Mexico is known around the world as the site of some of the world's most famous visitor beachfronts, offering gorgeous shoreline stretches along both its Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea coastlines. Throughout the 20th century, many of the country's coastal communities gained international acclaim as hot tourist destinations, including Puerto Vallarta, which was popularized in the 1960s as a favorite travel destination for Hollywood celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor. Nightlife hot spot Cancun and the twin Baja California cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo attract a hip spring break tourist clientele, while the Carribean area of Tulum is known for its astounding preserved Mayan ruins and gorgeous natural cenote sinkholes. Less-trafficked areas offer more authentic charm, such as bohemian nudist spot Zipolite Beach or the protected natural reserves of the Marieta Islands.
1.Cabo Pulmo National Park (Baja California)
Cabo Pulmo National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national marine park located approximately 62 miles north of Cabo San Lucas along Mexico's Baja California peninsula, stretching between Los Frailes Cape and Pulmo Point. The stunning national park, which was originally established in 1995, preserves the Pacific Ocean's northernmost coral reef formation, one of only three of its kind along North America's western coastline. Park visitors can enjoy amazing diving and snorkeling experiences, observing marine life such as dolphins, sea turtles, humpback whales, and more than 220 species of fish that live within the reef area. Sport fishing, kayaking, and windsurfing are also popular water sports at areas such as El Bajo, Los Cantiles, and Brazos del Arrecife.
Centro, 23570 La Ribera, Baja California Sur, Mexico, Phone: 949-376-2252
2.Playa el Médano (Cabo San Lucas)
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Playa el Médano, known as Medano Beach in English, is Cabo San Lucas' primary swimming beach, offering several miles of safe public swimming conditions between the city's harbor and Villa del Palmar. The lively beach serves as the city's main center of tourism, home to an array of luxurious high-rise resorts, al fresco-style restaurants, and hip bars and nightlife options. At Cabo's best spot for water sports rentals, beachgoers can rent kayaks, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, and wave runners to enjoy the beach's gorgeous water conditions. Parasailing and motorized hang-gliding tours are also available, giving participants a once-in-a-lifetime bird's-eye view of the Pacific Ocean. On land, pick-up volleyball games are common, while a plethora of vendors sell goods within the nearby town center.
Playa Santa María, Auroras, Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S
3.Playa del Amor (Cabo San Lucas)
Playa del Amor, known as Lover's Beach in English, is the beach many tourists think of when they think of the beauty and adventure of Cabo San Lucas, as the beach has been featured in a wide variety of tourism commercials and photo shoots. The beach, which is located on the Sea of Cortez area of Land's End, is one of Cabo's hidden treasures, only accessible via water taxi from the city's marina. Once on the beach, visitors can explore the gorgeous beach's smooth, towering rock formations, including the large and protruding Neptune's Finger formation. Beachgoers should note that swimming and snorkeling are only permitted on the beach's Sea of Cortez side, as dangerous and powerful waves crash against its Divorce Beach side. Visitors can also reach the beach by renting kayaks from nearby Playa del Médano and rowing for approximately 40 minutes from the city's shoreline.
4.Chileno Beach (Cabo San Lucas)
Chileno Beach is a stunning Blue Flag-designated beach in Cabo San Lucas, located within the Baja California city's tourist corridor, connecting the city to nearby San José del Cabo. The lovely beach has become one of Cabo's most popular public beachfronts in recent years, known for its crystal-clear aquamarine waters and its superb swimming, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking conditions. Snorkeling tours are offered by several companies during the afternoon hours daily, providing opportunities to see sea turtles, tropical fish, sea sponges, and moray eels. Palapas are provided for relaxation in the shade, with private beach umbrellas available for visitor rental. The beach is also the only Cabo beachfront offering public restrooms and amenities. Beachgoers looking to avoid crowds should avoid weekend afternoons, when the beach is busiest with tourist activity.
