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If you’re looking for a beach vacation, Mexico is the place to be! From Pacific Coast beaches to Caribbean coast waters, there’s no question that Mexico is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Mexico’s beaches offer the perfect escape from reality with their turquoise waters, soft sand, and swaying palm trees.
And while all of Mexico’s beaches are worth visiting, we’ve put together a list of our 21 favorites that you absolutely cannot miss. So, whether you’re looking for a beach to relax on or one with plenty of activities, we’ve got you covered!
If you’re looking for a slice of paradise, look no further than these 21 best beaches in Mexico.
Best Beaches on the Pacific Coast of Mexico
1. Sayulita Beach, Sayulita
Located in the town of Sayulita, about an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Mexico. This beach is well known for its surf, and it’s even been featured in a few surf movies! So naturally, if you’re looking to catch some waves, it’s easy to rent a car in Puerto Vallarta and head to Sayulita Beach. There are plenty of surf schools here where you can learn how to surf, or you can just rent a board and paddle out into the waves.
When you’re not surfing or doing adventure sports, you can relax on the beach or enjoy one of the many bars and restaurants in town. Some delicious local foods to try in Sayulita include tacos al pastor, ceviche, and, of course – margaritas!
Best Activity near Sayulita Beach:
Sayulita Beach was the perfect place for us to relax and unwind after doing this epic ATV tour of Sayulita! It was such a great blend of adventure and serenity, seeing the off-road sights of Sayulita and then relaxing on the sand with a refreshing drink.
Where to stay near Sayulita Beach:
There are tons of great hotels in Sayulita as well if you’d like to stay near the beach and explore all the town has to offer. Hotel Ysuri Sayulita is the perfect luxurious hotel located only minutes from Sayulita Beach. In fact, many rooms here boast ocean views! You’ll also only be a short walk away from the best restaurants in Sayulita, too.
2. San Pancho Beach, San Pancho
Also known as Playa San Francisco, San Pancho Beach is located in the town of San Pancho, about an hour and a half drive from Puerto Vallarta. For travelers staying in Puerto Vallarta, San Pancho is a great day trip option from Puerto Vallarta!
No trip to San Pancho would be complete without spending some time on San Pancho Beach! This beach is perfect for relaxing, swimming, sunbathing, and simply enjoying the incredible views. It’s a lesser-known beach and way less crowded than some of the other beaches in Mexico, but it is just as stunning!
There are also tons of things to do in the town of San Pancho if you’re looking for something to do after a day spent lounging on the beach. You can take a walk through the town’s quaint streets, explore the nearby jungle, or visit one of the many art galleries around the city – San Pancho Beach is just one of many things to do in this vibrant city.
Best Activity near San Pancho Beach:
One unique way to really enjoy San Pancho Beach is on this hike and yoga jungle experience. You’ll start your day with a mindful hike through the lush jungle of the Sierra Madre Occidental, and then end with a refreshing yoga session on San Pancho Beach, overlooking the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean! This is a great way to connect with nature and get some exercise while you’re on vacation.
The cost of this experience is $27 USD per person and includes a yoga mat. The departure point for this hike is in front of Las Hamacas Sayulita, so you’ll have to make your way there before the start of the excursion.
Where to Stay near San Pancho Beach:
The most luxurious place to stay in San Pancho is the beachfront property of Hotel Maraica San Pancho. This gorgeous hotel has a beautiful pool and is located a short walk from town.
Related Read: Another amazing beach not far from San Pancho and Sayulita is in the nearby town of Bucerias.
3. Playa Camarones, Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is home to many beaches, but one of the most popular beaches in the city is definitely Playa Camarones. This beach is located in the old town area of the city, and it’s just a short walk from many of Puerto Vallarta’s best restaurants and bars.
Playa Camarones is one of the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta because it has something for everyone. There’s a long boardwalk perfect for walking or jogging, and the beach itself is great for swimming, sunbathing, and simply relaxing. The beach is also the perfect place to people-watch – you never know who you might see walking by!
If you’re looking for a bit of excitement, there are also plenty of activities to do in Puerto Vallarta, on or off the water. You can go parasailing, banana boating, scuba diving, or even jet skiing! Water sports in Puerto Vallarta are definitely a must-do activity during your vacation here.
Best Activity near Playa Camarones:
One of the best tours in Puerto Vallarta that you can do when your beach day is over is the Rhythms of the Night tour. This evening tour is perfect because it starts as the sun begins to set and includes a sunset catamaran cruise (with drinks) to a private beach where you will watch a Cirque du Soleil-style show. After the show, it’s time for a candlelit dinner on the beach! It’s an amazing tour and one we’ve personally done (and loved!) Read our complete Rhythms of the Night review here!
