A vibrant kind of paradise, rather than the peaceful variety, Puerto Vallarta’s exquisite white-sand beaches are thronged for a reason. Playa los Muertos – Dead Man’s Beach – is a buzzing spot for watersports and beach volleyball and is also the go-to place for nightlife. Bahía de Banderas is another famously beautiful beach, known not only for its cerulean waters, but also for the Malecón walkway above – a favorite haunt for traditional street performers.
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Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas, often known as Cabo, has the best beaches in the region for sunbathing and swimming – think soft sands and calm seas. Playa Medano is the most popular, but the waters around nearby Lover’s Beach are similarly gentle. Away from the beach, there’s also the Cabo del Sol Golf Club – a pleasantly challenging course set in lush tropical surrounds – and, in the town itself, the historic Iglesia de San Lucas for those seeking a spot of culture.
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Only an hour away from thrumming Cancun, and blessed with yet more gorgeous beaches, Riviera Maya is an explorer’s idyll. Thanks to its crystal-clear waters, Akumal’s Yal-ku lagoon is a snorkelling hotspot, while Punta Laguna Nature Reserve is the best place to see exotic wildlife (if you’re lucky, you might even glimpse a jaguar). The area’s steeped in history too – of the many Mayan ruins around, those at Tulum are especially atmospheric.
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