Last Updated on April 3, 2021
If you’re headed to Oaxaca, its Pacific coast beaches are the perfect way to end your trip – or as a destination in and of themselves. In particular the Puerto Escondido beaches offer many opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and even sea turtle conservation.
Puerto Escondido is a port town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, in the state of Oaxaca. It’s still relatively quiet and laid back, and is popular for its beach bars, surf breaks, nightlife, and calm swimming coves. Many people know Puerto Escondido as just a surf destination. But its many beaches and activities offer something for every traveler to the area, wrapped in the atmosphere of an authentic Mexican beach town.
In this guide I’ll share all the tips you need to plan your trip to Puerto Escondido, including where to stay. I recommend choosing one beach as your home base, then exploring others on day trips. Read on for the best Puerto Escondido beaches, hotels, and things to do for your Puerto Escondido itinerary!
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Short on Time? Pin these tips for later and check out Puerto Escondido’s best places to stay
My favorites at all price points later in this guide.
- Boutique budget stay in Zicatela: Casa de Olas Boutique Hotel
- Hotel with the best view: Villas Carrizalillo
- Luxury adults-only stay west of Puerto Escondido: Hotel Escondido
- Rental apartment for up to 4 guests: Casa Caitlin
- Luxury vacation stay with pool & view for up to 10: Oceanfront 5-bedroom home
In this Travel Guide to Puerto Escondido Oaxaca
Playa Principal | Playa Marinero | Playa Zicatela | Playa La Punta | Playa Puerto Angelito | Playa Manzanillo | Playa Carrizalillo | Playa Bacocho | Hotel Escondido | Planning Tips | Best Things to do in Puerto Escondido
Playa Principal & Playa Marinero, Puerto Escondido
As you might guess from the name, Playa Principal is the main beach in Puerto Escondido. It’s located in Bahia Principal, Puerto Escondido’s central bay, which is home to Puerto Escondido’s fleet of fishing boats, as well as beach bars and restaurants. Playa Marinero is right next to this beach within the same cove.
“El Adoquín” is the main avenue of Puerto Escondido which runs parallel to Playa Principal. It’s lined with a variety of nightlife options, including bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops. During the day, cars are permitted here, but at night it becomes a long pedestrian walkway This is one of the few (if not only) places in Puerto Escondido where you can find an ATM.
Playa Marinero is a place for sunbathing and bodyboarding, with a little bit cleaner waters than the busy Playa Principal. I recommend visiting this area during your trip, but staying at one of the other beaches, for better hotel and restaurant options.
Playa Zicatela: Surfing & Nightlife in Puerto Escondido
Located adjoining Playa Marinero, Playa Zicatela is a long, wide beach with a surf break, beach bars, and restaurants.
During the day, Zicatela’s waves make it one of the top 10 surfing destinations in the world. Its wide beach, lined with hotels, bars and restaurants, is the heart of Puerto Escondido. You don’t have to go far to grab a great meal, find a cold drink, and have some fun at the many beach bars and restaurants of Zicatela.
Zicatela is not a swimming beach because of the strong waves and currents. But it’s easy and inexpensive to catch a taxi to other PE beaches like Carrizalillo, Angelito or Manzanillo for an afternoon.
Where to Stay near Playa Zicatela
$ One Love Hostal
Dorms and rooms 500 feet from Zicatela Beach with an outdoor pool, restaurant and bar
$ Casa Daikiri
Guesthouse with dorm beds and private rooms, shared kitchen, and pool
$$ Casa de Olas Boutique Hotel
Adults-only accommodations with a bar, a shared lounge and a garden, with breakfast included
$$$ Casa Alegria
Private villa for 10 with resort pool and bar access
Where to Eat near Playa Zicatela
El Cafecito, Cafe Ole or Elephant Garden for breakfast or brunch. Jardin Escondido for sunset drinks. El Coste Cevicheria, Mar and Wanu, Tribu Restaurante or Fresh Restaurant & Lounge.
