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Mexico Beaches
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Zipolite beach at sunset, pacific ocean, Mexico

Zipolite beach on Mexico's Pacific Coast. Photo by Alejandro Garcia

 

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Best season for Mexico beaches is November-May

November to May are the best months on Mexican beaches, whether it's the Pacific Coast (west) or Maya Riviera (east side). Naturally July-August, Christmas and Easter seasons attract huge numbers of vacationers from both inside and outside the country, especially at beach resorts.

The worst are the hottest and most humid months, August - September, with heavy rain, cloud, and an insect problem too. However, note that during the winter months trips to higher altitude locations such as Mexico City may be very chilly.
August-November has the possibility of rough seas on the Pacific coast due to storms.
For diving off Baja California August - November is best, with warm, clear water.

 

+ Apart from large stretches of soft sand and warm waters, Mexican beaches offer laid back lifestyles, good facilities, excellent food and drink at reasonable prices, lively evenings with music and/or dance if you care for it, superb coral in some places and nearby ancient sites in others.

- On the negative side beaches in Mexico are frequently overrun with package tourists, souvenirs are clichéd and poor quality, petty theft happens and local service people can be sour and unhelpful if things go wrong or tips are not evident.

 

Mexico's beaches can be divided into three areas

• The Gulf Coast (Gulf of Mexico)

Maya Riviera (Caribbean Coast)

• The Pacific coast

 

Gulf of Mexico

Not a lot of great beaches on this curving, tropical shore, though plenty of oil wells.
The state of Veracruz occupies a large part of the coast and is scattered with still unspoilt towns and archeological sites as this is a less-travelled part of the country.

The state's best beaches run along the Costa Esmeralda, a 31 mile (50km) strip north of the Veracruz port (5 hours drive from Mexico City). The sand tends to be grey-brown, waters warm and large stretches are devoid of crowds so this is one of the better places in the country to find isolation. Nearby is the UNESCO World Heritage site of El Tajin, a ceremonial center of the Totonacs.

 

Playa del Carmen, Maya Riviera, Mexico

Playa del Carmen on the Maya Riviera (Caribbean coast). Photo by Haakon Krohn

 

Maya Riviera, Caribbean coast

Puerto Morelos

A fishing village and small beach resort between Cancun and Playa del Carmen with fine sand, warm water and for a great bonus, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef just 500 meters offshore for snorkelling or diving...more

 

Playa del Carmen

A cool, casual beach scene with plenty of accommodation (though there's an increasing imbalance towards huge, all-inclusive hotels these days), excellent bars, restaurants and shops. Although it is very popular Playa del Carmen is reasonably low-key and relaxing.

This is one of the better places in Mexico to buy high quality crafts, especially jewellery.
Playa also has boats to Cozumel island - for world class diving, pricey shopping (catering to cruise ships), a couple of fine beaches and a marine park for swimming with dolphins - at considerable expense.

 

Tulum beach and Maya temple, Maya Riviera, Mexico

Tulum beach and the Maya Templo Dios del Viento, Maya Riviera. Photo by Davesocool

Tulum

Tulum is one of the prettiest beaches in the Americas, albeit very small, but with a picturesque Mayan temple overlooking the sand and more ruins away from the shore. 130 km south of the massive and style-free resort of Cancún, it is a tiny but perfectly-formed white sandy cove, with a few palm shade and the azure Caribbean sea to swim in.

The entrance to Tulum is totally touristy, with a huge car park, souvenir shops, café and restaurants. There are a few hotels and restaurants in Tulum village and also (far better option) plenty of resort type places, cabañas (beach huts) and campsites along the coast road south to Punta Allen.

Temple of the Wind Gods: It's thought that the holes in the temple roof made a whistling noise when the wind picked up speed, thus warning locals of impending storms or even hurricanes and giving them time to move to a more protected area. The structure is not especially impressive but the location is magnificent.
For seekers of more Maya culture and relics one of the world's best ancient sites is just a couple of hours away by car or 4 hours by bus - Chichen Itza.

 

 

Mexico's Pacific Coast

This coast offers the greatest variety of beaches and can be divided into two parts - Baja California, along peninsula bordering the USA's California (half washed by the North Pacific Ocean, the other half by the Sea of Cortez) and the more southerly mainland Pacific Coast.

 

Cabo San Lucas beach, Baja California, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas out of season, Pacific Coast.

 

Baja California (peninsula)

 

Los Cabos - Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo

Offering miles of marvelous beaches at the tip of the baja peninsula this is a major American tourist destination for both fishing and golfing older folk or tanning and tequila young party animals.

