Millions of tourists visit Mexican beaches each year – and for good reason. In its 2024 edition, travel behemoth Lonely Planet has determined four Mexican beaches to be among the best in the world.
These are Lonely Planet’s best beaches in Mexico, some of the top 100 in the world.
Holbox, Quintana Roo
Located on Holbox Island, north of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Yum Balam nature reserve, Holbox beach (hol-bosh) is known for its fine white sand, turquoise waters and colorful Caribbean buildings.
Known in Mayan as “black hole,” Lonely Planet describes Holbox as “a portal to one of Mexico’s last unspoiled tropical islands.”
Visitors can also explore several spots around Holbox like Bird Island (Isla Pájaros), Passion Island (Isla Pasión) and the Yalahau freshwater pool.
Holbox is no stranger to international awards. In 2023, Condé Nast Traveler ranked it as one of North America’s best islands along with Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, also included in Lonely Planet’s list.
Playa Norte, Quintana Roo
According to Lonely Planet, once you reach Playa Norte, you won’t want to leave. “Its warm, shallow waters are the color of blue raspberry syrup, and the beach is crushed coral,” the travel expert says.
Ten miles off the coast of Cancún, Playa Norte is located on Isla Mujeres, famous for having the largest concentration of whale sharks on the planet.
Compared to Cancún, Playa Norte is significantly quieter, and both locals and tourists use golf carts, bikes and scooters to move around the beach and the island.
Tulum, Quintana Roo
Tulum is one of the most popular beaches in Mexico, now with a shiny new airport to accommodate the growing number of tourists.
With seaside cliffs overlooking turquoise waters and white beaches, Tulum is one of the few Maya ruin sites with a beach. The main beach is beneath El Castillo, at the bottom of a steep wood staircase, and the second is below the Templo del Dios del Viento (Temple to the God of Wind).
Lonely Planet has said that Tulum captures the visitor’s imagination like no other, “perhaps conjuring visions of pre-Columbian tradesmen arriving in canoes laden with goods, and the Maya workers who received them, contemplating the same bracing views.”
Playa Balandra, Baja California
Perfect for kids, Lonely Planet describes Playa Balandra as “an enclosed cove beach with shallow deep blue waters.”
Located within a 30-minute drive from La Paz, beachgoers can enjoy tide pools and hike to neighboring coves and arid, cacti-covered mountains.
The beach is home to the famous mushroom-shaped rock formation which recently went viral on Instagram. The rock is the unofficial symbol of La Paz and though the top occasionally falls off, dedicated locals always repair it.
With reports from Time Out