Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Keri Stooksbury
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Mexico is one of the world’s most popular vacation spots — and for good reason. It boasts a beautiful landscape, great weather, a rich culture, delicious food, and more. There’s truly something for everyone.
The beaches and sunny weather, in particular, are big draws that keep people coming back to Mexico year after year.
While you won’t ever struggle to find a beach in Mexico, finding the absolute best ones can be trickier simply because you have so many options to choose from.
Whether you want to sit back and relax in the sand or you want to swim, surf, and splash in the waves, there’s a Mexico beach for you — here’s a look at our favorites!
If you plan to rent a car while you’re visiting the west coast of Mexico, you should make sure you plan a few days to visit Arroyo Seco Jalisco. This tiny beach town is far off the beaten path, so you should plan to spend at least a weekend in the village. But being so out of the way also means that many tourists haven’t even heard of it!
You won’t get bored, though, since Arroyo Seco has 2 beaches. Playa Chica is smaller and can be found at the end of a narrow, sandy road. Playa Grande is more residential, but the beach is kept in its natural state.
You can’t go wrong with either beach. Playa Chica is perfect if you want some solitude and to go on walks, while Playa Grande is better for swimming.
If you look up Barra de Potosí, you might be tempted to pass on a visit in favor of a more touristy coastal town. However, that would be a mistake.
It’s primarily a fishing town, but it’s far from the only thing going on in the area. In fact, it’s home to one of the best beaches in western Mexico. The village’s main beach, Playa Larga, boasts nearly 10 miles of pristine sand and bright blue water.
Barra de Potosí is a small town, but locals are very welcoming toward tourists. And you certainly won’t have any trouble finding delicious places to eat. If you’re looking for a calm beach environment where you and your family can relax, this option should be near the top of the list.
Hot Tip: If you want a dose of adventure during your beach vacation, you can ride horses along the waterfront or rent a boat.
Boca del Cielo is considered to be the pearl of the Chiapas Coast. In fact, its name literally means “mouth of heaven.” The village has historically been exclusively a fishing town, but its stunning setting didn’t go unnoticed. Eventually, it became a prime beach destination as well.
The village’s lagoon is one of the unique characteristics of its landscape, so nature lovers will love spending a few days exploring. You’ll likely notice rough waters, but you don’t have to worry about safety — there are distant shoals that take the brunt of the strong waves.
That means the current closer to the sand is gentle and even suitable for children. You’ll likely encounter other tourists while you’re here, so it’s best to plan a trip in shoulder season months like May or September. During those times, there will be fewer crowds, but the water should still be warm enough for swimming.
If you want to go somewhere where you’ll feel right at home, you should plan to visit Chacala during your next beach trip.
Less than 500 people live in town year-round, though the population picks up during the summer when there’s an influx of seasonal workers. Regardless, you’ll feel like a part of the community while you’re there.
Chacala’s beach is small and quaint, measuring less than 1-mile long. However, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beauty. It has soft sand, an untouched landscape, and clear, bright blue water that belongs in a photograph.
The beach is in a bay that keeps out rough waves and strong currents, so you’ll be perfectly safe wading or swimming in the water. And if you’re a surfer, you’ll still enjoy the waves you can find here, even if they’re smaller compared to other beaches.
Thrill seekers and surfers should head to Pascuales if they’re looking for a Mexican beach getaway. This beach gets more than its fair share of waves on a regular basis. That’s mostly due to the combination of the beach’s deep water, the water temperature, and the current.
Whether you prefer a morning or afternoon surf, you shouldn’t have any trouble catching some waves.
The water is also relatively warm, and you should be fine with a wetsuit. However, this isn’t the most family-friendly beach. If you’re not a strong swimmer or if you have small children with you, this might not be the safest beach for you. The beach floor gets very deep very quickly, and the waves can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared.
Playa Caballo is just south of one of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta. However, this stretch of the coast often goes unnoticed. That’s in part because this beautiful beach is more isolated and takes a little effort to get to. The extra work is well worth it, though.
You can get to the beach by trail from Boca de Tomatlán, a scenic village in its own right. The trail passes through other beaches along the way, like Playa Madagascar, which is also worth a visit. But just keep going and you’ll be rewarded in return.
The sand of Playa Caballo is soft and sparkles in the light. The water is crystal clear, but it’s not quite blue. It’s more of a jade-green color that will leave you speechless. You won’t want to miss the chance to visit this beach.
Playa San Agustín is primarily accessible by boat, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a dose of luxury on their Mexican vacation.
Due to the effort required to reach the sand, most people don’t make the trip unless they book a private boat to take them. However, if you’re able to put in the work, it’s absolutely worth it. You’ll be rewarded with one of the most picturesque beaches in the world.
