Our research is editorially independent but we
may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Budget-friendly and culturally diverse, the sun-drenched beaches of Mexico are a traveler’s dream. Here you’ll find 450 unique beaches that are surrounded by lush jungles, ancient remains, and can range from complete isolation to smack dab in the middle of the party scene. With all beaches overlooking the pristine blue Caribbean waters, visitors are spoiled for choice in breathtaking views. Before booking your next holiday getaway, check out the best beaches in Mexico that will make you feel like you stepped into paradise.
A lovely beach with cool vibes, Playa del Carmen is popular for those who want to relax and unwind. While there is an abundance of great restaurants, bars, and shops, the area still maintains an old-world charm and its former sleepy fishing village past. Accommodation is mixed between all-inclusive resorts and small hotels, Playa del Carmen is perfect for lounging beachside, exploring the quirky public square, and taking a day trip to nearby Cozumel.
Located on the southernmost tip of Baja, California, Cabo San Lucas has become the party destination in Mexico that revelers love to indulge in. Visitors will find funky bars, luxury accommodation, and a long list of high-energy beach activities to participate in. While the beaches of Cabo San Lucas are luxurious with white sand and sparkling blue waters, it is also easy to take a day trip out of the town with ATVs to more isolated beaches, desert walks, and mountain adventures.
One of Mexico’s most famous beaches, Cancun is a barrier island in southeastern Mexico. The hot spot for beaches, golfing and nightlife, here visitors will find a wealth of activities that they can participate in such as snorkeling, whale watching, and parasailing. Add luxurious resort hotels, 14 miles of white sand beaches and warm shallow waters, and all visitors really need is a refreshing cocktail to complete the perfect vacation trifecta. History buffs can also explore Chichén Itzá, the large Mayan archaeological site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
One of the most popular resort towns in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is beloved for good reason. A former fishing village, visitors will find a unique combination of large resort areas and a small-town atmosphere with charm. Puerto Vallarta’s highlight is the protected coves where visitors can snorkel for underwater marine life, or try something new and go whale-watching or deep-sea fishing. While visitors will find delicious food and entertainment, nature lovers will also appreciate the nearby coastline area of Banderas Bay and palm-lined Sierra Madres Mountains.
Sitting on the famous preserved Tulum Mayan ruins, this area boasts one of the most picturesque beaches in Mexico. While it is smaller than its counterparts, it packs a lot of punch for its size with stunning white sandy beaches lined with palm trees, making it a perfect beach vacation destination for all types of travelers. Visitors will find breathtaking azure Caribbean waters to swim in and a handful of souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore after a day at the beach.
A former go-to destination in the 1950s, this “Pearl of the Pacific” attracted a plethora of celebrities to its pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife. Now travelers will find a more international ambiance, where dancing to live music, hunting down fresh ceviche, and dancing the night away at one of the swank night clubs are the prime activities. The beaches are breathtaking, and with so many to choose from such as nearby Pie de la Cuesta, Caleta, and Puerto Marques, visitors are truly spoiled for choice.
A colorful port town, Mazatlán is both a transport hub to Baja California and a top budget-friendly beach destination with a long and luxurious stretch of sand with matching warm waters. Visitors will find sidewalk cafes, museums, and theaters, and a laid back ambiance perfect for those who are looking for a simple beach vacation destination.
A top snorkeling region in Mexico, Akumal has 20-300 feet of diverse reef and calm waters where visitors can easily find an abundance of wild underwater marine life such as turtles and tropical fish. Providing ample beach space, Akumal encompasses “Las Bahias de Akumal,” which is a series of bays that are great for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, diving, and sunbathing. Spend a day relaxing on the white sandy beaches before exploring the nearby beach shops, restaurants, and beachfront accommodations.
A great beach for water activities, Zipolite is a former hippie destination with pounding surf against the picturesque red-tiled architecture. Known for simplicity and relaxation, this budget-friendly beach destination was a free love hot spot from the ’60s to the ’80s. Now, beachgoers will find yogis and surfers among mid-range hotels, eateries, and shops in addition to more upscale restaurants along the west end of the village.
A secluded two-sided beach, Playa del Amor, or “Lover’s Beach,” is one of the most famous beaches in Mexico. Accessible by boat from Cabo San Lucas, this beach is worthy of a day trip. Here visitors will find the towering Land’s End rock formations nestled between panoramic ocean views. On the seaside of Cortez, there are some great snorkeling spots to view some of Mexico’s diverse underwater marine life.
Nature lovers will appreciate Norte, as wildlife viewing is a premier event. Sea turtles and whale sharks are two of the most popular to spot, however, those looking to unwind will find a palm-lined beach with tons of beachfront restaurants and bars to soak in the pristine views. What makes Norte unique is that it satisfies both those who want to relax and those who turn up their vacation a notch, as Norte has created a unique combination of laid-back days with a vibrant nightlife.
A 350-square-mile island off the Yucatán Peninsula, Cozumel is a cruise ship favorite and one of Mexico’s most popular areas to go diving. Visitors can hire a boat and go fishing, take a glass-bottom tour of the island, or find a secluded beach to relax on. Those who want to shop will find shopping plazas along the waterfront in addition to luxury jewelers and pampering day spas.