15 Best Beaches in Mexico

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Mexico is a country of amazing food, culture, and stunning ruins. It also features an extensive coastline and is home to some of the most amazing beaches in the world. There are nearly 500 beaches that span over the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, and the Caribbean Sea.

The great thing about the Mexican coastline is that it offers different types of beaches. Expect to find secluded spots surrounded by jungles and ancient ruins, sandy shores with calm waters which are perfect for swimming, and beaches ideal for surfing.

Let’s have a look at the best beaches in Mexico:

1. Tulum

Tulum Beach, MexicoSource: Ivan Marc / shutterstock
Tulum Beach

Famous for its Mayan ruins from the 13th century, Tulum beach is a perfect destination for all history buffs. It is located at the southern end of Riviera Maya, just a two-hour drive from Cancun.

This picturesque beach features crystal clear waters, palm trees, and pristine white sand. There are several limestone pools nearby which are perfect for swimming and several amazing beach hotels in the area.

If you are looking to get away from all the hustle and bustle of overcrowded beaches, Tulum should definitely be included on your list of places to visit while on vacation in Mexico.

2. Akumal Beach

Akumal Beach, MexicoSource: BlueOrange Studio / shutterstock
Akumal Beach

Akumal Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the Riviera Maya and attracts both tourists and locals.

The name ‘Akumal’ translates to “Place of Turtles” and for good reason. This is a favorite place for large sea turtles to come and lay their eggs. In case you are into snorkeling and scuba diving, Akumal Beach is home to amazing coral beds which feature various fish life.

There are five different bays to explore and several bars, hotels, and restaurants can be found in this area. Travelers with children will be happy to hear that Akumal Beach is perfect for swimming and you can easily find a secluded spot, even on the weekends.

3. Playa Las Gatas

Playa Las GatasSource: Chepe Nicoli / shutterstock
Playa Las Gatas

Located just 3 miles south of the Zihuatanejo, Playa Las Gatas is a white-sand beach that’s named after the whiskered nurse sharks that used to swim in these waters a long time ago.

There are two ways to reach the beach, you can either come by boat or follow a steep pathway. One of the reasons why many people love Playa Las Gatas is the fact that it’s perfect for snorkeling and features several rocky coves.

If you get hungry, there are several restaurants along the beach that serve delicious seafood. The best coconut shrimp can be found at Otilia. There is also a lighthouse close to the beach which offers spectacular views of the coastline from the cliffs.

4. Cancun Beach

Cancun Blue Ocean BeachSource: Cassiohabib / shutterstock
Cancun Blue Ocean Beach

One of the most known beaches in Mexico, Cancun Beach is 14 miles long and features pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters. Originally, this beach was a part of the ancient Mayan civilization and there are many ancient attractions in the region to explore.

You will find an amazing coral reef which is perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. Travelers can also go paddle boarding, fishing, and kayaking.

There are a number of restaurants with both indoor and outdoor space where you can try a variety of Mexican specialties. Cancun Beach can be compared to the Las Vegas strip because of all the entertainment options, resorts and high-end hotels. So if you like Vegas, you’ll love Cancun.

5. Puerto Vallarta Beach

Puerto Vallarta BeachSource: Diego Grandi / shutterstock
Puerto Vallarta Beach

With a perfect tropical climate, Puerto Vallarta is a popular resort town full of amazing cobblestone streets and sightseeing options. Go to the Zona Romantica and visit the old town’s shops, restaurants, and bars.

If you want to spend a day on Puerto Vallarta Beach, a number of water activities such as diving, sailing, and fishing await you. Protected coves are perfect for snorkeling, while deep-sea fishing and whale-watching are just some of the many activities here at Puerto Vallarta Beach.

If you are looking for that perfect vacation and want to have the opportunity to explore the amazing town of Puerto Vallarta, spend a day on the beach, and enjoy views of the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains, this beach is for you.

6. Playa Norte

Playa NorteSource: Darren Tierney / shutterstock
Playa Norte

The main beach on Isla Mujeres, Playa Norte is famous for its clear waters and shining white sand.

Families with kids will love this beach because the waters are calm, allowing for plenty of safe swimming opportunities. You will also find a wide selection of restaurants, beach bars, and accommodation in the area.

Playa Norte is definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, but keep in mind that it easily gets crowded on the weekends. It is recommended to arrive early in the morning and choose a spot close to the water.

7. Xpu Ha Beach

Xpu Ha BeachSource: Simon Dannhauer / shutterstock
Xpu Ha Beach

Part of the Riviera Maya, Xpu Ha Beach is located south of Puerto Aventuras and attracts mostly locals. The good news is that this amazing beach is not overly crowded, even during the high tourist season, which makes it a perfect destination for travelers who are hoping to find some peace and quiet on their summer vacation.

Take part in one of the regular yoga sessions on the beach or join in a game of soccer or beach volleyball with the locals. Several water sports are also popular here including fishing, kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling.

If you want to grab a bite or a drink, there are local vendors on the beach selling refreshing drinks and local seafood.