The coastline here has remained untouched by development, so you’ll feel like you’re in your own tropical paradise. You also won’t have to worry about encountering many other visitors along the way. Though rest assured you won’t be completely isolated, either — there are a few spots by the beach that can offer plenty to eat and drink while you spend a relaxing day at the beach.
Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or you have your kids with you, Punta Raza is a nearly perfect beach to visit. Largely unnoticed by tourists for years, development around this beach has just started to pick up.
The beach itself spans almost 4 miles of coastline, so there will be plenty of space to spread out and spend relaxing days here, whether you want to visit early in the morning when there are fewer people around or in the late afternoon to watch the sun glitter on the water while it sets.
The currents in Punta Raza aren’t too strong either, so young or inexperienced swimmers will be able to wade in the water safely, especially when a lifeguard is on duty.
If you’re the type of person who wants to feel like a local when you go on vacation, you’ll want to make sure you head to Troncones. This beach town is often called the “real Mexico,” as you won’t encounter many of the huge commercial developments that are common in other tourist hotspots.
You may not encounter vibrant nightlife in Troncones, but the trade-off is a peaceful, friendly beach and village. Travelers looking to relax, immerse themselves in local culture, or simply relax and clear their minds while traveling should consider booking a trip to Troncones right away.
As the fourth-largest city in Guerrero, Zihuatanejo (also called Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo) offers a great balance of relaxation and a vibrant scene in town that many crave on trips to Mexico.
The city has multiple beaches. Frankly, each of them is gorgeous enough to claim a spot on this list, so they’re all being grouped together here.
All the beaches are lined with palm trees and are separated from the main city roads. When you’re on the beach you’ll feel removed from the hustle and bustle of town, but you’ll also be within walking distance of everything you could need.
While you’re there, make sure you eat at a few of the seafood restaurants that offer great views of the sand. The fish is all locally sourced and is as fresh as can be. You’ll be able to relax and splash around all day and enjoy the city’s nightlife after sunset. There are even beach events during the busy summer months.
Zipolite may not be very well-known, but it’s one of the best beaches in the country. Whether you’re a surfer, a nature lover, or you’re traveling with family, Zipolite is a vacation destination worth considering.
The sand is soft and has a beautiful tan color. You won’t get bored on long beach walks, either. The coast stretches as far as the eye can see, but the view isn’t redundant.
You’ll find rocks, little hills, and palm trees that keep the coastline interesting. It’s worth remembering that the water close to shore is perfectly safe for people at all swimming levels, but the deeper water — while great for surfing — may be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers.
Costa Mujeres is near the mega-popular Cancún. It doesn’t typically get quite as many tourists, but it’s not a ghost town either.
The coast has a calm and peaceful feel to it that is pretty idyllic for anyone who wants to relax and unwind while on their vacation. You won’t have to go far for anything you want or need on vacation, but you’ll also have the chance to be immersed in Mexico’s incredible natural landscape.
Explore the vibrant underwater life on display or talk a walk among the lush palm trees. You’ll also have a wide choice of activities that you can participate in during your stay, including everything from hikes to beach parties.
Hot Tip: Learn more about the best things to do in and around Cancún, from beaches to Mayan ruins, to nightlife!
Cancún has some of the best beaches on Mexico’s east coast. One of the best is Las Perlas. This beach isn’t private, but the lack of crowds makes it seem that way. It’s mostly frequented by tourists staying at the hotels nearby. Locals with small children also tend to prefer this beach as it’s calmer than some of the others in the area.
The water is clean and clear, and the beaches are well-maintained, so you have everything you need for an idyllic day on the coast. You won’t get some of the excitement the Cancún area is known for in the immediate vicinity, but you’re not too far away from it either.
In fact, Las Perlas is a perfect happy medium between peaceful and exciting. You can spend your days relaxing by the water and join the vibrant and inviting chaos of the city at your own pace.
If paradise means soft, powdery white sand, thatched umbrellas, blue skies, and even bluer water to you, then Playa Delfines is your dream beach spot. Playa Delfines is located a distance away from most of the Cancún hotels, though you’ll mostly be encountering locals and other tourists who are looking for a little bit of a reprieve from the sometimes hyperactive waterfront in the more trafficked areas.
You’re only a short walk away from the action if you want to participate, but you can also have some time to unwind and get in touch with the soothing sound of the ocean. The waters here are shallow, making it perfect for wading or for letting young swimmers splash around safely. You might even see a dolphin in the distance.
Isla Blanca is the perfect spot if you want seemingly endless stretches of beach to choose from. With over 12 miles of sand, there’s plenty of space to stretch out.
The beach is near Cancún, so it does get busier during popular times. However, many people prefer some of the other beaches and resorts, so Isla Blanca doesn’t get overwhelmingly crowded.
