Caribbean Coast

Busking mariachi bands. Jungle-clad ruins. Chilli-fuelled enchiladas. Mexico’s Caribbean Coast serves up a concentrated hit of the lot, with a side-order of white-sand beaches. The big name here is Cancun, where the nightlife is legendary.

Southern Belles

Things are a bit calmer further down the coast on the hip beaches of Playa del Carmen, and in the exclusive beach resort of Playacar. Running from Playacar down to laid-back town of Tulum is the Riviera Maya – home to the must-see Mayan ruins.

Pacific Coast

The pick of the beaches on Mexico’s Pacific Coast are backed by green mountains and curved around Banderas Bay – a giant pool of blue-tinted water with Puerto Vallarta city at its heart. The city has one of the country’s best restaurant scenes, plus chic boutiques and a promenade made for strolling.

Sandy Retreats

North of Puerto Vallarta city is Nuevo Vallarta, where a cluster of plush beachside hotels serve up solitude and snorkelling. Trace the bay’s coastline further and you’ll find the pretty and peaceful beachfront village, Punta de Mita.

Riviera Maya

Last but not least, there’s the Riviera Maya, which runs from Playacar down to laid-back town of Tulum. This part of the coast lures holidaymakers with its luxe hotels, silky sands and must-see Mayan ruins.

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Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya doesn’t mess about. Set on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, this place has carved itself a big slice of the action with a whopping 30 kilometres of coastline. And it’s staked out its territory well, taking in lively Playa del Carmen and quieter Punta Allen as its own. Whatever patch you’re on, you’ll get world-class beaches and as many Mayan ruins as you can handle.


Cancun is a huge personality on the northeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, taking 4 million visitors comfortably in its stride. The place is packed out with bars, restaurants and mega-clubs, but it’s not just a magnet for the 24-hour party crowd. Wrapped all the way round the Hotel Zone, you’ve got a whopping 22-kilometre stretch of sand.


As resorts go, Playacar is one exclusive number on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, about an hour’s drive south of Cancun. What you’ve got here is a gated community with a select group of hotels and condos. The place has its own private beaches and an 18-hole championship golf course – and when you want to get out and about, hip Playa del Carmen is right on the doorstep.

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Top 5 resorts in Mexico

Top 5 hotels in Mexico

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