20 INCREDIBLE MEXICAN BEACHES
The best time to visit Mexico’s beaches is November to May, outside of the rainy season. Visiting beaches in Mexico during the rainy season can be fun, but bug repellent is necessary because mosquitos can be a nuisance, especially in the evenings. The busiest, most crowded weeks of the year to visit the beaches of Mexico are Semana Santa, the week before Easter Sunday, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day when resort prices tend to be higher, and you’ll need to make reservations well in advance.
20 BEST BEACHES IN MEXICO
1- LOS CABOS, BAJA CALIFORNIA
The region of Los Cabos on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula contains Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.
For travellers who want to enjoy a typical beach resort atmosphere, Cabo San Lucas is the place to go, with many activities and restaurants typically found in beach resorts, like swimming, fishing, golfing, and playing in water parks.
Cabo San Lucas also offers a fun, active nightlife with bars, casinos, and music.
San José del Cabo offers a more tranquil atmosphere with quiet streets and less-touristy shops and restaurants that reflect more traditional Mexican architecture and culture for visitors who want a slower vacation pace.
It is easy to travel between the two towns and enjoy activities in both locations.
The must-see spots in Los Cabos include the Arch (El Arco) and Lover’sLover’s Beach (Playa del Amor).
To avoid the crowded beach season and the rainy season, visit Los Cabos in May or June.
However, plan a visit between December and April for visitors who want to see humpbacks and other whales that migrate into the Sea of Cortez.
2- LA PAZ, BAJA CALIFORNIA
North of Los Cabos on the Baja California peninsula lies La Paz, the capital city of Baja California Sur.
La Paz rests just inside a small bay and hosts a variety of tours that explore the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), often referred to as the Aquarium of the World.
It offers a world-class place to dive and snorkel and attracts visitors from all over the world who want to see whales, manta rays, leatherback sea turtles, Humboldt squid, and more.
3- MAZATLÁN, SINALOA
Mazatlán is on the Pacific coast in the state of Sinaloa.
Sportfishing, SCUBA diving, and surfing are all popular activities in Mazatlán.
Every day, a unique activity occurs on the Malecón at a place popularly known as El Clavadista (officially called Glorieta Rodolfo Sanchez Taboada Park).
In the afternoon, cliff divers show off their talents by diving into the ocean from a 50-ft (15.2 m) platform on the Malecón along Paseo Claussen between the streets of Los Pinos and Olas Altas.
Mazatlán also contains three island nature reserves, Isla de Venados, Isla Pájaros, and Isla de Lobos, that can be seen up close via a catamaran tour.
Of the three islands, only Isla de Venados can be visited by the public, where visitors can relax on the beach and eat local food.
4- PUNTA MITA, NAYARIT
Punta Mita, located in Nayarit state on the Pacific Ocean, regularly hosts celebrities from all over the world.
With some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in the world, people flock to this private peninsula to get a taste of the good life while enjoying sand, sun, and golf.
If you’re looking to rub shoulders with the glamorous elite of the world, vacationing on Punta Mita is the ideal location.
5- SAYULITA, NAYARIT
Sayulita, a Pueblo Mágico in Nayarit on the Pacific coast, provides a perfect place for surfers of all skill levels to practice year-round.
Horseback riding on the beach and jungle hikes engage active visitors, while the many shops and restaurants in town entertain visitors who have less vigorous activities in mind.
For the adventurer who wants to see very large wildlife, a visit to the area from December to April yields stunning views of humpbacks and other whale species.
A variety of different tours take tourists out on the water to encounter these migrating whales in different ways.
6- PLAYA ESCONDIDA, JALISCO
Mexico has many Biosphere Reserves, protected areas that tourists can visit throughout different regions of the country.
A hidden beach, Playa Escondida (also known as Playa del Amor), exists on the Islas Marietas Biosphere Reserve, an archipelago of two islands, which can be reached by boat from Sayulita.
This hidden beach is the perfect spot to spend a day on the sand or snorkelling over the coral reef in clear blue waters.
From December to April, visitors can whale watch on the boat ride to the islands.
To access the beach from a boat, swimming or kayaking through a water tunnel is necessary.
Guests to the islands are only permitted on the beach and nowhere else in the Reserve.
7- MANZANILLO, COLIMA
Manzanillo is on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Colima.
