shortage of good accommodation options in Los Cabos. Nobu Hotel Los Cabos is an excellent option with stylish, comfortable rooms with ocean views. Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Ensenada – Baja California
If you enjoy surfing you 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 as with this part of the Pacific Coast the water gets cold and you may need a wetsuit.
For more activities in the area, you may want to check out these options:
Where to stay in Ensenada
Ensenada has a good range of accommodation options. Most people there stay in holiday homes (which are convenient because you also have a kitchen) such as Ochoa’s House; or for places that have spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean such as La Mansion Residency Suites.
Punta de Mita – Riviera Nayarit
On the Pacific Coast and not far from Puerto Vallarta, 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. They are generally linked to the hotels and resorts along the beach, and they are known for serving good food.
Where to stay in the area
Sayulita – Nayarit
Sayulita, in Nayarit and close to Puerto Vallarta, 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 if you 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 beaches.
Should you be looking for more activities, here are just a few:
Where to stay in Sayulita
Conchas Chinas – Jalisco
This is one of the most romantic Mexico beaches – so much so that weddings often take place there. It’s in Puerto Vallarta and close to Garza Blanca Reserve and characterized by golden sand, beautiful rock formations within which you will find lovely natural pools. It’s a fantastic place for walks, for sunbathing, and to relax.
Make sure to also check out Playa Gemelas, which is located at about 9 km south of town.
Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta
You won’t find a shortage of good accommodation options in Puerto Vallarta, whatever your budget is.
Playa Las Gatas – Zihuatanejo
If you love snorkeling, Las Gatas as one of the best beaches in Mexico. It is a safe place to learn but it still offers plenty for experienced snorkelers to enjoy. Getting there requires hopping on a water taxi from the Municipal Pier in Zihuatanejo. You could also get there with this tour from Ixtapa-Zihuantanejo. As a result, it rarely gets overcrowded.
Las Gatas has yet to get over commercialized – one more reason it is one of the must see beaches in the country. However, there are still several very good seafood restaurants that offer nice food and spectacular views. One of the best activities in the area is deep-sea fishing.
Where to stay in Ixtapa-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, you can 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. This shows that it isn’t as touristy as the rest of the country. There is a good hostel (Troncones Point Hostel). Check here to book now and here to read reviews
Zipolite – Oaxaca
This lovely beach near Puerto Escondido, on the Pacific Coast is one of the best beaches in Mexico, and its only nudist beach. You will find a long stretch of sand with a strong surf, surrounded by rock formations. Along the beach there are restaurants and bars where you will be able to get a bite and enjoy a sunset drink. It’s not far from Huatulco National Park, which has a beautiful coral reef.
If you want to take a break from the beach, you may want to go fishing, birdwatching or enjoy horse riding or a boat trip along the coast.
Where to stay in Zipolite
One of the best places to stay in the area is Hotel Descalzo, where you will find beautiful rooms around a well kept garden, a nice pool and easy access to the beach. Check here to book now and here to read more reviews
Mazunte – Oaxaca
Mazunte is actually one of the country’s Pueblos Magicos – and that should be enough to make you want to visit. Other than that, here you will find some of the best beaches in Mexico, with soft golden sand and the backdrop of mountains. The main beach is divided into two main areas – one with bars, restaurants and bungalows; the other a quieter, smaller cove.
Another beach nearby is Mermejita Beach.
Keep in mind that the currents on this part of the coast can be very strong, so even if lifeguards are present along the beach, approach the water with caution.
If you are looking for more things to do in the area, you will be happy to find the Mexican Turtle Center, which strives to preserve sea turtles. Boat cruises for dolphin watching are also popular.
Where to stay in Mazunte
Zicatela – Oaxaca
This 3.5 km beach in Puerto Escondido is one of the best beaches in Mexico for surfers, who come here from around the world to enjoy the excellent waves. If you are in search of an easy-going place, head to Punta Zicatela, on the southern end, where waves aren’t as fierce – so it’s good for beginner surfers. This is also a popular yoga retreat.
Where to stay in the area
Further information about Mexico
The fact that the country has 6,000 miles of coast means that the above is just a taste of the type of beaches you can find in this beautiful country. However, there are many stunning and beautiful places to visitthat are not just beaches. Some of these hidden gems are mentioned here.
This is also a country with great food – check it out in my post “The Most Delicious Food In Mexico: All The Dishes You Should Try.”
Personally, I find it is always nice to mix things up a bit and visit some beautiful archeological and natural sites as well as spending time on the beach – so I wholeheartedly recommend you do the same, and make sure to start in Mexico City!
Finally, keep in mind that as an Italian, I don’t need a visa but can just get my passport stamped on arrival Other nationalities may need it – it that’s the case, you can get a visa online thanks to iVisa.
Make sure to read my post “13 Unmissable Things To Do In Belize” if you are planning to get across the border.