The 13 Best Beaches In Mexico

The 13 Best Beaches In Mexico

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.

Mexico beaches

Tulum is without a doubt one of the best beaches in Mexico

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:

Mexico beaches

Playa Paraiso is close to Tulum archaeological site – one of the top places to visit in Mexico

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.

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.

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 for more places to stay in Tulum

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:

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.

Check here for more places to stay in Playa del Carmen

Mexico beaches

Playa La Entrega is one of the best beaches in Mexico – photo courtesy of Molly (flickr)

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:

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. Hotel Playa del Sol is a good budget option.

Check here for more places to stay in Huatulco

places to visit in Mexico

Playa de Balandra is one of the best Mexico beaches – photo courtesy of laura ivette de la torre martinez (flickr)

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. Peace Hostel is a great option for backpackers and budget travelers.

Check here for more places to stay in La Paz

best beaches in Mexico

Surfing is one of the best things to do in Mexico and Punta de Mita is perfect for that – photo courtesy of netOrX (flickr)

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. Casa Virgilio, in Nuevo Vallarta, is a more budget friendly option (though it is really gorgeous): there’s even a kitchenette to cook some simple food.

Check here for more places to stay in Riviera Nayarit

Mexico beaches

Playa Norte, in Isla Mujeres, is one of the best beaches in Mexico

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. Posada Paso del Sol is more modest, but it is conveniently located in the city centre, right where all the things happen.

Check here for more places to stay in Isla Mujeres

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:

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.

Check here for more places to stay in Ensenada

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. 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.

Where to stay in Zihuatanejo

If having a room with a view is one of the nicest things to do in Mexico, La Casa Que Canta is the place to stay. It is pricey, but worth it. Bungalows Arena Dorada are more budget friendly, but still have all the amenities for a proper beach vacation.

Check here for more places 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) and a few more expensive options, such as Lo Sereno.

Check here for more places to stay in Troncones

Mexico beaches

Hotbox beach is one of the best beaches in Mexico – photo courtesy of dronepicr (flickr)

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.

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. However, it is an adults-only place. Casa Las Tortugas is family friendly and just as beautiful.

Check here for more places to stay in Holbox

places to visit in Mexico

Can Mexico beaches get any better than this? – photo courtesy of polpolux (flickr)

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.

Where to stay in Xpu-Ha

One of the coolest things to do in Mexico is staying in eco-lodges. Serenity Eco-Luxury Tented Camp is a great option in Xpu-Ha. There’s also a glamping site (I tried glamping in Slovenia and loved it!), and several all-inclusive resorts, such as Barcelo Maya Colonial.

Check here for more places to stay in Riviera Maya

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.

Where to stay in Sayulita

As all good places to visit in Mexico, Sayulita has some great accommodation options. If I have a chance, I like to stay in bungalows like Aurinko. Otherwise, I love boutique hotels such as Hotel Boutique Oz Sayulita.

Check here for more places to stay in Sayulita

places to visit in Mexico

I believe Akumal is one of the best beaches in Mexico

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. People with a more limited budget can opt for Maya Eco Village.

Check here for more places to stay in Akumal

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?

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Enjoy the best beaches in Mexico - via @clautavani

Mexico refreshing, amazing and somewhat hidden treasures

Mexico refreshing, amazing and somewhat hidden treasures

How to stay fresh in Mexico

Why on earth, after a year spent going to work every day, zig-zagging through city traffic, enduring crowded public buses and metros, at times with temperatures as high that would remind you of living hell, would you ever embark on a tiring car or bus trip, sitting next to some unknown person, on a curvy, bumpy road, when you are supposed to be on holidays? Well, it looks like only if you do so you will manage visiting some of the most paradisiac places in Mexico, which are not completely invaded by foreign tourists and where you can relax and finally escape the terrible heat – the best season to visit Mexico is between March and April, when the weather is dry, days are hot but bearable and nights are cooler.

There is a magic place which, even if slightly isolated, is a must see and is quickly turning into a travellers’ favourite. This is San Cristobal de las Casas, a colourful city in Chiapas, located in a wonderful valley surrounded by pine forests, and at the heart of one of the most indigenous areas of the country. Located at about 1 and a half hours by car from Chiapas capital Tuxtla Gutierrez (which is connected to Mexico City by plane), San Cristobal is the meeting point for zapatistas. It is a lovely labirynth of traditional houses, cobbled streets and crafts shops. However, the market of San Cristobal is its main attraction. Aside from the traditional handicrafts, you will fall in love with its colours and smells, and be amazed at how those tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and tens of varieties of chillies are displayed.