Where to Stay near Playa Camarones:
The Paramar Beachfront Boutique Hotel is located right on Playa Camarones and it’s one of the best hotels in Puerto Vallarta! This luxury boutique hotel features a huge infinity pool with views of the ocean as well as modern rooms with all of the comforts you can imagine and more!
4. Hidden Beach, Puerto Vallarta (Playa Del Amor)
Playa Del Amour, also known as Hidden Beach, is one of the most unique beaches in Mexico. This beach is located inside a hidden cove, and it’s only accessible by swimming through a small cave!
The only way to reach Hidden Beach is to take a boat tour from Puerto Vallarta since it is located on an island. This beach is also easily accessible from the town of Nuevo Vallarta, which is just a short drive from Puerto Vallarta. Once you arrive near the island, you’ll need to swim through a small cave to get to the hidden cove! How cool is that?
Many tours will stop at the beach so you can swim into the cove and enjoy the beauty of this hidden gem. This half-day tour will actually take you directly to Hidden Beach, and includes snacks, water, and an English-speaking guide. Once you’re in the cove, you’ll be able to relax on the sandy beaches or take a dip in the crystal-clear water. The effort required to reach this beach is definitely worth it – Hidden Beach is for sure one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.
The clear waters and the impressive cliffs and rocks around the beach make for some great photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera!
Note: Hidden Beach has daily limits on the number of people who can visit, so tour companies must be organized in advance to get these entry permits. For that reason, many tours that you book to Hidden Beach from Puerto Vallarta do not guarantee that you’ll actually reach Hidden Beach. This specific tour does, and although more expensive, is definitely worth it to see Hidden Beach.
Where to Stay near Hidden Beach:
Since Hidden Beach is an island, you need to go on a boat tour to get there. The best tour departs from Puerto Mágico in the hotel zone. An awesome hotel in the area is the Crown Paradise Golden Resort. It is an all-inclusive resort that is right on the beach – you can’t go wrong!
5. Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido
Located in the town of Puerto Escondido, Playa Carrizalillo is a small but beautiful beach. This beach is perfect for travelers looking to avoid crowds – it’s usually much less crowded than the other beaches in Puerto Escondido.
Playa Carrizalillo is a great place to relax on the beach, go for a swim, or even go snorkeling. The beach is also great for surfing, and the waves here are small enough for beginners to even learn to surf. You can rent surfboards on the beach or do a private lesson, which can also be organized right on the beach. Because of the smaller swells, the beach is a good mix for both swimming and surfing.
At Playa Carrizaliliio you’ll find a few small bars and restaurants on the beach. Most of them have a minimum spend if you want to use the tables and umbrellas, but it usually isn’t very much especially if you order a meal or a couple of drinks.
One thing to note about this beach is that it is only accessible via a steep staircase. Although this isn’t a problem going down, leaving the beach requires a bit of effort. With that said, this deters many travelers and keeps this beach nice and quiet. Plus, the view of the beach from the staircase is beautiful (pictured above)!
Not far from Playa Carrizalillo is Playa Tortugas, another awesome beach located in Puerto Escondido. The waves at Playa Tortugas are some of the best in Puerto Escondido, and the beach is also great for bodyboarding or even kite surfing! Both beaches are definitely worth a visit during your trip to Puerto Escondido.
Best Activity near Playa Carrizalillo:
After a day at the beach, I highly recommend doing a night swim with bioluminescent plankton on a tour near Puerto Escondido. We took this specific tour that picked us up from our hotel at 8 pm and drove us about 20 minutes before we stopped and walked a few minutes to our boat. After about 30 minutes on the lake looking for the perfect spot to stop, we hopped in the lake – and that’s where the magic happens!
This lake is filled with miniature plankton that look like little glittering fish in the water all around you – imagine swimming in a lake full of sparkles! The plankton shine as you move around them in the water, making the water glow in the dark! It’s hard to explain, but it’s so cool and different than anything else I’ve ever seen before.
Where to Stay near Playa Carrizalillo:
There are lots of great hotels to choose from in Puerto Escondido, but Villas Carrizalillo is the best with a location right on the cliffs near Playa Carrizalillo. In fact, the hotel has its own access down to Playa Carrizalillo! When you aren’t lounging at the beach, take advantage of their pool with views directly over the beach – the perfect place to enjoy the sunset!
