Ultimate Guide to Mexico Beaches

Mexico is home to more than 400 beaches, so it is safe to say that the country is a great tourist destination for people that want to enjoy relaxing, sunbathing, and swimming during the summer. Because there are so many beaches in Mexico, most people would have difficulties in finding the perfect or most suitable beach for them and their friends or family.

To help you make better decisions on which beaches to visit in Mexico while on vacation, we are here to provide you the ultimate guide to some of the best beaches in the country. Included in this beach guide are brief descriptions of each beach, as well as nearby attractions and accommodations in the area. In addition, we will also provide you with tips on how to get from these beaches. So, let’s get started with the ultimate guide to Mexico beaches.

The Best Beaches in Mexico

As mentioned in the introduction, Mexico has more than 400 beaches around it, but there are only a few that are regarded to be the best according to locals and frequent tourists. Here is a list of the best beaches in Mexico.

Cancun

Cancun Beach, which is located in Riviera Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula, is considered the most popular beach in Mexico due to the volume of tourists that go there every summer. In recent years, Cancun has been a running gag in the US sports industry, as teams or players that have lost in the playoffs or never reached the playoffs would then be sent to Cancun for vacation. Jokes aside, Cancun is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, which is why so many tourists from the United States and other countries consider going to Cancun first before visiting other beaches. There are plenty of benefits of going to Cancun and other beaches, and to learn more, check out our article on Why Going to the Beach is Good for You.

Where to Stay in Cancun

The best way to go to Cancun is to get a plane ticket to go from a US airport to Cancun International Airport. However, before you pack your essential beach items and get a plane ticket, you first need to have a passport and a tourism card, otherwise known as FMM, in order to get into Mexico. The FMM can be issued to tourists through a Mexican tourism office, a Mexican consulate, or your airline. Keep in mind that the FMM is also needed if you want to visit the other beaches on this list.

As to where to stay in Cancun once you are in the location, it would be best if you can just stay in an all-inclusive resort so that your hotel accommodation and your beach activities would already be provided for you within the resort. So, an all-inclusive resort would make your vacation more convenient since you don’t have to apply and pay for accommodations and activities on the beach separately. Below is a list of the best all-inclusive resorts you can visit in Cancun.

  • The Royal Sands Cancun
  • Moon Palace Cancun
  • Hyatt Ziva Cancun

Most of the hotels and all-inclusive resorts that you will see in Cancun are located in Zona Hotelera or Hotel Zone. When you are within the Hotel Zone, you will already find plenty of attractions to visit and activities to do.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen beach

Another beach located in Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is a famous spot that features a clear, clean, and beautiful beach that is located within the town of the same name. Besides the amazing beach, Playa del Carmen also has plenty of tourist attractions that will keep people interested in exploring the town.

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen

There are a lot of hotels that you can get accommodations in at Playa del Carmen, although most of the beachfront hotels and all-inclusive resorts in the area can be quite expensive. If you are on a budget, you can get cheaper lodging within the town or get a vacation rental room. However, do be careful in looking for cheaper rooms, as they may be unsafe and unsanitary. To find the best cheap rentals in Playa del Carmen, you may want to consult Airbnb and other websites focused on lodging. If you want to stay in all-inclusive or beachfront hotels, here are the establishment you can get accommodations in.

  • Hotel Xcaret Mexico
  • Rosewood Mayakoba
  • Grand Velas Riviera Maya

These hotels would already provide you with food to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but if you want to experience eating local street food, you can explore the town of Playa del Carmen to find delicious eats. One of the most well-known spots in the area is El Fogon, a restaurant that specializes in meaty tacos al pastor, which is made with spit-grilled pork that is marinated with a variety of spices.

Tulum

Tulum ruins

Although it is not as popular as Cancun, Tulum is still a beautiful beach that has waters that come from the Caribbean Sea. You can have more knowledge about the beaches near the Caribbean Sea by checking out our Top Caribbean Beaches article. Going back to Tulum, the beach is considered to be the destination for many wealthy tourists that wanted fewer people on the beach since Tulum is not as crowded as Cancun, but many low-budget tourists also go here because of the cheap lodging in the areas that surround the beach. While the beach is indeed the most attractive attraction in Tulum, you will also have a chance to explore the Mayan ruins nearby with a tourist guide that will tell you more about the history of the Mayans.

Where to Stay in Tulum

Tulum has plenty of resort hotels that you can stay in, although getting accommodations at these establishments can be pricy, depending on your budget. Luckily, there are cheaper lodging and rental rooms around Tulum that you can rent if you are on a tight budget, and if you are going to Playa Paraiso (one of the beaches in Tulum that has a free entrance fee), you should already have food, beach towels, and umbrellas so that you won’t have to spend on anything while enjoying the beach. But, if you do want to get a room in a hotel, here are the best hotels that you can consider as a place to stay in.

  • Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal
  • Jashita Hotel
  • Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

Besides the hotels, there are also great restaurants in Tulum where you can get cheap and delicious meals. Of course, there are restaurants that offer classic Mexican dishes, but there are also establishments that offer different kinds of cuisine, like Posada Margherita that specializes in Italian delicacies like pizza and pasta, and Mezzanine that serves Thai specialties.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta beach

Puerto Vallarta, better known by locals as “PV” or just Vallarta, is a small town that features a stunning beach that is not a crowded as Cancun or even Tulum. If you want to go to a Mexican beach on a budget, then Puerto Vallarta is the perfect place for you, as the accommodations in the area are quite cheap compared to other beaches, and the town has plenty of establishments to offer for their tourists. Read our Beach Day on a Budget guide to know more about budgeting whenever you are at a beach. If you want to explore PV more conveniently, you can sign up for PV tours that will take you to various popular and historic locations in the town.

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

Even though there are plenty of rental rooms and lodgings that you can get at PV, there are still some luxury hotels around the town that you can get accommodations on if you want to have a more luxurious experience while staying in PV. Below is a short list of the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta.

  • Hotel Mousai
  • Casa Velas
  • Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

Since PV is a relatively small town, it would be best to walk around town instead of taking the bus or a taxi to reach one place to another. You can buy a map to familiarize yourself with where to go in the town so that you won’t have to rely on taxis, which can be pretty expensive in Mexico. Another thing that you should keep in mind while visiting PV is to always bring an umbrella, as the town frequently experiences rainstorms, even during the summer.

If you do want to learn more about the cuisine at PV, you can apply for the Vallarta Food Tours, which takes you to some of the best and most popular restaurants and food stalls in the town. In addition, you can also head to the town’s Food Park that offers various cuisines besides the usual Mexican delicacies.

Playa del Amor

Cabo San Lucas

One of the most stunning beaches that you can find in Mexico is Playa del Amor, which is located within Cabo San Lucas, a location that was once a luxurious vacation spot for Hollywood’s wealthiest during the 1970s. Because of its popularity, Cabo San Lucas is filled with many fancy hotels and resorts, so if you have a large budget for vacations, this location is the best for you in Mexico. Besides the wonderful Playa del Amor beach, Cabo San Lucas also has several golf courses that tourists will truly love to play in. Before the tourists became abundant in the area, Playa del Amor is considered as one of the Best Secret Beaches in the World due to the fact that only the elite and wealthy are the only ones that know about the beach in the 70s.

Where to Stay in Playa del Amor

As we have mentioned before, Cabo San Lucas is home to plenty of luxurious resort hotels, and some of these hotels are even considered to be some of the best in the world. Here is a list of the three best hotels near Playa del Amor.

  • Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection
  • One&Only Palmilla
  • Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

While these luxurious hotels are truly great to stay in if you want convenience for your vacation, accommodations in these establishments can still be quite expensive, even for those that have a relatively large budget. Similar to the other beaches on this list, Playa del Amor also has cheaper lodgings around it, so settle for those ones if you can’t shell out plenty of money for luxury hotel accommodations.

Cabo San Lucas is a nice place to eat seafood, as it boasts many restaurants that get their ingredients from a nearby fishing spot. A few of the popular restaurants in Cabo San Lucas are Don Sanchez, a primarily Mexican restaurant that adds a unique twist to classic dishes, and Suviche Restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant owned by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and is located with the One&Only Palmilla resort hotel.

Palancar Beach

Cozumel island beach

Palancar Beach is located within Cozumel, an island in Mexico that is situated on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. What’s fascinating about Cozumel is its sheer beauty despite the island’s relatively small size, although the once-peaceful area is now filled with tourists that have recently discovered how amazing Cozumel and Palancar Beach are.

While it is crowded in the downtown and beach areas of Cozumel, you can find peace and tranquility when you go on fishing or diving tours around the coast of the island. In addition, there is also a glass-bottom boat tour that allows you to see colorful and amazing fishes and other sea creatures that are swimming at the bottom of the boat. If you want to know more about sea creatures and their natural habitat, you can read our Fascinating Things about the Deep Ocean article that covers everything you need to learn about the deep ocean and its mysteriousness.

Where to Stay Near Palancar Beach

There are not a lot of luxurious hotels in Cozumel, and even their world-class resorts have relatively cheap accommodations. So, you wouldn’t really have a problem with finding a place to stay if you have a high budget for vacations. Here are three of the best hotels that you can stay in near Palancar and within Cozumel.

  • The Landmark Resort of Cozumel
  • The Explorean Cozumel by Fiesta Americana
  • InterContinental Presidente Cozumel Resort & Spa

Most of the restaurants and establishments in Cozumel accept US dollars, mainly due to the fact that most of their visitors are Americans. However, you will save more money if you pay in Mexican pesos, so be sure to exchange some of your US dollars for pesos at the airport before going to Cozumel. Another tip that we can give you to save more money in Cozumel is to stay away from the piers on the island, as it serves as a major tourist trap for the cruise lines that are unloading passengers in the area. Since it is a tourist, you will find souvenirs in the piers that are way too overpriced, so stick to buying souvenirs downtown or in the rural areas of the island.

