Small, swimable Mexican beach town?

Nov 26th, 2017, 04:18 PM
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Join Date: May 2003
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Small, swimable Mexican beach town?


I am looking into a Spring 2018 (late March/early April) vacation for my family of 4 and am very confused. We love beautiful beaches, and like to swim in the water, but we are not interested in staying at a resort unless it is located in a little town we can get into easily. We would love to be able to walk around a pretty little town, and visit some ruins (we don't mind renting a car or riding a bus). But, we want to avoid big party towns and resort towns. We would like to eat at local restaurants rather than being limited to hotel restaurants.

I was looking into Tulum and the Yucatán, but read that there has been a huge influx of seaweed on the beaches in recent years. I read that it stinks and sometimes makes it hard to swim in the water.

I was also looking at flying into San Jose Del Cabo (because I could get a good deal on flights) hoping to find a smaller town near there where we could stay, but then I read that the water in that area is too rough to swim in.

I looked at Mazunte, but it seems like all of the lodging here is booked or for adults only, or can't accommodate 4 people in a room. Any other suggestions along the Oxacan coast?

I thought of trying someplace along the Gulf of Mexico but read that there are not nice beaches along here and the water is not clear. Not sure if that is true.

After several hours of research, I am still confused. Help!
daria is offline  
Nov 27th, 2017, 05:31 AM
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The seaweed problem near Tulum is pretty much over. Of course things can always change. Here is a link to a webcam:

The beaches on the Mexican Caribbean are some of the best anywhere. As for smaller beach towns, look at Akumal, Tulum and Puerto Morelos. They all have their own flavor.

For more info on the Mexican Caribbean, the locogringo web site is a good place to start.
zootsi is offline  
Nov 27th, 2017, 08:03 AM
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There was a lot of seaweed on the beach when we were in Tulum last March, but it didn't smell at all, nor did it stop anyone from going in the water. It just wasn't very attractive (and the beaches in Tulum certainly are that - they're beautiful). Glad to hear it's a thing of the past, but even if it weren't, it wouldn't stop me from going there again.
sf7307 is online now  
Nov 27th, 2017, 08:07 AM
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There was a lot of seaweed on the beach when we were in Tulum last March, but it didn't smell at all, nor did it stop anyone from going in the water. It just wasn't very attractive (and the beaches in Tulum certainly are that - they're beautiful). Glad to hear it's a thing of the past, but even if it weren't, it wouldn't stop me from going there again.
sf7307 is online now  
Nov 27th, 2017, 11:07 AM
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If visiting ruins is a must, that somewhat limits your choices. I am not aware of them on the Baja?? Or the west Pacific coast.
suze is online now  
Nov 27th, 2017, 12:28 PM
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Look at Akumal or Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres, I love Tulum but it can get wavy at times. Akumal and Tulum are in a good location for visiting ruins, cenotes, eco parks, etc. None are big party towns.
The major sargassum invasion was in 2015 and Feb. 2016.
jamie99 is online now  
Nov 27th, 2017, 01:13 PM
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Chelem? Progreso? No seaweed that I know of and the beaches seem very swimmable. Not a far drive/bus/uber from Merida.
ginger50 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2017, 05:35 PM
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A good part of the Oaxaca coast is not ideal for swimming, one exception being Huatulco, with I think 9 bays and numerous secluded beaches, some accessible only by boat. The small town of La Crucecita is authentic enough for a tourist area and hardly party central, but good for walking around. Plenty of restaurants of all sorts, plus food stalls in the market.
There are indeed some minor ruins nearby, those of Copalita, like 10 k from town. They are older than those in the Yucatan, but not as impressive visually. But not packed with tourists, either. Large variety of lodging available. If you haven't investigated the area, here's a couple of good links:
baldone is online now  
Nov 27th, 2017, 06:00 PM
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On the Pacific coast I would suggest Rincon de Guayabitos, where we were last week, no ruins but one of the few places in the Banderas bay that has a pretty nice beach, plenty of restaurants , condos, hotels and nice to walk around.
On the Yucatan peninsula, it has already been mentioned to try out Puerto Morelos, which is close to the small ruins in Cancún, and the bigger better known ruins in Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza for a day tour.
You might also consider Puerto Aventuras, 15 minutes south of Playa Carmen...I kept it for last because I truly feel that this closed gate community will meet all of your requirements mentioned here above. Great beach (Fatima bay), lots of restaurants around the dolphins swimming area, only 4 small all inclusive hotels and several hundred private and commercial condos to rent. This is a great place to walk around with the kidsi at anytime, you can rent a golf cart to get around, rent bicycles for touring, a quick round of golf or tennis and so much more...
I would try contacting the Blue Caribbean rental office in Puerto Aventuras and rent a unit in the Chac Hal Al units, which is right on the beach... ask for Rosa or Kirk .
Rohelio is online now  
Nov 27th, 2017, 06:47 PM
Original Poster
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Wow, thank you all so much! This is so helpful. I am looking into your suggestions.
daria is offline  
Nov 28th, 2017, 09:11 AM
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Except Ricon de Guayabitos is not even in the Bay of Banderas.

