Top 5: Best Beaches in Mainland Mexico

Erica and I were reminiscing about our favorite beaches on mainland Mexico over a couple of beers last night (you can also check out our favorite beaches in Baja Mexico).  What makes the perfect beach for us? There are a lot of things we look for in a beach.

First off, we aren’t surfers, and I don’t think that any of the beaches we list below are great surfing beaches.  If you are looking for surfing beaches, check out our friends blog Sardine Taco — they surfed the entire Pacific Coast and have great information.  However, we do like to swim when we are at the beach, so almost all the beaches we picked are great for swimming.

Second, we like beaches that are more remote and have fewer people.  Most of the beaches listed below are pretty remote (with a notable exception).  Some of this just has to do with the luck of the draw.  If you visit a beach during the week, it may be empty, but on weekends in may be packed, so your mileage may vary!

Finally, we love going for walks on the beach.  The bigger the beach the better in most cases, but sometimes even smaller beaches offer great places to explore.

So, what topped our list of favorite beaches?  Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Faro de Bucerias, Michoacan

Sunrise over the beach with a rainbow.

Sunrise over the beach with a rainbow.

This beach was simply stunning.  While not a huge beach, there were a lot of tide pools to explore.  We were able to camp with a great view of the ocean, and there were several restaurants nearby for food.  This beach is a favorite on weekends for people from Guadalajara, so try to come here during the week to escape the crowds!

Read more about our time at Faro de Bucarias, where we somehow found ourselves drinking wonderful tequila with a family from Guadalajara.

2) Caleta de Campos, Michoacan

View from the XP.

View from the XP.

This beach was a bit more crowded than some of the others, but people tended to crowd toward the north end, leaving the southern end of the beach nearly empty!  The beach has a very gradual decline into the water, so it is great for swimming.

There is a great little town nearby with good street food for low prices as compared to the restaurants you will find on the beach.

You can read more about our time at Caleta de Campos here.

3) Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula

On the beach of Playa Norte you can walk out for 300 plus yards and still be waist deep.

On the beach of Playa Norte you can walk out for 300 plus yards and still be waist deep.

This beach is packed, but it’s easy to understand why.  It’s probably one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.  It is a great swimming beach.  The shallow entry means you can walk out for hundreds of yards and still only be waist deep in water.  The water takes on several shades of blues and greens that will take your breath away.

Nearby the beach there are plenty of restaurants that cater just to Norte Americanos — people from the USA and Canada.  There isn’t much room to walk around here, so this beach is best for reading a great book and getting out of the heat by taking a swim.

You can read more about our time at Isla Mujeres and Playa Norte here.

4) Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula

Sam pauses for a picture while walking along the beach near Tulum.

Sam pauses for a picture while walking along the beach near Tulum.

If you are looking for a great walking beach, this is probably it!  We walked for what seemed like miles on this beach.  There were strong winds when we visited, so you won’t get too hot, and it will give you a chance to watch kite boarders zip up and down the coast.  In the background, you’ll get glimpses of the Mayan ruins at Tulum (if you visit, they are worth checking out).  Swimming on this beach can depend on how much wind there is, but it’s definitely possible.

There are several restaurants on the beach, but it is such a huge beach that you can definitely find places to avoid the crowds.  You will still be able to enjoy that amazing blue water that is found all along the Yucatan coast.

Click here to read more about our time at Tulum.

5) San Augustin, Parque Nacional Huatulco, Oaxaca

Crystal clear warm blue water, white sand, no people. sigh....

Crystal clear warm blue water, white sand, no people. sigh….

This was probably my favorite beach of the trip.  We started out planning to just stay here for a night, but it quickly turned into two nights, and then three nights, and finally four!  This beach is really remote.  There are some restaurants here, but they are pretty pricey.  If you plan on camping, make sure to stock up with fruits and vegetables before you make your way here.

Our time here mostly consisted of reading, swimming in the warm water, and going for strolls.  Click here to read more about our stay at San Augustin.