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Top Ten Mexico Beach Destinations

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Mexico has a multitude of beach destinations, some which were Mexican towns which gradually gained popularity as tourist destinations and others which were conceived as resort towns from the outset. These popular Mexico beach destinations offer powdery sand and crystalline water along with an abundance of tourist amenities and attractions.

If you'd rather spend your beach vacation somewhere that's just as gorgeous but not so crowded, you may prefer to visit one of Mexico's less well-known beach destinations: Mexico's Secret Beaches.

1. Cancun

cancun_beach.JPG
©; Suzanne Barbezat

For sheer variety of resorts, nightlife, shopping and activities, Cancun can't be beat. It's also got beautiful beaches (especially since the 2009/2010 beach reconstruction project). Some may avoid it because of its reputation as a party destination and spring break-type revelry, but families will also find plenty of options here.

Cancun Travel Guide | Cancun Day Trips | Cancun Beaches

2. Playa del Carmen

Playacar Beach
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

Located just south of Cancun, Playa del Carmen has in recent years undergone a transformation from fishing village with hippie appeal to lively cosmopolitan city. "Playa" offers an array of diversions and accommodations which range from laid-back to sophisticated.

Playa del Carmen Travel Guide | Playa del Carmen Boutique Hotels

3. Puerto Vallarta

Los Muertos Beach and Seahorse
© Suzanne Barbezat

First brought to the attention of the world in the 1960s by Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Puerto Vallarta maintains a strong appeal among vacationers. The city's choice location on the picturesque Bahia de Banderas as well as its cobblestone streets, white-walled houses, wrought-iron balconies and red-tiled roofs give the city its signature look. This is one of Mexico's top dining destinations, with a reputation for great restaurants, from high-end gourmet restaurants to low cost eateries.

Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide | Puerto Vallarta Photos

4. Los Cabos

Los Cabos Beach
© Kristin Kane

Located on the southern tip of Baja California Sur where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, Los Cabos is made up of the two distinct cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, and the twenty-mile corridor between the two. This is a favorite get-away of Hollywood stars and celebrities who enjoy the gorgeous landscape and ultra-luxurious resorts. Only a few of Los Cabos' beaches are suitable for swimming, but there are plenty of other activities to keep you entertained, such as whale watching, sport fishing, and golfing.

Los Cabos Travel Guide | Los Cabos Photos

5. Tulum

Arguably Mexico's most beautiful beach is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Tulum is made up of a stunning archeological site, a hotel zone and the town of Tulum. Accommodations in Tulum range from rustic cabanas to hip boutique hotels and grand all-inclusives, and it's an excellent destination for those interested in taking part in eco-adventures.

Tulum Beach | Tulum Ruins | Nueva Vida de Ramiro Hotel

6. Mazatlan

Mazatlan Beach
Photo by Drpoulette, Creative Commons

Mazatlán is a well-established tourist destination on Mexico's Pacific coast that maintains its Mexican traditions and atmosphere. Here visitors can experience an authentic mix of culture and history within a modern destination. Known worldwide as a sport fishing destination, visitors can also enjoy surfing, horseback riding, mountain biking, bird watching and golf in Mazatlan, as well as sunning and swimming along its 16 miles of golden beaches.

Mazatlan Travel Guide

7. Cozumel

Cozumel Beach
© Suzanne Barbezat

An island off of the Riviera Maya that is just 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, Cozumel is Mexico's premier diving destination, as well as Mexico's most visited port of call by cruise ships. The warm, clear, turquoise waters and abundance of coral reefs and sea life attract divers from around the world. This Caribbean island also has several nature preserves: the Cozumel Reefs National Park, Chankanaab Park and Lagoon and Punta Sur Ecological Reserve.

Cozumel Travel Guide | Iberostar Cozumel

8. Huatulco

Huatulco Beach
&copy Suzanne Barbezat

Huatulco is a beach destination on Mexico's Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca with nine bays and 36 beaches, many of which are protected as part of the Bahias de Huatulco National Park. Most of the beaches have calm blue-green waters. Tangolunda Bay is where travelers will find top-of-the-line resorts such as Las Brisas Huatulco, and one of the best golf courses on the Pacific Coast. Its biodiversity and pristine landscapes make Huatulco a superb place to observe flora and fauna both on land and in the sea.

Huatulco Travel Guide | Huatulco Photos

9. Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

Ixtapa Beach
Photo by Guillermo Aldana, courtesy of the Mexican Tourism Board

The resort town of Ixtapa in the state of Guerrero was founded in the early 1970s by FONATUR (the National Fund for Tourism Development). Zihuatanejo, Ixtapa's sister city, is located only four miles to the south and retains the feel of a small fishing town. These twin destinations share a beautiful setting, with the crashing waves of the Pacific to the west and the Sierra Madre mountain chain to the east, but Ixtapa has a modern vibe whereas Zihuatanejo has an old-Mexico feel to it. Some of the more popular activities in this area include scuba diving, surfing, and deep sea fishing.

Morelia and Ixtapa Itinerary

10. Acapulco

Acapulco Beach
Photo courtesy of AHETA

Acapulco was Mexico's foremost beach destination from the 1950s until it was surpassed by Cancun in the 1980s. It remains one of Mexico's most popular resort areas and a favorite destination of spring breakers. With non-stop nightlife, great shopping centers and restaurants, this vibrant port city is bustling 24 hours a day.

Acapulco Travel Guide | Top Things to Do in Acapulco

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