6. El Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas
El Medano Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Cabo San Lucas, and it’s also one of the best beaches in Mexico. It’s a very popular beach that tends to get very busy, so we recommend getting there early if you’re looking for a good spot on the sand or in the shade!
The water at El Medano Beach is usually very clear, and the beach is clean and well-maintained. This beach is known for its strong waves, which make it a great place for surfing, bodyboarding, and even kite surfing. If you’re not a fan of the waves, don’t worry – there’s still plenty to do at El Medano Beach! There are lots of restaurants and bars in the area, so you won’t have to go far to find a place to grab a bite or a drink.
The beach is located right next to the Cabo San Lucas Marina, so you can sit at one of the many seaside restaurants and watch the boats come in. It’s definitely a unique experience that you won’t find at many other beaches!
El Medano Beach is also a great place to watch the sunset! It’s located very close to El Arco, Cabo San Lucas’ most famous landmark. As the sun sets, you’ll be able to see the beautiful colors reflecting off the rocks of El Arco. It’s definitely a sight you won’t want to miss!
Best Activity near El Medano Beach:
Cabo is also the place to be when it comes to finding unique experiences and excursions to do. This Camel Outback tour actually lets you ride a camel along the beach and visit an eco-farm! You’ll get to experience the desert landscape and see the beautiful ocean views of the Baja peninsula. The tour includes round-trip transportation from your hotel in Cabo, food and drinks, a professional bilingual guide, and of course, a ride on a camel!
You’ll also get to enjoy a traditional Mexican lunch overlooking the beach and taste traditional tequilas on the tour. This is such a unique experience and one of the best things to do in Cabo!
Where to stay near El Medano Beach:
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Cabo San Lucas is located right on El Medano Beach – you can’t get any closer! It is a top-rated resort featuring two pools, a waterslide, three restaurants, a spa, a theatre with nightly shows, and an onsite- fitness center too!
Related Read: After relaxing on the beaches in Cabo for a while, it’s time to cool off and explore! There are so many incredible spots to scuba dive around Cabo or epic whale shark tours around Cabo to spot these gentle giants of the sea.
7. Playa Balandra, La Paz
Balandra Beach is definitely one of the most unique beaches in Mexico. Playa Balandra is located just a short drive from La Paz, making it a great option for a day trip from the city. If you’re looking to escape the crowds, Playa Balandra is definitely the place for you, as it’s usually one of the less crowded beaches in La Paz.
Situated along the Sea of Cortez, Playa Balandra is known for its crystal-clear water and beautiful white sand. The water at Playa Balandra is so clear that you can often see the bottom of the bay! This makes it a perfect place for snorkeling and swimming.
From La Paz you can either rent a car and drive yourself to Balandra Beach or go on an organized tour. From La Paz, it is about 1.5-hour drive to Balandra Beach.
If you prefer to go on a tour, this La Paz city and Balandra Beach tour is perfect for those who want to experience both the beach and the actual town of La Paz. It’s $75 USD per person for a full-day tour where you’ll get to spend 8 hours exploring the history and traditions of La Paz with a small group and an experienced guide. You’ll visit the Malécon (town center) of La Paz, visit an authentic artisan house, and explore both Balandra and El Tecolote Beach, where you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel and swim. Hotel pick-up and lunch is also included on this tour, so all you have to do is relax and enjoy.
La Paz offers tons of other attractions and activities as well, if you need a break from the beach. You can explore the city’s many museums, art galleries, and markets. You can also take a boat tour to see the nearby islands or go whale watching in the Sea of Cortez!
Where to stay near Playa Balandra:
To be honest, there aren’t any great hotels located close to Playa Balandra. However, you can stay just on the outskirts of La Paz at one of the resorts about an hour from the beach. Costa Baja Resort & Spa is a luxurious choice that has impeccable reviews. This resort is only 100 meters from a beach and features all of the resort amenities you would expect at a luxury resort including a golf course!
8. Yelepa Beach, Puerto Vallarta
Another Puerto Vallarta favorite, Yelepa Beach, is definitely one of the most beautiful and safest beaches in Mexico! The beach here is absolutely stunning, with soft white sand and clear turquoise water.
Playa Yelepa is best reached by water taxi from Puerto Vallarta. Water taxis depart from Boca Del Tomatlan (A small town not far from the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta ) as well as the Los Muertos Pier. From Boca, the taxi ride is shorter at about 30 minutes and they depart regularly. Expect to pay between 250-400 MXN for a roundtrip depending on where you depart from. There is no road access to Yelepa, so a water taxi is your only option. With that said, this keeps Yelepa quiet and pristine with fewer people around.
