If you have landed here looking for the best beaches in Mexico, you will be happy to know you are in the right place!
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 Mexico, 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. But there are others that are truly worth visiting too.
So, the following is a selection of the best beaches in Mexico.
The Best Beaches In Mexico
Tulum Beach – Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo has a very high number of beautiful beaches and it is undeniable that Tulum Beach is one of the best in the country, 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.
Playa Ruinas 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.
GOOD TO KNOW: Not far from Tulum, you will find the gorgeous Sian Kaan reserve.
GOOD TO KNOW: Make sure to also check out Ziggy Beach, a great place for water sports, snorkeling and diving thanks to the coral reef.
For more activities in Tulum, check out these options:
- Tulum & Coba & Cenote Full-Day Excursion
- Dos Ojos Cenotes & Tulum 5-Hour Guided Tour
- Mayan Culture & Cenote Half-Day Excursion
- Aktun Chen Cave
Akumal Beach – Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
There is no doubt that this is one of the best spots in the country for snorkeling. Easily accessible from either Playa del Carmen or Tulum, it is a long, fine white sand beach famous for the beautiful marine turtles that live in the area and they are easy to spot when swimming. I wholeheartedly recommend to follow a guide though, because these animals should never be disturbed.
Playa Canibal Royal – Playa Del Carmen
This nice, laid-back beach town is home to some of the best beaches 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. 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.
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:
Xpu-Ha Beach – Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
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 Medico 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.
Paamul – Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
Between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras, Paamul Beach is one of the best diving and snorkeling spots in the area. It’s a mix of sand and limestone, which differentiates it from other nearby beaches. The local public pool is an alternative to the beach.
TIP: Flip-flops or sandals are needed to walk along this beach.
Playa Maroma – Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
Soft white sand, beautiful – and calm – Caribbean waters and the fact that it is secluded and exclusive make Playa Maroma one of the best beaches in Mexico. To access it you have to stay in one of the luxury resorts. It’s expensive, but if you have the budget to splurge it’s definitely worth it.
Playa Delfines – Riviera Maya, 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.
Cancun Beach – Quintana Roo
Cancun Beach, in the Riviera Maya – Yucatan Peninsula – stretches for a whopping 14 miles on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. With its turquoise waters and incredibly fine, soft sand it’s easily one of the nicest beaches in Mexico. The beach is easily accessible as high rise hotels are scattered all along it – in what is known as the Zona Hotelera – and you will find plenty of restaurants and places where you can practice water sports. If you get tired of basking in the sun, you can take day trips to the nearby Mayan ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza or more.
Playa Norte – Isla Mujeres
Any post on the best beaches in Mexico is bound to mention the gorgeous Playa Norte, in Isla Mujeres, which can be reached on a short ferry ride from Cancun. Picture white sand, palm trees shallow water and with little to no current. Yes, it is great!
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.
Holbox Beach – Isla Holbox
This is beach perfection! 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.
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.
Located on the 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 in the area, check out these options:
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 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 one of the best places for snorkeling.
Tecolote Beach – La Paz
For great swimming opportunities and views of Espíritu Santo island, head to Playa Tecolote. It’s not as popular (or as equipped – though toilets and showers are available) as Balandra Beach, but nevertheless charming.
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 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.
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.
GOOD TO KNOW: Keep in mind the beach is not equipped.
Medano Beach – Cabo San Lucas
Beaches in Los Cabos are gorgeous, but they are not safe to swim as the currents are too strong. It will come as a relief then that Medano Beach is a safe swimming spot, perfect for water sports and other fun activities such as boat excursions.
Ensenada – Baja California
If you enjoy surfing you will definitely agree that Ensenada, in Baja California, is a must-see. It is located near the border with the USA, so it gets busy during the weekend. 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.
Puerto Vallarta – Jalisco
With the gorgeous mountains of Sierra Madre at its back, and lovely golden sand and blue waters, Puerto Vallarta beach is one of the best in the country. You can go snorkeling in the many protected coves or join one of the whale-watching or deep sea fishing expeditions. And if you want a different scene, head out to the lovely Zona Romantica for quaint city charm.
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.
Yelapa Beach – Jalisco
At about 40 minutes by water taxi from Puerto Vallarta, Yelapa, in Cabo Corrientes, in the Bahia de Banderas, is a lovely fishing village home to a gorgeous, lesser known beach perfect for snorkeling.
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.
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 are frequently held here. It definitely is one of the best beaches in Mexico if you like to party.
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.
Playa Las Gatas – Zihuatanejo
If you love snorkeling, Las Gatas is one of the best beaches in Mexico. It is a safe place to learn but it still offers plenty for experienced snorkelers to enjoy. To get there you much get a water taxi from the Municipal Pier in Zihuatanejo. You could also get there with this tour from Ixtapa-Zihuantanejo. As it is hard to reach, it rarely gets overcrowded. One of the best activities in the area is deep-sea fishing.
Click here for the best hotels 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 more active things to do. 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.
Puerto Escondido – Oaxaca
With the massive waves, availability of all sorts of accommodation options (including excellent budget ones) and good local restaurants, Puerto Escondido is one of the most famous surfing spots in the world. No wonder it’s a popular beach!
Zipolite – Oaxaca
This lovely beach near Puerto Escondido, on the Pacific Coast is the only nudist beach in the country. 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.
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.
TIP: 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.
Zicatela – Oaxaca
This 3.5 km beach in Puerto Escondido is one of the best beaches 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.
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 visit that are not just beaches.
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.