Escaping the winter doldrums with daydreams of margaritas on one of Mexico's white sand beaches? Mexico has countless beaches scattered along its eastern and western coastlines, but if you've never been, it can be daunting to choose the right vacation spot. This guide highlights six of Mexico's most popular beaches and what makes each unique so you can better select the right destination for you.
Mexico's top beach destination is Cancun, on the Caribbean coast, drawing more than three million visitors each year and generating more than one-third of Mexico's overall tourism revenue.
Despite being known for spring-break debauchery, Cancun is more than raunchy nightclubs, although it does have its fair share of nightlife. Its sandy white beaches and crystalline blue waters draw sunbathers from around the world. Swimming and watersports like jetskiing, kayaking, and snorkeling are available at many locations, but the beaches on the open ocean may have rough waters, so swimmers should take note of warning flags before entering. Cancun is also a jumping-off point for trips to Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, and Mayan ruins such as Tulum and Chichén Itzá.
Cancun's hotel zone stretches for almost 19 miles, with all-inclusive mega-resorts and pay-as-you-go hotels. "All-inclusive[s] [have] become very popular," says Lynne Steidle, a travel agent for AAA Utah, Nevada, and Northern California. "All meals, drinks, (including alcoholic [beverages]), [and] snacks are included for the entire stay. This is wonderful for families, as their vacation is all paid within a package ahead of time." In 2005, Cancun was hit hard by Hurricane Wilma, and is still recovering. Despite assurances that Cancun is open for business, many hotels are still undergoing extensive renovations, so choose your accommodations carefully.