It’s just like being forced to pick a favorite child, when considering which of Mexico’s many beautiful and rich beach locations is the best of the best. But someone’s got to try. Consider this face off between vintage, retro-glamorous Mexico (Puerto Vallarta, the haunt of celebrities like Dick and Liz), and new, barefoot-glamorous Mexico (Tulum, the haunt of paparazzi-escaping celebrities). It’s a Pacific versus Caribbean battle: Which is your favorite?
The classic Hollywood hideaway on the cobalt Pacific
1. Sexy Stay
Once a love nest for Burton and Taylor, Casa Kimberly is now an intimate hotel with the same blue-tiled pool where Dick and Liz lounged. Rates start at $290.
2. Hidden Beach
With its tawny cove, tiny village, strolling pie-sellers, and local penchant for raicilla (turbocharged mezcal), dreamy Yelapa beach is a breezy 30-minute boat ride away.
On Vallarta Adventures’s luxe catamaran trip to Las Caletas (accessible only by boat), indulge in snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
The New Wave wellness escape on the turquoise Caribbean
2. Hidden Beach
All of Tulum’s strands are essentially perfect, but the jungle-guarded shores of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve to the south are the area’s best-kept-secret treasure.
3. Water, Baby
When on the Yucatán, go cenote swimming. Dos Ojos Park, 20 minutes north of Tulum by car, has six pools to explore and rents diving equipment.
4. Sexy Stay
Palm-shaded and right on the beach, Casa Malca stands out among Tulum’s thatched-roof beauties with its contemporary design and art. Rates start at $460.
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