The 10 Best Beaches in Mexico You Have to Visit

written by local expert Jane Elmets

Jane always knew she wasn't destined for a desk job... She has travelled all over the world and is passionate about noodles, sloths and her hiking boots! When she isn't busy adventuring around the world, you can find her reviewing travel gear and dishing out travel tips to all the places she's visited.

Mexico, one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, is home to hundreds (if not thousands!) of white sand beaches surrounded by tropical trees and a pristine aqua ocean.

No matter what you’re looking for in a beach vacation, Mexico has it. Whether you’d like to let your hair down and drink your heart out or simply relax and enjoy a taste of paradise, head to one of Mexico’s best beaches for a memorable escape!

Quick Answer: Best Beaches in Mexico

With so many beaches to choose from, we’ve put together a list of ten best beaches in Mexico that are sure to wow any type of vacationer.

Scroll down to read more about each location!

  • Cozumel: Off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula
  • Riviera Maya: South of Cancun
  • Tulum: Part of the Riviera Maya strip, along the Caribbean coast
  • Riviera Nayarit: West coast on the Pacific Ocean
  • Playa del Carmen: In the Riviera Maya, between Cancun and Tulum
  • Cabo San Lucas: Southern tip of Baja California Peninsula
  • Puerto Vallarta: On the Pacific Coast, south of Riviera Nayarit
  • Cancun: At the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula
  • Isla Mujeres: Off the coast of Cancun
  • Huatulco: South Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca

Want to know how Mexico vs Costa Rica compares when it comes to beaches? Check out our full guide.

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Location: Off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula

Beaches to Visit: Playa Bonita, Playa Azul, Playa Chen Rio, Chankanaab National Park

Cear waters, gorgeous sand and endless activities — Cozumel is certainly one of the best beaches in Mexico! Plus, who doesn’t love a little island stay.

Cozumel draws people from near and far to enjoy some fun in the sun. This is a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, and boating excursions, or simply for lying on the beach. You’ll be surrounded by palm trees as you gaze at the turquoise ocean. Honestly, diving in Cozumel is incredible.

Seriously, does paradise get any better?

Hot tip for traveling to Mexico: For an unforgettable Mexican getaway, splurge on a luxury stay! Check out these unbeatable luxury hotel offers in some of the best hotspots in Mexico.

cozumel, mexico

Riviera Maya

Location: South of Cancun

Beaches to Visit: Maroma Beach, Akumal Beach (for sea turtles!), Xpu-Ha Beach

If you’re seeking white sand for your Mexican getaway, head over to Riviera Maya for a dip in the water and relaxing afternoons on clear beaches. This is one of the most beautiful places in Mexico, with endless hidden spots to discover.

Here, you can find wooden boardwalks leading out to ocean huts and a beach line dominated by beautiful resorts. The water is clear and calm, making it ideal for swimming and exploring sea life.

The best part? Riviera Maya hasn’t become ultra touristy yet, so you’re sure to get some peace and quiet on these beaches.

Visiting Tulum sometime soon? Check out this article on the Best Time to Go to Tulum!

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Location: Part of the Riviera Maya strip along the Caribbean coast

Beaches to Visit: Playa Ruinas, Playa Paraiso, Secret Beach

Tulum is rapidly rising in popularity when it comes to Mexican beach destinations as it offers visitors a unique and memorable experience.

Part of the Riviera Maya strip along the coast, Tulum attracts people from far and wide. Besides white sand beaches and turquoise waters, it has a sandy coastline dotted with ancient Mayan ruins.

Explore the old temples, find hidden spots and run into the ocean to cool off in between. If you go here, be sure to check out the many awesome beach clubs in Tulum.

If you want a break from the beaches of Tulum, you can also check out the best #tulum cenotes or our comparison article on Cancun vs Tulum.

When visiting Tulum, you’ll find plenty of sunrise yoga classes, outdoor activities and historical artifacts right on its beaches. Check out our guide on is Tulum Safe to Visit.

aerial view of tulum, mexico

Riviera Nayarit

Location: West coast on the Pacific Ocean
Best Beaches to Visit: Sayulita, Punta Mita, Nuevo Vallarta Beach

For all you party-goers, Nayarit is an ideal place to relax during the day and get a little bit wild at night. As you might’ve guessed, this is a common beach location for large parties and attracts a younger crowd.

During the winter, Nayarit is a prime surf spot if you’re looking for a ~wavy~ vacation, while also looking to meet other travelers and get over your hangover with a view of the ocean. Definitely one of the best beaches of its kind in Mexico!

We personally LOVE Sayulita and have found tons of amazing things to do in this sleepy beach town.

If you want a general overview of the best things to do in Riviera Nayarit, check out this post.

Love surfing? Check out our guide to the best surf camps in Mexico!

