Best Mexico Beaches

RIU Palace resort in Cabo San Lucas on Mexico's Pacific Coast, pacific ocean, Mexico

RIU Palace resort in Cabo San Lucas on Mexico beaches Pacific Coast. Photo by Clemens Vasters.

Mexican Beaches Vacations


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.

RIU Palace resort in Cabo San Lucas on Mexico's Pacific Coast, pacific ocean, Mexico

Acapulco hotel panoramic view, Pacific Coast of Mexico, photo by Jim.

Not Good

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.

Infrastructure maintenance ranges from poor to none: “This is a first world city with third world services,” says José Pech, a local electrician. “The governments we have are the worst. They’re worse than the criminals,” he said, “if they had paid proper attention to the people, if there wasn’t such corruption, organised crime wouldn’t exist as it does now.”

Drug distribution-related violence is relentless, though generally it doesn’t impact on tourists. However, Mexican bodies are piling up in Acapulco, Cancun and Los Cabos. A Mexican think tank called Los Cabos the world’s most dangerous city outside a war zone. Just saying…

Best beach season

Mid November to May are the best months for regular sunshine and calm seas on Mexican beaches, whether it’s the Pacific Coast (west side) or Maya Riviera (east side).

Naturally July-August, Christmas and Easter seasons attract huge numbers of vacationers from both inside and outside the country, but the heat is on as well as overpowering humidity and the storm clouds are gathering. . .

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.

Spring Break

Beware the famously boisterous US college Spring Break that happens annually, mostly during March with a handful colleges vacationing in early April. Mexican destinations that suffer (enjoy? ) the youthful madness are Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. Prices up, tranquility down, but if you’re young and wild then this season could be perfect.

Mexico’s beaches divided into three zones: Gulf, Maya Riviera, Pacific Coast

RIU Palace resort in Cabo San Lucas on Mexico's Pacific Coast, pacific ocean, Mexico

Map of Mexico’s best beaches. Map by Apple with additions by Bugbog.

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.

Tulum beach and Maya temple, Maya Riviera, Mexico

The ‘Mayan Riviera’  stretches 86 miles along the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula (Quintana Roo state), from Cancun in the north to  Sian Ka’an Bio Reserve wilderness in the south. Getting around is simple with Cancun Airport Transfers. The Maya Riviera is washed by the Caribbean Sea and is home to a handful of Mexico’s best beaches including the boisterous Cancun, silky white sand of Playa del Carmen and narrow but spectacular Tulum.

Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Los Cabos – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo

Cabo San Lucas Lands End snorkeling, Baja California, Mexico beaches

Lands End snorkeling near Cabo San Lucas, Pacific Coast.

The best part of Cabo San Lucas is its small town feel, even if it has balooned in size in the last 25 years. The town is compact and easy to get around on foot – unlike Cancun where hopping buses is essential. Cabo San Lucas also manages to maintain a moderately Mexican atmosphere in spite of the American tourist dominance.
Escaping from the town is easy if you bring or rent a vehicle (ATVs are popular), enabling trips to isolated beaches, desert walks, rock climbs and mountain adventures.

Playa El Medano is the core of tourist activity in Cabo San Lucas. It stretches out for about 2 miles (3 kms) from the harbour/marina and is lined with high-rise resorts and restaurants/cantinas. Medano is coated with soft sand and washed by clear, calm seas but in season is crowded, hyperactive and packed with persistent vendors so if you’re looking for peace and quiet better head elsewhere by water or wheels. If you want action however, be it partying or marine activities, then Medano is the best place to start.
Note that Los Cabos are a popular ‘Spring Break’ location so locos juevos  descend upon muchos Mexico beaches during March every year and tranquility may be hard to find. More Cabo San Lucas information and photos

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.

Baja California (peninsula)

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.

The Pacific mainland coast from north to south


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 budget Spring Break destination due to its variety of low-cost accommodation.

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.

Between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco

Puerto Vallarta beaches, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta. Photo by Melikamp

The central Pacific Coast has several hundred miles of coastline with fine, typical Mexico 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 Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. Great activities, fantastic seafood, and lively night life.

Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero

Playa Linda in Ixtapa, Pacific Coast, Mexico

Playa Linda in Ixtapa. Photo by Luidger.

Visitors to the Zihuatanejo region have a choice of more than 20 miles of Mexico beaches that are still reasonably uncrowded, laid back and clean, though high-rise resorts are inevitably popping up as the years advance, like concrete acne.

Bahia de Ixtapa, for example, encloses four wide, lengthy beaches with soft sand of a slightly muddy color, while outside the bay a more adventurous traveler can find El Palmar’s two miles of white sand along with Playa Linda’s unspoilt curve of tree-lined sand. More Ixtapa information and photos.

Oaxaca Riviera (far south Pacific Coast)

Puerto Escondido's Playa Principal on a busy summer weekend, Pacific Coast, Mexico

Puerto Escondido’s Playa Principal on a busy summer weekend – busy with budget travelers and Mexican families.

Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido has several stretches of magnificent sandy beach with a laid-back ambience and plenty of inexpensive accommodation. These Mexico 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.

Zipolite Beach

zipolite beach, mexico

Zipolite beach, west end. Photo by Alejandro Garcia

The backpacker’s favourite of all Mexico beaches, 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.


Turtle hatchling at Mazunte beach, Pacific Coast,Mexico beaches

A hatchling on it’s way to the sea in Mazunte, Pacific Coast. Photo by Claudio Giovenzana.

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.