Live Your Best Life on These Mexican Beaches

As wonderful and popular as they are, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas will always be busy tourist hotspots. So why not go somewhere off the beaten path? Whether you choose to take a dive in the Caribbean Sea or chill on the Pacific shores, from coast to coast, Mexico's beaches offer diverse beauty. You will be mesmerized by the majestic vistas, myriad of activities, and warm communities that make these beaches the perfect paradise for your vacation.


01 Mazunte, Oaxaca

Couple on beach in Mazunte, Mexico

Famous for its turtles and ecotourism, Mazunte is a coastal fishing town on the coast of Oaxaca. Naturalists will fall in love with its pristine beaches, tropical greenery, and tight community. The strong tides of San Agustinillo beach are perfect for those seeking to surf and dive. Meanwhile, Mermejita and Rinconcito are mellows spots for sunbathing, surrounded by hills and blue waters. To enjoy spectacular sunsets, head to Punta Cometa, a small peninsula that juts out into the Pacific. Between December and March, you're likely to spot humpback whales, whose migration takes them close to Mazunte.

Joel Carillet / Getty Images


02 Sayulita, Nayarit

beach scene in sayulita, mexico

Excellent beaches and a welcoming community are what make Sayulita the destination for peace, love, and great waves. During the day, surf, swim, or paddleboard to break into the water. Take a stroll through town, where you'll see locals and internationals mingling. Head back to the beach for some ceviche or shrimp tacos for lunch, and relax at one of the many wellness centers nearby. Once refreshed, dance the night away by the waves to the sound of cumbia and salsa music. 


03 Los Algodones, Sonora

San Carlos, Mexico

You'll find Los Algodones on the coast of Sonora, surrounded by a majestic desert landscape and stunning mountain views. This beach of white, cotton-like dunes sits on San Carlos Bay by the gentle waters of the Sea of Cortez. The layout of Los Algodones allows for all kinds of activities, from hiking to horseback riding to camping. Sunsets on this side of the Pacific coast are a beautiful spectacle of colors. The Mirador lookout has a view of the beach and the Sea of Cortez, where you can witness these afternoon vistas. Fiery red, orange, and magenta reflect on the iconic Tetakawi hill and the surrounding mountains of San Carlos Bay.


04 Mazatlan, Sinaloa

Beach and waterfront in Mazatlan Sinaloa Mexico

Mazatlan is a bustling resort town that boasts of sunshine, historic architecture, and a seafront of 13 miles. This "Pearl of the Pacific" has many beaches to choose from. The Cerritos Beach boasts gentle waters where you can fish for marlin on a relaxing shoreline. Located in the busy Golden Zone, Sabado and Gaviotas are surrounded by plenty of resorts and restaurants; these coasts have stronger tides, so their waters are ideal for all kinds of aquatic sports. Norte beach is the place to go to relax and make the most of life by the sea. It's perfect for bird-watching and famous for serving the freshest seafood around.


05 Playa Balandra, La Paz

Balandra Beach, La Paz Matthew T Rader / Unsplash

Located in Baja California Sur, Balandra is famous for its desert landscape, sustainable tourism, and iconic, mushroom-like rock formation. As beautiful and immaculate as it is, this beach is budget-friendly and offers lots of activities. Swim—or walk along—the warm and pristine waters of its shallow sea, and lounge by the shore. Later, take a hike through its campsites and trails, each offering a unique view of the surrounding mountains and exquisite sights of the Sea of Cortez.


06 El Cielo, Cozumel

Cozumel, Mexico

The beach of El Cielo —" heaven" in Spanish — is a golden sandbank that extends 2,600 miles off Cozumel island on the Mexican Caribbean. Lounge in the shallow waters, or go where the tide is stronger to do some windsurfing. This sandy corner is close to the Great Mayan Reef; the proximity and the pristine waters make El Cielo the perfect destination to spot rich coral banks and diverse marine life. Though it's's becoming very popular among tourists, El Cielo remains as unspoiled as possible thanks to conservation efforts from local authorities. 


07 Playa La Ropa, Zihuatanejo

Sunny Beach of Playa la Ropa YinYang / Getty Images

La Ropa is one of the most popular beaches in the fishing village of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. Rocky hills and palm trees encircle 1,640 feet of this crescent-shaped shoreline surrounded by beach bars, sun loungers, and aquatic equipment rentals that will complement your day. The tide in these warm waters is low and calm, making La Ropa the perfect beach for a family day, especially for younger kids who love to swim. After basking in the sun, choose one of the many local restaurants nearby for dinner. Most places offer a sundeck or a palapa hut, so you don't have to leave the beach at all. 


