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.
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 Xcarat waterpark and the thrilling Interactive Aquarium, or just enjoy beautiful beaches.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.