Oaxaca city and the Mexican capital are both popular tourist destinations. But if you’re looking for a beach break, most would plump for the former. However, there are several excellent beaches close enough to Mexico City that the decision may be a little harder than you think. To help you choose which you visit, here are the most beautiful beaches near Oaxaca and Mexico City.
Beaches near Oaxaca
Zipolite is the only official nudist beach in Mexico – tourists come from across the world to enjoy the surf and sun desnudo. There aren’t any monster hotels or major chains here; instead, there’s a bohemian vibe with simple accommodations, a handful of restaurants and bars, and a few places to dance the night away in a mellow ambiance. Snorkeling and fishing are popular pastimes here too.
San Agustin de las Flores
As one of the few Mexican beaches with a reef off its coast, San Agustin de las Flores is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers who visit to enjoy the rich flora and fauna. There are no hotels, only a handful of palapa restaurants selling seafood and cold beers. It’s surrounded by tropical jungle and a few banana and mango farms, and is only accessible down a long dirt road. It’s a schlep, but worth it.
Mazunte is a small beach town with a boho vibe. But it’s been in the limelight since the 1990s thanks to the community’s conservation efforts and support for eco-conscious programs and organizations. The Body Shop has invested here, while local organizations have fought for building restrictions and the protection of local marine life, particularly for the sea turtles, which were once hunted heavily here. Mazunte offers several low-key accommodations including family stays and a handful of restaurants for a taste of coastal cuisine.
Right next to Mazunte, St Agustinillo is a small beach town known for its large foreign population – mostly Italians, French and Argentines. The beach is hedged in by mountains dotted with several ecofriendly places to stay. The beach faces open ocean and therefore the waves and undertow can be strong. There are various activities here, including boat trips to see the marine life and surfing lessons. The community survives on fishing and tourism, so there are several restaurants and bars along the coastline.
Puerto Escondido is one of the most visited beaches in Mexico. This is the spot to visit if you need more from your beach break than just chilling on the sand. The town has plenty of places to stay covering all budgets, lots of restaurants and attractions, and even a little colonial history. It’s the most populated city on the Oaxaca coast, with around 35,000 inhabitants, and offers all the marine activities you could want – fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and boat trips to see local marine life.
Bahias de Huatulco
The Bahias de Huatulco are a chain of nine bays known for their natural beauty and a history as a pirate hangout for the likes of Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish. A popular cruise stop, the bays offer luxury accommodation, upscale eating, and golf. Simple pleasures still abound, but spas, catamaran tours and extreme watersports make this area a playground for the rich. If you’re outdoorsy, visit the nearby national park to see the local ecosystem and take a break from all that pampering and fine dining.
Beaches near Mexico City
On the Gulf side of Mexico, Costa Esmeralda (the Emerald Coast) is a string of beaches on the Veracruz coast whose emerald waters and calm tides entice even the most restless to relax. There are lots of hotels and bungalows and many good restaurants focusing on seafood with a Veracruz flair. Several well-preserved natural areas lie along the coast, including Los Tuxtlas, known for its collection of endemic species of birds and other jungle life.
A tiny town at the end of a dirt road, Troncones is home to a relatively large community of North American ex-pats, a local coffeeshop with a book exchange, and several yoga retreats. Still, Troncones maintains a small-town vibe, and there are even infrastructure projects (such as paving the main beach road) that make life just a little easier. A local surf shop will take you out to catch a wave or two. And there are several small, but relatively well-stocked, grocery stores in town.
Acupulco reached the height of its fame in the golden era of North American film-making as a playground for the rich and famous. These days, violence has tarnished its rep. Still, the town remains kitschy and fun, with lots of 1950s and ’60s hotels and hundreds of options for eating and drinking. The main plaza and downtown area still provide a small-town beach life, even though it’s far from the fishing village it once was.
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