Mexico’s an unbeatable destination for beach lovers. Not only does it have around 450 beaches across its shores, but it’s also got a huge amount of variety – and that’s one of the things I think is most fantastic about it. If you’re planning on hitting the beach in Mexico this year, read my guide to learn all about the very best sandy stretches.
The lowdown on Mexico’s coast
Let’s start by taking a quick look at the country’s coastline, just to get a general feel for the beaches here. What’s exciting about Mexico’s coast is that there are several distinct areas that each offers something different.
For example, you’ve got the Caribbean coast, which is well known for its white sand and lively surf, making it ideal for everything from water sports to relaxing. The Pacific coast, on the other hand, is brilliant if you’re after a combination of golden sands and shallow bays, not to mention some pretty impressive cliff scenery.
Sitting on the Caribbean coast, Cancun is probably the most famous beach-centred tourist destination in the country, being home to around 22 km of sandy shores.
If you’re travelling with young children, I think you’re best off heading to either Playa Caracol or Playa Tortugas; these are both know for their calm, shallow waters that are absolutely perfect for small kids to play in safely. If you’re travelling as a couple or group of friends, meanwhile, you can use the below rules of thumb to guide you.
Cancun is home to three bodies of water:
• The Nichupte Lagoon is a great place to head to for watersports
• Bahia Majeres is really tranquil, which makes it perfect for snorkelling
• The Caribbean Sea has the liveliest surf, so it’s brilliant for things like surfing
The next destination on my list is Cozumel. This little island is just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and is unbelievably idyllic. The most popular beaches include Playa Mia, Paradise Beach and Dzul Ha; these are particularly good to head to if you’re after somewhere with lots of amenities, since they offer things like snorkelling gear for hire and loads of restaurants.
If you’re after something a bit quieter, though, head to the east coast. Here, beaches like Playa Bonita and Punta Morena are less crowded. Wherever you decide to go, don’t miss out on the chance to snorkel or dive – the waters here contain one of the world’s largest reef systems, and the visibility is mind-blowing.
Another must-visit for beach lovers is Puerto Vallarta. This gorgeous bay is on the Pacific coast, and its impressive shoreline is made all the more so by its background of lush mountains.
Come here and you’ll have your pick of brilliant beaches, the most popular of which is the Playa los Muertos (which translates to ‘the beach of the dead’ – slightly off-putting, perhaps, but it’s still a great place!). This spans around 1.5 km and has absolutely loads going on; for instance, you can try out lots of different water sports, or take a stroll along the many stalls set up by street vendors, which sell everything from food to jewellery.
Olas Atlas, meanwhile, is generally a quieter spot if you fancy somewhere less bustling. That said, it can still get pretty busy in the summer – so don’t go there expecting to have the place to yourself!
Lastly, the Riviera Maya has some of the best beaches in the country. If you’re looking for paradise-like white sand and turquoise water, this is definitely the place to come.
Of all the beaches here, Punta Maroma is arguably the best. Since the water here is so clear, it’s ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling. Plus, there are plenty of upmarket resorts nearby, so it’s a great place to stay if you fancy a little luxury.