 

The best Cabos beaches

Playa Cemeterio 4 km east, Playa Santa Maria 12 km from Cabo San Lucas for swimming, with easy access.
Playa Costa Azul, Playa Canta Mar are ideal for surfing.
Playa Solmar, 1 km west of Cabo San Lucas, is for whale- watching January - April.
Scuba diving and snorkelling are OK, but the the best sites are offshore, reachable only by boat.
Infamous time-share salesmen can be annoying, don't believe a word they say! And beware strong rip tides at some of the beaches. Photos

 

Los Cabos Weather

Cabo San Lucas weather doesn't vary a lot with generally little rain and moderate heat apart from late summer tropical storms that can dampen the atmosphere, cause cloud, seaweed-strewn beaches and poor water visibility for snorkelers and divers. However, often the storms occur out to sea or in the mountains in the Los Cabos region and will have little effect on beach resorts.

Temperatures range from January lows-highs of 58F-77F (14C-25C) to August lows-highs of 81F-95F (27C-35C).
Note that Los Cabos are a popular 'Spring Break' location so muchos locos descend upon the area during March every year and tranquility may be hard to find. Christmas, New Year and Easter school holidays are also busy but not so crazy.

 

Bahía Concepción, near La Paz

The shore of Bahia Concepcion (Conception Bay), just south of Mulegé (near La Paz), has several beaches that many consider are the best in the Baja, including Playa Requesón, Playa Buenaventura, and Playa Coyote. The bay is on the coast of Sea of Cortez, which is a protected marine sanctuary and offers quieter, warmer waters than the Pacific side.

The facilities are fairly basic (some places have no fresh water), but there is wildness, natural beauty and tranquility. Excellent for watersports and great for seafood, especially clams. Playa Santispac has the best campsite, with a fine restaurant. If you are up to kayaking, try Playa Buenaventura.

 

The Pacific mainland coast from north to south

 

Mazatlan

A vibrant port town, both a transport hub with ferries to Baja California, and a beach destination with huge stretches of sand and warm waters, Mazatlan is a popular Spring Break destination due to its variety of low-cost accommodation. Photo.

 

Bahia de Matanchen, San Blas

This small and very Mexican fishing village of San Blas (nearish to Tepic) has an excellent town beach, but the best in the area is just 4 km away - Bahia de Matanchen, a broad crescent bay with splendid beaches of prime soft sand and a relaxing atmosphere.
The main drawback is summertime mosquito and sand fly problems.

 

Puerto Vallarta beaches, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Khayman

 

Between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco

The central Pacific Coast has several hundred miles of coastline with fine sandy beaches and excellent facilities. The choices are enormous from international resorts like Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco for monster all-inclusive resorts packed densely, to smaller resorts with local colour such as: Chamela (the prettiest, 165 km south of Puerto Vallarta), Barra de Navidad and Zihuatanejo. Great activities, fantastic seafood, and lively night life.

 

 

Oaxaca Riviera (far south Pacific Coast)

 

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca state, SE of Acapulco

Puerto Escondido has several stretches of magnificent sandy beach with a laid-back ambience and plenty of inexpensive accommodation. Beaches range from 2 km long Zicatela, the surfing mecca (nicknamed the Mexican Pipeline) east of the town, to the calmer three coves including Playa Puerto Angelito on the west.
August - November surf reaches 7-8 metre due to south Pacific storms.

 

Puerto Angel

Puerto Angel, Oaxaca state, 50 miles east of Puerto Escondido. From Oaxaca City the journey isn't too far at 150 miles (240kms) but it's a very winding road going through the Sierra Madre del Sur so bus travel will take up to seven hours.

Tranquil Puerto Angel encompasses two small town beaches, plenty of low-cost facilities and a couple of bigger, prettier strips of sand nearby at Playa Boquilla. Photos.

 

zipolite beach, mexico

Zipolite beach, west end. Photo by Alejandro Garcia

 

Zipolite Beach

The backpacker's favourite, Zipolite Beach, is 4 kms from Puerto Angel (take a taxi) and about 60 km east of Puerto Escondido.

Zipolite offers simplicity and relaxation (except for the overdeveloped west end), with a good selection of low-cost accommodation and eateries beside the sand, wifi too!
Recently there has been an increasing security problem. Beware of high surf (particularly August - November) and strong currents in deep water. n.b. Surf board rentals are not easy to locate.

 

Mazunte

Mazunte hosts not only an eco-tourist village but also a turtle museum and real live Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles burying their eggs in the half mile long turtle-reserve beach from May for several months.
Other sea creatures seen around here are whales, dolphins, manta rays and sharks.

Boat trips to other popular beach destinations, such as Zipolite and Puerto Angel leave Mazunte regularly. Mazunte Photo

 

 

Pacific Coast Beaches Photos >>>

 

Maya Riviera Beaches Photos >>>

 

Cancun Guide >>>

 

 

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Mexico Travel Guide    Mexico Pictures    Mexico Map

 

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