Isla Holbox

Isla Holbox

Another island that you can visit in Mexico is Isla Holbox, the island home of Quintana Roo, one of the 32 states that serve as the federal entities of the country. Isla Holbox is located near the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. While it is not as famous as its nearby islands of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, the appeal of Isla Holbox is its quietness since there are not a lot of tourists and the beaches remain peaceful.

Where to Stay in Island Holbox

There are plenty of cheap places to stay in Island Holbox, and most of these places have their own swimming pool that you can use if you want a quieter area to swim in. These are the three best hotels in Island Holbox.

  • Ser CasaSandra
  • Villas HM Palapas del Mar
  • Mystique Holbox by Royalton

In addition to sunbathing at beautiful beaches, Island Holbox also offers you a lot of activities to do within the area. Some of the activities offered at Island Holbox include a whale shark and snorkeling adventure, a private boat tour to visit the surroundings of the island, and a tour to experience a Full Moon Mayan Ceremony.

Mazatlan

Mazatlan mermaid statue

Mazatlan is a popular tourist spot for people of different social statuses. Because of its beauty, which is attributed to crystal clear beaches, Mazatlan is primarily called the “Pearl of the Pacific” by locals and tourists. However, the number of visitors that the area gets during the summer is not as big as in Cancun, so if you want a quieter and more peaceful beach to visit, then Mazatlan should be one of your options.

Where to Stay in Mazatlan

There are so many gorgeous resorts to stay in at Mazatlan, so it would be hard to choose which one is perfect for you and your friends or family. However, there are a few hotels that are regarded as the best in the area. Here are three of the best hotels in Mazatlan.

  • Luna Palace Hotel and Suites
  • Estrella del Mar
  • Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa

Mazatlan is home to a lot of tourist attractions, so there are plenty of things you can do in the area besides swimming at Playa Olas Atlas. You can visit the Old Mazatlan, an area that primarily showcases the old architecture that was prominent in Mazatlan during the 18th century. In addition, you can also go to Malecon, a stunning beachfront walkway where the nightlife is prominent.

Puerto Escondido

Oaxaca

If you are a regular surfer, Puerto Escondido may be the best beach that you should visit in Mexico, mainly because the beach is widely known for its high waves that are sure to bring fun and excitement for local and foreign surfers. Because of the high waves, Puerto Escondido may not be the perfect beach for family vacations, but if you and your friends do enjoy surfing, there is no other place in Mexico that can give you a thrill than Puerto Escondido.

Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is located in Oaxaca, a federal entity that is located to the south of Mexico. Oaxaca is filled with markets that sell different kinds of stuff, from souvenirs to food ingredients that you can use for cooking. Because of the massive size of the market area in Oaxaca, the Mexican state is currently being called Mexico’s culinary capital because of how the restaurants in the area benefit from the fresh ingredients that they get from the market.

There are quite a few neat spots to stay in near Puerto Escondido, and most of these spots are actually quite cheap if you want to purchase accommodations. These are three great hotels that you can pick to stay in.

  • Casa Bonita
  • Hotel Azul Oaxaca
  • Quinta Real Oaxaca

Besides the beach, other kinds of tourist spots are also quite abundant in Oaxaca. So, before or after surfing in one of the Best Surfing Destinations in the World, you can visit the Zapotec Empire Monte Alban to look at some ancient structure, or you can go on a bioluminescent lagoon boat ride to be mesmerized by the glowing lagoon.

Yelapa Beach

weird structure in Yelapa

The remote fishing village called Yelapa is an unpopular destination for many tourists, but the village’s unpopularity is an advantage for some people, especially for those that wanted a tranquil and peaceful place to stay in for vacation. While the beaches of the village are the main attraction, you can also explore the village itself and see if you can discover new sights that you haven’t seen in other parts of Mexico.

Where to Stay in Yelapa Beach

Compared to the other beaches on this list, Yelapa Beach doesn’t really have a lot of hotels around it, but the few hotels that it has offer great customer service and room accommodations. Here are some of the best hotels that you can stay in at Yelapa.

  • Casa Papaya
  • Casas Garcia
  • Casa Berita

Most of these hotels are small ones that can accommodate about 20 to 30 people per night, but the small size of these hotels is convenient if you just want to easily find different amenities in the hotel.

Conclusion

These ten beaches serve as the best ones that you can visit in Mexico, but if you want to explore the country to discover more beaches, you are free to do so, as long as you have enough budget to go to different cities around the southern portion of North America. We hope that this beach guide has helped you make a faster and easier choice on which beach you and your group of friends or family members should go to in Mexico. If you want to further expand your knowledge about the best beaches in Mexico, check out our Top Mexico Beaches guide.

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