After endless months of being ordered to stay at home and follow strict health protocols, people are desperate to travel again. Options may have increased dramatically since late 2021, with lots of countries in Europe and the Americas now welcoming tourists, Mexico remains the top pick for a majority of sunseekers.
If visitor numbers are anything to go by, it has not lost its appeal as some believed it would as soon as other nations reopened. By treating Covid as an endemic disease, which means zero restrictions, having an unparalleled cultural offer, and boasting thousands of miles of sandy coastline, the Mayan heartland is still the King of Tourism.
With so many incredible destinations within Mexico to choose from and summer set to be sizzling hot this year, where to go then for the best possible beach experience? Luckily, Tripadvisor has the answer: through their Traveler's Choice Best of the Best picks, they have successfuly narrowed down the best beaches in Mexico for 2022.
While some old favorites obviously made the list, those expecting the overly-packed Cancun or Tulum beaches to take top spots could be in for a surprise:
The Top 10 Best Beaches In Mexico
10. Playa La Ropa, Zihuatanejo
Located on the massively underrated Costa Grande subsection of Mexico's Pacific Coast, Playa La Ropa ranks at number 10 on this Tripadvisor's annual list of best beaches in the country. With 1.3 km of pure sand, several water sports, including kayaking and diving, and horse riding, La Ropa can be even more exciting than its Caribbean Sea competitors.
Sounds like your kind of summer? As it is only a short 14 km drive away from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport, this slice of paradise can be easily reached by plane. Direct flights leave from various cities in the U.S. and Canada, such as Los Angeles, Houston, Minneapolis, Calgary and Vancouver, and other domestic destinations within Mexico.
9. Medano Beach, Cabo San Lucas
Described as a ‘nice beach' with ‘easy access to downtown Cabo San Lucas', Medano is one of the popular city's leading attractions and it's not hard to see why. Located close to Cabo's now iconic archway-shaped rock formation, which famously protrudes into the sea, and featuring impossibly blue waters and white sand, it is quite simply the perfect beach break.
We're sure most wouldn't mind skipping other landmarks and spending a whole weekend taking in the sights at Medano, but Cabo has loads of other equally beautiful sites tourists should check out in detail. It is, after all, one of Mexico's most sought-after destinations for nature and outdoor activities in general.
8. Playa Paraiso, Tulum
We understand you might be looking for that classic Mexican summer experience. By this we mean lying on a sandy stretch of beach lined with palm trees, contrasting the infinite, turquoise ocean in the distance, sipping on the most refreshing coconut… In that case, the aptly-named Playa Paraiso, or Paradise Beach, is THE place to be.
One of the top 20 attractions of Tulum on Tripadvisor, it is the preferred destination for thousands of visitors every year, and even the overwhelming landfall of smelly seaweed in 2022 has not scared them away. Luckily, Tulum has enacted barriers to keep the dreaded algae away and us, tourists, coming back for more.
7. Playa El Cielo, Cozumel
‘Lol [sic] how does this not have 5 stars?', reads a comment on Tripadvisor's ranking of Playa El Cielo at a respectable number 7 position. There may be other incredible beaches in Mexico, but we do understand why one might argue not enough stars were attributed here. The water is not only blue – it is blindingly blue – and the white sands are of the smoothest texture.
In case you're a Austin-based reader, you should probably be informed that American Airlines has just launched new direct service to Cozumel ahead of booking tickets to good old Cancun again. Flights depart from Austin-Bergstrom weekly, every Saturday, and arrive in Cozumel only two and a half hours later. No complex logistics, no more layovers: Texas straight to Mexico's number 7 beach.
6. Playa Balandra, La Paz
A Baja California Sur jewel, Playa Balandra is famous for its calm waters, so shallow that visitors can normally walk across the bay all the way to the other shore. A natural pool, Balandra is popular among families with smaller children, but also younger travelers looking for quieter sunbathing sessions.
