Mexico’s Best White-Sand Beaches: 7 Dazzling Shores
Blessed with almost 6000 miles of coastline, Mexico lays claim to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Particularly along the Caribbean coast (on the eastern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula), and the Pacific Coast, beaches with clear water and powdery, soft white sand abound.
Click on for some of our favorite beaches, where the sand is so dazzling you might need to pack an extra pair of sunglasses.
Where It Is: In the Riviera Maya corridor along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
What Makes it Great: This rustic-luxe beach town is all about good vibes: spa, yoga and beachcombing are the favorite activities of the off-duty urban refugees that flock here in the winter season.
The beaches are among Mexico’s most beautiful – miles of unspoiled sugary white sand, lush jungle and seemingly perpetual blue skies make this an idyllic vacation spot for those who like their luxuries low-key.
Where It Is: Los Cabos is the strip of coast between San Jose Del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, in Baja California.
What Makes it Great: Surfers, sunbathers, and preeners alike flock to the beaches of Los Cabos, thanks to their beautiful quality of sand and impressive swells.
Playa Cemeterio, Playa Santa Maria, and Playa Costa Azul are all located close to downtown Cabo San Lucas, while Playa Costa Azul and Los Cerritos are favorites with the surfing crowd.
What Makes it Great: Thanks to 500-plus acres of meticulously manicured front and pristine rainforest, this exclusive beach enclave is home to several high-end resorts, such as Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa and Secrets Maroma Beach. Luckily, as with all beaches in Mexico, Maroma is accessible to all.
The wide beach, lined with palm trees, is comprised of heavenly white, fine sand and the water is warm and crystal clear, perfect for snorkeling and diving on the awe-inspiring Mesoamerican Reef (or Great Mayan Reef) just offshore.
Where It Is: Punta Mita (also known as Punta de Mita) is situated on a point 14 miles north of Puerto Vallarta on the Central Pacific Coast, in the state of Nayarit.
What Makes it Great: This upscale private community is set at the northern end of stunning Banderas Bay, which also encompasses Puerto Vallarta.
Along with gorgeous, uncrowded beaches, some with great surfing, the area also provides easy access to attractions like the Marietas Islands, a national park populated by huge colonies of seabirds.
High-end resorts like St. Regis and Four Seasons guarantee a year-round well-heeled crowd, but the community is small enough that the sand never gets crowded.
What Makes it Great: Around three miles of wide, white-sand beachfront and four sparkling bays populated by sea turtles (the name Akumal means “place of the turtles”) who come ashore each summer to lay their eggs. Just offshore is a fascinating reef system perfect for snorkelers and divers wanting to experience the area’s underwater charms. Along with the beautiful sand, the bays offer shallow, warm waters and generally great visibility.
Playa del Carmen
Where It Is: Playa del Carmen is located 40 miles south of Cancun, at the heart of the Riviera Maya, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
What Makes it Great: Providing you don’t mind sharing your stretch of perfect white sand with a few thousand other sun-worshippers, beaches don’t come much better than those of Playa del Carmen. Popular with European vacationers, this sophisticated beach town is always in party mode: beach bars and clubs proliferate along the main stretch of sand, and while the scene can get crowded, the powdery-soft beach is wide enough to accommodate all comers.
Where It Is: Isla Mujeres (“Island of the Women”) is situated around seven miles off the coast of Cancun.
What Makes it Great: Bohemian, tranquil, utterly relaxed…Isla Mujeres is like a throwback to a gentler time, before tourism had its way with this gorgeous Caribbean coastline.
Many visitors come for the superior snorkeling and diving opportunities, others just love to chill out on the soft sands of Playa Norte, on the northern tip of the island. The warm, shallow waters are a hard-to-fathom shade of light turquoise and the beaches are crushed coral.
Pretend to be a castaway or gear up and explore some of the nearby dive spots, like the Ultrafreeze wreck or the wonderful MUSA underwater museum, with its submerged sculptures.