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The Best Beaches in Mexico – a travelogue




I did not always consider myself a beach person, but that all changed when I went to the Riviera Maya two years ago to hike the Yucatan. Practically in the shadow of an old Mayan temple, I found a beach of saltine white sand and clear, green-blue waters so shallow I could still stand almost ten yards out to sea.

 I remember bobbing for hours, thrilled to be floating in the warm tropical seas in early summer. I was positively giddy. 

It turned out I loved beaches- And as I discovered in later travels, Mexico happens to have some of the best in the world.

 If you’re planning a beach vacation here anytime soon, I hope I can inspire you to pick a destination from the list below. 

These are beyond a doubt some of the best beaches in Mexico.


Best Beaches in Mexico

Tulum Beach
Tulum, Quintana Roo

Why go? - The quintessential perfect beach. Clean, quiet, beautiful.
What's unique? - Seaside Mayan ruins with an amazing view of the sea.

Best Beaches in Mexico

Tulum is about two hours south of Cancun via the Fed 307 Highway which runs basically north-south and runs close to the Caribbean coast. A small town, Tulum Pueblo, is built inland from the stony ruins of a walled Mayan city. 

The ruins themselves sit in forlorn, lushly colorful majesty on a windswept bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Walking a few minutes south from the ruins brings you to Tulum’s beach. It is beautifully long, clean, and white. Definitely, one of the best beaches in Mexico.

Best Beaches in Mexico

Part of the beach can even be accessed directly from the ruin site via a wooden staircase from the cliffs above down to the sea!

 I think you’ll love the gently sloping sand, and you will find the watery blues and greens of such plenitude and variety that you’ll finally have a use for that long-lost color term: cyan.  

Just a few hours drive south of Cancun, Tulum, with its ruins and gorgeous beach, is a must visit for any vacationer!


Best Beaches in Mexico

Playa Norte
Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo

Why go? - Bohemian, and easily explored on foot or bike.
What’s unique? - Sunsets over the Caribbean, a floating eco-island.

Best Beaches in Mexico

Playa Norte is a broad, palm covered Yucatan beach on the north side of the island Isla Mujeres just off the coast of Cancun. Well-populated with restaurants and vendors offering local food and trinkets. 

Following the course of nearby tourist development, Isla Mujeres (named Women Island due to the statues dedicated to the Mayan goddess, Ixchel, found here by the Spanish), is an exceedingly comfortable site for vacation rentals.

Best Beaches in Mexico

Isla Mujeres, is one of the only places in the Mexican Caribbean, where visitors can watch the sunset over the water due to is unobstructed eastern view of the sea. 

Do like the locals, and explore the rest of this easy living, Bohemian paradise by rented bicycle. If you have time, pedal out to the floating Joyxee Island constructed by British artist Richart Sowa, the base of the island is constructed entirely of recycled plastic bottles!


Best Beaches in Mexico

Islas Marietas
Sayulita, Nayarit

Why go? - Secluded, a beach inside a "crater", idyllic.
What’s unique? - Circular, enclosed beach, accessed through a sea arch.

Best Beaches in Mexico

On Mexico’s west coast, Nayarit is densely packed with lovely beaches. The Lonely Planet guide calls it one of the “most enticing coastal destinations” in the country, but this adjacent beach located in the Islas Marietas beats them all for its idyllic, Robinson Crusoe feel. Reason enough, to make it one of the best beaches in Mexico. 

A short boat ride from the town of Sayulita into the Bahía de Banderas (Bay of Flags), the Islas Marietas, is reached rather romantically by passing under a natural stone arch, the beach’s only entrance.

Best Beaches in Mexico

The beach itself lies below a wide circular hole in the green, high surface of the island above. Nowhere else on the planet will you find such a marvelous and breathtaking beach. 

The view from the beach, which is basically inside a cave with a giant sunroof above your head, is a site everyone should see once in their lifetime! 

When visiting this site, keep in mind that the surrounding area is a marine preserve within Mexico, so remember to use biodegradable sunscreen only! 


Best Beaches in Mexico

Playa Balandra
La Paz, Baja California Sur

Why go? - Unlike anywhere else in Mexico, extremely shallow and calm water.
What’s unique? - Desert meets the sea, wade across a bay.

Best Beaches in Mexico

The Baja Peninsula is a quiet, relatively undeveloped place where stark (and starkly American) deserts meet the sea. 

You’ll find no better illustration of this than at Playa Balandra, where green organ pipe cacti and spiny agave grow on rust-colored hillsides over a scalloped, white-blue bay.

 In addition to being shallow enough to practically wade straight across, the amazing waters of this wide, sheltered bay are also calm enough for parents not to have to worry about letting their little ones loose.

Best Beaches in Mexico

Playa Balandra is also a great place to teach yourself to paddleboard, with the lack of high surf and such shallow waters! Equipment rentals can be made at La Paz or at nearby Tecolote. 

You can also take some time to explore the amazing desert landscape surrounding the beach! Playa Balandra might be the greatest beach in west Mexico. At half an hour north of La Paz and two and a half north of Cabo San Lucas, any visitor to southern Baja California can make time for a trip to this coastal wonderland.


Best Beaches in Mexico

Playa del Amor
Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur

Why go? - A beach at the end of Baja with dramatic rock walls and a sea arch.
What’s unique? - Access to both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. Breath taking.

Best Beaches in Mexico

Playa del Amor (Lover's Beach) is most easily accessed by sea.

  This eye- pleasing stretch of sand is at a literal land’s end, being located at the very southern edge of the Baja peninsula.

 At the tip of a rocky peninsula jutting from the very bottom of the state of Baja California, Playa del Amor fronts the Sea of Cortez and backs the Pacific Ocean via its sister beach, Playa del Divorcio. 

Best Beaches in Mexico

A visitor need only walk a few minutes up a sand dune and through the wide opening in an imposing set of granite walls to get to either side, but please avoid swimming at Divorcio. The current can be very strong. To view the large nearby sea arch up close, you can often take the same boat you used to get to this beach. 

Both Playa del Amor and Playa Divorcio are a couple of the best beaches in Mexico! And of course my favorites in Baja California.


Tulum, Isla Mujeres, Puerto Vallarta, La Paz, Cabo San Lucas: all of these destinations have something different to offer anyone looking for a great vacation at some of the most stunning beaches in the world, and with Latitude21Resorts you can affordably stay in luxurious accommodations with a timeshare rental. If you’ve never been to any of these places, I sincerely hope you can get to one soon, and that it thrills you as much as my first experience at Tulum thrilled me! 


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