8. Zipolite

Zipolite BeachSource: Stefano Ember / shutterstock
Zipolite Beach

Zipolite was quite a big hippie destination from the 1960’s through to the 1980’s. It was considered a free love center and a famous counterculture destination for hippie travelers from all around the world. It was also one of the first nude beaches in Mexico, although not all of the sunbathers were without clothes.

Today, Zipolite Beach attracts less hippies but still many people who love yoga and surfing.

You will still find plenty of budget accommodation options, but there are also several luxurious hotels and fancy restaurants at the west end of the village.

Anyone who is looking for a stress-free vacation and wishes to avoid large crowds of people should definitely choose Zipolite beach.

9. Playa del Amor

Playa del AmorSource: EDEYAH R / shutterstock
Playa Del Amor

Easily accessible by a water boat from the marina at Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Amor is one of the most famous beaches in Mexico. It is also known as the ‘Lover’s Beach’ because its romantic setting that features the beautiful Land’s End rock formation.

Keep in mind that the tides are quite rough on the Pacific end and it is recommended to enter the water in the Bahia de Cabo San Lucas area. The Cortez side of Playa del Amor is also perfect for snorkeling and attracts mostly locals. Although it takes a bit of effort to get here, the whole experience of visiting Playa del Amore is definitely worth it.

10. Playa de Tecolote

Playa De TecoloteSource: Yiskaholina / Flickr
Playa De Tecolote

One of the busiest beaches in La Paz, Playa de Tecolote is a perfect beach for swimming and offers amazing views of the uninhabited island of Espíritu Santo.

You will find local vendors on the beach selling specialties like marlin en escabeche and chocolate clams.

Although Playa de Tecolote may not be as popular as the neighboring Balandra Beach, it still offers a great beach experience. Basic facilities including showers and toilets can be found here and if you want to go out for dinner, go to the El Tecolote Restaurant and Bar where you can order from their extensive fresh seafood menu.

11. Bahía Balandra

Bahía BalandraSource: charleschandler / Flickr
Bahía Balandra

Situated in the Baja region of La Paz, Bahía Balandra Beach is a lovely family beach that is famous for its rock formation known as Diamond Rock. The beach is sheltered in every direction which allows safe swimming and snorkeling to explore the excellent colorful marine life.

The good news is that although the waters of Bahía Balandra belong to the chilly Pacific coast, the water warms up early in the day so is perfect for comfortable swimming.

There are no beachside amenities available which makes Bahía Balandra less crowded than other local beaches.

12. Playa Maroma

Playa MaromaSource: BRJ INC. / Flickr
Playa Maroma

One of the best beaches on the Riviera Maya, Playa Maroma was voted by the Travel Channel as one of the top ten beaches in the world.

This two-mile-long beach is part of the Catalonia all-inclusive resort and features gentle waters and powder soft sand. It is perfect for swimming and looks as pretty as a postcard.

The only downside to Playa Maroma is you won’t find any hostels or other budget accommodation options, only luxurious villas and boutique hotels can be found here.

13. Ziggy Beach

Ziggy BeachSource: tulumliving.com
Ziggy Beach

Ziggy Beach is situated in Riviera Maya and is one of the most popular beaches in the area. Featuring an amazing variety of marine life, thanks to the amazing coral reef system, Ziggy Beach is a great place for snorkeling and diving.

There are two separate areas of the beach. One is reserved only for the guests of the Ziggy Beach Club, while the other section is open to all other visitors.

Ziggy beach is also famous for an array of watersports action including paddle boarding, sailing, jet skiing, and much more. Plenty of rental shops can be found on the beach, as well as many nice places to sit for a drink or snack.

14. Paamul Beach

Paamul BeachSource: D'Angelo Photography / shutterstock
Paamul Beach

Situated north of Puerto Aventuras, Paamul Beach is a mixed sand and limestone beach making it less comfortable to walk on. The fact that footwear is required here discourages many tourists and makes Paamul Beach less crowded than other neighboring beaches.

However, the coral garden here is fascinating and scuba divers and snorkelers can explore the amazing amount of tropical fish and other marine life.

Several bars, shops, and restaurants can be found on Paamul Beach, as well as a public swimming pool in case you want to avoid the saltwater or prickly sand.

15. Isla Holbox

Isla HolboxSource: BlueOrange Studio / shutterstock
Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox is a small island located just three hours from Cancun. Some call it the best-kept secret of the Yutacan peninsula because of its deserted beaches, laid-back atmosphere, and shallow waters.

There is little traffic and the island has not yet been commercialized, which is great news for adventurous visitors who are looking to find some peace and quiet. Most of the seashell scattered beaches are ideal for swimming in the calm waters.

You probably won’t find many beach facilities on Isla Holbox and there are no upscale hotels, but virgin beaches with white sand and crystal-clear blue waters can be found around every corner.


15 Best Beaches in Mexico:

  • Tulum
  • Akumal Beach
  • Playa Las Gatas
  • Cancun Beach
  • Puerto Vallarta Beach
  • Playa Norte
  • Xpu Ha Beach
  • Zipolite
  • Playa del Amor
  • Playa de Tecolote
  • Bahía Balandra
  • Playa Maroma
  • Ziggy Beach
  • Paamul Beach
  • Isla Holbox