9 Best Beach Towns in Mexico That Aren't Cancun

9 Best Beach Towns in Mexico That Aren’t Cancun


Mexico is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. While Cancun often steals the spotlight, the country is home to many other breathtaking beach towns that offer a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and local charm. Here are nine of the best beach towns in Mexico that aren’t Cancun.

1. Tulum

Tulum has become a favorite destination for travelers seeking a mix of relaxation and adventure. Famous for its well-preserved Mayan ruins overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Tulum offers a unique historical context combined with beautiful beaches. The town’s eco-friendly resorts and rustic beachside cabanas cater to those looking to connect with nature. Visitors can explore the cenotes (natural sinkholes) for snorkeling or diving, enjoy fresh seafood in beachside restaurants, and participate in yoga sessions on the sand. Tulum’s vibrant nightlife and cultural festivals also ensure that there is never a dull moment in this idyllic beach town.


2. Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, situated in the heart of the Riviera Maya, is known for its bustling Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), which is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars. The beaches here are pristine, with powdery white sand and turquoise waters perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Playa del Carmen is also a gateway to the Cozumel Island, where the underwater reef system offers some of the best diving and snorkeling experiences in the world. With a mix of luxury resorts, boutique hotels, and vibrant nightlife, Playa del Carmen caters to a diverse range of travelers.

3. Puerto Vallarta

Nestled between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Puerto Vallarta is renowned for its charming old town, cobblestone streets, and vibrant art scene. The town’s beaches are ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and whale watching during the winter months. Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon (boardwalk) is a cultural hub, featuring sculptures, street performers, and art galleries. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of water activities, including jet skiing, parasailing, and sailing. The town’s culinary scene is exceptional, with numerous restaurants offering fresh seafood and traditional Mexican cuisine.

4. Mazatlán

Mazatlán, known as the “Pearl of the Pacific,” boasts miles of golden beaches and a rich cultural heritage. The historic downtown, or Centro Historico, features 19th-century architecture, vibrant plazas, and a thriving arts scene. Mazatlán’s Malecon is one of the longest in the world, providing a scenic route for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. The beaches are perfect for surfing, fishing, and swimming. The annual Carnival of Mazatlán, one of the largest in Mexico, attracts visitors with its parades, music, and festivities. With a blend of modern amenities and historic charm, Mazatlán is a captivating destination.


5. Sayulita

Sayulita is a small, laid-back beach town on the Pacific coast, popular among surfers and bohemian travelers. Its colorful streets, lively town square, and eclectic shops create a unique and inviting atmosphere. The main beach is ideal for surfing, paddleboarding, and swimming. Sayulita’s vibrant arts and crafts scene, along with its numerous cafes and restaurants, provide plenty of opportunities for exploration and relaxation. The town also hosts yoga retreats and wellness centers, making it a perfect spot for those looking to unwind and rejuvenate.

6. Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo, once a sleepy fishing village, has grown into a charming beach town while retaining its authentic Mexican feel. Located on the Pacific coast, Zihuatanejo offers beautiful beaches, such as Playa La Ropa and Playa Las Gatas, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. The town’s waterfront is lined with seafood restaurants serving the catch of the day. Zihuatanejo’s warm, friendly atmosphere makes it a favorite among families and couples. The nearby Ixtapa resort area offers more upscale accommodations and a range of activities, from golfing to water sports.

7. Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is a haven for surfers, thanks to its famous Zicatela Beach, known for its powerful waves and international surf competitions. Beyond surfing, the town offers a variety of beaches catering to different preferences, from the tranquil waters of Carrizalillo Beach to the lively atmosphere of Playa Principal. Puerto Escondido’s laid-back vibe, combined with its vibrant nightlife and delicious street food, makes it a popular choice for young travelers and backpackers. The town also provides opportunities for eco-tourism, with activities such as bird watching, fishing, and exploring nearby lagoons and mangroves.

8. Manzanillo

Manzanillo, located on the Pacific coast, is often referred to as the “Sailfish Capital of the World” due to its excellent sport fishing opportunities. The town’s beaches, such as Playa Miramar and Playa La Audiencia, are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Manzanillo’s vibrant port area and lively markets offer a glimpse into local life. The nearby Sierra Madre mountains provide opportunities for hiking and exploring nature. With its combination of beautiful beaches, rich marine life, and outdoor activities, Manzanillo is an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

9. Huatulco

Huatulco, located in the state of Oaxaca, is known for its nine bays and 36 pristine beaches, many of which are part of the Huatulco National Park. This eco-friendly destination offers a range of activities, from snorkeling and diving in its clear waters to hiking and bird watching in the surrounding hills. Huatulco’s commitment to sustainable tourism is evident in its clean, well-preserved environment. The town’s charming central area features local crafts, markets, and traditional Oaxacan cuisine. Huatulco is perfect for travelers seeking a peaceful retreat with a focus on nature and sustainability.

Mexico’s diverse coastal towns offer something for every type of traveler, from the bustling streets of Playa del Carmen to the serene beaches of Huatulco. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, these beach towns provide an authentic and memorable Mexican experience.

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