The 10 Best Beaches In Mexico

Updated: January 17, 2018

Mexico with Kids.

We’ve been all over Mexico and these are our 10 favorite beaches.

Recommended

An opinionated list of the best beaches from Cabo to Cancun

1. Tulum

The best beach in Mexico for honeymoon.

The Best Beach in Mexico: Tulum is a 90 minute drive south of Cancun. Awesome restaurants (both in town and at the beach), small boutique hotels steps from the water, and just over-all wonderful atmosphere. Be sure to rent bikes to get around the town, the beach, or between the two.

2. Sayulita

Learning to surf in Mexico.

Sayulita is a fantastic and fun beach town. Relaxed surfer vibe (and a great place to take surf lessons), good restaurants, and a handful of cool bars. But be warned: Sayulita has become super popular over the last decade and the town can get very busy.

3. Isla Mujeres

Best beach in Mexico for kids and families.

Isla’s North Beach is the best kid-friendly beach in Mexico. The town is walkable and relaxed and feels close to idyllic. The downside? Almost no local culture and the atmosphere is a little on the lame side. Oh, and you really have to hunt (and get out of the main town) to find good Mexican food.

4. Puerto Vallarta

Most interesting beach town in Mexico.

P.V. is a lively Mexican city with a very cool beach front: half is beach and the other half a walkable promenade (The Malecon).

5. Yelapa

Best beach in Mexico for quiet and solitude.

A sleepy beach town (accessible only by boat) about an hour south of Puerto Vallarta. The beach is wonderful and there are a half-dozen very good restaurants.

6. Playa del Carmen

Beautiful beach in Mexico.

Playa is a mid-sized Mexican town with top notch food and lots of atmosphere. The beach is great, though water is often rough and choppy.

7. Bucerias

Best beach in Mexico for vacation holiday.

A quiet beach town with lots of expats and good restaurants. A bit on the boring side but if you’re here for the beach it’s pretty darn nice.

8. Los Cabos

Best weekend beach getaway in Mexico.

Cabo San Lucas has the beach. San Jose del Cabo has the funky and fun shops and restaurants. If you’re here for a week split your time between the two towns.

9. Cancun

Best all inclusive beach resorts in Mexico.

Cancun sucks but the beach is great and there are some wonderful day trips spread out around the Yucatan.

10. Mismaloya

The Mexican town with good beach.

Mismaloya is a cool little fishing village 30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. If you want to avoid the tourists and eat some good local food this might be the place.

See Also



45 Questions and Comments

  1. Xcalak, Mexico

    Agree with Isla Holbox – great for quiet and solitude. My current love affair is with Xcalak, a small beach town way down the Yucatan peninsula. The sand on the beach is so-so, but the water is what blows me away – the barrier reef makes snorkeling super easy and the different blues in the water are spectacular. Tough to get to, and amazingly pristine.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Most Kid Friendly Beach in Mexico

    Hi David! Great list – thank you for sharing. In your opinion, what is the safest beach that is family (2 children under the age of 5) friendly? We (like many other folks, I am sure) are planning a Christmas getaway. Thanks again! Amy D NY, NY

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Isla Mujeres’s main beach (Playa Norte) is shallow, calm, beautiful, protected from the wind and waves, and great for kids.

  3. Best Mexico Beach for Beautiful Blue Water

    My wife and I visited playa Del carmen for our honeymoon 2 years ago, and I was not impressed by the beach. I was expecting baby blue water and it was nothing like that. I’ve been reading that Tulum is the place to go for beautiful beaches in Mexico. What do you suggest? Rene

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Tulum is wonderful and one of my favorite beaches in Mexico. Isla Mujeres also is great and probably even more idyllic with turquoise water.

  4. Where To Go on Riviera Maya?

    Hi David
    My husband and I are looking to visit in July. I’ve been looking at Riviera Maya but I’m confused on where to go after so many comments. We’re into the nightlife but like a nice beach ( no rocks or seaweed)) also local shopping. We enjoy authentic Mexican food. We don’t mind staying at resorts. Any help is appreciated. Thank you
    Melinda Medina

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sounds like Tulum, for sure.

