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Best Small Beach Towns in Mexico

Bike on a small beach town in Mexico
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There are many beautiful and popular cities in Mexico including some well-known places like Cabo, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen.

While these are great places to visit, they can be overcrowded, commercialized and can lack authenticity and culture because of the strips of hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Sometimes they make you feel like you never even left the USA, which isn’t a good thing.

If you truly want to experience Mexico, you might want to consider a quaint, beach town that is not full of large hotels. After all, there are some amazing small beach towns in Mexico

They can be a great alternative because you can enjoy boutique hotels, family-owned restaurants, and quiet beaches.

However, no matter where you go in Mexico you’ll enjoy the scenery and beautiful landscape it has to offer.

Top Small Beach Towns in Mexico 

Kitesurfers in El Cuyo

10. El Cuyo

Located on the Yucatan coast of Mexico, El Cuyo is a remote little beach town known as a great place for kitesurfing. It is also home to some great kitesurfing camps.

There are only a few hotels, restaurants, and other establishments in the town which gives it a purely laidback and tranquil vibe.

You’ll find quaint houses, and sandy streets, with little commercialization, and development. The few establishments that do exist close early and only open for a few hours each day.

This is because the people who live in El Cuyo truly enjoy the area and don’t want to waste their time working so they simply don’t. A great place to come to escape the hustle and bustle.

If you want to experience an authentic small Mexican town this is a great place to check out. If you love and nature and the simplicity of it then you will absolutely love it here.

However, if you’re someone who loves bars or going out, this definitely won’t be your favorite destination Mexico.

El Cuyo is also great for solo traveling because it’s small and easy to navigate. If you’re new to traveling alone this could be a great place to start.

Todos Santos, Mexico coastline

9. Todos Santos

In Baja California Sur, you’ll find Todos Santos on the peninsula that is separated from mainland Mexico by the Sea of Cortez.

While Cabo is arguably the most popular place on the peninsula and a resort town, it’s overcrowded and commercialized.

Todos Santos has worked hard to protect itself from over-tourism. The beach town has kept its ‘village’ feel and appearance.

The downtown has art galleries, small boutique hotels, and other tiny establishments that aren’t overly commercialized.

The people who live in Todos Santos work very hard to protect the area and advocate to keep its heritage whole.

You can also expect 355 days of sunlight, clean beaches, and a lack of large crowds in this coastal paradise. Sounds like my idea of a holiday.

Sunset in San Pancho, Mexico

8. San Pancho

San Pancho, also known as San Francisco, is located in the region of Nayarit in western Mexico. The quaint beach town is a cultural hub and a tranquil place to visit.

With Sayulita only a 25-minute drive away, you can experience the laid-back life in San Pancho and visit Sayulita for the bars and fun if you choose to.

There are only a few restaurants and hotels lining the main road and the rest is mainly undeveloped and beautiful.

Just a few thousand people live in San Pancho and there definitely aren’t very many crowds. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Playa San Pancho beach is never overpopulated.

Enjoy authentic cuisine and an amazing experience in this little beach town. It’s also known for its sunsets so be sure to head to the beach each night and gaze at the beautiful display.

This is practically the only time you’ll see a crowd of people and you may even hear clapping as the sun finally dips below the horizon. Consider San Pancho for your next Mexican destination. 

Pro Tip: Stay Here Hotel Casa San Panhco

Mazunte, Mexico

7. Mazunte

The Oaxaca region is often overlooked on the Pacific coast as a popular place to visit in Mexico.

This is because other coastal cities like Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos are more well known. This isn’t a bad thing though if you’re looking to get away from the main tourist attractions.

Mazunte is small and quaint with just a few establishments lining the main core downtown street. With little crowds, you can aimlessly walk the streets and enjoy the cultural environment.

The quiet and laidback world that is Mazunte makes it very attractive to visitors who want that experience.

Like all places on the coast in Mexico, you can find so much to do but sometimes the best thing of all is just relaxing with no plans.

Days spent in the ocean, on the beach, strolling the streets are days well spent and this can surely be accomplished in Mazunte. Feel free to get lost in the moment and wander around this little beach town. There is also some amazing surf nearby if you are into that sort of thing.

Bike on a small beach town in Mexico

6. Mahahual

Mahahual has a cruise port on the north end of the beach town which attracts tourists but the south side has kept its small-town vibe.

If you choose to visit Mahahual you should definitely consider staying on the south side. The water wades out away and stays waist deep for a good distance so it’s a great place to swim, especially with kids and families.

There is also seaweed and underwater plants in this area so it’s a great place to snorkel just offshore.

You can keep life pretty simple in Mahaual by relaxing, swimming, and trying authentic food or you can go on nearby excursions if that interests you.

It’s definitely a cool place to visit if you want the perfect mix between a touristy and less developed city. You can visit the north side for shops and additional restaurants and bars and stay on the south side for a more authentic experience. 

