The turquoise waters and white sands of Mexico’s Pacific coast have been attracting beach lovers and sun seekers for decades. Its popularity has spurred the development of major resorts like Acapulco and the smaller, glitzier Puerto Vallarta - a Hollywood hangout since the 1960s and worth a visit for its chic boutiques, cobblestoned old town and stunning setting on the beautiful Bay of Banderas. But away from the sprawling holiday centres are sleepy fishing villages, secluded bays backed by jungle-clad mountains, hidden waterfalls, and coconut and banana plantations. The coast also encompasses staggering biodiversity - dolphins, manta rays, turtles, whales, iguanas and a huge array of bird species.
The beaches and wildlife aren’t the only draws, however; with wilder waves than the Caribbean, the coast is the setting for some of the world’s top surf spots. Laid-back Puerto Escondido in the far south hosts the surfing world championships every November, and the breaks at Punta Mitla in the north are legendary. And there are more adventures to be had out of the water, with stunning hikes and horse-riding in the Sierra Madre.