If water activities are your thing, Yelepa is definitely the place for you. Yelepa Beach has some of the calmest and most transparent waters in all of Mexico, making it the perfect place to go snorkeling or swimming! This snorkeling tour from Puerto Vallarta will take you on a day trip to Yelepa Beach and Majahuitas, where you’ll have the chance to kayak, swim, and snorkel with turtles and other marine species!
Best Activity near Playa Yelepa:
The calm waters of Playa Yelepa are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding! Rentals are available from stores in town as well as many hotels. Head out for sunset for a really special experience!
Where to stay near Playa Yelepa:
There are only a few hotels located in Playa Yelepa, and of them all, Casas Garcia is the best! This beautiful boutique hotel features both one and two-bedroom apartments. Plus the location is ideal at only 50 meters from Yelepa Beach and a 10-minute walk from the center of town.
9. Condesa Beach, Acapulco
Condesa Beach is definitely a must-see attraction when you’re in Acapulco! The beach is simply stunning, and it’s conveniently an oasis in the middle of the city.
Condesa Beach is located right in the heart of Acapulco, making it easy to get to from anywhere in the city. It’s situated right in the heart of Acapulco’s hotel zone, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a beach vacation. There are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from, as well as restaurants and bars. Condesa Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Acapulco, so you’ll definitely want to arrive early to claim your spot on the sand!
Acapulco is also home to La Quebrada, one of Mexico’s most famous landmarks. La Quebrada is a cliff that overlooks the ocean, and it’s where you’ll find the famous Cliff Divers of Acapulco. These brave divers jump from the cliff into the ocean below, a truly spectacular sight!
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush but don’t want to actually do any cliff diving yourself, we recommend heading to La Perla restaurant. It’s located in the historic El Mirador hotel and is situated overlooking the Pacific Ocean, so you’ll have a direct view of the cliffs while staying comfortable on the ground.
Best Activity near Playa Condesa:
This 3-course dinner experience is $85 USD per person and includes hotel pick-up and a 3-course dinner and drinks at La Perla, where you can enjoy front-row seat views of the cliff jumpers diving in the distance. It also includes a ride on La Costera, which is Acapulco’s main street, with a local guide narrating the trip. After dinner and drinks and a scenic ride down La Costera, you’ll be transported back to your hotel.
Where to stay near Playa Condesa:
Fiesta Americana Acapulco Villas is located one one end of Condesa Beach in the heart of Acapulco. The resort features two pools and three restaurants. You can choose from regular double rooms, villas, and even multi-bedroom villas that sleep up to 9 people!
10. Playa Zicatela, Puerto Escondido
Surfers from all over the world flock to Playa Zicatela in Puerto Escondido, one of Mexico’s most popular surf beaches. The waves here are some of the biggest in the world, and they attract both beginners and experienced surfers alike.
Playa Zicatela is easy to get to from anywhere within the city. In fact, many of the best restaurants and hotels in Puerto Escondido are located right next to Playa Zicatela.
Puerto Escondido is also home to Playa Carrizalillo (mentioned previously in this blog), another popular surf beach. Of the two, Zicatela has bigger waves.
If you’re not a surfer, don’t worry! Puerto Escondido is still the perfect place for you. It’s also one of the best places to go dolphin watching, and there are literally hundreds of dolphins that live right offshore!
Best Activity near Playa Zicatela:
This dolphin-watching tour we did was great, it lasted for 3-4 hours and included an English-speaking guide, who was fantastic. Carlos, our tour guide, took us out on the water where we were able to see at least 40 to 50 dolphins, and we even spotted some sea turtles! For only $60 USD per person, this tour was so worth the price and an incredible experience.
Where to Stay near playa Zicatela:
Hotel Santa Fe is a highly-rated hotel located only a 1-minute walk from the beach. The hotel is affordable and even feature 3 pools! There is also an onsite restaurant and a variety of different rooms to choose from.
11. Playa La Ropa, Zihuatanejo
Last but certainly not least, we have Playa La Ropa, located in the beautiful city of Zihuatanejo. The scenery at this beach will absolutely take your breath away!
Playa La Ropa is located just a short drive from the center of Zihuatanejo, so it’s easy to get to by car or bus. Many nice hotels and resorts are located within walking distance. Once you’re at the beach, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. The gentle arc shape of the Playa La Ropa beach is perfect for people watching and walking along the shore!
For those wanting to do a bit of cardio, the walk to Playa La Ropa from Calle Adelita is great exercise. It’s about a 30-minute walk, but it’s worth it for the incredible views!