Pro Tip: Stay Here Noah Beach Hotel

Guy surfing in Puerto Escondido

5. Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido has been slowly gaining popularity as a great place to visit in Mexico, and one of the best surf spots in Mexico. For now, it’s still considered a small beach town worth visiting but it’s definitely becoming more touristy, so be warned.

The best time to visit is now before it becomes more commercialized. It’s also becoming known as a party destination. Zicatela beach is a popular surfing spot where surfing events like the World Surfing League’s Puerto Escondido Challenge are held.

There is a large boardwalk along Playa Principal beach in the center of town that is great for strolling along. With many boutique hotels to choose from, a plethora of authentic and quality restaurants, you will have a great time in Puerto Escondido.

Puerto Escondido has been able to stay away from over-tourism for now because it’s a bit more difficult to access. Get there before it’s too late.  

Bacalar, Mexico

4. Bacalar

Bacalar is located in the Quintana Roo Region and is a bit unique because it’s located on the lagoon rather than the ocean. But we felt that it deserved a spot on this list, for it’s beach-like vibe.

The Lagoon de Bacalar is often referred to as the Lagoon of Seven Colors because of its variety of turquoise blues.

Since it’s not right on the coast, it can often be overlooked as a vacation spot. This has allowed it to go under the radar and remain a great small town to visit in Mexico.

If you love staying on the water then this is a great alternative to the vast ocean. It’s beautiful, bright, and endearing.

You can enjoy the mangroves, affordable establishments, and authentic culture. While Quintana Roo is generally a popular region in Mexico among tourists, Bacalar has managed to keep quiet about its beauty. Besides enjoying the beautiful lagoon there is plenty to do here.

This is what keeps it enticing and exciting for travelers who want to get off the beaten path.

Troncones Beach in Mexico

3. Troncones 

Troncones is located in the Guerrero region of Mexico and is a very small beach town. It’s super low-key and definitely a hidden gem.

It is, however, known among surfers as having great breaks which are mainly where it gets any of its traffic from.

Ecotourism is also important to the town in order to protect its land and living organisms. There are many small boutique hotels in the town to choose from that range in luxury.

Under 1,000 people live in Troncones so it truly has that small-town feel. If that’s what you’re looking for, you can find it in this beach town!

Enjoy the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful sunsets and sunrises that occur here as well as the tranquility of this authentic Mexican place.

Yelapa, Mexico

2. Yelapa

Located in the state of Jalisco, Yelapa is on the western side of Mexico. Tequila originated from this region and is where it’s made to this day.

In Jalisco, you’ll find the popular town of Tequila that fans of the liquor love to visit. For a lesser well-known town in Jalisco, consider visiting Yelapa where you’ll find a beautiful beach getaway.

There are quaint and charming establishments and great boardwalks for pedestrians. It’s the perfect no-frills place to visit, especially if you just want to relax and enjoy a vacation in Mexico without overconsumption and over-commercialization.

Yelapa is the perfect place to visit away from the tourist crowds and typical popular locations. It’s perfect for a laidback visit to a small Mexican beach town.

Isla Holbox Beach

1. Isla Holbox

And finally, the number 1 small beach town in Mexico is Holbox. A tiny island off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula northwest of Cancun.

It’s 26 miles long but only one mile wide and full of unpaved sandy streets and golf carts in lieu of cars. The perfect place to travel and you want to remain barefoot the whole time.

The island is known for being colorful and less developed with affordable restaurants and hotels. You’ll also find beautiful murals and street art which makes for a postcard-perfect experience.

Even though this island is situated not too far from the likes of Cancun and other coastal cities, it’s truly off-the-beaten-path because it’s still not very well known among tourists and visitors alike.

It’s the perfect place to get away from the more touristy places along the coast and enjoy an isolated and authentic vacation. One of the best things to do in Holbox is to swim with whale sharks and enjoy a casual atmosphere. A bucket list item that everyone should do.

Final Conclusion

Mexico does have its fair share of popular and tourist beach towns throughout the country but since it’s a fairly large place it has more than enough small beach towns worth the visit.

If the resort community, chain restaurant, and over-commercialization aren’t for you, consider one of the 10 small beach towns on the list above.

You’ll love the laidback, authentic, and cultural environment that each of them possesses. Leaving the tourist crowds behind can be a rejuvenating experience to feel like you’re truly visiting a country and experiencing it to its fullest without tourist attractions.

Enjoy your time in Mexico and consider choosing a unique place to visit that may not have been on your radar beforehand. It’s bound to surpass any expectations that you may have had.

Most importantly, have fun and make the most of wherever you end up because it’ll be great. 

Do you have a small beach town in Mexico that is not on this list that you would like to share? Say so in the comments below.

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