You’ll also have all the trappings of a resort town, including an ample choice of beach clubs and restaurants you can choose from.
It’s worth noting, however, that some areas of Isla Blanca’s beaches are difficult to access. Many areas have singular access points to reduce the amount of foot traffic, so you may need to prepare for a bit more walking if you want a particular view while you lounge on the sand.
Playa Norte is also known by a few other names. English speakers might call it “North Beach,” while other locals might call it by the town’s name: “Isla Mujeres.” No matter what name it goes by, one thing is for sure — it’s absolutely a beach worth visiting.
With turquoise waters and white sand, Playa Norte looks like it belongs in an advertisement for vacations in Mexico. It’s so idyllic that it’s routinely ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the entire world. Part of its beauty comes from the fact that it’s isolated, which means the beach has remained pristine.
The easiest way to get there is by ferry. However, if you prefer keeping to your own schedule, you can also rent a car. Just make sure you enjoy the scenery on your drive — you won’t find it anywhere else in the world.
If you’re planning a trip to Mexico’s east coast, consider booking a stay at Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort. This beach is actually a private resort that will let you have the beach getaway of your dreams.
Akumal means “place of the turtle,” and they have a large presence in the area. They don’t necessarily come onto the beach all that much, but you may run into them if you go for a swim.
The private beach means the underwater wildlife is pristine, making for amazing snorkeling experiences. You can also try your hand at boogie boarding or go for an incredible swim in the beach’s lagoon.
You won’t want to leave the white, sandy beach when you reach the end of your trip, and you’ll remember your trip for years to come.
Playa Del Carmen is perfect for people who aren’t a fan of the sometimes wild beach scene that many people flock to in Mexico. If you’re looking for a place that’s calming, relaxing, and family-friendly, Playa Del Carmen is perfect.
The city is known for its beaches. The soft, white sand makes for dreamy walks and picture-perfect views. The Playa Del Carmen beach might be quiet and laid-back, but there are still plenty of things to do.
There are numerous shops and restaurants just a short walk away from the waterfront. Many of them even have access right onto the sand. You can even book a trip to see the second-largest barrier reef in the world, located just off the city’s coast.
Playa Del Carmen is quickly gaining popularity and is set to be one of the most popular beach destinations in the country soon.
Tulum is where Caribbean paradise meets ancient history in a beautiful way. Tulum was once a Mayan walled city that also served as one of the civilization’s main ports. Though the Mayan civilization is long gone, you can still see the city’s ruins from the beach.
Snapping a picture of the white sand, blue water, and the cliffside temple is a must for any visitor who wants to make sure they will always remember their trip.
Even if you’re not a history fan, the beach itself is perfect on its own. The water is clean and so clear that you’ll wonder if it’s glass. You might even get a view of some sea turtles while you’re there. They don’t come onto shore in highly trafficked areas all that much, but you might run into them if you’re lucky. Just make sure you don’t disturb them if you do!
Hot Tip: For a unique place to stay on your trip, check out our guide to the best boutique hotels in Tulum.
If you’re already planning to visit Tulum, add an extra day to your trip so you can see Xel-Há as well. Xel-Há is a park within the Tulum city limits. However, if you think it’s just a run-of-the-mill waterpark, you’d be wrong.
It’s a nature park that brings visitors into the wilderness in a safe and exciting way. There are plenty of activities you can do both on land and in the water that will create memories that will last forever.
One of the highest-recommended activities Xel-Há offers is its snorkeling excursions. Equipped with a snorkel and some goggles, you’ll be able to see the colorful and vibrant underwater world in the park’s natural beach lagoon.
The park also works to conserve the natural environment. This helps preserve it from creeping commercial development and guarantees people will be able to visit and enjoy Xel-Há’s coast for years to come.
Mexico has some wonderful beaches. Whether you’re visiting the east or the west side of the country, you’ll have plenty of choices. Wherever you decide to visit, add one (or more) of these beaches to your itinerary — you won’t be disappointed!
Mexico has nearly 6,000 miles of coastline. There isn’t a specific part of the country that is “prettier” objectively. However, beaches that are far away from shipyards will have clearer water. The same goes for beaches that aren’t near large city centers.
If you’re looking for good weather, the best time to visit Mexico is from November through March. There isn’t much rain, and the temperatures are higher during these months. However, these are also the country’s busiest months for tourism, so it’s crowded.
Both the east and west parts of Mexico have wonderful beaches. Most tourists tend to flock to beaches on the eastern side of the country. They tend to be better for “postcard” moments. They also tend to have softer sand that can be more comfortable.
The beaches around Cancún and Tulum are some examples of safe Mexico beaches. However, it depends on your specific concerns, so do some research before visiting. Busy tourist beaches have more pickpockets but will have tamer waters. Secluded beaches can have the opposite problem.
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