Playa del Carmen

Location: In the Riviera Maya, between Cancun and Tulum

Best Beaches to Visit: Parque Fundores, Playa Mamitas, Los Pinos, Xacel

If you’re looking for a place in Mexico that has it all, Playa del Carmen hits the spot. With five beaches throughout the city, you’re sure to find one that suits your interests.

Whether you’d rather spend the day lounging at a swanky beachside bar, discover hidden paradise away from the crowds, or sip on a coconut while watching sunset, there’s something for you in Playa del Carmen. Whether it’s visiting a few Playa del Carmen Cenotes or just relaxing in nearby beaches, there is something for everyone here.

If you want to get away from the crowds, a visit to Xpuha Beach is worth the slight detour. Located around 30 mins away from the city center, head to Xpuha for some awesome snorkeling and low key beach clubs!

Related: How to get from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen and Is Playa Del Carmen Safe?

Cabo San Lucas

Location: Southern tip of Baja California Peninsula

Best Beaches to Visit: Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach), Medano Beach, Chileno Beach

Offering views of expansive landscapes right from the beach, Cabo has always been and remains an extremely popular beach destination in Mexico.

In the past, only the wealthiest of travelers (mostly celebrities looking to escape California) made their way here. These days, Cabo has become a more laid-back location for both the spring breakers and rich folk alike.

From massive luxury resorts to hostels right next to the beach, you’ll find all kinds of people soaking up the sun and opulent scenery from the beach in Cabo San Lucas.

Editor’s Note: Want more insider tips? Check out our Mexico Travel Tips Page for more personal advice.

view of cabo san lucas, mexico

Puerto Vallarta

Location: On the Pacific Coast, south of Riviera Nayarit

Best Beaches to Visit: Playa Las Gemelas, Playa Los Muertos, Conchas Chinas

Puerto Vallarta — “Vallarta” or “PV” for short — is a charming little city surrounded by beach. It’s one of the best places to enjoy the beach in Mexico because it’s beautiful and teeming with life, both local and foreign.

Hop from the glorious beach into a boat for diving and snorkeling trips in the Bay of Banderas, and then be back in time for a sunset dinner at one of the unbelievable restaurants along the Malecon boardwalk.

This beach destination combines everything that makes up an ideal vacation: ocean, activities, shopping — and of course, tequila.


Location: At the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula

Best Beaches to Visit: Playa Delfines, Playa Tortugas, Chac Mool Beach

It wouldn’t be a Mexican beach list without Cancun being included. One of the most iconic and popular spring break destinations in the world, Cancun draws in hoards of people from left and right for some good old sunshine and a whole lot of drinking.

Although most famous for the party aspect of this beachside city, Cancun also offers visitors a wide blue ocean just waiting to be explored. Just make sure you check out when the best time to go to Cancun is to make sure you time your trip correctly!

Take a shallow dive to the Cancun Underwater Museum of Art to get a taste of both culture and life below the surface. Then finish up your day at an upscale beachside restaurant for a delicious seafood meal.

Are you a foodie? Mexico has some of the best food on the planet! Read about the Top Mexican Dishes.

Cancun beach

Isla Mujeres

Location: Off the coast of Cancun

Best Beaches to Visit: Playa Norte, Playa Garrafon, Playa Tiburon

If islands are more your vibe, zip on over to Isla Mujeres to escape the craziness of the mainland. Just a 30-minute ferry ride from Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a small island that’s covered with beaches.

As you make your way further inland, you’ll find a town-like atmosphere. But if you’re in it just for the beach, you won’t be disappointed by the luxurious white sand and expansive palm trees. You’ll enjoy relatively calm waters here, with lots of options for exploration.

Feeling like going off the beaten path? You’re sure to find some secluded coves somewhere or other on Isla Mujeres.

If you need some inspiration for island activities to round out your trip or recommendations on where to eat and sleep, check out our full Isla Mujeres Travel Guide.


Location: South Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca

Best Beaches to Visit: Santa Cruz Beach, La India, Maguey Bay, San Agustin Bay

Finally, one last spot to check out if you’re interested in exploring the best beaches in Mexico is Huatulco.

Huatulco is a significantly more “green” area than the others that have been mentioned, filled with lush waterfalls, endless trees and far less resorts than other beach cities. There are a total of 36 beaches in this area, not to mention 9 bays just waiting to be dipped into.

There are even some beaches that you can only access by boat or hiking, further adding to the seclusion of the area and giving you something to work for before spending the day lying in the sun.

woman at beach in cancun

After reading this list, are you feeling inspired to hop on the next plane to Mexico? I certainly am!

With so many options to choose from, no matter which location you pick, you’re sure to enjoy beautiful, pristine white sand beaches and all the tacos your heart desires. Have a tequila shot (or two) for me!

Need a beach getaway? Check out these articles!

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