Surfing, SCUBA diving, and sport fishing are big attractions in this area.
Every year in November, the International Sailfish Tournament occurs.
The ocean waters teem with beautiful, tasty fish that provide an endless bounty of fresh seafood for local restaurants to serve their guests.
For visitors who enjoy trips inland too, hiking and ecoadventure tours can be found nearby.
Most visitors find that February is the best month to go to Manzanillo to avoid crowds.
8- ZIHUATANEJO, GUERRERO
Zihuatanejo, located on the Pacific coast in Guerrero state, received a boost in popularity after the movie Shawshank Redemption, based on a Stephen King novel, was released.
This resort town contains several beaches, but the most popular is Playa Las Gatas.
Las Gatas is famous for snorkelling and diving but can only be accessed by boating or hiking.
Restaurants line the beach, and visitors can spend the day lying on the beach, eating fresh seafood and snorkelling in the clear waters.
Zihuatanejo feels like a small, quiet beach town but has many of the same amenities as bigger resort towns, appealing to people who want to escape the resort crowds and noisy nightlife.
9- PUERTO ESCONDIDO, OAXACA
Puerto Escondido is on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast in Oaxaca state.
It’s a fantastic place to visit for people who love nature with their beaches.
Surfing and beach horseback riding are popular, as well as hiking and inland snorkelling excursions.
Located an hour’s drive south-east of Puerto Escondido is a turtle-protection camp in the nearby Pueblo Magico, Mazunte, and the only nudist beach in Mexico, Zipolite.
Visit Puerto Escondido when there is no moon in the sky and take a night cruise through the mangroves to see bioluminescent plankton at the Manialtepec Lagoon, only 11 miles (17 km) from Puerto Escondido.
While visiting Oaxaca, try the unique foods specific to the region, especially mole, tamales, tlayudas, and Oaxacan chocolate.
10- HUATULCO, OAXACA
Huatulco is on the southern coast of Mexico on the Pacific Ocean.
More than thirty beaches comprise this area of Oaxaca, along with many hotels and resorts, making it a popular destination for tourists.
Depending on the beach, popular activities for visitors include swimming, snorkelling, diving, and surfing.
Because of its location on the Pacific, the beaches of Huatulco remain free of Sargasso when all of the Caribbean beaches are covered with it.
The Huatulco National Park provides fun family activities like hiking, swimming, and snorkelling.
From November to March, visitors can be sure there will be little to no rain.
Because the state of Oaxaca has its own unique culture and food, a trip there should not be missed.
11- BOCA DEL CIELO AND PUERTO ARISTA, CHIAPAS
Boca del Cielo and Puerto Arista, located on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico, are the best beaches in Chiapas state.
La Encruciajada Biosphere Reserve in Boca del Cielo contains many large red mangroves scattered throughout the estuaries.
Activities on this beach include cruising through the estuaries to see the diverse assortment of birds that live in the mangroves and signing up for nightly patrols, searching for turtle nests.
Guests who wish to stay overnight on Boca del Cielo have rustic options for accommodations, unlike Puerto Arista, the largest beach resort town in Chiapas, which offers larger hotels and resort accommodations.
Puerto Arista houses a turtle sanctuary where visitors can participate in turtle preservation activities such as collecting eggs and hatching.
Turtles nest between August and November but the turtle preservation activities take place year-round.
December is the best time to visit for visitors who want to see large numbers of turtles hatching and running into the ocean.
12- BACALAR, QUINTANA ROO
Bacalar is a Pueblo Mágico dominated by a large, inland lake located in Quintana Roo, close to the border of Belize.
This long, narrow lagoon is near the ocean but unconnected. Popular resort hotels with a variety of amenities dot its shoreline.
Bacalar Lagoon contains deep blue waters and is famous for its stromatolites, a rare and unique organism found in only a few places on Earth.
Four cenotes, located within or immediately adjacent to the lagoon, provide excellent recreational opportunities.
Several impressive archaeological ruins nearby allow visitors to learn about the Mayan culture that dominated this region for hundreds of years.
The best time to visit Bacalar is December through March.
13- SIAN KA’AN BIOSPHERE RESERVE, QUINTANA ROO
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a unique section of the Caribbean coast, south of Tulum.
