The best beaches of the Mexican Riviera is a collection of 20 cities and lagoons situated along Mexico’s western coastline. There are lengthy stretches in between these cities but they are still referred to as the Mexican Riviera because it is such a favorite and preferred region for cruise lines to harbor in. Included in the Mexican Riviera are Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mazatlan, Manzanillo and Puerto Vallerta. The best part of going on a vacation is to enjoy the sun, sand and the beaches. With a host of hotels and beach front resorts and spas, the Mexican Riviera has something for all ages. Whether you are looking for an isolated cove or a popular nightspot, pack your bags and book your tickets!
Several decades after its fall from beach-destination grace, Acapulco is steadily reviving. It’s a popular weekend getaway for many Mexican vacationers, not to mention a prevailing hideaway for European travelers, so you’ll find the ambience is more international than the Americanized Cancún. Dance to the live music along the Zócalo, hunt down some of Mexico’s best ceviche downtown or escape from the tourist hubbub in Punta Diamante’s swank nightclubs – you can still hear echoes of the glamour and glitz of the city’s Hollywood heyday. However, travelers should note that the U.S. Department of State issued a travel advisory for several states in Mexico, including Guerrero, where Acapulco is located. Citing widespread crime and violence, the State Department advises U.S. travelers, including government employees, against visiting Guerrero. For in-depth information and travel planning for Acapulco, visit here.
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas first beckoned to Hollywood’s elite in the 1970s as a luxurious reprieve. The town’s reputation changed as world-class resorts took up residence here, in the neighboring village of San José del Cabo, and along the 18-mile stretch of highway that connects the two (known as “the Corridor”). This destination on the southernmost tip of Baja California is still known for its decadence, but the elitist pretense has dwindled. Days in the spa are just as coveted as evenings at a beach side watering hole. Looking for more information to plan your Cabo San Lucas vacation? Visit our Cabo San Lucas Travel Guide here.
Ixtapa was nothing more than a coconut plantation until the late 1970s when Fonatur (the Mexican government’s tourism development group) decided that the Pacific coast needed a Cancún-like resort. In came the developers and up went the high-rises. The result is a long string of huge hotels backing a lovely beach, but little local community. Ixtapa’s appeal is best appreciated by families seeking a hassle-free, all-inclusive beach getaway, or by those who value modern chain-hotel comforts. It’s close enough to Zihuatanejo – in effect, it’s a suburb of it – that you can experience that town’s more authentic Mexican life easily. Visit our Ixtapa Travel Guide to start planning your vacation here.
On the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Guerrero, there’s a destination where colorful buildings cascade down the slopes of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains, along the curve of calm bays and white sandy beaches – a charming town called Zihuatanejo. Travelers tired of the crowded, resort-heavy destinations in the Yucatan and Baja Peninsula make their way to Zihuatanejo in search of something different – a place where they can easily delve into the culture, community and nature. Learn more about vacationing to Zihuatanejo here.
Mazatlán is a well-established tourist destination that still maintains its Mexican traditions and atmosphere. The vibe is laid back and tranquil, but there’s no lack of fun thanks to the host of water sports and wildlife watching activities available. Mazatlán represents the expansive golden beaches, affordable accommodations, and beckoning bars and restaurants that appeals to travelers.
The world-class golf scene, luxury-yacht harbor, and myriad water sports activities are largely accessible to even those with a tight budget. Take a short boat ride to Deer Island, where you can spend the day swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. Check out the cliff divers near the old lighthouse, and watch the sunset over the long golden beaches. Grab a surfboard and paddle out to the small, consistent waves. Deep-sea fishing for marlin and sailfish is among the best in Mexico. Hiking, bird-watching, and quiet beach walks here will lift your soul. Start planning your Mazatlan vacation by visiting our Mazatlan Travel Guide here.
This is more than just a coastal resort getaway. Somehow Puerto Vallarta — also known as “Vallarta” or just “PV” — maintains a small-town atmosphere, while still boasting one of the most unique and sophisticated ocean fronts in Mexico.
Sunbathing and sipping margaritas is just one of many ways to spend a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Mexico’s prettiest resort town is also one of its most diverse. Old Vallarta, El Centro and the Zona Romántica, is a haven of quirky boutiques and winding cobblestone streets. In Marina Vallarta, shopping centers and deluxe hotels spread around the city’s yacht marina. In Puerto Vallarta you will find miles of sandy beaches and tons of highly-rated restaurants and lively nightclubs. All surrounded by historic mountain towns, keep visitors returning again and again. Start your Puerto Vallarta vacation planning here.
Manzanillo is a Mexican Riviera resort town with wide, curving beaches, legendary sport fishing, and a highly regarded diversity of dive sites. Golf is also an attraction here. One reason for its popularity could be Manzanillo’s tropical geography with vast groves of tall palms, abundant mango trees, and successive coves graced with smooth sand beaches. To the north, mountains blanketed with palms rise alongside the shoreline. And Manzanillo has perfect weather, with balmy temperatures and year-round sea breezes.
Manzanillo is both Mexico’s busiest commercial seaport and a tranquil town of multi-color houses flowing down the hillsides to meet the central commercial area of simple seafood restaurants, shell shops, and salsa clubs. The activity in Manzanillo is divided into two zones: the downtown commercial port and the luxury Santiago Peninsula resort zone to the north. A visit to the town’s waterfront zócalo provides a glimpse into local life. The exclusive Santiago Peninsula, home to the resorts and golf course, separates Manzanillo’s two golden-sand bays. For more information visit our Manzanillo Travel Guide here.
Las Bahias de Huatulco (the Huatulco Bays), or Huatulco, is a beach destination made up of nine bays with 36 beaches. Huatulco is located on the Pacific coast of the state of Oaxaca. Huatulco stretches out over 22 miles of coastline between the Coyula and Copalito rivers. They boast 36 beautiful white-sand beaches. The biodiversity and pristine landscapes make Huatulco a favorite destination of nature lovers. It has diverse activities like diving by its beautiful reefs, kayaking in its rapids and sport fishing. If you want something quieter, you can also take a horse ride.
There are nine bays in Huatulco, and the area offers a variety of beach experiences. Most have blue-green water and the sand ranges from golden to white. Some of the beaches, such as Santa Cruz, la Entrega and El Arrocito have very gentle waves. Most of the development is centered around a few of the bays. Tangolunda is the largest of Huatulco’s bays, and is where most of Huatulco’s large resorts are located. Santa Cruz has a cruise ship port, marina, shops and restaurants. Some of the beaches are completely pristine and only accessible by boat. Looking to vacation in Huatulco? Visit here to start planning your Huatulco vacation.