The colourful market of San Cristobal de las Casas – photo courtesy of Plumerio Pipichas (flickr)

San Juan Chamula, a lovely village of about 3000 people, is not far from San Cristobal. Chamuleans, who belong to the indigenous group Tzotzil, all attend the beautiful Templo de San Juan, a church where they pray and make offers to the saints in rituals which are a mixture of christianity and paganism. You can look for as long as you want, but do not take pictures. Tzotzils are convinced that pictures may steal their soul. The church is small, illuminated only by candle light, and there are no seats. The pavement is completely covered in pine needles, and the atmosphere turns into something slightly magic and surreal between the dim light and the smell of pines. Chamuleans pray seated on the pavement, in front of the statues of their favourite saints, offering whatever little they have. You may even be able to assist to the sacrifice of a chicken. It is difficult not to be touched by the atmosphere of the church.

san juan chamula chiapas

The lovely church of San Juan Chamula, in Chiapas – photo courtesy of Eduardo Robles Pacheco (flickr)

Be brave, and from San Cristobal de las Casas catch a colectivo to Palenque. Should you feel the need to travel more comfortably, rent a car (but book online) but be ready to drive along a curvy and bumpy road, so curvy and bumpy that the “topes” (speed bumps) placed to reduce speed will look completely useless. You won’t be able to speed at any point, because the road is covered in holes and in some points even collapsed and you will be frequently stopped by children who, nearby “pueblos” (villages) stay at the sides of the road selling fruit and small handycrafts. Expect a sudden army check point: soldiers, a bit bored and sleepy because of the heat, will ask for your documents and may want to check your bags, but they are usually very friendly.

About 4 hours later, when you think you can’t take the heat anymore (even though you may be travelling during winter) you will reach Agua Azul and will conclude that those hours spent in a car or in a combi were completely worth it. Admission charge should not be more than 10 Mexican Pesos (around 70 cents of a dollar). You will feel like you are in paradise: a series of waterfalls that end up in natural pools of clear, turquoise water. Jumping in that water will make you feel like a new person. Agua Azul is not a very famous tourist destination, and you may likely be the only foreign traveler there, depending on the season. However, there will be plenty of locals, especially in the winter season when the dry weather makes the river go down a bit so that it doesn’t carry mud and debris and the water is thus very clear. Mexico is full of as many natural wonders as opportunities to relax. There are more gorgeous waterfalls that you can’t miss if you find yourself in Mexico. Indeed, after cooling down in Agua Azul, carry on your way to Palenque, but first make a quick stop at Misol Ha waterfalls, where you can access for 20 Mexican Pesos (1.50 US dollars). There is a jump of 20 meters which you can see from a variety of angles, including from its backside through a small path.

Agua Azul, Chiapas

When they say Agua Azul, they MEAN Agua Azul

Two more hours on the road will take you to Palenque, from where you can visit one of the most interesting archeological sites of Mexico, completely immersed in the jungle.

From here, go North, to Villahermosa, capital of Tabasco, and then towards Tapijulapa, pretty village of white houses with red roofs and flowers on the windows. Pay attention on the road: it is not uncommon that enormous iguanas cross the road. However, Tapijulapa is not your final destination. If you love nature and adventure, do not miss Koleem Jaa, a small, ecologic resort fully immersed in the forest. You can only reach it by boat, so you will have to ask for a lancha to pick you up. Koleem Jaa has very reasonable prices, and you will have your meals there. Once there, you can forget the noise of civilization: no television, no internet, no cell phone signal. Your sleep will only be interrupted by the scream of monkeys and of parrots. You can spend the day in one of the many activities available: from a simple hike and visit to the waterfalls, to ziplines that take you from tree to tree, to canyoning. You will leave Koleem Jaa completely recharged and possibly a bit sad at the thought of having to go to a big, dusty and dirty city.

Once you leave Tabasco, you will most likely want to visit YucatanMerida, the white city, is the biggest city: it is crowded and lively and the perfect starting point to visit the internationally famous archeological sites of Chichen Itza and Uxmal.

Uxmal, Mexico

Uxmal is a gorgeous archeological site

However, there also are less touristy places in Mexico. Once you have fried under the sun and fought against the crowds in Chichen Itza and Uxmal, enduring 35 degrees celsius (and that is in the winter!), you can escape the heat by reaching Chunkanan, about 3 km east of Cuzamà. Here there are Los Tres Cenotes de Cuzamà, 3 limestone underground lakes, where you can surely cool down. Once you negotiate a price (it is fairly cheap, really), you will board a cart pulled by a horse, you will cross the forest and will reach the cenotes, where you will find clear and cool water and if you are lucky you may be able to see various species of fish.

Done exploring these treasures? Now you can finally move to the party scene, and go to Playa del Carmen, but not before having visited the ruins of Tulum . And if you want to keep on relaxing and be quiet, you can go to ecological oasis in Tulum Playa: a long, white, sandy beach lined with palm trees, and almost deserted. It’s one of the best beaches in Mexico.

Tulum, Riviera Maya

The gorgeous site and beach of Tulum

It goes without saying that it is recommended that you always carry a towel and a swimsuit, because you won’t miss the chance to freshen up even if you are not laying at the beach in one of the wonderful caribbean beaches. So… enjoy your Mexican vacation!