Playa La Punta: Surfing & Chilled Out in Puerto Escondido
La Punta (sometimes referred to as Playa Punta Zicatela or Brisas Zicatela) is another great Oaxaca beach option, the southernmost section of Playa Zicatela. La Punta’s smaller waves make it better for less experienced surfers. It’s also perfect for travelers looking for a chill yet up-and-coming vibe with bars and restaurants on the beach. Locals say that it’s what Puerto Escondido was like 20 years ago, so later you can be one of the ones to say “Oh, I’ve been staying in La Punta forever…”
It’s a 20-30 minute walk down the beach to the main section of Zicatela, but it’s best to make the walk during the daytime. (As a safety precaution, it’s best to take a taxi or use lighted sidewalks instead of walking down unlit beaches at night.)
Where to Stay Near La Punta
$ Bikini Beach House
Simple hotel with beach access and private balconies on the main strip in La Punta
$$ Punta Zicatela Hotel
Beachfront hotel with a rooftop terrace restaurant, beach chairs for guests, and AC
Where to Eat Near La Punta
Playa Puerto Angelito & Playa Manzanillo: Family-Friendly Beaches with Snorkeling in Puerto Escondido
Looking for a family-friendly swimming beach in Puerto Escondido? Puerto Angelito is a calm, protected cove perfect for swimming, paddleboarding, and even snorkeling. Local families like this beach, and you can also take boat trips from here to see sea turtles and dolphins in season.
This beach is in the same bay right next to Playa Manzanillo, which has a similar laid-back vibe but is less crowded. It’s best to bring cash for the restaurants and amenities at both beaches.
Where to Stay Near Puerto Angelito Beach & Manzanillo Beach
There aren’t many hotels close to these beaches. For more options, check out the hotels of nearby Playa Carrizalillo.
$ Villa Mango Hostal
Bright hostel with friendly vibe and fun activities
$$ Casa Caitlin
Airbnb 2-bedroom house with a balcony and lovely views
$$$ Oceanfront 5-Bedroom House
5-bedroom luxury rental home with infinity pool and stunning view
Where to Eat Near Playas Puerto Angelito & Manzanillo
Smoked Fish Taco has stellar tacos. Los Buzos and Mi Último Amor are some of the better beach bars. Plus, check out the restaurants of nearby neighborhood La Rinconanda near Playa Carrizalillo (below).
Playa Carrizalillo: Protected Cove with a View in a Quiet Neighborhood of Puerto Escondido
Playa Carrizalillo is a another quiet beach in a protected cove, with calm turquoise water. This beach is a perfect stay for someone who wants to be able to swim and paddleboard, and even learn to surf. Getting there is a bit of a chore: it’s 157 stone steps down from the parking lot to beach level. Luckily, it’s worth it, and there are thatch-roofed beach bars with beers and tacos to help you gather strength for the return trip!
To use beach loungers with umbrellas here, you’ll be expected to spend around 200 MX in food and drink (less than $10 US); tables are a little less. Bring cash for the beach bars. You can rent bodyboards, surfboards and paddleboards here and also take surfing lessons.
The full-service restaurants in La Rinconada neighborhood are stellar, making Playa Carrizalillo a great match for beach-loving foodies who want a quiet stay. Plus you can always grab a taxi to other beaches for a day trip or evening out.
Where to Stay near Playa Carrizalillo
$ Cielito Lindo Suites
Bright apartments with kitchenettes plus a pool, less than 10 minutes’ walk to Playa Carrizalillo
$$ Suites La Hacienda
Charming rooms and suites with a pool in a lush jungle setting. I stayed here and recommend it as a quiet stay close to great restaurants
$$$ Villas Carrizalillo
Boutique hotel with dramatic views, pool, stylish rooms and upscale restaurant. Breakfast is included, and their restaurant has the best view of the beach.
$$$ Luxury Oceanfront Home with Pool
Casa Junto Al Mar is a luxury Puerto Escondido vacation rental that sleeps up to 20. With sweeping panoramic views, an infinity pool, and private path to the beach.