There are a variety of bars and restaurants located along the coastline that offer traditional dishes at fairly reasonable prices. If you want to be even more thrifty, you can pack your own food and drinks and enjoy a picnic on the beach!
Best Activities near Playa La Ropa:
The nearby town of Zihuatanejo is also packed with many ancient historical and archaeological sites. We recommend taking a tour of the Zihuatanejo Archaeological Site, where you can see the remnants of an ancient Mayan village.
This all-inclusive day tour takes you to “La Chole” an ancient Mayan village that is now an archaeological site. You’ll learn about the history of the village and see the well-preserved ruins. The tour is $60 USD per person and includes round-trip transportation from your hotel in Zihuatanejo, plus a bilingual guide, and lunch.
Where to Stay near Playa La Ropa:
Hotel Villa Mexicana is located only meters from Playa La Ropa! This colonial-style hotel is classy but super affordable. It also features an onsite pool and beach bar that serves delicious cocktails. You can’t beat the location and price of this modest hotel!
Best Beaches on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
12. Akumal Beach, Riviera Maya
Akumal Beach is located in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. It is home to some of the best cenotes in Mexico and is world-famous for its turtles! If you snorkel here, you are almost guaranteed to see turtles! Akumal is the perfect place to spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and exploring. There are also plenty of beach activities to keep you busy, like stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
It’s one of the safest beaches in Mexico for swimming and snorkeling, as there are lifeguards on duty, and the water is very shallow. The waters of Akumal are calm and clear, making it perfect for young children and first-time snorkelers!
Located 100 km (62 mi) south of Cancún, between the towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum, it’s an easy drive from either of the nearby cities. In fact, Akumal beach is considered one of the best day trips from Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum!
Spend a day at Akumal swimming in the Akumal Bay on a private snorkeling tour with sea turtles, where you’ll get an up-close view of these amazing creatures in their natural habitat! This particular tour is $45 USD per person, and includes transportation and all entrance fees to Akumal Bay, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime chance to snorkel and swim alongside sea turtles in their natural habitat!
And after you’ve worked up an appetite from swimming and are ready for a break, there are plenty of beach bars and restaurants to choose from! There are also a variety of activities nearby Akumal in Tulum, like exploring the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum or going for a swim in one of the nearby cenotes.
Where to stay near Akumal Beach:
There aren’t a ton of hotels to choose from that are located within walking distance of Akumal Beach, but Hotel Club Akumal Caribe is a great choice! In fact, this stunning hotel is located only a 2-minute walk from the beach, so you can enjoy it as much as you want! There is also an onsite pool and restaurant.
13. Playa Gaviota Azul, Cancun
Gaviota Azul is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun, but there are also plenty of activities to keep you busy. You can go snorkeling, windsurfing, or kayaking. And if you’re looking for a little bit of adventure, you can take a jungle tour or go zip-lining through the nearby Cancun rainforest!
Stand-up paddleboarding is also very common here in Cancun. It’s a great workout and you can explore the waters at your own pace. You can rent paddleboards from many of the hotels and resorts around the beach, or you can take a guided tour.
After a day spent exploring and playing on the beach, you can quench your thirst with a refreshing margarita from one of the many beach bars. Or, if you’re feeling hungry, there are plenty of restaurants serving up delicious Mexican food! Playa Gaviota Azul is also not far from some of Cancun’s best nightlife, so you can continue the party long into the night!
Best Activity near Playa Gaviota Azul:
This stand-up paddleboarding experience in Cancun is the perfect way to explore the mangroves nearby and see wildlife in their natural habitat. To start this tour, you’ll have to go to Marina Kaybal. From there, you’ll get to paddle through the serene waters of the Laguna Nichetupe and enjoy the local wildlife. The tour includes round-trip transportation from your hotel in Cancun, and all paddleboarding gear.
Where to Stay near Playa Gaviota Azul:
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun is an all-inclusive hotel located just a few minutes from this stunning beach. Not only is the location amazing, but this 5-star resort is HUGE with two swimming pools and six fine-dining restaurants!
14. Playa Chac Mool, Cancun
Playa Chacmool is another one of Cancun’s beaches that should not be missed! This beach is known for its lovely turquoise waters, pristine beach, and, of course, beautiful sunset views.
Chacmool Beach is an ideal place to wind down and enjoy the incredible views. This beach is perfect for those who want to relax, as it is relatively quiet, and there are plenty of beach umbrellas and sun loungers for you to lounge on. But, if you’re looking for a bit of excitement, there are also plenty of activities nearby!