08 Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Mexico beach of Puerto Escondido Franck38 / Getty Images

At the tip of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range lies this not-so-hidden surfing gem. Puerto Escondido is a coastal town with year-round temperate weather famous for its welcoming people and vibrant beaches. Playa Zicatela features the Mexican Pipeline surf break, a top spot for seasoned surfers worldwide; they gather at Zicatela annually to compete for the Puerto Escondido Cup. If you want to enjoy Puerto Escondido without the heart-racing action, you can opt for Playas Manzanillo and Puerto Angelito; these beaches are ideal for a proper, lazy beach day. The waters are a prime swimming spot due to their calm tide. 


09 Manzanillo, Colima

Seagulls and pelicans fish in the breaking surf of the Pacific Ocean off Miramar Beach, Manzanillo, Mexico KellyThorson / Getty Images

The beaches of Manzanillo boast of an average 350 sunny days per year, making them the perfect place to revel in summerlike warmth whenever you need a getaway. Playa Miramar is considered the prettiest beach in the area, with eight miles of sandy golden shore ideal for horseback riding. As one of the top ports in Mexico, Manzanillo has arguably the country's best seafood. Local restaurants and beach bars will serve you the freshest ceviche, shrimp cocktails, and fish on this side of the Pacific. Best of all, Manzanillo has many beaches that are usually free of tourists, which makes them ideal spots to lounge and explore at your leisure. 


10 Punta Xen, Campeche

DOUGBERRY / Getty Images

Located in Campeche, Punta Xen comprises many beaches with gentle tides and rich marine life. This sandy coast in the Gulf of Mexico is internationally recognized as a nesting site for Carey turtles; many local conservation organizations survey the Punta Xen landscape to protect the species that come here to lay their eggs. This group of beaches is the perfect destination for a family outing and a stress-free getaway to disconnect from your everyday life and commune with nature.


11 Playa Ruinas, Tulum

Caribbean coast of Mexico - Quintana Roo - Cancun - Riviera Maya marako85 / Getty Images

Set against the stunning backdrop of the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Playa Ruinas is one of the most picturesque beaches in all of Mexico. The beach is dotted with majestic palm trees swaying in the Caribbean breeze. The sand is silky soft, and the water is an unbelievable turquoise color due to its high mineral content. Imagine spending your day exploring the ruins then heading down to cool off in the welcoming waters.


12 Jade Bay, Akumal

Sunrise at Akumal beach, paradise bay at Riviera Maya, caribbean coast of Mexico - travel destination for vacation Simon Dannhauer / Getty Images

Jade Bay's crystal clear waters are warm and inviting. The beach is lined with palm trees, where you can sit and read your favorite book or just enjoy the fact that you're in heaven on earth. Because Jade Bay is protected from the sometimes heavy currents, this is a great place to come with youngsters.


13 Playa Xpu-Ha, Xpu-Ha

Located about halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen in Playa Xpu-Ha. This beach offers clear water that's absolutely ideal for snorkeling and diving. Considered a private oasis that few know about, you'll find plenty of space to spread out on the sugar-white sand. When you start to get thirsty, there are abundant bars and restaurants within walking distance that you can enjoy without having to change out of your beach attire.

14 Holbox Beach, Isla Holbox

Those who have been here claim that Holbox Beach is the most beautiful in Mexico. Of course, first, you have to find it to judge for yourself. Located midway on the western Isla Holbox peninsula, you'll recognize Holbox Beach by its endless stretches of blinding white sand and dazzling sunsets. Bring refreshments because you won't want to leave the water once you get a feel for it. Also, there aren't very many restaurants nearby since this is a slightly more rustic location than some other beaches in Mexico.

15 El Anclote, Punta de Mita

Situated on the same latitude as Hawaii, you'll find El Anclote beach on Punta de Mita is ideal for relaxing with family members of all ages. This unique beach even has a restaurant where you can dine right on the beach if you want, or inside with the air conditioning if you prefer. No matter where you eat, you'll savor every minute of this hidden paradise on the private peninsula of Punta de Mita.


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