  5. Where In Mexico with a 5 Year Old

    This is a great list with some very helpful insight! I am planning my little girls (5 yr.old) first international experience. We only have a week. She doesn’t swim by herself yet but loves the water. I’m trying to pick the best spot to have an easy beach vacation but also expose her to a unique cultural experience and have an opportunity to see some unique wildlife. Tulum sounds the best so far but do you have any other recommendations? Aaron Livingston

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Tulum is awesome so yes, I’d highly recommend it. Great beach, great food, good cultural sights, and cenotes to swim in too.

  6. Beach Town for Family of 4

    Hi! This is a fabulous list, thanks.

    We’re looking for a beach town that isn’t too far of a trip for a weekend, out of Tijuana. We’ll be flying but don’t want to fly too far. We have two kids, 2.5 yo and 7 mos. We want a nice beach of course and will be going the first week of February. Would Sayulita fit the bill? Also, we are hoping to find an AirBnb place, any particular neighborhoods to target or stay clear of?

    Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sayulita is awesome and yes, would definitely work for what you’re looking for. Lots of rentals there, just be sure you’re walking distance to downtown (the Sayulita Plaza on Google Maps).

  7. Puerto Vallarta for Spring Break

    How do you feel about Puerto Vallarta? For a relaxing couples getaway…

    Is the beach nice?

    I wanted to go to Cancun because the water is warmer but wanted to avoid spring breakers… I was told puerto Vallarta is a nice relaxing trip. Please let me know your thoughts.

    Nic

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Puerta Vallarta is great and the town has a real Mexican vibe (unlike Cancun which is just a strip of big resorts). The beach is good in town but not wow, incredible. For the best beach near Puerto Vallarta take a boat to Yelapa (from the pier in Puerto Vallarta). You can do this as a day trip or stay at a hotel there right on the beach – idyllic and very quiet. As far as spring break parties, neither Puerto Vallarta nor Cancun get big spring break crowds like some places used to.

  8. Kid Friendly Beaches in Mexico

    David, we are planning a trip (our first to Mexico) right around Thanksgiving. We have 3 kids (8, 5 and 2 yo). What would be the best/calmest beach that you would recommend, any good kid friendly resorts you would recommend? Thanks for the input.

    Hercules

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      The most kid-friendly beach in Mexico is the North Beach on Isla Mujeres (a short ferry ride from Cancun). There are some nice low-key hotels there, but no large resorts – for those you need to go to Cancun but the beach there is more exposed and not so kid-friendly.

  9. Best Beach in Cancun for Swimming

    I have been to cancun a couple of times the area where we stayed the water was very rough and not enjoyable.
    Where is the best swimming beaches in the cancun playa area.

    Jerri McDonald

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Playa Tortugas and Playa Langosta are both good for swimming. Cancun beach is shaped like a 7 and these beaches are located along the top of the 7 and thus are somewhat protected from the intense direct waves of the ocean.

  10. Mexico Resort for Kids

    Hi
    We are a family of 4 (2 children, 5 months and 5 years old) from Australia and we are planning a trip to Mexico in April 2016. I have been reading your posts and very confused as to where to go and stay. We will be flying in from LA and want a family friendly resort with kids club and some babysitting, nice beach (no seaweed) and dont have to travel to far once we get to Mexico for the kids sake. Where would you recommend as we are open to all places and the choices are making me confused.
    Thanks in advance.
    Clare Passlow

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Cancun is not my favorite place in Mexico but for what you’re looking for it’s probably best. Lots of resort with kids clubs. Most are all-inclusives.

  11. Mexico Heat in Summer

    Is Tulum bearable in the summer? I would love to go with my kids in June, but I went to Playa del Carmen years ago in July and found the heat difficult. Would Isla Mujeres be any cooler? Any thoughts/recommendations?

    Thanks for this beautiful list!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Tulum will be the same as Playa del Carmen. I don’t find it unbearable but it is hot. If you had trouble at Playa then Tulum will probably be the same experience. Isla Mujeres is definitely cooler owing to the nice breeze you get most of the time. Another plus with Isla is that the North Beach is free of seaweed (unlike the east facing beaches on the mainland which are being hit pretty hard lately).

      1. lara

        Thanks so much. Maybe we’ll try a few days in each place!