Where to Eat Near Playa Carrizalillo
You’re in luck here, because the La Rinconanda neighborhood has a ton of great options! Don’t miss Espadin at Villas Carrizalillo for the view of the beach, or Estrellas Gourmet for sunset drinks and dinner at least once during your stay. Try El Cafecito for breakfast/brunch. And also check out Turtle Bay, Almoraduz, Metxcalli or El Nene.
Playa Bacocho: Secluded Beach with Sea Turtles & in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido’s Playa Bacocho is an idyllic, quiet beach with a big bonus: a sea turtle conservation group here releases baby turtles at sunset during hatchling season. Learn more about sea turtle conservation efforts in Oaxaca here.
Playa Bacocho is the perfect Oaxaca beach for travelers who want to lounge on the beach, relax by the resort pool, or stroll along the long stretch of golden sand. The setting is the draw of this beautiful beach, as the hotels here and their restaurants have mostly average reviews.
For day trippers, Club de Cocos and Villasol are beach clubs that offer beach and pool access with a minimum food and drink spend (around $10 US). It’s easiest to get here by taxi.
Playa Bacocho is not good for swimming, due to strong rip currents. Instead, follow the rocky path at the southern end of the beach to find the calmer and even more secluded Playa Coral.
Where to Stay Near Playa Bacocho
$$ Hotel and Suites Villasol
Simple, modern hotel with restaurant, bar, pool and shuttle to its beach club
$$ Posada Real Puerto Escondido
Beachfront hotel with 2 pools, beach club and restaurants
Where to Eat at Playa Bacocho
Pez Gallo, at the beach club for Hotel Villasol, is the best place on the beach for sunset.
More Puerto Escondido Vacation Rentals
Hotel Escondido & Playa Roca Blanca
Set on a serene and secluded beach about 45 minutes from Puerto Escondido, Hotel Escondido has rustic yet chic palapa bungalows overlooking a pool and beach. This is the beach for you if you want to truly disconnect in a sophisticated setting. Spend your days lounging and surfing, or take a day trip to the nearby Laguna de Manialtepec or artist collective Casa Wabi. Hotel Escondido is remote, so expect to have your meals at the hotel restaurant with an ocean view. Or rent a car to get around.
There are also many off-grid luxury rentals here on this secluded stretch of beach.
Where to stay Near Hotel Escondido
$$$ Hotel Escondido
Eco-chic, adults-only luxury beach resort with restaurant and pool
$$$ Off Grid Adobe Domes with Pool
Artistic off-the-grid adobe house with pool for up to 6
$$$$ Villa Altanera
Sophisticated beachfront villa with private pool directly on the beach for up to 10
More Off-Grid Puerto Escondido Stays
Puerto Escondido Planning Tips
If you’re headed to Puerto Escondido, be sure to grab these tips for planning your trip!
Best Time to Visit Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is a year-round destination for beach and sun lovers. Its dry season is from December to April, and sees more rain from May to November. The busiest time to visit is January through May or October through December. If you want to avoid crowds, try not to visit during holidays like Christmas, Semana Santa (the holy week leading up to Easter), and Dia de los Muertos (end of October/first of November).
There are annual surfing competitions in Puerto Escondido in March-April and again in October-November, so expect it to be busy during theses times as well.
- Check weather averages for your travel dates from Holiday-Weather.com
Getting to Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido’s airport (PXM) has connecting flights from Mexico City and Oaxaca. Airlines serving PXM include Interjet, Aeromar and Viva Aerobus. Flights can be found for as little as $100 round trip.
Mexico’s ADO buses also serve the region, although it’s a long and winding bus ride from Oaxaca City. (Seriously, people get bus sick on the 10-hour trip through the mountains!) If it’s in your budget, I recommend flying; or find ADO bus routes here.
Once you reach Puerto Escondido (PE), taxis are plentiful and cheap at a few dollars US per trip. Expect to pay more for hotel transfers, though, and always agree on a price for taxis before you get in. You can also rent a bicycle or scooter for the day or week to get around – your hotel can typically assist with booking. There are also inexpensive colectivos (shared vans) if you’re comfortable using local transport.
