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Best Beach Vacations - Mexico, Central & South America

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Results for: Best Beach Vacations - Mexico, Central & South America
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1Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Cancun calls with its stunning aqua-blue waters and white-sand beaches. Despite its reputation as a spring-break paradise, anyone will find plenty to do here, too. Explore ancient Mayan ruins, the Xel-Ha waterpark and the thrilling Interactive Aquarium, or just enjoy beautiful beaches.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Cancun
      Blessed with a bounty of beaches, youthful, exuberant Cancun offers options for those seeking all sorts of romantic vacations. The resort city manages to boast both an energetic pulse and a laid-back ambience, with both party beaches and sands suitable for people preferring solitude and some time alone.
    • Family Fun
      Cancun
      Cancun is one of Mexico's most famous destinations, and despite its reputation as a spring-break paradise, families will find plenty to do here, too. Explore ancient Mayan ruins, the Xel-Ha waterpark and the thrilling Interactive Aquarium, or just enjoy beautiful beaches.
  • Find: Hotels in Cancun | Flights to Cancun | Vacation Rentals in Cancun
2Playa del Carmen, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Bring your sunglasses and cool clothes to Playa del Carmen, where the hot sun lights up the white-sand beaches. This is heaven for beach-loving kids and those who enjoy swimming or just lounging under the sun.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Playa del Carmen
      On the beautiful Mexican Riviera, Playa del Carmen is a place where you can spoil each other with an indulgent romantic getaway. Strolls or sunbathe on its alabaster-white beaches, swim or dive in sparkling clear waters, explore ancient Maya ruins and enjoy quiet sunsets together.
    • Family Fun
      Playa del Carmen
      Playa del Carmen, on the Mexican Caribbean, is home to sandy beaches, Mayan archaeological sites and child-centered theme parks. Kids and adults enjoy clambering through Discovery Jungle Park's authentic rope bridges and exploring Xcaret's underground rivers, butterfly pavilion and aquarium.
  • Find: Hotels in Playa del Carmen | Flights to Playa del Carmen | Vacation Rentals in Playa del Carmen
3Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
On the second-largest natural bay on the continent, Puerto Vallarta has miles and miles of world-class beaches. The coastline is dotted with quiet coves and spectacular islands, and the water caters to all sorts of beach activities, from sunbathing to snorkeling to windsurfing.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Puerto Vallarta
      Puerto Vallarta has the ideal setting for a luscious romantic escape. Banderas Bay, the site of Elizabeth Taylor's and Richard Burton's big romance, offers fabulous beaches, some of the country's best restaurants, proximity to Old Mexico and boat rides to the charming fishing village of Boca de Tomatlan.
    • Shopping
      Puerto Vallarta
      Thanks to the steady stream of cruise ship passengers passing through its harbor, Puerto Vallarta is geared toward the shopper, with virtually anything Mexican-made being readily available. The marina boardwalk, its nearby market, and the surrounding streets are full of shopping opportunities.
    • Family Fun
      Puerto Vallarta
      All the right ingredients for a fabulous family getaway are on offer in, Puerto Vallarta; wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, great resorts and welcoming people. Perched between the ocean and the jungle, PV offers all the sports and activities of a perfect Pacific playground.
  • Find: Hotels in Puerto Vallarta | Flights to Puerto Vallarta | Vacation Rentals in Puerto Vallarta
4Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico
Cabo's beaches are not just beautiful, they're also incredibly diverse. On the Pacific Ocean, the waves are delightful to watch, but often too dangerous for swimming. On the Sea of Cortez, the waters are sheltered and calm and the sand is white and warm.
5Cozumel, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Going to the seashore at Cozumel is fascinating because of the island's diverse beach offerings. Although it has its fair share of typically beautiful white-sand beaches, it also boasts a number of rocky beaches that are not great for sunbathing or swimming but are ideal for snorkeling.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Cozumel
      The delicious ocean backdrop of Cozumel makes for a perfect romantic rendezvous for two. This Mexican Caribbean playground surrounded by coral reefs boasts golden beaches, turquoise waters, Mayan ruins, duty-free shopping and colorful festivals. Punta Celerain lighthouse is a beautiful spot for special moments.