You can go snorkeling or scuba diving in the clear waters or take a walk along the scenic coastal path. There are also a variety of watersports and activities to do close by, so you can enjoy an adventure-filled day spent in the sun. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even go swimming with whale sharks!
And, of course, no visit to Playa Chacmool would be complete without watching the incredible Cancun sunset!
Playa Chacmool is a great choice for those who want to enjoy the beach but also have access to Cancun’s many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. It’s just a short walk from the beach to the vibrant nightlife of Cancun and definitely one of the best ways to spend your time in Cancun!
Best Activity near Playa Chacmool:
We actually did this full-day whale shark tour and it was incredible – words can’t even describe the experience, you just have to do it at least once in your lifetime! The tour included a knowledgeable guide (in English and Spanish), snorkeling equipment and life jackets, a full day out on the water, plus a stop for lunch off the coast in Isla Mujeres. Whale shark season in Cancun runs from the 15th of May to the 17th of September, so I would highly recommend planning your trip around that time if you want to take part in this incredible experience.
Where to Stay near Playa Chacmool:
Sunset Royal Beach Hotel is a 4-star all-inclusive hotel located right on the beach! In fact, the hotel boasts having its “own” section of the beach complete with lounge chairs and umbrellas. There’s also a gym, spa, restaurant, and fitness center. Plus, it’s located only 1km from the busy area of Cancun’s Hotel Zone with plenty of activities to choose from.
15. Paradise Beach, Cozumel
Paradise Beach in Cozumel is a fun private beach/ beach club and a must-visit for any beach lover! This beach is famous for its turquoise waters and lush palm trees. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the incredible views.
There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Paradise Beach, like swimming, snorkeling, drinking, and kayaking. And, if you’re looking for a bit of adventure, you can go scuba diving or take a ride on the banana boat! Located in the heart of Cozumel, there is no shortage of things to do at Paradise Beach!
After a day spent at the beach, you can head to the beach club pool. It’s huge and the perfect place to take a break from the saltwater and sand. Of course, in order to visit the beach club, you do need a day pass, which costs $64 USD but comes with an all-inclusive package. That means free food and drinks all day (8 hours) plus lounge chair rental!
The great thing about Paradise Beach is its close proximity to San Miguel. This vibrant town is full of shops, restaurants, and bars, as well as a lively nightlife scene!
Paradise Beach is also a great place to watch the incredible Cozumel sunset. So, be sure to stick around until the sun goes down!
Where to Stay near Paradise Beach:
Secrets Aura Cozumel is an adults-only hotel located right on the beach, only steps from Paradise Beach Club. If you stay here, you probably will never want to leave with its idyllic location and many luxurious amenities.
Related Read: Learn about all of the fun things to do in Cozumel while you’re on the island!
16. Playa Ruinas, Tulum
Playa Ruinas, located in the Tulum archeological site, is definitely one of the most popular beaches in Mexico! This beach is located just next to the Tulum Ruins and is surrounded by cliffs. Because of its close proximity to the Tulum Ruins, many people visit the beach after touring the ruins to cool off with a swim and just relax.
This beach can get busy, usually between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm when most of the tour buses arrive. To avoid crowds, show up first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon.
At Playa Ruinas, you can go swimming, snorkeling, or even go scuba diving and spot some colorful fish in crystal-clear waters!
Getting to Playa Ruinas is easy from most of the nearby beach towns. It is located about 2.5 miles (4 km) from Tulum town, about an hour’s drive from Playa del Carmen, or about two hours from Cancun. You can rent a car and drive yourself here or join an organized tour. If you’re staying in Tulum, a popular option is to rent a bike and cycle here!
If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, there are tons of exciting, action-packed activities nearby! You can take a walk through the nearby jungle or explore the ancient ruins of Tulum. Some other popular sights to see in Tulum include the Cenote Dos Ojos and the Gran Cenote.
Best Activity near Playa Ruinas:
Our best suggestion for experiencing Tulum in a single day is by taking this amazing cooking class and mezcal tasting. You’ll learn how the ancient beverage has been drunk exclusively for centuries, and make your own homemade salsas while learning about different types of meats used for tacos. Then it’s time to try some authentic mezcal flavors that will leave even non-drinkers wanting more! Afterward, you’ll sit down and enjoy the delicious meal you made with your hosts and new amigos.
Where to Stay near Playa Ruinas:
El Paraiso Hotel Tulum is located on Paradise Beach, the beach next to Playa Ruinas about 700 meters away. This hotel is super affordable too and features a pool, restaurant, bar, and rooms that are modern with air conditioning!