Taxis & Renting a Car in Puerto Escondido
Once you arrive in Puerto Escondido, it’s easy to take taxis to get around town. They’re not generally metered – just agree on a price with the driver before you depart.
Renting a car once you arrive in PE could be a good option for you if you choose a more remote location or want to take day trips to Mazunte. For safety reasons, I would not recommend driving from Mexico City or Oaxaca City. If you think you’ll rent a car in PE, be sure to read my guide to renting a car and driving in Mexico which includes a downloadable road signs chart.
From renting a car and insurance to road signs, speed bumps, and gas station scams: detailed tips for driving in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and beyond!
The Best Things to Do in Puerto Escondido
There’s more to do in Puerto Escondido than just beaches and surfing (although those are pretty great)! Check out these recommendations for your Puerto Escondido itinerary.
- Laguna de Manialtepec: explore this eco reserve on a day trip, or take a nighttime tour to explore its bioluminescent bay. I did the nighttime tour in early November while there was no moon, and it was hands-down one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It was like being in a video game – the water really sparkled when you moved your arms!
- Sea turtle release: help release sea turtle hatchlings at Playa Bacocho with a conservation group. I did this, and I literally started crying when they handed me the little bucket of turtles. I also MIGHT have thrown sand to keep the seagulls away from my babies while they made their way to the ocean. (I totally missed and no gulls were harmed, but it felt like I was helping).
- Dolphin watching tour: take a boat trip with a local guide to try spotting 5 species of dolphin in the region
- Cascada La Reforma: visit these waterfalls in a secluded setting on a day trip – check out this itinerary that includes a sea turtle release
Surfing, Beaches & Sunsets
- Surfing at Zicatela: experienced surfers can try the waves at this world-class surfing beach
- Sunset at Zicatela: don’t miss having drinks here at sunset at least once for your stay
- Surf lessons or paddleboarding in Playa Carrizalillo – here’s a good surf lessons tour option with online booking and instant confirmation
- The restaurant at Villas Carrizalillo is also a great place for sunset drinks and dinner overlooking the beach
Activities & Day Trips
- Casa Wabi: visit the artist collective on the outskirts of Puerto Escondido
- Yoga: check out one of the local yoga practices
- Shopping: check out the Benito Juarez market for souvenirs and local handicrafts
- Day trips: take a guided tour day trip to see 5 beaches including Mazunte, and Zipolite
Ready to Book your Puerto Escondido Vacation?
I hope this guide gave you all the tips you need to plan your trip! Be sure to save it for later and also check out my other guides to travel in Oaxaca.
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Grab my ultimate Oaxaca hotels guide: the best area to stay and the best hostels, midrange & luxury hotels and Airbnbs. Plus where to stay in Oaxaca for the 2021 Day of the Dead festival!
Pin this Puerto Escondido Guide for Later!
Booking Resources & Tips for Your Trip
✈ Flights | Check routes with Skyscanner or Google Flights. I usually book direct with the airline for ease of seat selection as well as changes or cancellations.
🏨 Hotels | My favorite site for the best rates and flexible bookings is Booking.com. After just 2 stays in 2 years, you can get special perks with their Genius program.
🧳 Travel Gear | Check out my favorite gear and packing lists for resources for your trip.
🏡 Local Stays & Experiences | Airbnb is one of the best ways to stay like a local and have extra amenities for your trip. Their Experiences – tours led by locals – are one of my favorite ways to delve into local culture.
🧾 Travel Insurance | Travel insurance can protect you in case of illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. I use World Nomads for my trips, with coverage designed for adventurous travelers including overseas medical, evacuation, baggage, and a range of adventure sports and activities.
🌄 Group Adventure Tours | Small group adventure tours from G Adventures or Intrepid Travel are the perfect solution for traveling on a budget or with minimal planning. Read my reviews here.
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