Tourist Corridor, Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico
5.Playa La Ropa (Costa Grande)
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Playa la Ropa is one of the most beautiful beachfront along Mexico's Costa Grande de Guerrero, located on stunning Zihuatanejo Bay. The beach's name, which translates to "beach of clothes," is a reference to a colonial-era shipwreck which washed a gigantic haul of fine Chinese and Indian fabrics, silks, and shawls ashore along the beachfront. Today, the 1.5-kilometer beach is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts, offering moderately high waves that make for great surfing, windsurfing, water skiing, and boogie boarding conditions. It is also one of the Cabo area's most popular snorkeling and diving sites, offering water and marine life experiences similar to popular dive sites in the Caribbean Sea. The beach's surrounding area is currently one of the Cabo area's hottest development areas, with many luxury hotels and restaurants opening in the area on a continual basis.
Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico
6.Playa Norte (Isla Mujeres)
Playa Norte, referred to as North Beach in English, is one of Mexico's most stunning white sand beaches, located on the secluded five-mile-long Isla Mujeres off the northern coast of Cancún. The beach, which is the island's central public beach, spans 2,250 feet of gorgeous ocean coastline, home to pristine turquoise waters, crushed coral sands, and vibrant local culture. Waters are safe for swimming for beachgoers of all ages and ability levels, only chest-deep even a decent distance from the shoreline. The island's lively community is home to a wide variety of artists and musicians and significant influence from its Mayan heritage, creating a diverse, unique local culture. Other tourist attractions on the island for visitors to enjoy include the MUSA Underwater Sculpture Museum, Garrafon Park, and the ruins of historic Hacienda Mundaca.
Rueda Medina 130, SM 001, Centro, 77506 Isla Mujeres, Q.R., Mexico
7.Yelapa Beach (Jalisco)
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Yelapa Beach is the charming public beachfront of the town of Yelapa, located approximately 40 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta near the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. The town, which is named for the Purepecha word for "the place where waters become a pond," is only accessible via boat or water taxi from nearby Los Muertos Beach or Boca de Tomatlan and has escaped much of the recent development of many of Mexico's hottest tourist beach areas. Many refer to the beach as Mexico's last remaining authentic beach, home to only a few al fresco bars and vendors along its crescent-shaped stretch of sand. It is known throughout Mexico for its delicious fresh-baked beach pies, available in a variety of flavors, and its unique strong liquor raicilla, a variant of mezcal.
8.Balandra Beach (La Paz)
Balandra Beach is a tranquil golden sand beach near La Paz, located on the eastern side of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. The beach is one of the Baja's most stunning natural beaches, showcasing crystal-clear turquoise waters against a backdrop of impressive copper-colored mountains. The beach, which has been designated as an Area of Flora and Fauna Protection by the Mexican government since 2012, is located on Balandra Bay and is a fantastic spot for paddleboarding, surrounded by impressive rock formations such as the mushroom-shaped El Hongo, a popular photo opportunity spot. At low tide conditions, waters are shallow enough for beachgoers to walk across the bay to nearby beach sites such as Playa Tecolote and Playa Pichilingue. Visitors should be advised that stingrays and jellyfish populate the beach's waters and should take precaution when entering the water.
Carretera a Pichilingue KM 7, HWY 11, Tecolote, 23010 La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico, Phone: +52-61-21-94-30-67
9.Playa del Amor (Marietas Islands)
Playa del Amor, commonly referred to in English as the Hidden Beach, is one of the Marieta Islands' top public beach spots, located approximately 22 miles off the coastline of Puerto Vallarta along the mouth of beautiful Banderas Bay. The uninhabited islands have long been used as military testing sites by the Mexican government, and many rock and cave formations on the island have been created as the result of bomb testing, including the terrain of Hidden Beach. Today, the beach creates a safe, sandy haven within the island's lush green topography, perfect for secluded romantic getaways along the crystal-clear waterfront, which is protected as part of the Islas Marietas National Park. The beach is only accessible via a long water tunnel on the island, with many eco-tour opportunities offering boat excursions to the beachfront for visitors. Beachgoers should note that beach access wristbands are restricted to a limited number of guests per day and must be reserved several days in advance of desired visit date.