17. Playa Holbox, Isla Holbox
Isla Holbox is a popular tourist destination for its beautiful beaches, incredible views, and relaxed atmosphere. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula near the city of Cancun, Isla Holbox is a small island that is perfect for a beach getaway. Playa Holbox is one of the most popular beaches on the island, and it’s easy to see why! This beach is famous for its fine sand and incredible Gulf views.
This island is a haven for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and soak up the incredible scenery. You can lounge on the soft sand, go for a swim in the turquoise waters, or take a walk along the beach and take in the stunning views. There are plenty of fun things to do in Holbox!
If you just want to visit Isla Holbox for the day, we recommend this round-trip tour from Cancun. It includes pick-up from your hotel in Cancun, transportation to the ferry plus ferry tickets, and return to Cancun. It’s the ideal choice for anyone who doesn’t want to have to worry about the hassle of getting back and forth between the two cities.
If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy on Isla Holbox! You can go kitesurfing, windsurfing, or stand-up paddleboarding. Isla Holbox is home to a kite-boarding school, so you can learn this popular water sport while you’re on the island! There are also plenty of tour operators offering tours of the island and its nearby beaches.
Best Activity near Playa Holbox:
After a day spent at the beach on Isla Holbox, you can explore the charming town side. This small town is full of restaurants, bars, and shops. You can enjoy a delicious meal at one of Isla Holbox’s many restaurants or relax with a refreshing cocktail from one of the beach bars while watching the beautiful Isla Holbox sunset.
Where to Stay near Playa Holbox:
Villas HM Palapas del Mar is the perfect luxurious place to stay right on the beach! It is located only a few minutes walk from the center of town. There are a variety of different rooms available including those suit families. The property also has a huge outdoor swimming pool!
18. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres
Next up is Playa Norte, located on the small island of Isla Mujeres in the Caribbean Sea. This beach is a popular choice due to its location near the city of Cancun and is also super easy to reach by ferry from Playa del Carmen or Tulum. You can even hop on a catamaran cruise from Cancun to get here! This beach is perfect for a day of swimming, sunbathing, or simply just relaxing!
Playa Norte is, as the name suggests, located on the northern tip of Isla Mujeres.
If you’re up for a little more adventure, you’re in luck! Playa Norte is a popular tourist destination, so there are plenty of activities to keep you busy while you’re here. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore the nearby reefs or take a walk through the island’s jungle trails.
While Playa Norte is incredible, Isla Mujeres is also home to a number of other beaches, so you can spend your days lounging on the sand and soaking up the incredible views on other beaches as well! Go beach-hopping!
In addition to its many beaches, Isla Mujeres is also home to a number of restaurants, bars, and shops. You can enjoy a delicious meal while overlooking the turquoise waters at one of the popular beach bars in Isla Mujeres, like Playa Norte Bar & Grill. Or, if you’re looking for an even more relaxed atmosphere, you can head to one of the many restaurants in town.
Best Activity near Playa Norte:
Isla Mujeres is also home to MUSA, the world’s largest underwater sculpture museum. We recommend taking a snorkeling or scuba diving tour of the museum and see over 500 life-size sculptures! The sculptures are made from materials that encourage marine life growth, so you’ll be surrounded by colorful fish as you explore the unique artwork.
This snorkeling tour of Isla Mujeres will take you to three different snorkeling spots around the island, including the world-famous Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA) underwater sculpture museum. You’ll be able to see over 500 life-size sculptures as you swim and explore the vibrant marine life. The tour includes round-trip transportation from your hotel in Isla Mujeres, all snorkeling gear, and a bilingual English and Spanish-speaking guide.
For the more experienced divers, you can also take a scuba diving tour of the MUSA museum.
Where to Stay near Playa Norte:
Ixchel Beach Hotel is located right on Playa Norte. This small hotel features one-bedroom rooms that come complete with a kitchen – super handy for making your own drinks and snacks! The hotel also has an outdoor pool and many rooms have a balcony with ocean views.
Related Read: Playa Norte is offered considered one of the best day trips from Tulum, too.
19. Playa del Carmen, Playa del Carmen
Plenty of beaches in Mexico are well known for their party atmosphere, and Playa del Carmen (the main beach in the city of Playa del Carmen) is no exception! This beach is famous for its many bars and nightclubs, as well as its beautiful scenic views.
This beach is the perfect place to let loose and have some fun! There are plenty of bars and clubs along the beach to keep you entertained, and the party goes on well into the night. However, if you’re looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, this probably isn’t the beach for you.
