Share this article sparingly. We want these beaches, fried fish stands and rental cabins to stay hidden behind their mountains and palm trees. We’ll see if we can keep these beaches for those in the know, far from the mainstream.
1. Chacahua (Oaxaca)
It’s actually two beaches. On one side is the tourist beach with thatched palm palapas, restaurants and camping areas. But across the lagoon is another beach, with no infrastructure and a quiet population of turtles and crocodiles. Chacahua also has a good-size Afro-Mexican community.
2. Chamela Bay (Jalisco)
With 11 islets, it is only accessible by boat or kayak and is great for extreme sports. Swimming is good at La Colorada and Cocinas, while the surf at La Rumorosa is overwhelming. Bird watching is great on Pasavera, home of booby birds.
3. Celestún (Yucatán)
Fifty-nine miles from the state capital and nearly at the border of the state of Campeche, Celestún is a biosphere reserve. Standing out amid the biodiversity of its mangroves, the spectacular pink flamingos are as magnificent as they are showy. Pelicans and turtles are other common sights.
4. Madresal (Chiapas)
Located in the coastal mangroves of the Soconusco region, near Tonalá, the natural estuary means good fishing.A cooperative of fishermen has provided minimal infrastructure: cabins, thatched palm palapas and a boat landing.
5. San Juan de Alima (Michoacán)
This almost flat beach looks out onto the open sea, with its crystal clear water and tricky tide that can unexpectedly douse everything. The area boasts exotic birds, modest hotels and camping areas. Turtles lay their eggs here between July and December.
6. Los Algodones (Sonora)
Situated in San Carlos Bay, it gets its name –literally cotton balls or cotton candy– from the pure white sand. It already has some deluxe hotels and activities suchas scuba diving, sportsfishing and windsurfing. The desert landscape, though, also makes it great for other kinds of outings and hiking.
7. Playa del Secreto (Quintana Roo)
You cross three miles of mangroves to get to this environmentally sustainable community that makes use of wind and solar energy. It is a sanctuary for sea turtles and crabs and one of the best beaches on the Riviera Maya, with turquoise water and soft sand.
8. Cihuatlán (Jalisco)
Peaceful, warm water. It has shrimp farms and is known for its pink sunsets. , Delicious pineapples stuffed with seafood and fish tacos are well worth trying, in the town of Melaque, three miles away.
9. Mahahual (Quintana Roo)
This small fishing town on the Mexican Caribbean has a cruise ship pier. Just 20 minutes away is Banco Chinchorro, a stunning coral reef with great diversity of fish, turtles, dolphins and sharks.And for scuba, less than 40 miles away is Xcalak, the so-called “last corner of the country”.
10. Puerto Balandra (Baja California Sur)
Snorkelers love this shallow spot four and a half miles from La Paz. Caves and stone arches make underwater exploration hard to resist. Just a third of a mile in, and you see fish swimming in the turquoise water. Be sure not to miss (and take the mandatory selfie) the rock nick named “Balandra Mushroom”.