Puerto Escondido Mexico

Puerto Escondido is a town in Oaxaca, Mexico, known for its beaches and for being one of the top ten surfing meccas in the world. It was nonexistent as a tour destination until the 1960’s when they began to build highways connecting Puerto Escondido to other cities. The new infrastructure opened the way for visitors to find Puerto Escondido, and it didn’t take long before this little town’s best-kept secret became a tourist attraction - a trail of beautiful beaches from Zicatela Beach – host of major surfing competitions – to several other beaches with gentler waves.

In Puerto Escondido, visitors and locals alike gather at the city center on Pérez Gazga Avenue. The avenue features an eclectic string of hotels, cafes, nightclubs, shops, Internet cafes, tour operators and scuba diving outfitters. The avenue overlooks the town’s main beach, Playa Principal.

Things to Do in Puerto Escondido

Playa Zicatela
Playa Zicatela is the beach that draws an international crowd of surfers, body-boarders and their entourages. Mid to late summer is low season for tourists, but a prime time for waves and international tournaments. A rocky outcropping called “El Morro” separates this beach from the other beaches lying to the west. Lifeguards man this high-risk beach as well as the other beaches. Zicatela is truly a surfers beach, and its strong undertow makes the area unsafe for swimming.

Playa Marinero
The lighter surf and undertow here makes it a safer choice for swimmers. The Playa Marinero offers visitors morning offshore breezes enjoyed at beachfront palapas.

Playa Principal
Moving westward, we find the main beach, overlooked by Pérez Gazga Avenue. Playa Principal is where fishing boats, pleasure boats, and water-taxis are anchored close to its shore. This beach is a great “people watching” site, where at dawn fishermen come ashore to sell their catch of the day and both restaurateurs and families swarm the boats vying for the biggest fish.

At Playa Principal, visitors can hire tour boats to see porpoises, marine turtles, or to go deep-sea fishing. Visitors can also hire a water-taxi to take them to inaccessible beaches. Playa Principal offers a moderate surf, excellent for boogie boarding and bodysurfing.

Puerto Angelito
There are actually twin beaches here, separated by an outcropping of rock that is easily managed by foot. Family-run palapas serve soft drinks, local food, and fish grilled in the open air. Puerto Angelito is a sheltered cove that offers safe swimming.

Playa Carizzalillo
Farther west over steep rocky cliffs is the beach at Playa Carizzalillo. It’s a lesser-known cove that’s usually not crowded. This hidden jewel has bright, crystal clear turquoise water and gentle waves. It may be the safest beach for swimming, which can be arrived at in ½ hours time on foot, or it’s a short trip in a water-taxi.

Playa Bacocho
This westernmost beach features upscale beach clubs, soft sand, palm trees, warm, blue-green water and a moderate surf. Further west of Bacocho is undeveloped shoreline - as far as the eye can see there is nothing but turquoise water and sand.

Hotels and Restaurants in Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is mostly downscale and rustic, with many small and mid-sized hotels and restaurants, but there are a few upscale hotels. Most cuisine consists of local fare (includes recipes made with the areas eleven species of banana, chocolate and coffee) and fresh seafood.

How to Get To Puerto Escondido

Only domestic flights fly to Puerto Escondido International Airport, which discourages a number of visitors. However, there are ways to get there and if you are a swimmer or a surfer, it will be well worth the trip!

By Air
Mexicana has daily flights from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido International Airport. Some smaller airlines operate shuttle services from Oaxaca City.

By Bus
Several bus lines link Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido. Bus rides from the Oaxacan capital take seven hours (some are much longer, so be sure to compare bus lines and trip times carefully) over hairpin turns as the roads descend the Sierra del Sur mountain range.

By car
Driving to Puerto Escondido is not advised, unless you have experience with windy, poorly maintained mountain roads. Roads that connect Puerto Escondido to Acapulco and Oaxaca are narrow, twisting 2-lane roads, in poor condition.

Getting Around

  • Shared taxis from the Puerto Escondido airport are cheap.
  • Taxis are available, on both land and water.
  • Vehicle rentals – shop around in the city, some places are known to charge hefty car rental fees; motorcycles are rented at some of the agencies.
Spanish version of this page: Puerto Escondido

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