Playa del Carmen Beach is exciting and bustling with plenty of activities going on all around you. This is the perfect place to grab a lounge chair and people-watch. Vendors also will likely approach you, so you can do a little souvenir shopping right from your chair!
The water at this beach is calm, and perfect for swimming. Many people also snorkel here when the water visibility is good or catch a tour to go swimming with whale sharks near Playa del Carmen.
Best Activity near Playa del Carmen:
One of our favorite things to do near Playa del Caren is Xplor Adventure Park. It’s a park in Playa del Carmen that includes zip lining, swimming in underground rivers, driving through caves, and exploring the jungle! It’s perfect for those who want to get their adrenaline pumping. And, best of all, the park is located in the heart of the world-famous Riviera Maya, so you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning scenery while you’re exploring the park.
All of the tours are guided by experienced professionals who will make sure you have a safe and enjoyable experience. You’ll want to book in advance though, because they fill up quickly. This all-inclusive Xplor package costs $133 including your entrance fee, lunch, and a ton of extras not included in standard admission.
They also offer an Xplor night package excursion, for the night owls in Playa! We have yet to try the night tour, but it’s on our list for the next time we’re in Playa del Carmen.
Where to Stay near Playa del Carmen:
If you’re traveling from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen, you’ll want a nice place to stay once you arrive. There aren’t any huge luxury resorts located on the beach in Playa del Carmen, for that you’ll need to head to the outskirts of town. There are a few budget-friendly hotels though, and Capital O Mimi Del Mar would be your best choice! It is located right on the beach and features an outdoor pool and air-conditioned rooms.
20. Paradise Beach, Tulum
Possibly one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico (and one of the most popular!), Paradise Beach is located in the town of Tulum. This beach is well known for its clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand beaches.
Paradise Beach is the perfect place to relax and soak up the incredible views. There are plenty of beach bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail or a delicious meal lining the beach. Or, if you’re looking for a more active day, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving to explore the nearby reefs.
Paradise Beach is located about 6 km (3.7 miles) from Tulum town center. You can easily get there by bike, car, taxi, or even public transport! Since Tulum center is located inland, many visitors choose to stay at Paradise Beach instead of in town so they can enjoy the beach easily! Therefore, there are plenty of hotels to choose from at Paradise Beach.
Best Activity near Paradise Beach:
Of course, diving in a cenote is a MUST when visiting Tulum, so be sure to make time for that while here as well. One of our favorite cenote experiences was on this cenote diving tour where we got of Casa Cenote and Cenote Calavera! This tour is geared towards beginners, which was perfect for us, but there are also great diving tours for more experienced divers here as well.
Tulum is also a great place to go shopping – you can find plenty of souvenirs here and even handmade crafts made by locals to take back with you to give to family and friends!
Where to Stay near Paradise Beach:
El Paraiso Hotel Tulum is located on Paradise Beach. This hotel is super affordable too and features a pool, restaurant, bar, and rooms that are modern with air conditioning!
21. Playa Norte Celestún, Merida
Playa Norte Celestún is located in the town of Celestún, which is about an hour and a half drive from the city of Merida. This beach is well known for its flamingos, and, if you’re lucky, you might even get to see some of them up close!
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Playa Norte Celestún is the perfect place to relax. This beach is much quieter than some of the other beaches on this list, so it’s perfect for beachgoers hoping to unwind.
There are plenty of beach bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail or a delicious meal while watching the flamingos! For travelers looking for an adrenaline rush, there is also the option to go scuba diving or snorkeling to explore the nearby reefs.
The Celestún Biosphere Reserve in Merida is home to over 300 species of birds, but is most known for its community of flamingos! This Celestún Biosphere Reserve tour will give you an exclusive view of beautiful pink flamingos that you can see up close and personal. You’ll tour the reserve by boat and have a chance to see some of the exotic wildlife that lives in Merida.
It includes round-trip transportation from your hotel in Merida, entry fees, plus a bilingual English and Spanish-speaking guide – so all you have to worry about is enjoying the view!
Where to Stay near Playa Norte Celestun:
Hotel San Julio is a beachfront hotel that’s super affordable! It’s located right on Playa Norte Celestun, as well as within walking distance to the center of Celestun town. The rooms are basic, but clean, and have air conditioning.
Related Read: Check out all of the best things to do in Merida!
Renting a Car in Mexico
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car.
I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2019, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically.
I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend.
The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too.
Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit.
Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper!
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading our guide to the best beaches in Mexico! We hope you enjoyed it and found it helpful in planning your next trip. We’re sure you’ll love these beaches as much as we did!