Islas Marietas, Mexico
10.Zipolite Beach (Oaxaca)
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Zipolite Beach is a lovely low-key beach in Oaxaca, located within Mexico's San Pedro Pochutla municipality. The 40-meter beach, which is named for the Zapotec word for "beach of the dead," is best known as Mexico's only legal public naturist beach, retaining much of its bohemian vibe from its original rise to international fame in the 1970s. It gained prominence in the early 21st century due to its use as a major filming site for the 2001 motion picture Y Tu Mamá También, known internationally today for hosting major events such as the annual Festival Nudista Zipolite naturist event each February. Strong waves make for excellent surfing conditions, though visitors should exercise caution when entering the water for swimming, though lifeguards are staffed on duty and employ a flag system to inform visitors about daily water conditions.
11.Sayulita (Riviera Nayarit)
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Sayulita is a popular bohemian-chic resort community located approximately 20 miles northwest of Nuevo Vallarta, along the beautiful Riviera Nayarit coastline area. The beachfront community has retained much of its bohemian atmosphere since its rise in international popularity in the 1960s, bringing together tourists and residents of all ages and identities to create a laid-back, diverse community atmosphere. It has become one of Mexico's most acclaimed surfing spots, with perfectly strong waves lapping over the Pacific Ocean coastline and making for dazzling backdrop scenery to view once-in-a-lifetime sunsets. Charming boutique hotels are offered within the city center, along with elegant villa rentals, tent and RV parks, and a variety of quaint dining options and art galleries.
© Simon Dannhauer/stock.adobe.com
Akumal is a gorgeous beachfront resort community located along the Yucatán Peninsula's Riviera Maya coastline, located approximately an hour south of Cancún. The beach, which is located at the site of a former Tulum coconut plantation at the junction of Akumal and Half Moon Bays, is renowned internationally as a site for snorkeling and swimming with endangered green sea turtles, deriving its name from a Mexican word for "place of turtles." A beautiful visitor beach is offered along Half Moon Bay, with five more visitor beaches and lagoons offering opportunities for swimming and sunbathing along the Las Bahias de Akumal area near Yal-Ku Lagoon. Nearby, visitors can also explore the caves and natural formations of Aktun Chen Natural Park or view famed Mayan ruins at Chichen-Itza, Tulum, and Xcaret.
13.Isla Holbox (Yucatan Peninsula)
Isla Holbox is a laid-back hidden gem island located north of Mexico's famed Yucatán Peninsula within Quintana Roo, contained within the Yum Balam Nature Reserve. The car-free island is only accessible via boat, with public ferries embarking daily from the town of Chiquila. Once on the island, visitors can explore its beautiful natural wonders and quaint communities on foot or on bike and observe marine life at beautiful beachfront stretches such as Punta Coco Beach and Mosquito Beach. Warm, calm waters make for great swimming conditions, with beach palapas provided along shorefront areas for sunbathing and relaxation. Within the beach's main village, visitors can go off the grid and meander through displays of street art or try local cuisine at restaurant such as Le Jardin, Angeles y Diablitos, or Los Peleones.
14.San Miguel Beach (Baja California)
San Miguel Beach offers some of Ensenada's best surf breaks, located an easy drive from downtown San Francisco along Mexico's Baja California peninsula. The beach, which is widely regarded as Ensenada's top spot for surfing, is located just outside the city of San Miguel, offering plenty of overnight accommodations for visitors on all budgets. It is less crowded with tourists than some of the Baja's other popular public beaches, offering excellent water conditions for surfers, bodyboarders, and other water sport enthusiasts. Visitors should note that the beach's waterfront is populated with sea urchins and should exercise caution when entering the water. Camping is permitted on the beachfront for an additional fee, with public restrooms and amenities available for all visitors.
Villas San Miguel, 22760 Baja California, Mexico, Phone: +52-64-69-77-00-13
15.Playa Caracol (Cancun)
Playa Caracol is a delightful central beach within Cancún's Beach Hotel Zone, located along Mexico's eastern coastline. The beach area is known as a popular resort destination for Cancún visitors looking for a more authentic city life tourist experience, as opposed to some of the Hotel Zone's more suburban areas. Calm, pristine waters and brilliant white sands attract visitors throughout the year, with gentle surf conditions making waters as great for swimming and snorkeling as they are for surfing and water sports. The beach's flat seabeds also make its waters a prime spot for families to enjoy together during their travels to Cancún. Showers and a concession stand are offered along the beachfront, though visitors should note that no public restrooms are available. Nearby, visitors can travel to attractions such as the Museo Arqueológico de Cancún or the Yamil Lu'um Mayan ruins.
