The perfect And Secret Beaches in Mexico
After living in Mexico for two years, I visited my share of awesome beaches. With thousands of kilometers of coastline on the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, there is also a lot of variety here. There really is a beach for everyone, ranging from the mega-tourism of the Riviera Maya to the crushing waves of Oaxaca.
Here are my picks for the absolute best beaches in Mexico, from North to South:
1. Best Restaurants in Baja California Sur, California
On the lower half of the Baja California Peninsula, a few minutes by boat from La Paz, is Isla Espíritu Santo. This paradise is exactly the kind of place you dream of when you think of the perfect island destination. It is uninhabited, so you can not stay there, but you can visit it during the day during your stay in La Paz.
The island’s radiant white sandy beaches and contrasting red rocks are just some of the many things that make this beach so beautiful. It is also home to exotic wildlife, which many people come to see. In particular, there is an abundance of sea lions nearby. A snorkeling adventure like this is a great way to enjoy them.
2. Balandra Beach, La Paz, Baja California Sur
This is one of those places where I have to wonder if it’s real. Balandra Beach is so breathtaking that parts of it seem surreal in real life. Between the crystal clear shallow waters on the soft white sand and the reddish rocky mountains in the background, this beach was one of the easiest to add to this list.
Balandra is located near the city of La Paz, in Baja California Sur. Since the recent times, the authorities have imposed a capacity restriction on the beach, so you need to get there early to access it.
From October to May, La Paz is a great place to find whale sharks, so you have a great view of them outnumbered by cetacean during the season.
One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Balandra Beach is to snorkel in the crystal clear waters and take a look at the variety of shimmering fish and other sea creatures. This tour includes a stop in Balandra and also passes in front of the San Rafaelito Lighthouse.
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Just off the coast of Sayulita in the state of Nayarit are the Marietas Islands. Small and uninhabited, they are home to sea caves, virgin beaches and incredibly clear waters.
There is a rumor that Islas Marietas was once a bomb test site, which is a particularly sinister explanation for the gaping hole you will find in the famous Playa del Amor (a hidden paradise), which looks like a giant skylight above the beach.
This small group of islands is known for its biodiversity and incredible snorkeling. Wildmex offers half-day snorkeling trips, which are one of the best ways to enjoy everything the islands have to offer.
This beach destination is truly one of the best in Mexico, so don’t miss a visit if you’re ever in the Sayulita or Puerto Vallarta area!
4. Inexpensive Flights To Costa Careyes, Jalisco
Located in Banderas Bay, Costa Careyes is a lesser-known paradise with pristine beaches, dense forests and tons of wildlife. Although developers are just starting to install luxury resorts in the Cabo Corrientes area, Costa Careyes has largely avoided the mega-construction of many other beach destinations.
Costa Careyes is home to rugged nature and small villages, with little else along this part of the coast, making it the ideal beach destination for travelers looking for an adventurous and peaceful experience at the same time. The time has come to visit, as plans to build more infrastructure and resorts are underway and will likely lead to a huge tourism boom in the region.
The bright star of this area is the Selva de Guatemala, located in the backyard of Costa Careyes. With its incredible ocean views combined with the picturesque jungle, it is one of the most idyllic places you will find in Jalisco. It feels like a world away from the madness of Puerto Vallarta.
5. Zihuatanejo, Province of Guerrero
You may have heard of Acapulco, one of the most famous beaches in Mexico — and, in my opinion, overrated – in the country. Avoid the madness there and instead head a little further north, to Zihuatanejo. This laid-back surf town has finisher waves and one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.
There are four beaches in Zihuatanejo, the farthest and the best by far is Playa Las Gatas. The dreamy turquoise water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and the laid-back atmosphere makes it the right place to get away from the stresses of life and fully relax. I can’t think of any other beach that has such a serene atmosphere as Playa Las Gatas.
The coast of Zihuatanejo has rocky cliffs, thick mangroves and towering mountains, in addition to picturesque beaches. If the beauty of this part of Mexico wasn’t romantic enough, check out this horseback riding excursion that would be a great date with your partner, or even solo!
6. Inexpensive Flights To Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido is a surfer’s dream, known for having the best waves in all of Mexico. The city itself is actually quite large and you have several beaches to choose from. Everyone has their own spirit, from the party scene in Playa Manzanillo to the laid-back atmosphere of Playa Bacocho. There is a beach in Puerto Escondido for everyone.
I think Playa Carrizalillo, near the city center, is the best beach here. It is a small bay, and the waves here are ideal for surfing, but you can also swim and snorkel. To get there, you need to go down stairs, on which you can enjoy the beautiful sea view along the way.
La Punta is the most trendy and touristic part of Puerto Escondido and the famous Playa Zicatela, the Mecca of surfing. In this area you will find nice cafes, surf huts where you can sign up for classes, many restaurants and the lively nightlife of Puerto. You can’t leave Puerto Escondido without going to La Punta.
7. Mazunte, Oaxaca
Oh, Mazunte… I went there for the first time last year and immediately fell in love. The fresh atmosphere, the delicious seafood and the breaking waves make it a relaxing and restorative beach experience. You can easily walk around a relatively small town, known for its bohemian atmosphere, without the need for transport once there. Its rocky shores offer a mix of cactus-speckled landscapes and sandy beaches that attract tons of surfers and barefoot hippies.
It is also a great place for a walk. A popular place to watch the sunset is Punta Cometa, just a 30-minute walk from the city. From here you can walk down a rocky path to a secret place called “the Jacuzzi”, a popular bubbling swimming hole.
8. Zipoliet, Oaxaca
Zipolite is the only lawful nudist beach in Mexico. Whether it’s your thing or not, this carefree city has a cool atmosphere perfect for relaxing and enjoying the sun and the sea. This is one of my favorite places in Mexico because of the open-minded people. Being on a nudist beach for the first time was liberating for me because literally no one cares what you or anyone else looks like. It’s about feeling good about yourself, enjoying the sun and having a good time.
Zipolite is located just east of Mazunte; you can easily go back and forth between them by taxi or scooter, which I recommend renting if you want to see more beaches in Oaxaca.