It is on the Pacific Ocean. From the tip where Punta de Mita is located towns north of that are actually facing the ocean not the bay.
suze is online now  
Nov 30th, 2017, 10:17 AM
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I second Isla Mujeres.

Regarding the Progreso suggestion - it's a nice little town but I wouldn't consider going there for a beach vacation. It's worth a day trip or an overnight from Merida. The beach isn't the best.
tom42 is online now  
Dec 7th, 2017, 12:48 PM
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BTW, the beaches in Tulum are beautiful - the pueblo is fun, but not a "pretty little town"
sf7307 is online now  
Dec 19th, 2017, 02:22 PM
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I’ll second Tulum and Isla Mujeres. Much of Cabo is too rough to go in, but the swimming is excellent in downtown Cabo San Lucas. Of course, that’s also where the restaurants and bars are. There was also good swimming and snorkeling along the corridor at Bahia Santa Maria.

Another thought: I stayed at the Barcelo just south of Puerto Vallarta a few years ago. It’s a resort, but it’s not a mega-resort. Mismaloya is where they filmed Night of the Iguana and you can still see the remains of the set along the beach. I thought the setting was pretty spectacular. It was away from the crowds in puerto Vallarta but an easy bus or taxi ride into town. I remember the water being real calm the first day or two but then getting really rough. I was there in January/early February.
andrews98682 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2017, 06:56 AM
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Forget Mazunte anyway..water can be very rough and more drownings occur there than at most other beaches in the nation.

Actually, I'd lie to find the same place you are looking for! I've been to most of the Mexican beach areas and overall, Yucatan east coast is best for the flat water, although as noted above, you can find some good swimming in and around Huatulco if you hit it right.

Mismaloya, too.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 6th, 2018, 07:46 PM
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Can I add Zihuatanejo to the list? It's on the Pacific, so not the aqua-blue of the Caribbean side, but it's in a very protected bay. It's also got a cool town with beachside restaurants, a market and a boardwalk from town to the nearest beach.
You can watch the fishermen bring in their catch in the morning. It has a Mexican village flavor.

Most of the accommodation is locally-owned small hotels/apartments. High-rises are banned.

It's been a long while since I've been there so you might want to check with people who have been there more recently.
geenance is offline  
Jan 17th, 2018, 11:28 AM
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Puerto Morelos has a gorgeous beach (from which the seaweed is removed on a fairly regular basis), the water is calm since it's sheltered by the coral reef offshore, and there's tons of condos to rent and good places to eat, and it's a real town and still an active fishing village. We just spent a week there over Christmas and are already making plans to spend next holiday there as well.
RAC is offline  
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