Mexico’s dreamy shores are famous worldwide. Be it on the shores of the paradise-like Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, or the Sea of Cortez, Mexico is blessed with tons of beach destinations that will delight your senses in many ways.
From sleepy fishing villages to sprawling luxury resorts, the Mexican coast is sure to please.
When it comes to choosing where to go, the number of options available can get pretty overwhelming. To make things a little easier for you, we crafted a list of some of the best beach destinations to help you decide which paradisiac stretch of sand fits you best.
So whether you are looking for a peaceful getaway, are into historic Mayan ruins, or the trendiest nightlife scene is what you are after.
1. Cancun, Riviera Maya
One of the most popular beach destinations with locals and foreigners alike, Cancun offers 14 miles of continuous white sand beaches and turquoise waters on the Caribbean shores.
As if that wasn’t enough, it is also home to the Nichupté Lagoon, which joins the Caribbean Sea through two canals, Sigfrido y Nizuc. Cancun was opened to tourism in the 1970s, and ever since then, it has grown into a sprawling coastal metropolis full of resorts, shopping malls, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.
Considered the main point of the Riviera Maya tourist region, Cancun is a wonderful place to visit if you don’t shy away from crowds and are looking for beach relaxation, fun, and sports with the comforts a large city has to offer.
It is also a good base point for visiting other popular destinations like Cozumel, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, and the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins.
2. Tulum, Riviera Maya
Tulum is one of the trendiest beach destinations in Mexico. This once small fishing town located 80 miles from Cancun has become quite popular in the past few years, but it has somehow managed to maintain its hip artistry flavor and casual vibe in the midst of luxury resorts and boutique hotels.
Mayan ruins overlook the bright blue Caribbean waters, which make this a stunning sight for casual visitors and a dream for history buffs. Add a great gastronomic and bar scene, and you have a winner.
With so much to offer, Tulum’s beaches can get crowded, but if you head a little bit south to Playa Las Palmas, you can find a much quieter spot.
Akumal Beach is another option to escape the crowds. Its calm waters are great for swimming and a favorite place for sea turtles to lay their eggs.
3. Balandra Bay, Baja Sur
Balandra Beach is a real Mexican gem located about 30 mins from the coastal city of La Paz.
Swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding are some of the experiences on the menu, and snorkeling here is as dreamy as it gets. Jacques Costeau dubbed the Sea of Cortez – or the Gulf of California – “the aquarium of the world” because of the gorgeous variety of fish and marine life he found in this large inlet of the Pacific Ocean.
This natural treasure belongs to a national protected area, where you’ll find 6 hiking trails up to the different mountain overlooks that provide stunning vistas of the bay below.
Keep in mind that you won’t find any restaurants or kiosks at Balandra, so be sure to pack a few snacks and beverages for your day trip. You can also drive to nearby El Tecolote a few miles down, where you’ll find several eating options right at the beach.
4. Sayulita, Nayarit
About 30 miles from Puerto Vallarta and nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain range, you’ll find the colorful beach town of Sayulita.
This picturesque bohemian destination has become a surfers’ paradise, whether you are experienced or a newbie wanting to try out a few lessons.
Whether you’re looking for budget accommodations or luxury resorts, street taco stands, or fine restaurants, Sayulita will deliver. This wide golden sand beach offers excellent shopping opportunities that go from swanky boutiques to artisan shops that sell Huichol clothes, home decor, and jewelry.
5. Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
Puerto Escondido is a splendid beach destination on the Pacific coast of the Mexican State of Oaxaca.
Offering no less than 8 beaches, each one with its own particular style and flavor, Puerto Escondido has somehow managed to escape mass development and sprawling resorts. Here, you get to stay in cabins, family-owned hostels, small hotels, or chic eco-friendly boutique hotels. Of course, camping and glamping are options too!
Favorite activities at Puerto Escondido are surfing, hiking, and beach hopping. Playa Bachoco is great for walking and horseriding. Puerto Angel is for outdoor adventurers in search of tranquil snorkeling, waterfalls, and lagoons. Mazunte is a picturesque Magic Town where turtle camps make their home, and Zipolite is the only nudist beach in Mexico.
At night, a stroll along Puerto Escondido’s main street will take you past restaurants, and bars as well as hippy street musicians and artisan vendors.
6. Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas
Medano Beach is one of the calmest beaches in Los Cabos, which makes it a great spot for swimming and experiencing a myriad of water sports.
This is Cabo San Lucas’ main beach, which is also pretty busy. Being one of the most swimmable beaches in this resort destination, it attracts quite a few visitors looking to rent a jet ski, hire a snorkeling tour, or have a beachside cocktail in one of the many restaurants available.
When you’re ready to explore further, you can book boat excursions to pretty Lover’s Beach and the stunning El Arco rock formation, with stops for snorkeling and diving in the Sea of Cortez.
7. Puerto Peñasco, Sonora
Puerto Peñasco is rapidly becoming a popular beach spot in Mexico. The stunning natural beauty of the Sea of Cortez fusions with the Sonoran Desert, attracting nature lovers and sun worshippers alike.
Puerto Peñasco – also known as Rocky Point – is only 220 miles from Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona, which makes it very accessible for Arizona residents and travelers to arrange a beach escapade to this unique place.
With 70 miles of sandy beaches and pristine waters harboring extraordinary marine life as well as dozens of mammals, reptiles, and birds, it is easy to imagine yourself spending all your time relaxing at the beach and viewing animals.
Yes, nature lovers are definitely in for a treat, but there’s a lot more you can do here. Puerto Peñasco also offers a bustling culinary scene which is heavenly for “seafoodies”, and a lively nightlife to keep you entertained.
8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Nestled on the beautiful Banderas Bay in the Pacific Ocean, Puerto Vallarta is an amazing resort town famous for its stunning beaches, marine life, water sports, local resorts, and boutique hotels.
Despite its being one of the most popular vacation destinations in Mexico, with a busy resort vibe and bustling nightlife, Puerto Vallarta preserves its picturesque Mexican town vibe. Popular beaches in the area are Playa Las Gemelas, Yelapa, Colomitos, and Conchas Chinas.
Have you ever visited a beach destination in Mexico? If so, which one did you like the most? Please tell us all about your time there in the comment section below!