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Top five beaches in Mexico

August 22, 2013

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Mexico is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It has a wide range of destinations to suit all tastes and price ranges, from luxury resorts to tropical islands and remote, unspoiled strips of sand.

The likes of Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen are among the best known in Mexico, but if you take the time to explore a little more you will find many far more rewarding strips of coastline.

These lists are always very subjective, so these are not necessarily the “best” beaches (whatever that even means) in Mexico; they’re simply my favourites out of those I’ve been fortunate enough to visit (next on my list to visit are the Islas Marietas, a small group of uninhabited islands just off the coast of Nayarit which look absolutely stunning in all the photos I’ve seen).

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5. Playa Carrizalillo, Oaxaca. The countdown begins with Playa Carrizalillo, a more chilled out and impressive beach than the still-pretty-laid-back Puerto Escondido just five minutes down the road. Located in the southern state of Oaxaca and not far from the legendary Boca del Cielo from Y Tu Mama Tambien, it is mostly frequented by hippies and surfers.

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4. La Ticla, Michoacan. Come for the weekend, pitch up a tent or sling a hammock between the trees and enjoy the fact that there is absolutely nothing to do at La Ticla. The beach itself may not be as pretty as some in this list, the strong waves mean swimming is inadvisable and other parts of Michoacan state have been hit hard by drug-related violence in recent years, but La Ticla remains one of my favourite beaches in Mexico, along with the adjacent El Faro.

Sayulita, Nayarit

3. Sayulita, Nayarit. Sayulita is another hippie/surf town popular with gringo snowbirds but it has a lot more life to it than the aforementioned beaches. It’s also famous for its shrimp tacos (try them with mango salsa), the best I’ve ever had in Mexico.

La Isla Espiritu Santo

2. Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California Sur. Just off the coast from the quiet town of La Paz, the Isla Espiritu Santo is a true desert island adrift in the Sea of Cortes. With its barren, cactus-strewn coastline and gorgeous turquoise water, it almost feels like you’re on a different planet here. The marine wildlife is also incredible, with whales, whale sharks, dolphins and sea lions to be found in abundance here.

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1. Tulum, Quintana Roo. All the clichés abound in Tulum; it has palm trees, pure white sand and crystal-clear water. But it also boasts something else that no other such beach can claim: a 700-year-old Mayan temple that keeps watch over the shore from a rugged cliff top. This was the first sign of civilization that the Spanish explorers encountered in Mexico and the dramatic view from El Castillo would make a wonderful opening scene to the epic movie I’ve storyboarded in my head on the conquest led by Hernan Cortes.

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