While some recent news regarding Mexico tourism has been less than favorable, with travel warnings in place and sargassum plaguing some popular beaches. it’s important to remember that the country is huge.
Traveling around Mexico is considered to be lower risk than people might be led to believe, and some destinations are comparably safer than others.
In fact, Mexico is the perfect country to embrace this new trend of work-cation or hush trips. The laid-back atmosphere and low-cost lifestyle can help those who are working to fully embrace their time there.
Mexico has about 7,000 miles of coastline, and beaches include the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. The country is estimated to have about 500 beaches, not including endless wild shorelines and private lands.
Some of Mexico’s shorelines are more popular than others, of course, and the popular ones are only getting more crowded each year. It’s reported that in 2022 over 18 million tourists flocked to the popular Yucatán peninsula, visiting the famous beaches of Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Although this area has seen an increase in both crime and sargassum seaweed across its beaches, neither seems to deter tourists hopeful to lounge the day away on the white sand.
While Mexico’s famous beaches deserve their hype, there are many other more low-key options across the country to explore. For those of you who are looking for a more laid-back and off-the-beaten-path beach destination in Mexico, here are 5 of the county’s lesser-known beaches.
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Located in the state of Guerrero, Troncones is an uncrowded and undeveloped village along the beach. You can find this quiet town about 280 km north of Acapulco, and the fact that the area has not been commercialized has led to a safe and quiet experience for tourists who venture here.
The closest airport for this area is Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, which is located about 45 minutes away, although most major airlines only fly this route a few times a week, so planning ahead is important.
Established as a farming community in the 1970s the village has now morphed into a secret surf town, although farming and fishing are both still very much alive here. The waves are good, the locals friendly, and the beaches unspoiled, all reasons to check out this relatively unknown beach town.
Also found in the state of Guerrero, Zihuatanejo (or Zihua as its lovingly referred to) is known to many as a paradise on the Pacific. While it’s much more well-known than Troncones, it’s still quite undiscovered amongst tourists from abroad.
The neighboring Ixtapa has been going in popularity, and cruise ships now stop here often. Due to this reason, Zihua has been becoming less and less of a secret, although most of the town has held on to its small-town historic appeal.
There are a lot of opportunities to embrace the local culture here, from wandering the narrow cobblestone streets to exploring the fish market. Once you experience the charm of Zihuatanejo, you’ll understand why it was the dream destination for Andy and Red in The Shawshank Redemption.
Playa Zicatela and Playa Carrizalillo, Oaxaca
Heading to the state of Oaxaca for the next destination, Playa Zicatela can be found just next to the up-and-coming Puerto Escondido. This area has been a secret to tourists in the past, although it’s gained more and more attention since digital nomads have begun calling Puerto Escondido home.
Playa Zicatela might be relatively unknown to tourists, but it’s no secret amongst surfers in the know. The beach is famous for its big swells along the surf break, although the strong currents do make this area unsafe for swimming. Those who are looking to spend the day at a more secluded cove beach can head to the nearby calmer waters of Playa Carrizalillo.
Playa Balandra, La Paz
Located in the state of Baja California Sur, one of the most beautiful beaches you can find is hidden just outside of La Paz and reachable by about a 30-minute drive. The port city of La Paz has been a favorite amongst the more intrepid tourists for years, although its popularity never exploded like other beach destinations in this area. The area of La Paz offers many secret beaches, undeveloped and yours to explore.
While some of these secluded areas remain a bit difficult to reach, the views and solitude amongst the waves will be worth it. Play el Coyoate, Playa Candelero, and Playa Muertitos are all worth a visit, although it’s the white sand coves of Playa Balandra that remain the best-kept secret in the area. Grab a rental car and hit the dirt roads to reach Playa Balandra, and spend the day wading in the calm coves and relaxing in the clear water.
In the state of Jalisco, you can find many world-famous beach destinations, such as Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, and Mismaloya. Although these are all stunning and lively beaches, there are however some more lesser-known beaches to check out here as well. Take a 45-minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta and find yourself in the unique and secluded beach village of Yelapa.
Here you will not see cars but mules on the street carrying the locals to and from. Full of family-run restaurants and guesthouses, Yelapa is a place that’s seemingly frozen in time. Stay for the crystal clear, calm water, and lie on the warm golden sand. While you can reach Yelapa on a day trip from Puerto Vallarta, why not stay a while and immerse yourself for a few days in this off-the-tourist track experience?
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com