Mexico is the most popular overseas travel destination for US residents. More than 32 million US residents visited Mexico in 2019. Mexico has almost everything that vacationers are looking for: warm seas, good climate, sandy beaches, great food, restaurants, nightlife and amazing nature. Surfing enthusiasts will find a good wave, while fishing enthusiasts will find a big catch in Mexico. Mexico also has unique historical sites too.
In 2019, Mexico was the 7th most visited country in the world and second in North America. Most tourists come to Mexico from the United States and Canada.
Mexico borders the United States of America (in the north), so US residents don't need to take a long trip to get to Mexico.
Some of the tourist spots are also marked on on our North America map.
Many people like to spend their holidays on the shore of the warm sea. Mexico has many good destinations for beach, diving and fishing lovers. Mexico is washed by the Pacific Ocean (and the Gulf of California) in the west. To the east there are the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico (Atlantic Ocean). Look at the map.
Mexico's coastline is about 5,800 miles long. Approximately 4,560 miles (7,340 kilometers) of coastline are in the west (Pacific coast) and 1,740 miles (2,800 kilometers) in the east (Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean).
Mexico has a lot of good beaches. It is generally believed that the best beach destination of Nexico is the Yucatan Peninsula, but there are many good beaches on the west coast too.
East coast of Mexico
The Yucatan Peninsula is located in the very southeast of Mexico. To the east of the peninsula lies the Gulf of Mexico, and to the east is the Caribbean Sea. The most popular resorts in Mexico are located on the peninsula. Cancun is one of the most well-known Mexican resort cities. South of the city of Cancun there is the Riviera Maya tourist coast, the cities of Playa del Carmen and Tulum, the islands of Cozumel and Mujeres. Ancient city of the Mayan people Chichen Itza is also located on the Yucatan Peninsula.
(You know for sure that the Caribbean is also home to other great tourist destinations such as Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. The distance from Mexico to Cuba through the Yucatan Strait is about 210 km.)
- Cancun - Havana (Cuba) - 300 miles (500 km).
- Cancun - Miami - 530 miles (860 km).
- Cancun - Acapulco - 900 miles (1450 km).
- Cancun - New York - 1,550 miles (2,500 km).
- Cancun - Ottawa - 1800 miles (2880 km).
Cancun is the largest and most visited city in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Many Americans and Canadians choose Cancun as their vacation destination in Mexico, but many tourists go to other cities along the coast too.
Most of the hotels and the best beaches are located in the Isla Cancún area of the city. Isla Cancún is a narrow strip of land (300 - 500 meters wide) which separates the Nichupté lagoon from the Caribbean.
Learn more about Cancun.
The Riviera Maya is a resort district on the Caribbean Sea in the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula, south of the city of Cancun. There are several popular resort towns, many good beaches, hotels, restaurants. Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Tulum are among the most popular places on the coast. In this region, not far from the coast, there are also two popular islands: Cozumel and Mujeres.
How long is the the Riviera Maya coast? Different sources provide different information. The fact is that this region is constantly developing, therefore its length is increasing. The length of the Mayan Riviera can be from 140 to 200 kilometers.
Tour, trip and other entertainment in Cancun you can choose and book online.
Chichen Itza is one of the main archaeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. The ancient city of Chichen - Itza was founded by the Mayan people around the year 500 AD.
Chichen Itza is located approximately 125 miles (200 km) west of the city of Cancun.
You can rent a car to get to your destination.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, in the middle of Riviera Maya, about 50 kilometers from Cancun Airport. Excellent sandy beaches can be found right in and around the city. The main pedestrian street of the city is Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue. The Playacar tourist area has been built in the southern part of the city. Playacar has hotels, villas, a golf course and a beach. Ferries leave from the pier to the island of Cozumel. There is a pier, from which ferries depart regularly to the island of Cozumel.
Cozumel is considered one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. The island is located in the Caribbean Sea, approximately 11 miles (18 kilometers) from Playa del Carmen. The island is 28 miles (45 km) long and 90 miles (14 km) wide. The coast of the island is mostly rocky, but there are some excellent beaches too. Ferries run between the island and Playa del Carmen daily (if the weather is not stormy). The journey takes approximately 45 minutes one way. (The fare was $12 in 2020.)
It is the second busiest airport in Mexico after Mexico City International Airport. Cancun Airport serves more international destinations than Mexico City Airport.
The airport is located approximately 15 kilometers from Cancun city center.
You can get from the airport to Cancun city center by ADO buses. If you need to get to the tourist area of the city of Cancun or to other places on the coast of the Riviera Maya, then you better take a taxi.
🚕 You can order a transfer in advance.
Find a good flight to Cancun.
Pacific coast of Mexico
The Pacific coast of Mexico (west coast) also has excellent beaches. (Although it is generally believed that the best sandy beaches are in the east of the country, on the Yucatan Peninsula.) But the Pacific coast offers many activities for sports and active lifestyle lovers: surfing, diving, snorkeling, sport fishing, whale watching, nature walks.
The west coast of Mexico has large cities with an active nightlife and crowds of tourists. But if you are looking for a relaxing holiday, then you will find nice places, small towns and uncrowded beaches too. Can we say that the western coast of Mexico is more suitable for active and athletic people, independent travelers? What is your opinion?
The total coastline is approximately 4,550 miles (7,350 kilometers), with nearly half of it in the Baja California Peninsula.
Some driving distances (if you are traveling by car):
- Tucson (Arizona, USA) - Nogales (border crossings) - 60 miles (95 km).
