Best beaches in Mexico: sun, sea, and siesta on your next vacay

Nestled between mountains or dotted along the stunning Caribbean coastline, discover the best beaches in Mexico for a relaxing vacation


When it comes to taking a well-earned rest, there is nothing quite like the magic of Mexico. This is a country whose colorful culture and delicious cuisine are laced with mysticism and generations of traditions. Yet, it is the beach that draws people to these sapphire shores each year. From the white sand picture-postcard beaches of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline to the rugged, windswept playas of the Pacific - there is no shortage of space to lay down your towel. To help you narrow down your shortlist of destinations in time for your next vacation, we have compiled a hotlist of the best beaches in Mexico. Bookmark this page and start daydreaming of a relaxing getaway to the land that brought you Frida Kahlo, Tequila, and Mariachi. 

Best time to visit the best beaches in Mexico

Hurricane season is real and it is definitely best to avoid this time if you want to fully enjoy the beautiful beaches in Mexico. The weather starts to pick up around November and stays dry until April. This is the ideal time to visit Mexico as the sun will be shining, the humidity levels will be low, and, there is a very low chance of rain. Yet, the good, dry weather also means that the beaches will be full of travelers and locals alike, all eager to soak up the warm Mexican sun rays. You can still visit the beach during the summer but in the Yucatan peninsula, it will feel oppressively hot and humid and the weather will be unpredictable. You can however score amazing hotel deals during the summer months. 

Best beaches in Mexico: Playa del Carmen

Famous beaches in Mexico: Playa del Carmen

This once small and sleepy fishing village is now a sprawling metropolis home to top all-inclusive hotels. Playa del Carmen is located in the Yucatan peninsula on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. The town of the same name is a must-visit if you choose to visit this area but it is the beach that attracts the crowds. The paperwhite sand and pristine, crystal-clear waters invite travelers from across the globe to rest and relax in a paradisiacal setting. The warm temperature of the water and the gentle waves make this beach one of the best family-friendly beaches in Mexico. It is also from here that you can catch the small ferry boats and explore the neighboring islands like Holbox, Cozumel, and Isla Mujeres.

Popular beaches in Mexico: Cancun

Of course, we cannot talk about the best beaches in Mexico and not mention the tourist hotspot of Cancun. If you want to visit a beach that looks just as good as it does in the vacation brochure, Cancun is the place. This resort town has grown a lot since its humble beginnings in the 1970s when only three people lived there. Now, it is a popular Mexico beach destination home to tropical souls from all corners of the world looking for a slice of paradise. Yet, did you know? The white sand on Cancun beach is really just crushed bits of coral.

Yet, did you know? The white sand on Cancun beach is really just crushed bits of coral

Which means the sand never gets baking hot underfoot creating the ideal setting for a family day at the beach. Also, keep a watch out for baby turtles. They can be seen hatching from eggs nestled on the shoreline before they make their journey into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Best beaches in Mexico: Cancún

Best snorkeling in Mexico from the beach Puerto Morelos

Mexico offers a world of fun for active souls on the hunt for their next adventure. Puerto Morelos is a marine park with some of the best-preserved coral in the whole of the Mexican Caribbean. The 400-meter-long coral reef is visible from the shoreline as this is where the waves break. There are two options for snorkeling here. The first is staying in the shallow waters between the coast and the reef, or the second is swimming out to the coral reef and catching a glimpse of even more tropical fish. Barracudas, Sergeant Majors, and Grunts are all popular here and the kaleidoscope of marine life makes it one of the best places to snorkel in Mexico.

If you fancy a day trip while staying in Cancun, then hop on the ferry and visit Isla Mujeres. Here you will find beaches that look just like a computer screensaver. One of these beaches is Playa Norte or North beach. Unlike other beaches in this part of Mexico, access is free. Yet what makes Playa Norte one of the best beaches in Mexico, is that the water remains shallow for approximately the first 200 meters offshore.

Yet what makes Playa Norte one of the best beaches in Mexico, is that the water remains shallow for approximately the first 200 meters offshore

This makes it one of the safest beaches in Mexico for swimming. Pack your goggles as the gin-clear waters allow you to witness the schools of fish swimming beneath the ocean. It is worth noting however that due to the fabulous visibility for snorkeling, the picture-postcard surroundings, and safe swimming conditions, this beach can get rather crowded. It is worth getting there early to guarantee yourself a spot on the sand. 

Best beaches in Mexico: Mismaloya Beach

Top beaches in Mexico: Mismaloya Beach, Puerto Vallarta

Swap the flat, white sand beaches of the Caribbean with the jungle-fringed, golden sand coves of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast. Mismaloya beach is one of the top beach destinations in Mexico for those wanting a quick weekend getaway south of the border. It is not every day that you can wake up and within moments step onto the golden sand, but here you can. The Barceló Puerto Vallarta is the only beachfront hotel in the area offering guests a frontline view of the Pacific Ocean. The contrast between the green, luscious Sierra Madre Occidental hills and the sapphire blue waters gives this beach a truly tropical vibe. So much so that in the 1960s, it was used as a Hollywood film set for the movie “The Night of the Iguana” and ever since it has become a tourist hotspot and wedding destination. 

Best surfing beaches in Mexico: Playa Olas Altas, Colima

If you plan to visit the Manzanillo region then a trip to the Playas Olas Altas is a must. As the name suggests, the waves here can reach great heights making it ideal for those with an appetite for adventure sports. It is one of the most popular Mexico surfing destinations in the Pacific and it is best enjoyed during the summer when waves are at their highest. If you are not looking for an adrenaline rush, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy while at Playa Olas Altas. From beach volleyball to sunbathing on a lounger with a cold beer in hand, this is one of the best beaches in Mexico for all the family.