When most people think Mexico and beaches, they think of the well known ones – like Cancun. But one question I always get asked is, where are some quiet places?
You have to remember that despite swine flu and the threat of kidnapping, Mexico is by far one of the most travel popular international destinations for Americans.
So the value luxury answer to this dilemma is not where to find a beach, but which destinations provide you the best opportunity to get some peace and quiet and soak up a little bit of the real Mexico, while still enjoying the amenities that the nice resorts can provide.
Here are 3 suggestions that do just that. None of these are “best kept secrets” or “totally unknown” destinations because frankly, Mexico is pretty well discovered. You will, however, find great value and a bit of serenity. Topped off with a margarita, what else do you need?
Why stop at Mexican beaches, when you can spend your vacation on a beach island? That’s exactly what Isla Mujeres is. It may be near Cancun geographically, but it’s worlds apart in terms of the experience, which starts from the moment your ferry leaves the mainland, pictured above.
The islands name, translated from Spanish, means ‘Island of Women’ and before this beach island paradise was a holiday spot for locals and international visitors, it was a Mayan sanctuary, dedicated to the goddess Ixchel.
Aside from the beaches, which include Playa Norte (North Beach) and Punta Sur (where you will find the ruins of a temple to Ixchel), there’s also a government run turtle sanctuary to visit – as well as the unique opportunity to swim with whale sharks if you visit between May and September. Water sports from snorkelling to diving are also on offer, but you won’t find a chain bar, restaurant or club on the island.
Where to Stay?: The Privilege Aluxes Hotel is five stars but great value for money. Rooms have fab balconies with views of that turqouise shore. The hard part is deciding which you’ll love more, the pools or the beach, both right out your door.
Another great city to visit if you’re looking for the best Mexican beaches, without too much hustle and bustle, and with plenty of other attractions, is Troncones. It’s located close enough to the far more popular Ixtapa that you can enjoy some of the attractions there, but then retreat to this little hideaway.
There’s plenty of opportunities for surf lessons – a great place to be a beginner. And how about ecotours, yoga, or meditation classes. Or just lay on the beach and listen to the waves.
Where to Stay? The Inn at Manzanillo Bay gets rave review for the great swimming at the bay, spacious rooms, and the hospitality of the staff. (One downside – wifi is only in the common areas, but is free. Shouldn’t you be offline anyway?)
Back over to the Yucutan Peninsula and heading south of Cancun, we run into Tulum, well known by daytrippers from Cancun for its Mayan ruins and other historic attractions. But quiet beaches? Well, a lot of people don’t stick around in Tulum, they just come in for the day. And Tulum has recently build a number of hotels and infrastructure, but has done so at a gentle pace, with a bit of breathing room, so it isn’t wall-to-wall hotels.
The beach in Tulum is sandy-white, and prices are very reasonable – backpackers often swear by Tulum, but if you spend just a little bit more you get a heck of a lot of luxury.
Where to stay? Be Tulum is charming in its own way, with various styles of rooms and plenty of on site amenities including full breakfast. Review all the room options carefully, but the ocean view suites are certainly worth the extra dollars.
Finding the best mexico beaches for your trip requires a bit of sleuthing and an appreciation for what you’re looking for – do you want to do watersports? Day excursions? Do you even want to leave the hotel room?
If you’re struggling with planning your Mexico trip, talk to our travel concierge, who can walk you through the options and make sure you stay safe and sane.
Photo Credits via Flickr CC: Andy Hayes, Afternoon, Esparta