  • Find: Hotels in Cozumel | Flights to Cozumel | Vacation Rentals in Cozumel
6Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Nature, sun and history unite at Tulum's sugar-white beaches, which are calmly lapped by the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. Maya ruins, tropical forest and affordable hotels are an easy amble from the sands, making this Yucatan beauty a hit with those seeking relaxation and spiritual retreats.
  • Also recommended for:
    • History & Culture
      Tulum
      Although it has its share of coastline, Tulum offers a taste of the Yucatan that is different from the touristy beach resorts at Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Here visitors find the startlingly well-preserved remains of ancient Mayan civilization, the only preserved ruins on the sea.
    • Spa
      Tulum
      Traditional Maya spas have become yet another reason to visit ruin-rich Tulum. Today's spas offer Westernized takes on the mystical, spiritual Maya massage rituals. Acclaimed Yucatan health haven Maya Tulum offers the blissful combination of palapa rooms on a sandy spit and soothing holistic treatments.
  • Find: Hotels in Tulum | Flights to Tulum | Vacation Rentals in Tulum
7San Jose del Cabo, Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico
Situated on Mexico's left coast, San Jose del Cabo delivers a delicious taste of the Pacific. Go snorkeling at El Estero, the renowned estuary where exotic marine life and vegetation await, or take a dip in the pools and soak up the sun on the shore at Playa Hotelera.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      San Jose del Cabo
      Laid-back colonial gem San Jose Del Cabo, is picture postcard perfect. This gorgeous getaway, with its palm-lined lagoons on the hem of the ocean, is full of the magic of Old Baja, where secret courtyards and unhurried days are full of intrigue and romance. Fine hotels abound, including the elegant, world-renowned Palmilla.
  • Find: Hotels in San Jose del Cabo | Flights to San Jose del Cabo | Vacation Rentals in San Jose del Cabo
8Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Perhaps nowhere on earth is the beach so crucial to a big city's culture as in Rio, with its two most popular strips having even been immortalized in song. Of the two, Copacabana is bigger and livelier, Ipanema a bit more upscale and relaxed. For even greater Žlan, try Leblon just to their west.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Rio de Janeiro
      Lively, exuberant Rio de Janeiro is an excellent choice for an active romantic escape. The city pulses with the throb of sensual samba rhythms, the beaches teem with life, the nightlife scene is searing hot and there's a palpable air of excitement in this vivacious city of seven million.
    • Shopping
      Rio de Janeiro
      A proliferation of malls makes shopping a breeze in affordable Rio. Try Barrashopping, a vast complex of more than 600 stores. At Galleria River in Arpoador, a dozen stores cater to surfers and skaters. Alternatively, get a taste for Brazilian beach life and score souvenirs from vendors strolling the sands.
  • Find: Hotels in Rio de Janeiro | Flights to Rio de Janeiro | Vacation Rentals in Rio de Janeiro
9Margarita Island, Coastal Islands, Insular Region, Venezuela
Tropical Margarita Island is Venezuela's main Caribbean resort, with a few dozen white-sand beaches leading into turquoise waters. Nearby Los Roques archipelago is a pristine coral atoll that offers unparalleled scuba diving.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Margarita Island
      Once a pirate hideaway, this relatively undiscovered Venezuelan island in the Caribbean is now an ideal lover's retreat. Sunny practically all year-round, Margarita Island offers secluded beaches, exotic vegetation, spectacular sunsets from La Galera fortress and peace and tranquility under a tropical sky.
  • Find: Hotels in Margarita Island | Flights to Margarita Island | Vacation Rentals in Margarita Island
10Mar del Plata, Province of Buenos Aires, Central Argentina, Argentina
Argentina's premier beach resort, Mar del Plata's long coastline is comprised of many beaches, from family-oriented La Perla in the north to very popular Bristol and sporty Varese in the center, from resort-oriented Mogotes and sophisticated Faro in the south to peaceful Sur even further south.
11Vina del Mar, Valparaiso Region, Chile
Chile's fourth largest city, Vina del Mar in Valparaiso, is also a popular summer beach resort. A Mediterranean climate prevails and an appealing array of sandy strips beckons, including Renaca, Miramar, Las Salinas and Casino. Renaca's calm waters and great waves make it a hit with families.
