Mexico’s beaches are glorious. From the sun-kissed Baja California peninsula to the wild Pacific Coast and the Caribbean shores of the Yucatan, you’ll find bath-warm turquoise waters and talcum-powder-soft sands. With so much choice, it’s little wonder we’re loath to choose a favourite Mexico beach resort.
Surrounded on all sides by crystal-clear waters, Baja California has beautiful beaches, legendary whale-watching and water sports aplenty. Think snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing and kayaking… Some of the best spots are in the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, and many Baja beaches are hidden down dusty single-track roads radiating from the main highway – to find these secret spots, look out for the numbered markers.
For all-out escapism, take a motorboat transfer from La Paz to small, luxurious tented camp Baja Camp, on Isla Espíritu Santo. Floating in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, this remote island is an unspoilt nature reserve with no hotels or marinas. As you approach the white-sand bay, you’ll spot sea hawks nesting on the rocks and pelicans skimming the wildlife-rich sea. Stay for 4 nights and fill your days with swimming, diving among manta rays and taking boat trips to local sea lion colonies.
Mexico’s Pacific Coast has been attracting sun-seekers for decades. Nature lovers in particular flock to experience its staggering biodiversity, which includes dolphins, manta rays, turtles, whales, iguanas and a huge array of bird species. Its popularity has spurred the development of major resorts like Acapulco, but away from the holiday centres there are secluded bays backed by jungle-clad mountains, hidden waterfalls and coconut plantations.
On the beautiful Bay of Banderas, glitzy Puerto Vallarta has chic boutiques and a cobblestoned old town. But pile your luggage into a motorized panga and 20 minutes later you’ll step out onto a secluded beach accessible only by boat. Swiss Family Robinson-style Majahuitas is a cluster of solar-powered casitas tucked into lush jungle and forested hills. Borrow a kayak, snorkel, or simply sprawl out on your sun lounger with a Margarita. At sunset, follow a candlelit path to dinner on the beach. A true, off-grid gem.
Similarly laid-back is Playa Escondida, a romantic jungle retreat with a private beach near the surfer town of Sayulita. For something a little more luxe, exclusive beach resort Las Alamandas has a handful of colourful villas, excellent facilities, and a plum location on a vast private ecological reserve.
On Mexico’s east coast, The Yucatán Peninsula boasts ancient Mayan ruins, postcard-perfect sands and azure Caribbean seas. It’s a popular destination for first-time visitors, but if you head off the beaten track you can still find sleepy fishing villages, quiet beaches and undeveloped jungle. It’s iddeal for a relaxing holiday: simply fly to Cancún, hire a car and drive down the coast towards Tulum. Although busier by the year, this coastal town retains a lovely, laid-back vibe and arguably The Yucatán’s best beach.
Stay in one of the rustic-cool eco-cabanas at Zamas, whose locally renowned restaurant is famed for its divine food and biting margaritas. It’s right on a lovely sandy beach that’s perfect for sunbathing, body surfing and romantic walks. Active types can go open-water and cave diving, or snorkel around a small shipwreck 20m from shore. During summer, there’s also outstanding whale-shark watching – brave souls can jump in and swim with these gentle giants.