It is within close proximity to downtown La Paz, one of Mexico's liveliest areas full of bars and restaurants overlooking the ocean. Other must-dos nearby include strolling the city's world-renowned Malecón promenade, visiting the historical 19th century Nuestra Señora de La Paz Cathedral, and chilling by the Velasco Garden.
5. Playa Delfines, Cancun
If you're flying all the way to Mexico for dolphin sightings and other aquatic adventures, Playa Delfines should rank high on your personal list. According to Tripadvisor, it is the fifth best beach in the whole country, mostly due to its long white-sand beach and bathing-friendly shallow waters of a striking blue. You know, just quintessential Cancun.
Even though the city has made the news lately due to crime, it is not any more dangerous, or safer, than other big American metropolises. On this article, we've debunked those myths and finally confirmed that Playa Delfines – and Cancun on an extent – are still pretty safe places for tourists visit in 2022.
4. Playa El Chileno, Cabo San Lucas
The second Cabo beach to make the list is Playa El Chileno. A Blue Flag golden sand hotspot, it owes its number 4 placing to a well-developed ecotourism scene and snorkeling. It may be further away compared to other beaches encircling downtown Cabo (roughly 14.5 km), but the clear shiny seas you'll find here are surely worth the day trip.
Earlier this year, low-cost carrier Flair Airlines launched a set of new flight routes to popular destinations across the Caribbean, Cabo being one of them. Now, Canadians can fly nonstop to this Pacific pearl from Abbotsford, Edmonton and Vancouver, usually on super affordable fares that will definitely not break the bank.
3. Nuevo Vallarta Beach, Nuevo Vallarta
A star of the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico's number 3 beach is the main recreation area serving the municipality of Nuevo Vallarta. Not to be confused with the much busier Puerto Vallarta, this resort town serves as a year-round oasis for golf lovers looking for a more scenic setting for their relaxation time.
With plenty of golf courses and a three-mile long golden beach, it is no wonder it's been growing exponentially as one of Mexico's most successful ‘niche' destinations. Tripadvisor currently lists 37 hotels, 13 B&B-style stays and 1,118 vacation rentals in Nuevo Vallarta. All-inclusive resorts, budget pensions, unique beach houses, you name it.
2. Playa La Entrega, Huatulco
Charting as Mexico's runner up in Tripadvisor's ranking, Playa La Entrega is deemed Huatulco's ‘most popular beach'. It is defined as being ‘a perfect beach' with calm water, ‘great food', clean sand and several food kiosks. Tripadvisor users also confirm La Entrega is ‘inclusive to all abilities', and somewhere all visitors can have a quality time.
Around the area, the natural offer is vast: the boundaries of Huatulco comprise 9 bays in total, including Tangolunda Bay, where resorts and a golf course keep guests entertained. Further inland, the small town of La Crucecita is home to the largest image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the world, a work of art some 66 feet tall.
Now for the big revelation you've been waiting for. And the best beach in all of Mexico, as judged by the Tripadvisor community, is…
1. Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres
‘The water is clear and every beautiful shade of blue you can imagine. It's the very essence of true paradise.'
Isla Mujeres is an island only 13 km off the coast from Cancun and an incredibly prosperous community. Located on its Northern shore, Playa Norte claims the number one spot here, with its emerald waters, so bright they verge on ethereal, being a welcome first glimpse into what has to be one of Mexico's most beautiful landscapes.
Tourists have been expected to pay a fee to visit Isla Mujeres as of January 2022, but once in the municipality, accessing Playa Norte is free of charge. Many head to this beach for a day trip, as part of excursions or privately-funded trips, and are able to enjoy a relaxing afternoon either way. However, when staying longer in the area, popular activities include:
- Exploring the Garrafon Reef Park & Beach Club
- Walking up to the island's historical lighthouse
- Visiting the remain's of an ancient Mayan Temple
- Taking a tour of the gorgeous 19th century mansion Hacienda Mundaca
For all the latest news on Mexico and more travel tips, please visit this link.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.