tropical beach called Playa Carrizalillo, located in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca: Ultimate Travel Guide for 2022


Traveling to Puerto Escondido soon?

Smart choice! Puerto Escondido Oaxaca is still somewhat off the main tourist radar, so it has maintained a small town charm. However, there’s still plenty of things to do, amazing restaurants and nice hotels for visitors.

In this article, you’ll discover all those things, get answers to common Puerto Escondido FAQs, and so much more. By the time you’re done reading this Ultimate Puerto Escondido Travel Guide, you’ll be ready to plan an epic trip.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Where is Puerto Escondido?

Puerto Escondido is in Oaxaca state, in Southern Mexico. It is located south of Mexico City, and west of Chiapas state.

Puerto Escondido Map

For many, a trip to Oaxaca means visiting Oaxaca City, in the center of the state. However, the Oaxaca Mexico beaches, including Puerto Escondido, Huatulco and Mazunte, are further south on the Pacific Ocean.

If you’re headed to both the city and beaches, check out this Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido Guide to understand all your transport options. It’s only about 160 miles (257 km) from the city to the beach, but not the easiest trip.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

How to Get to Puerto Escondido Mexico

Puerto Escondido Airport is a small airport located just minutes from the beaches. (Photo: Antonio Velasco Cruz, Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via WikiMedia Commons)

Wondering, Is there an Airport in Puerto Escondido? You’re in luck because there sure is.

When traveling to Puerto Escondido use Puerto Escondido International Airport (code: PXM). Though the word international is in the name, this airport rarely (if ever) has international flights.

To fly into PXM, you’d have to connect through the Mexico City International Airport (code: MEX), Oaxaca International Airport (code: OAX, in Oaxaca de Juárez) or Guadalajara International Airport (code: GDL).

It’s a small airport, so there are no direct flights to Puerto Escondido from the United States, Canada or anywhere else in North America.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Mexico City to Puerto Escondido

golden angel of independence statue in mexico city
It’s easy to get to Puerto Escondido from Mexico City, though the trip over-land takes a long time.

✈️ flights from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido

Mexico City Airport is the largest airport in Mexico, and you can reach every other city from there. To get to Puerto Escondido, you can fly AeroMexico, Volaris or VivaAerobus, three lower-cost Mexican airlines.

Note: This same info also also applies for the reverse Puerto Escondido to Mexico City route.

🚌 Bus from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido

Besides flights, you can take a bus to Puerto Escondido from Mexico City. It is a long ride at about 20 hours, so consider wisely, as the flight takes only about 1.5 hours, and doesn’t cost that much more.

ADO is Mexico’s largest bus carrier, with a fleet of luxury class buses that have big comfy seats, AC and a bathroom on board. There are second class buses as well, but for long journeys, definitely opt for first class.

⚠️ Note: The ADO bus website isn’t the easiest to use, and doesn’t take U.S. credit cards. For this reason, I recommend you book tickets through GuateGo.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

oaxaca festival
Oaxaca City is known as the Cultural Capital of the state, and home to many of the best festivals in Oaxaca, Mexico.

You have a few options when traveling from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, including a private shuttle, renting a car, the ADO bus and the flight. There’s some info below so you know which one is best for you.

For a deep dive into this topic, check out Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido: 5 Best Transport Options.

⭐️ Private Shuttle from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

The best way to get to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca is the private shuttle service. Hiring a private driver to Puerto Escondido may not be the cheapest option, but it’s the most comfortable and safest way to get there.

🚗 Drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

The drive from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido Mexico is beautifulbut do consider a midsize rental car or SUV. You’ll be on a very curvy mountain road with lots of switchback turns, that’s frankly not well maintained in all areas.

✈️ Flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Wondering, Can you fly from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

Yes — You can, and in fact, the Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido flight is the fastest option. Two companies have flights, AeroTucan and AeroVega, and each company has just one flight per day.

🚌 Bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

red ADO bus in oaxaca mexico
The ADO bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Mexico. (Photo: Ted McGrath via Flickr, Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido bus ADO)

The ADO bus takes about 10 hours to get from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. There are daytime and overnight buses on this route, so you can sleep on the bus. The cost for a one way ticket is about $800 pesos ($40 USD).

⚠️ Note: The ADO bus website isn’t the easiest to use, and doesn’t take U.S. credit cards. For this reason, I recommend you book tickets through GuateGo.

🚐 Colectivo from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

This is the cheapest way to get to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City, but also the least comfortable. The colectivo or camioneta is a shared passenger van that seats between 10-12. A one-way ticket is about $300 pesos ($15 USD).

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Huatulco to Puerto Escondido

playa santa cruz, main beach in huatulco mexic
After Puerto Escondido, Huatulco is the second-most visited city on the Oaxacan coast.

⭐️ Private Shuttle from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido

If you’re not getting a rental car, the best way to get to Puerto Escondido from Huatuclo is via private shuttle service. This is the safest way to make the journey, and most comfortable because you don’t have to do the driving.