  12. Tulum vs Sayulita

    Hi David, thank you for the post! You seem to know Mexico very well, I hope I can pick your brain a little. Two years ago I attended a wedding in Tulum and absolutely loved the place. I loved the pristine white sand, eco chic flavor, combination of luxury and hippie vibes. Since then, I’ve always pictured my wedding there. So my wedding will take place next year, and in July 2015 we went to Tulum for a little getaway and to look at some venues but were shocked with the amounts of sargassum seaweed everywhere. The entire Caribbean coast of Mexico seems to be swamped by it, and it looks like nobody, not even scientists can predict if its a temporary phenomenon or there to stay. For now, its been there for half a year or more. Needless to say, I would want to avoid having seagrass on my wedding pictures. Also, I love swimming in the ocean and so do a lot of our friends, so I wouldn’t want to disappoint people and have a sub-par experience knowing about this in advance. I am now researching an alternative for Tulum. Is it Sayulita in your opinion? If so, what would you picture as the drawbacks of Sayulita based on what I have described as my likes of Tulum?
    Elena

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      In some ways, Sayulita and Tulum have a similar vibe – a laid-back hippie feel. In other ways they’re very different. Sayulita is a bit rougher around the edges and can feel like a little Mexican village by the beach. When you’re at the beach in Tulum you feel like you’re in an idyllic bubble, not so much in Sayulita. In Sayulita there’s more going on, both at the beach and in the town. Perhaps it comes down to the fact that the beach and town are separated by a few miles in Tulum. In Sayulita they’re pretty much one and the same. The beach is nice in Sayulita but not as nice as Tulum. On the plus side there’s good surfing in Sayulita for everyone from beginners (you can take courses that are very fun) up to intermediate (and advanced if you want to hop in a car); the food is probably a tiny bit better in Tulum. In Tulum you’re surrounded by some wonderful day trips. In Sayulita you can make a trip into Puerto Vallarta (or spend a few nights there) and it’s a great place. Both are worth a visit and many times more interesting than Cancun. I will mention one other place south of P.V. called Yelapa. It has the beautiful beach like Tulum with a few restaurants. There’s a town perched above it that has a couple really good restaurants but is very small. I think there’s one market, one cafe, one ice cream shop. Not much else. Almost no nightlife. You get there by boat from either P.V. or Mismaloya. It’s a very cool place if you’re looking to chill and relax.

      1. Elena

        Thank you for the info David – this is very helpful!

  13. Best Beach with Kids

    Awesome to find this! I am trying to decide where to take my family (1 6yo daughter). We went to Tulum and LOVED it, but want something different this time..really want a beautiful beach that can be entered (no jellyfish Big wave etc.) nice sand, good local markets so we can make our own drinks and food and when we want to go out EXCELLENT food..oh! and would prefer this place to be affordable and not completely blown up by tourism…looked at Loreto (seems expensive) todos santos (so dry and arid) Sayulita (heard its CROWDED and expensive) Yelapa (heard its jellyfish beach and super touristy) Zihuat (don’t know much) Manzanillo (not much) Isla Mujueres (considering it) any thoughts are much appreciated! thanks for the great pics!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sayulita has the closest vibe to Tulum. Also great for learning how to surf. Yelapa has the closest style of beach to Tulum (and I’ve never seen a jellyfish there). Isla Mujeres has the calmest beach and very pedestrian friendly town. All are great for kids.

  14. Sayulita vs Isla Mujeres

    Hi these pictures look great!!
    I have two questions:
    1 – Sayulita or Isla Mujeres? We’re travellers who don’t like resorts, we are more laid back and want to relax with a bit of culture. Good food, good bars, etc.
    2 – Which is better for Jan/Feb? Weather? Water temperature? Tourists?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Sayulita has a cooler vibe, more places to eat, better food, more Mexican tourists, and you can surf or take surf lessons. Isla Mujeres is much more low key. The beach has nicer sand and is more idyllic. Very few waves. Restaurants are good but lean to boring tourist food (though it’s easy to rent a golf cart – which is how most tourists get around the island – and seek out some great taco stands where only locals eat). I prefer Sayulita.

      The weather in February is slightly warmer and slightly dryer than January for both Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta but not a huge difference. Early January will see more tourists than late January and February.

  15. Getting To Zihuatanejo

    Do you know if there is a bus that goes form Puerto Vallarta to ZIHUATANEJO.