Blvd. Kukulcan 162, Punta Cancun, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
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Troncones is one of Mexico's most authentic unspoiled beachfronts, acclaimed in international publications such as Lonely Planet, Travel and Leisure, and Frommers Guide as one of the state's most gorgeous natural wonders. The beach which is located approximately half an hour north of the resort areas of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, is known for its internationally-acclaimed surfing areas, considered to be the best hidden-gem surfing spot in the country. Miles of stunning unspoiled golden sand beachfront awaits visitors, who can wade in tide pools or observe endangered sea turtles in their natural habitat. Nearby, the beach town of Troncones offers concession trucks, charming guest houses, and restaurants offering specialty themed events and dance parties throughout the week.
17.Playa la Entrega (Huatulco)
Playa la Entrega is one of Huatulco's most gorgeous natural refuges, renowned internationally for its incredible and diverse marine ecosystems. The beach, which is located less than 10 minutes by car from the city of Santa Cruz, is often referred to as a natural aquarium for its populations of unique marine life, including species such as roncadores and blowfish, and its impressive coral reef. Visitors can snorkel and explore the area's underwater scenery or spend the day floating on its gentle waters in rental inner tubes. Shallow waters only reaching depths of 15 feet make the beach a great choice for first-time scuba divers. After sunset, visitors to the area can enjoy delicious seafood entrees at the region's many upscale oceanfront restaurants, many of which offer al fresco seating options.
Playa La Entrega, Santa Cruz Huatulco, 70989 Crucecita, Oax., Mexico
18.Playa el Tecolote (La Paz)
Playa el Tecolote is a lovely remote beachfront community near Baja California's La Paz community, located approximately 15 miles from the city's center along State Highway 11. The beach is one of the Baja's most extensive white sand beaches, offering a much more laid-back and authentic alternative to more heavily touristed areas near Cabo San Lucas. Gentle waves with little undertow make for great conditions for water skiing and jet skiing, with ample space available for sunbathers to stretch out along the beachfront under rental umbrellas. Visitors can also book boat tours to nearby Isla Espiritu Santo, a regional nature reserve and marine park.
Carretera pichilingue kmt 7.5 al noroeste de, Pichilingue, 23000 La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico, Phone: +52-61-21-22-88-85
19.Bahía San Agustín (Oaxaca)
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Bahía San Agustín, known as San Agustín Bay in English, is a secluded stretch of bay located approximately 20 minutes by car from Cruzacita, offering a less-crowded alternative to some of Huatulco's more heavily touristed beach sites. The bay is home to two separate beachfront areas, including San Agustín Beach, which stretches for a mile and is a prime spot for scuba divers. Nearby Cacalutilla Beach is home to pristine white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters that are calm enough for swimming for visitors of all ability levels. Visitors can spot seabirds, sea turtles, and dolphins from the coastline throughout the year, with chances for whale watching offered during the winter months. The quaint community of San Agustín is also home to a number of delectable seafood restaurants, with daily catches prepared to order over open wood fires.
20.Playa Los Muertos (Puerto Vallarta)
Playa Los Muertos, referred to in English as Deadman's Beach or the Beach of the Dead, is, despite its name, a popular family-friendly beach in Puerto Vallarta, located at the mouths of the Cuale and Malecon Rivers near the city's Venustiano Carranza. Though some local legends claim the beach as a site of bloody ambushes during colonial times, many believe that the beach's name is derived from its historic use as a burial site for local indigenous cultures. As Puerto Vallarta's most-visited tourist beach, the beach offers great swimming and water sport conditions and is a lively tourist spot year-round, home to a wide variety of beachfront vendors and concession offerings. Nearby in the city, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars or visit historic attractions within the Old Vallarta district.
