Surfer Tanner Hendrickson catches a wave at the 2013 Surf Open Acapulco event. // © 2014 Surf Open Acapulco
For many people, summer is prime vacation time, when thoughts turn to lazy days on sun-soaked sandy beaches. Mexico’s Pacific Coast is the ideal place for a variety of outdoor activities this summer. Here are a few ideas to get the imagination flowing through the end of the season.
The southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula is graced with several picturesque places to enjoy the sun and sand. Among the most lovely is Lover’s Beach, an isolated place near the much-photographed Arch of Cabo San Lucas. Visitors can hop on a boat to get to this tranquil paradise where snorkeling and sunbathing are a big draw, or they can walk from the centrally located Medano Beach area.
Also worth checking out is Chileno Beach, where the conditions are excellent for snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddlleboarding (SUP) and other water sports.
One of the first Pacific beach destinations in Mexico to attract West Coast vacationers from the U.S., Mazatlan continues to delight with its sunny array of summertime activities.
Tourism experts say that Sabalo Beach is Mazatlan's top beach during the summer months, since the three large islands that sit just off the coast there help to keep the surf gentle and welcoming. The wide stretch of sand is great for relaxing (and convenient to many hotels). Visitors seeking a bit more excitement can try out jet skiing, windsurfing, parachuting, sailing, sea kayaking and sport fishing.
Located just north of Puerto Vallarta, the Riviera Nayarit has built a great reputation with travelers in just a few short years. With nearly 200 miles of coastline, it’s an obvious choice for anyone looking to spend some time in the sun.
Among the region’s collection of noteworthy beaches is Punta Mita, which is set against the backdrop of a former fishing village. The beach itself is rather rocky, but the water conditions are excellent for surfing and snorkeling. A Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course provides unique views from hole 3B, which is located on its own island. Punta Mita is also a good base for heading off to destinations like the Marietas Islands, a grouping of two islands and two islets that make up a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The postcard-perfect Sayulita Beach is another Riviera Nayarit hotspot. It has jungle-meets-the-sea scenery and an array of seaside cafes and restaurants. Beach vendors make it easy to sample fresh, locally caught seafood and other delicacies. Surfers love the challenging waves here while beachcombers will find lots of interesting seashells that those waves bring to the shore.
The Sun Triangle
The group of destinations known as The Sun Triangle — or Triangulo del Sol in Spanish — serves up lots of sunny excitement during the summer.
The annual Surf League Open Mexico takes place of the coast of four beaches within the triangle: Acapulco, Troncones, Ixtapa and Papanoa Bay. One of the highest-profile events is the Surf Open Acapulco, which takes place on Revolcadero Beach in Acapulco’s Diamante zone July 5 to 12. The competition will attract more than 150 professional surfers from 30 different countries who compete for a chance to win a $100,000 cash prize. Surf Open Acapulco also features motocross exhibitions, a surf clinic, outdoor movie screenings and live musical concerts.
Caleta Beach in Acapulco is another lively stretch of sand where visitors can parasail, jet ski, kayak, snorkel and practice their stand-up paddleboarding skills.
Playa La Ropa in the Sun Triangle’s Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo was recently named one of Mexico’s top 10 best beaches by TripAdvisor’s 2014 Traveler’s Choice Awards. With its excellent swimming conditions and gentle waves, Playa La Ropa is a great place for swimming, water sports and sunbathing.