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Mexico's 10 best seaside hideaways

By Larry Bleiberg
Verana on Costa Alegre offers eight guest houses with ocean views.
Verana on Costa Alegre offers eight guest houses with ocean views.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Villas Paraíso del Mar offers a peaceful, rustic retreat on Isla Holbox
  • Verana on Costa Alegre is a perfect jumping off point for a day trip to the deserted Marietas Islands
  • Todos Santos Inn on the Baja Peninsula transports guests to old Mexico
RELATED TOPICS
  • Travel and Tourism
  • Mexico
  • Tourism

(Coastal Living) -- From the aquamarine waters of the Mayan Riviera to the secluded beaches of Costa Alegre, sun, sand, and serenity are just a short flight away.

Maroma Resort & Spa, Solidaridad (Mayan Riviera)

Seclusion factor: You reach this 65-room resort by turning down an unmarked dirt road off Highway 307. Surrounded by 200 acres of jungle preserve, it fronts a stunning powder-sand beach. Every night the hotel twinkles with hundreds of candles. The Kinan spa draws on Mayan and Zen concepts with 30 types of treatments and a rooftop meditation pavilion overlooking the sea.

What makes it special: Dine above it all with a private meal in the hotel's observation tower, offering 360-degree views of your slice of paradise.

Cost: from $395 per night through December 21, from $765 high season; 866/454-9351 or maromahotel.com

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Villas Paraíso del Mar, Isla Holbox

Seclusion factor: You take a ferry or boat to reach the island -- look for porpoises on the way. Be ready for a rustic atmosphere. Streets are sand, so no one is in a hurry. Sign up for the biggest attraction: tours to see pods of whale sharks, which thrive offshore.

What makes it special: Here, you'll find no nightclubs or crowds. Above all else, Holbox is a fishing village. You can't find fresher snapper, lobster, or ceviche. For dessert, wander into Helados Maresa, a private home that doubles as an ice-cream parlor.

Cost: from $100 per night; 011/52/984/875-2062 or holbox-island.com

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Verana, Yelapa (Costa Alegre)

Seclusion factor: You reach the resort via a 30-minute taxi ride from Puerto Vallarta to Boca de Tomatlán, a 30-minute boat ride, and a walk through a village and up a path to a seaside cliff. No worries -- a mule will haul your luggage.

What makes it special: Ask the kitchen to pack a picnic for a day trip to the deserted Marietas Islands. The nature preserve is home to whales and rare birds like the blue-footed booby.

Cost: from $320 per night (five-night minimum), plus $80 daily per person for meals; 866/687-9358 or verana.com

El Tamarindo, Costa Alegre

Seclusion factor: With two miles of coast and only a few dozen guests, you won't have to angle for beach space. Schedule a private dinner on the pier.

What makes it special: Arrange for a temazcal, an ancient purifying treatment involving a mud bath and sweat lodge on the beach.

Cost: from $650 per night; 866/717-4316 or eltamarindoresort.com

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Las Alamandas, Costa Alegre

Seclusion factor: Having just 14 suites on 1,500 acres guarantees a crowd-free vacation. Have the staff saddle up a horse for a mile-long sunset gallop on the beach.

What makes it special: Two villas, Casa del Domo and Casa Isabel, recently underwent extensive renovations, adding luxuries like private pools and double showers with an ocean view.

Cost: from $488 per night; 011/52/322/285-5500 or lasalamandas.com

Esperanza, Cabo San Lucas (Baja Peninsula)

Seclusion factor: Spa suites, Palapa Casitas, have thatched roofs and private infinity-edge hot tubs.

What makes it special: Sip through a tequila tasting class and learn the nuances of agave. The resort stocks more than 100 varieties.

Cost: from $675 per night; 866/311-2226 or esperanzaresort.com

Todos Santos Inn, Todos Santos (Baja Peninsula)

Seclusion factor: Once inside the brick-and-adobe interior, you're transported to old Mexico. Each of the antique beds is swathed in mosquito netting, bringing a dreamy ambience.

What makes it special: Take a painting class and capture Baja's warm light on canvas.

Cost: from $125 per night; 011/52/612/145-0040 or todossantosinn.com

Agua Azul la Villa, Huatulco

Seclusion factor: Within an upscale residential neighborhood, Agua Azul la Villa is close to town -- but not too close.

What makes it special: Canadians Brooke and Rick Gazer's quiet B&B has just six bedrooms and sweeping Pacific views. You'll find restaurants and diversion nearby in the still unspoiled town of Huatulco. Or just stay here and enjoy the beach. See Huatulco's nine bays from the sea on the Luna Azul, a 44-foot sailboat offering private tours.

Cost: from $119 per night; 011/52/958/581-0265 or bbaguaazul.com

La Casa Que Canta, Zihuatanejo

Seclusion factor: Children under 16 aren't allowed. Couples can expect quiet and privacy.

What makes it special: On cliffs above the Pacific, La Casa Que Canta (The House that Sings) puts you above it all. Larger suites come with private pools; villas include a chef and butler. Plan one dinner on the terrace overlooking the crashing waves of Zihuatanejo Bay.

Cost: from $490 per night; 888/523-5050 or http://www.lacasaquecanta.com/

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