21.Xpu Ha Beach (Riviera Maya)
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Xpu Ha Beach is the Yucatán Peninsula's best-kept secret, offering beautiful white sand beachfront areas tucked away between more popular destinations Tulum and Playa del Carmen. The beach offers an opportunity to relax against a backdrop of stunning turquoise waters on the Caribbean Sea, accessible via car or taxi along Federal Highway 207. Glamping opportunities are offered at the spectacular Serenity Beach Club, which also offers dining options and opportunities to rent beach chairs and equipment. Parasailing, snorkeling, jet skiing, and kitesurfing are popular waterfront activities, with several rental companies offering equipment rentals. Visitors can also swim at some of Mexico's best natural sinkholes nearby at Cenote El Jardin and Cenote Azul.
Carretera Chetumal-Cancun Km. 265, Xpu-Ha, Akumal, Q.R., Mexico, Phone: +52-1-98-41-33-67-01
22.Punta Mita (Riviera Nayarit)
Punta Mita is a luxury resort area along Mexico's Pacific Ocean coastline, located at the site of a small peninsular fishing village along Banderas Bay. The area's beach, which is located approximately 10 miles from the town of Sayulita, offers stunning white sands and serves as a hidden-away refuge from some of the area's more heavily-touristed sites, stretching along nearly six miles of beautiful unspoiled Pacific coastline. Upscale homes and resorts are located near the beach's coastline, along with attractions such as the Jack Nicklaus-designed Pacifico Golf Course Punta Mita Nayarit, famed internationally for its unique 3b-style hole, the only of its kind in the world. Visitors can also watch for humpback whales swimming past the nearby Marieta Islands, a protected natural reserve area.
23.Playa las Gatas (Zihuatanejo)
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Playa las Gatas is a picturesque cove near Zihuatanejo, named for the catlike whiskers that adorn the area's coastal shark populations. The beach, which is rumored to have been originally protected by breakwaters as a private sheltered beachfront area created for the daughter of an indigenous Tarascan king, is known as a snorkeler's paradise today for its beautiful coral reef, which is home to a wide variety of diverse and colorful marine life. Nearby, the historic El Faro lighthouse overlooks the beach's coastline, which may be ascended for stunning panoramic views of the coastline. Seafood restaurants line the beach's shorefront, with lounge chairs and water sport equipment available for rental from a number of local businesses.
Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico
23 Best Mexico Beaches
- Cabo Pulmo National Park (Baja California), Photo: leonardogonzalez/stock.adobe.com
- Playa el Médano (Cabo San Lucas), Photo: dan talson/stock.adobe.com
- Playa del Amor (Cabo San Lucas), Photo: grinder82/stock.adobe.com
- Chileno Beach (Cabo San Lucas), Photo: Oleandra9/stock.adobe.com
- Playa La Ropa (Costa Grande), Photo: Balint Radu/stock.adobe.com
- Playa Norte (Isla Mujeres), Photo: marako85/stock.adobe.com
- Yelapa Beach (Jalisco), Photo: Christopher Howey/stock.adobe.com
- Balandra Beach (La Paz), Photo: leonardogonzalez/stock.adobe.com
- Playa del Amor (Marietas Islands), Photo: grinder82/stock.adobe.com
- Zipolite Beach (Oaxaca), Photo: Noel Cruz/stock.adobe.com
- Sayulita (Riviera Nayarit), Photo: annie X/stock.adobe.com
- Akumal (Tulum), Photo: Simon Dannhauer/stock.adobe.com
- Isla Holbox (Yucatan Peninsula), Photo: marikpeter/stock.adobe.com
- San Miguel Beach (Baja California), Photo: sebra/stock.adobe.com
- Playa Caracol (Cancun), Photo: IRStone/stock.adobe.com
- Troncones (Guerrero), Photo: Mark J. Grenier/stock.adobe.com
- Playa la Entrega (Huatulco), Photo: vladimircaribb/stock.adobe.com
- Playa el Tecolote (La Paz), Photo: Victor/stock.adobe.com
- Bahía San Agustín (Oaxaca), Photo: Saskia Toepfer/stock.adobe.com
- Playa Los Muertos (Puerto Vallarta), Photo: Dreamframer/stock.adobe.com
- Xpu Ha Beach (Riviera Maya), Photo: Simon Dannhauer/stock.adobe.com
- Punta Mita (Riviera Nayarit), Photo: RachelKolokoffHopper/stock.adobe.com
- Playa las Gatas (Zihuatanejo), Photo: J A Nicoli/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: javarman/stock.adobe.com