12Manzanillo, Pacific Coast, Mexico
Manzanillo remains as beautiful as when it was "discovered" by the jet set in the 1970s, but its beaches are now largely deserted. Sport fishers will be in heaven, and the International Sailfish Tournament takes place twice a year. Underwater visibility is high, making snorkeling and scuba diving memorable.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Manzanillo
      Golden sands, mouthwatering tropical fruits, swaying palms and the sounds of salsa spell romance in the Mexican Pacific Coast resort town of Manzanillo. You can find unspoiled beaches and private bliss, and if fishing is your fancy, remember they also call this place the Sailfish capital of the world.
  • Find: Hotels in Manzanillo | Flights to Manzanillo | Vacation Rentals in Manzanillo
13Acapulco, Pacific Coast, Mexico
Acapulco's wild nightlife is matched by its wild beaches--the waters can be wavy and dangerous, but that also makes them great for surfing. However, there are lots of places with calmer waters where swimming is safe and fun, especially Caleta Beach, a favorite among families.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Acapulco
      With its magnificent bay, stately mountains, sun-soaked beaches and vibrant nightlife, Acapulco has been a top romantic destination for many decades. Lovers who choose this dazzling tropical resort on the Pacific Coast of Mexico follow in the footsteps of JFK and Jackie, Liz Taylor and countless other icons of glamour and stardom.
  • Find: Hotels in Acapulco | Flights to Acapulco | Vacation Rentals in Acapulco
14Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Pacific Coast, Mexico
The resort-studded beaches of Ixtapa bask on Mexico's Pacific coast, a popular sun, sand and sea destination with azure waters, golden sands and rocky headlands. Safe Zijuatenejo Bay is a top boating spot. Its five palapa-confettied beaches, including swimming favorite Playa La Ropa, are a big hit with families.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Family Fun
      Ixtapa
      These two tourist-adored destinations offer everything from fun, family time on their many beautiful beaches to adrenaline-stirring pursuits such as parasailing and jet skiing. For slower paced water fun, swim with dolphins, snorkel quiet waters or kayak through turquoise, bird-filled lagoons.
  • Find: Hotels in Ixtapa | Flights to Ixtapa | Vacation Rentals in Ixtapa
15Costa Rica
For a beach vacation, Costa Rica is hard to beat. Some of the world's best sands sit on its coastline where water remains a delicious temperature year-round. Don't miss Manuel Antonio's picture-perfect crescent of sand, with its azure waters and jungle at its back or, for surfing, Playa Dominical.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Spa
      Costa Rica
      Breathtaking mineral pools, magma-heated lagoons and toasty hot volcano-fed hot springs abound in Costa Rica. Perhaps the most famed is San Carlos hot springs, where shaman-led temazcal rituals include chanting and meditation at a traditional Mesoamerican sweat lodge and steaming waters await.
  • Find: Hotels in Costa Rica | Flights to Costa Rica | Vacation Rentals in Costa Rica
16Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Isla Mujeres offers a wide variety of tempting options for beach lovers. Snorkel with tropical fish and coral reefs, skim the blue waters by kayak or boat or windsurf along the shores of soft, sandy beaches where you can sunbathe, dine on seafood, dance to Latin rhythms and enjoy refreshing drinks.
17Mazatlan, Pacific Coast, Mexico
With one of the longest stretches of beach in Mexico, it's no wonder Mazatlan can offer such an enviable variety of beach experiences. Surfers can find big waves, sunbathers can relax on secluded swaths of golden sand and everyone can party or dine at casual palapa restaurants and bars.
  • Also recommended for:
    • Romance
      Mazatlan
      If you are looking for casual elegance in a romantic setting, check out Mazatlan in Western Mexico. The resort town, on a peninsula that juts into the Pacific Ocean, is framed by the majestic Sierra Madre mountains and offers golden beaches, fresh seafood and natural beauty.
  • Find: Hotels in Mazatlan | Flights to Mazatlan | Vacation Rentals in Mazatlan