Numerous species such as jaguar, ocelot, monkeys, numerous bird species, manatees, and crocodiles live in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Excursions into this area provide people with a way to explore less-travelled beaches, lagoons, and coastal canals.
Visitors can snorkel, swim, and kayak along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, tour archaeological ruins and go fly fishing, dolphin watching, or turtle watching.
14- PLAYA DEL CARMEN, QUINTANA ROO
Along the Caribbean coast in the Riviera Maya region, Playa del Carmen offers travellers who want a stress-free vacation an excellent choice.
All-inclusive resort hotels boast beautiful beaches on clear, blue waters. Boutiques and shops sell unique items from many regions of Mexico.
Restaurants offer fresh, regional seafood prepared in a variety of traditional ways.
Visitors to the area find both a relaxed atmosphere during the day and upbeat, active nightlife.
An underground river, cenotes, and archaeological sites like Cobá are within easy driving distance of the hotels for easy day trips for the more adventurous spirits.
Snorkelling and diving along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef or golfing provide additional entertainment for active visitors to the area.
Playa del Carmen has perfect weather year-round, but the busiest times to visit are during Easter week (Semana Santa) and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
15- TULUM, QUINTANA ROO
Tulum lies at the southern tip of the Riviera Maya region.
This Pueblo Mágico provides a less busy, more rustic vibe for beach visitors.
The all-inclusive resort hotels found in Playa del Carmen are absent from the shoreline, but the beautiful beaches and bright blue waters of the Caribbean abound.
An extensive, well-preserved archaeological site located on the beach in Tulum allows visitors a glimpse into ancient Mayan life and trade.
Many opportunities for relaxation and communing with nature exist.
Visitors to Tulum can easily visit cenotes, underground caves and rivers, and other archaeological sites during day trips.
16- ISLA MUJERES, QUINTANA ROO
Isla Mujeres, an island in the Caribbean just off the coast of Cancún, has special visitors each year between late May and early September.
Hundreds of whale sharks congregate in the waters off of the island, and visitors can snorkel with them or observe them from boats.
Designated a Pueblo Mágico, Isla Mujeres contains all-inclusive resorts and boutique hotels, spas, bars, and restaurants.
Visitors to the island can snorkel at Garrafón Natural Reef Park, swim through the underwater art museum, visit the bird sanctuary at Isla Contoy, or watch the turtle release from the biological centre (only in September).
17- HOLBOX, QUINTANA ROO
Isla Holbox, a long, narrow island located in the Caribbean, stretches along the northern border of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula, not far from Cancún.
Part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve, Holbox hosts many shorebirds, including flamingos, frigatebirds, and pelicans.
Well-known for the whale sharks that visit the area, snorkelers can swim with them from late May through early September.
In addition, you can view bioluminescent plankton on many moonless nights.
Only a small area of the island contains hotels, restaurants, and shopping, so the island remains uncrowded by the tourists who enjoy visiting year-round.
18- LAS COLORADAS, YUCATÁN
Las Coloradas is located in the state of Yucatán in the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.
It is a unique beach location because it is the only beach on this list where there is no swimming allowed.
The bright pink water of Las Coloradas comes from the organisms that live in this high-saline environment – algae, plankton, and brine shrimp.
Spending the entire day at this beach is not an option, but it is a beautiful, unique place to stop and see on the way to other sites on the peninsula.
19- EL CUYO, YUCATÁN
El Cuyo, located near Las Coloradas in Yucatán, famously draws kite surfers from around the world who enjoy the shallow Caribbean water and pristine, uncrowded beaches.
Only a few small hotels and restaurants dot the coast of this sleepy village, located within the Río Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.
Many birds, including flamingos and sea turtles, provide opportunities for bird-watching and wildlife viewing.
For the adventuring spirit who craves solitude and peace, El Cuyo provides the perfect beach vacation.
20- CELESTÚN, YUCATÁN
Celestún, located in Yucatán state near the colonial city Mérida, lies adjacent to the Celestún Biosphere Reserve.
This Reserve draws international tourists who want to see the large flocks of pink flamingos that overwinter there from December to April.
This birding paradise offers stunning views of a variety of other shorebirds too.
Boat tours transport visitors along the shoreline of the Reserve and through the mangrove forest.
A tranquil, white sand beach provides a place of respite and swimming for visitors after their bird-watching tour ends.