- Tucson (USA) - (Lukeville border crossings) - Puerto Peñasco - 205 miles (330 km).
- Nogales - Guaymas - 255 miles (410 km).
- Guaymas - Mazatlán - 470 miles (760 km).
- Mazatlan - Puerto Vallarta - 270 miles (430 km).
- Puerto Vallarta - Acapulco - 590 miles (950 km)
San Diego - La Paz (Baja California) - 960 miles (1500 km)
Puerto Peñasco (also known as Rocky Point) is a very popular destination for tourists from the United States. Why is Puerto Peñasco so popular? Not only the beautiful beaches and warm climate attract tourists in Puerto Peñasco. It is the closest to the United States Mexico resort town and is easy to get here with your own car. The city is located just 62 miles (100 km) from the US border. Americans often call it the "beach of Arizona", as it is the closest sea beach to such cities as Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma (Arizona, USA).
Fishing is also a popular pastime among tourists. The annual fishing festival is held in Puerto Peñasco in early June.
There are many holiday homes, hotels and campsites in the town and the surrounding area. (For example, camping RV Rental AT ROCKY POINT MEXICO.)
You can find a suitable place to stay here. (For example, tourists highly rate Rocky Point Sonoran Sky Resort.)
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular resort cities in Mexico. The city is located on the Pacific Ocean coast on the Bahia de Banderas Bay. Puerto Vallarta is a very popular holiday destination for residents of the western states of the United States and Canada. (Tourists usually call the city simply "Vallarta", and visitors from English-speaking countries sometimes abbreviate the name to two letters - PV.)
There are several excellent beaches right in the city. As in any resort town, tourists like to walk along the promenade (for example, Malecon Promenade).
Nuevo Vallarta is located about 9 kilometers north of the center of Puerto Vallarta (north of the airport). It can be seen as a separate city or as a tourist district of Puerto Vallarta. Excellent conditions for tourists have been created there: excellent hotels, restaurants and a beach.
Late autumn, winter, spring and early summer are the best times for a vacation in Vallarta. The rainy season extends from mid June through mid October, with most of the rain between July and September.
What to do in Wallarta? Here's what travelers recommend: relax on beaches, walk around the city, join a guided tour, visit San Pancho beach town, walk the Malecon promenade, go scuba diving, go to see The church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, go whale watching tour. Search here.
Puerto Vallarta Airport (Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, IATA: PVR, ICAO: MMPR) is located about 6 kilometers north of the city center. Most of the international flights arrive from cities in the United States and Canada.
- You can get to the city center from the airport by bus, but taxi is the most convenient mode of transport. You can order a taxi in advance, online.
- When choosing a hotel, it will be useful for you to read customer reviews. You will surely find a good hotel here.
The busiest domestic route at Puerto Vallarta International Airport is Mexico City. Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston are the busiest international routes from the airport. You can find flights from your city here.
Acapulco is one of the oldest beach resort cities in Mexico. It became popular with rich and famous Americans already in the middle of the 20th century. Nowadays, not only the very wealthy, but also people with average income can afford a vacation in Acapulco. Since then, many other resort towns have sprung up in Mexico and you have a wide variety of vacation spots now.
It is believed that Acapulco Bay is one of the most beautiful bays in the world. The city has excellent beaches, many hotels, shops. There is also a negative side. Acapulco has been repeatedly called one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico. But I'm thinking that if you behave wisely, your vacation will be quite safe.
When choosing a hotel, pay attention to customer reviews. The best sites for booking hotels.
Acapulco International Airport (Juan Álvarez International airport) is located 15 miles (25 km) from the city. The airport has a well-organized flat rate taxi service. You can also order a taxi in advance.
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California Peninsula (Baja) stretches along the mainland of Mexico from The United States border to the southeast. The peninsula is approximately 775 miles (1,25 km) long and 25 - 200 miles (40 - 300 km) wide.
The peninsula separates the Gulf of California from the Pacific Ocean. This is a great place for nature lovers, sport fishing, surfing and ecotourists.
It is believed that the Pacific side of the peninsula is better for surfing, while the east coast is more attractive for beach lovers.
Gulf of california
The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez) lies between the California Peninsula and the continental coast of Mexico. The bay is 700 miles (1120 km) long and 30–150 miles (50–240 km) wide.
In the south of the peninsula, there are the cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos municipality). These are popular tourist centers that offer fishing, surfing, golf and whale watching in addition to beach holidays.
Los Cabos International Airport is located in the south of the Baja California Peninsula, next to Los Cabos Municipality. The main international destinations are the USA and Canada.
Distance from the airport to San Jose del Cabo - 15 km, to Cabo San Lux - 45 km.
You can get to your destination by bus. This is the cheapest form of transport. But the most convenient way is to order a taxi.
Tijuana is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula. The city is located on the Pacific coast of Baja California, near the US border, just 15 miles (25 km) from the city of San Diego (USA). It is the most visited border city in the world. Tourists can cross the border at the San Ysidro Port of Entry either by car or on foot (PedWest).
- There are excellent beaches both on the Pacific coast and on the Yucatan Peninsula (Riviera Maya).
- It is believed that the best surfing spots are on the west coast. For example: Ensenada (Baja California), Mazatlán (Sinaloa), Sayulita (Nayarit), Cuyutlán (Colima), Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.
- The best whale watching spots are on the Pacific coast of Mexico (and the Baja California Peninsula): Bahia de Banderas, Los Cabos, Sayulita, Rincon de Guayabitos, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos.