Many people visit Mexico for its epic Mayan history, to explore the jungles, or to simply get involved with the endless festivals. One thing that pretty much all tourists to Mexico have in common is that they’ve got beaches on their itinerary. And with more than 9,000 km of coastline, there are lots of beaches to choose from and find one that suits you. But what do you do when you get there?
In this post, we’ll take a look at ten of the best water sports activities you can enjoy on the beaches in Mexico. Whether you’re living it up in Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, or chilling on the picturesque stretches of sand in Oaxaca, you’re sure to find exciting things to do on your beach vacation in Mexico.
When it comes to surfing in Mexico, you’ll want to cast your eyes over to the west coast. There are surfing spots all the way from Baja California in the north to Oaxaca in the south. Playa Ensenada attracts surfers from all over the world, and while the waters can be cold it offers some of the country’s best waves. Along the Jalisco Coast, you’ll find waves year-round, with the little town of Sayulita pulling guests from nearby Puerto Vallarta. Head as far down as Oaxaca for Puerto Escondido. While the name may mean hidden, the reality doesn’t quite live up to that!
Stand up Paddle Boarding
A cousin of surfing, stand up paddle boarding in its current form began in the 1940s in Hawaii (though it really does go back much further than that). From afar, it looks like a relaxed way to get across the water – but don’t be fooled, it’s still working on your body’s core muscles! As the fastest growing water sport in the world, you’ll see this more and more wherever you travel, but the best places in Mexico include Banderas Bay and Playa de Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta. At the latter, you may be SUPing alongside whales and dolphins! Don’t forget, you can bring your dog with you!
Another great way to work on your core and surround yourself with the therapeutic effects of water, sea kayaking is a wonderful way to see your closest Mexican Beach. With tour operators in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco (including many more) offering equipment rental and beginner lessons, even a newbie to the sport can enjoy this fun sport. You may even be able to reach down or look over the side of your kayak to see turtles, whales, or tropical fish.
While seeing turtles from above is a mesmerising and memorable experience, sometimes it’s just not enough. Luckily, there’s an alternative! Grab your mask and breathing tube for a spot of snorkelling. Both the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts offer epic opportunities to see wildlife you might not see anywhere else on earth such as wild dolphins, turtles, and needlefish. One of the best spots in Mexico for snorkelling is Cabo Pulmo – a marine park close to Los Cabos. You’ll meet sea lions, snorkel in a coral reef, and it’s also a great place to SUP.
For those who want to snorkel (or even scuba dive) but aren’t comfortable swimming, it may seem that you’re destined not to see what lurks underneath the Gulf of Mexico without looking at a TV screen. However, you might be surprised! Underwater walking (aka sea walking) is still a bit of a secret in some parts but with the aid of a diving helmet and a rope to hold onto, you can see everything that a snorkeller can enjoy safely.
Back out of the water now – parasailing is one of the most fun activities you can do on the beaches of Mexico. Unless you’re afraid of heights that is! You’ll be strapped to a parachute and the back of a speedboat. The faster the boat goes, the higher you’ll go, getting as high as hundreds of feet in the air. Though it’s not for the faint-hearted, the stunning views of the bays and beaches below are well worth the (almost non existent) risk!
One of the coolest and most thrilling activities you’ll ever try, flyboarding will give you the feeling of taking off and exploring the depths of the ocean within seconds of each other. Fixed to a platform by your feet, you’ll be propelled by a jet of water and feeling like you’re a true action hero!
It’d be easy to confuse flyboarding and kiteboarding – but this time it’s the kite that’s flying… Not you! You’ll be doing everything you can to keep your feet on the board and balance yourself – wonderful for your muscles. Check out Bahia de La Ventana, Tulum, and Isla Holbox for the best kiteboarding destinations in Mexico.
If you don’t feel like we’ve shown you enough ways to get your pulse racing on your trip to Mexico, here’s just one more – jet skiing! Skip across the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico while the water sprays against your face. In Puerto Vallarta, you’re able to stop off at islands off the coast and explore the jungle-like surroundings too. The great thing about jetskiing is that you can combine it with other activities like snorkelling and swimming at beaches that the vast majority of tourists won’t be able to get to.
Swimming with whale sharks and turtles
Okay, you can count this with snorkelling but we felt it deserved an extra mention since you can get up close to the world’s largest fish. From May to September, these gentle giants grace Mexico’s Caribbean Coast, and they’re not fazed by a few visitors tagging along as they search for plankton. It’s not just whale sharks that call this part of the world home, you can also swim and snorkel with turtles. A real bucket list experience!