    Thank you.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Yes, there is a daily bus from Puerto Vallarta to Zihuatanejo that takes about 14 hours. It makes a stop in Manzanillo along the way and costs about M$500. Breaking the trip into 2 legs would probably be a good idea and make for two manageable segments. Lots of great beach towns along the route.

  16. Non-Touristy Beaches in Mexico

    Hey David,

    Can you tell me a great place to relax on the beach AWAY from resorts and people? Any info is appreciated, thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      San Francisco (San Pancho) is a cool beach town about an hour from Puerto Vallarta (but beach isn’t great for swimming). To the south of PV there are a string of beaches that have few (if any) resorts, Yelapa being my favorite of them.

  17. Tulum or Isla Mujeres

    HI, I’m just wondering what you’d recommend or what to consider for a 5 day visit in April where we go in and out of Cancun airport? We are a couple traveling with our 16 year old son and high on our list is snorkeling, maybe an intro course in scuba, and some fishing for the guys. We like good basic Mexican food, but have no interest in night clubs. Next time I’ll consider Sayulita, but since we route through Miami to visit family, the Caribbean was it this trip. So, Tulum or Isla Mujeres? That is the question. Any insight and input would be most appreciated. Recommendation for accommodations in either Tulum or Isla de Mujeres, if any, would be welcome as well.
    Thanks so much.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      I would pick Isla Mujeres for lazy beach time and swimming. Tulum to see some historical sites and visit the cenotes, so there’s a bit more to do there. The food is much better in Tulum too.

      For hotels, these 2 links should find you some great deals: Isla Mujeres and Tulum.

      Good luck.

  18. Cabo Advice

    Hi David,

    I am a California-girl who has moved to the little town of Mexicali, Mexico ( too hot then too cold… and too far from the beach) My hubby, my 7 mo old boy and I are moving to Cabo this April.
    I cannot find any info about how many people with children actually live in Cabo…. do you think Mommy and me type things will be a problem- or what would be the best way for me to make new friends for me and my lil one in a place where most are just visiting?
    Thanks for the advice
    Kelly

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Hi Kelly. I did a 10 minute look around for you trying to find some good local websites but couldn’t come up with anything. I suspect once you’re there you’ll find a lot of locals that have good advice. For now, I’d go on tripadvisor and ask a question, as many of its forums have an engaged expat community that comments regularly. I hope that helps.

  19. Best Beaches on Mexico Pacific Coast

    Las Gatas and Madera beaches in Zihu. Good beach vibe. If you get out far enough then you can do some bodysurfing at Madera but other than that it’s pretty calm. Zihuatanejo is a jewel and shouldn’t be missed. Zipolite very nice too.

  20. Best Cabo Beaches

    Love the beaches around Cabo. La Paz has more culture and a mexican feel, so it’s great to do a week up there and then come down to Cabo for a more typical beach holiday. The surfing is great up the Pacific Coast. There are ferries from Cabo across to Mazatlan which go daily (I think)j.

    Isla Holbox is a great place but haven’t visited the rest of the Yucatan. Belize is fantastic too – though I guess a different article.

  21. Best Beach Near Puerto Vallarta

    We are San Pancho fans — Sayulita is good though! We have place at Garza Blanca beach about an hour south of Sayulita, and always make the drive north at least once each visit to check on San Pancho and let our boys do some surfing!

    Thanks for all the great articles! We are huge travelers and find your posts really helpful! Especially the ones about taking kids to SE Asia! Gracias!

  22. Best Beaches Isla Mujeres

    What beach on Isla Mujeres is that? The main one?

    1. DavidDavid Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      Playa Norte, which is the best one for kids and is part of the main town where most of the restaurants and hotels are.

  23. Getting to Sayulita from PV

    Can you get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta by boat? Is it worth it for a day trip? Thx.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Greece, Italy, and Everywhere

      There aren’t any regular schedule boats that I know of. Though you could always hire a private one if you were really committed to getting there by boat. The bus will get you there in about 2 hours. A taxi takes about an hour and costs around $40 if you know how to bargain. ($70 if you don’t.) Is it worth it for a day trip? Maybe. I’d try to get up there for at least a night. The beach has a couple of really low key restaurants where it’s great to hang out as the sun falls. It’s perfect. Mornings are lively around the town square and there are some great breakfast places.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *