Best Beaches in Mexico

Mexico is filled with breathtaking shores that are ideal for everyone from partiers to R&R-seekers. To help you find the perfect Mexico beach destination for sunbathing on the sand and splashing in the waves, U.S. News considered user votes and factors like scenery, water clarity, crowd congestion and nearby amenities to create this list. Help us determine next year's ranking by casting your vote for the best beach in Mexico below. (Note: In 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued travel warnings for several Mexico states due to increased crime. As such, destinations designated "do not travel" did not qualify for the rankings this year. Consult the U.S. Department of State website for the latest information as you plan your vacation.)

SUMMARY

Best Beaches in Mexico

  • Cozumel
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    Cozumel

    #1 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Cozumel is home to excellent beaches and stands as one of the world's premier diving and snorkeling destinations. Paradise Beach is popular with families thanks to its calm waters and various nearby vendors. You'll encounter striking turquoise water, boat tour options and excellent snorkeling opportunities at Playa El Cielo, and active types should hit Palancar Beach for kayaking, sailing and other adventures. However, Cozumel's sandy shores come with one big downside: thick crowds. Swarms of tourists and cruise ship passengers descend on the island every year, making it hard to find a secluded spot to stretch out.

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  • Cancun
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    Cancun

    #2 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Cancún's beaches are some of the most popular in Mexico, recognized for their vast sands and clear blue waters. While many will stick to the shoreline outside their resort, visitors should consider exploring the area's other options, too. Travelers love the relaxed vibe, calm surf and clean beach at Playa Tortugas and laud the less-crowded and scenic Playa Delfines. And because this beachfront city is so well-liked by tourists, visitors can find plenty of restaurants, shops and a wide range of resorts when it's time to retreat from the sun.

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  • Playa del Carmen
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    Playa del Carmen

    #3 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Playa del Carmen once had the ambiance of a sleepy European coastal town. Now, these beaches are among the most popular along the Yucatán Peninsula. They're still hip and are no less crowded than those in Cancún, but beachcombers come here to see and be seen. Numerous Playa del Carmen resorts trace the coastline, so chances are you'll have direct access to the beach from where you're staying. Plus, many offer water sports options, such as snorkeling and sailing, directly on-site.

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  • Tulum
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    Tulum

    #4 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    One of the best beach experiences in all of Mexico can be found near the Tulum ruins. Come in the early morning or later in the evening to enjoy the sands beneath El Castillo – the old Mayan temple – without interruption. Playa Paraiso is the most highly touted beach in Tulum. Here, travelers can lounge on the white sand and take in the varying blue hues of the ocean. Those looking for more things to do should consider a sunrise yoga class in this wellness hot spot. However, recent travelers warn that seaweed has been clogging up this shoreline lately.

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  • Punta Mita
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    Punta Mita

    #5 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Set on Mexico's Pacific coast, about 25 miles northwest of Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita is an incredible luxury beach vacation spot. The area is home to a handful of upscale vacation rentals and five-star hotels, including the St. Regis and the Four Seasons. Exclusivity and seclusion is what sets Punta Mita apart from neighboring Mexico beaches, allowing travelers to soak up the tranquil and scenic atmosphere. What's more, because the lodging options are limited, the beaches here are less crowded and well-maintained.

  • Puerto Vallarta
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    Puerto Vallarta

    #6 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Puerto Vallarta is an excellent destination for vacations with many different types of travelers. Offering something for everyone, this destination maintains its small-town feel while providing plenty of options for activities, dining and accommodations. At the buzzing Playa Los Muertos, sports junkies can enjoy everything from parasailing to beach volleyball to windsurfing. Those looking for a more relaxing or secluded beach should head to Playa Las Gemelas, a short drive from the city center, to find soft white sand, less-crowded shores and excellent swimming conditions.

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  • Cabo San Lucas
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    Cabo San Lucas

    #7 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Soaking up some sun while admiring impressive coastline scenery is what a beach vacation in Cabo San Lucas is all about. There are numerous beaches to choose from here, including Chileno Beach (excellent for snorkeling) and Playa Médano (rife with activities like kayaking and parasailing and one of the few beaches where you can swim). Once you've had your fill of the beach, try fishing, go whale watching or sample your way through delicious seafood at the beachfront eateries.

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  • Huatulco
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    Huatulco

    #8 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Consisting of nine bays and dozens of beaches, Huatulco sits on Mexico's Pacific coast, stretching along 20-some miles of shoreline. Those looking for safe beaches for relaxing and swimming should check out Playa Arrocito and Playa La Entrega. Visitors seeking a bit of adventure can travel to beaches that are only accessible via boat or hiking trails, such as Cacaluta. Other things to see in Huatulco include waterfalls and nature parks.

  • Isla Mujeres
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    Isla Mujeres

    #9 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Isla Mujeres is located off the northeastern coast of Cancún and could make for an ideal daytrip from the mainland, a long weekend getaway or a weeklong vacation. The beautiful beaches that line this island are characterized by white sand and framed by green, swaying palm trees and brilliantly blue water. Playa Norte is the main beach, which features calm waters, beach bars and chair and umbrella rentals. What's more, this island destination offers everything from snorkeling and scuba diving to Mayan ruins and a turtle farm that visitors can explore.

  • La Paz
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    La Paz

    #10 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Set about 100 miles north of Cabo San Lucas on Baja California's southeastern coast, La Paz overlooks the Gulf of California. La Paz features a small beach that lines its waterfront promenade, but the standout beaches are a short trek from the city center. Balandra Beach, about 15 miles north of the city, features long stretches of white sand, plus warm, shallow water ideal for families to splash around in. Visitors can rent kayaks here as well. Travelers interested in seeing the coastline and the more remote Ensenada Grande Beach on Isla Partida may want to consider a boat tour.

  • Todos Santos
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    Todos Santos

    #11 in Best Beaches in Mexico

    Nestled between the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, Todos Santos draws visitors with its top-notch surf conditions, local artistic community and Pueblo Magico (magical town) designation by the Mexican government. Bring your surfboard to Las Pocitas and La Pastora, or swim, spot whales and collect seashells at Playa Los Cerritos.

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