🚗 Drive from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido

If you’re renting a car in Oaxaca, this is a straightforward drive on a small highway. The drive takes a little over two hours in normal traffic, and you can use this map for directions when driving to Puerto Escondido from Huatulco.

🚌 Bus from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido

The ADO bus takes about 2.5 hours to get from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido. ⚠️ Note: The ADO bus website isn’t the easiest to use, and doesn’t take U.S. credit cards. For this reason, I recommend you book tickets through GuateGo.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Top 5 Best Puerto Escondido Beaches

As a beach town, exploring the beaches is of course one of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. If you’re wondering, What are the best beaches in Puerto Escondido? — the list below will help you.

1. Playa Carrizalillo Beach

playa carrizalillo beach in puerto escondido mexico
Pretty Playa Carrizalillo Beach in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca is one of the best beaches in Mexico.

🏝 Most Beautiful beach in Puerto Escondido

You’ll likely never see a list of Best Puerto Escondido Beaches that doesn’t have Playa Carrizalillo Beach as #1. It’s quite simply the most beautiful beach in Puerto Escondido.

Now, Playa Carrizalillo isn’t super easy to get to. You must walk down (then back up) about 165 stairs to access this gorgeous beach destination — but your efforts will be rewarded.

🏩 NEED A PUERTO ESCONDIDO HOTEL? Check out Villas Carrazillio which overlooks Playa Carrizalillo below. This amazing resort has million dollar views, but a reasonable price tag.

Carrizalillo Beach is postcard-worthy, and worth the trek to enjoy one of the best beaches in Oaxaca. For most travelers, no Puerto Escondido trip is complete without a visit to Playa Carrizalillo Beach.

Carrizalillo Beach offers a bit of everything — gorgeous turquoise waters for swimming, manageable waves for surfing (perfect for beginners), healthy reefs just off-shore ideal for snorkeling, and even a few restaurants.

🏩 Where to stay near Playa Carrizalillo

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

2. Playa Zicatela Beach

Hands Sculpture at Playa Zicatela Beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Don’t miss Las Manos, the sculpture of hands in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca, located at the north end of Zicatela Beach.

🏄‍♀️ Best Beach for surfing in PUERTO ESCONDIDO

Puerto Escondido is known as the surf capital of Mexico, and that’s largely thanks to this beach.

Playa Zicatela is especially popular for surfing, but the beach itself is very nice, and there are a lot of restaurants, bars with live music and shops all along the sand.

🏩 Where to Stay near Playa Zicatela

Mexican Pipeline Wave in PUERTO ESCONDIDO

view from inside a surf wave called Mexican Pipeline, located in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico

Playa Zicatela Puerto Escondido is best known for the Mexican Pipeline — a wave that regularly reaches 10-feet in height (3 m). The wave is most active in summer, when you’ll see international surfing competitions in Puerto Escondido.

Curious about other surf towns in Mexico? You’ll find some of the best surf spots in Mexico in Sayulita, Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos, Mazatlan and Troncones.

PUERTO ESCONDIDO Surf Lessons

Aside from simply enjoying the beautiful beaches, surfing is one of the best Puerto Escondido things to do. Now, Pipeline isn’t a wave for beginner surfers, but there are other places to go.

You can book surf lessons with Pablo at one of the best surf schools in Puerto Escondido, which includes a board rental. If you have your own, enjoy the smaller waves at Playa La Punta, Playa Carrizalillo and Playa Marinero.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

3. Playa La Punta Beach

loungers and beach chairs on la punta beach in puerto escondido mexico
La Punta Zicatela is great by day, but also has some of the best Puerto Escondido nightlife options. (Photo: Canva, Puerto Escondido Mexico beaches)

✌️ Best Beach for Bohemian vibes

Technically a part of Playa Zicatela, the eastern edge of this beach is known as La Punta.

While Zicatela can be crowded and touristy, La Punta has a laid back, bohemian feel to it. There are plenty of beach clubs and palm trees here, which add to La Punta’s tropical vibes.

La Punta is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Puerto Escondido, followed by a nice dinner and stroll through this lively part of town. In fact, this is one of the most romantic things to do in Puerto Escondido 😍

Just off the beach, you’ll find some of the best restaurants in Puerto Escondido, like Chicama Peruvian Food, a personal favorite. There’s also cute cafes with vegan options, boutique shops and beach bars.

🏩 Where to Stay near La Punta

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

4. Playa Principal (Main Beach)

playa principal, the main puerto escondido beach in oaxaca mexico
Playa Principal is the best beach in Puerto Escondido because it has everything you’d need for the perfect beach day. (Photo: Zeltzin Tuxtla via Unsplash)

🏝 main Puerto Escondido Beach

Playa Principal means “main beach,” as this is the most central beach in town. It is popular with locals and visitors alike, with plenty of restaurants and amenities. Playa Principal is also one of the best swimming beaches in Puerto Escondido.

El Adoquin Puerto Escondido

Avenida Alfonso Perez Gasga, known locally as El Adoquín, is one of the main strips in town. This long beachfront boardwalk is lined with bars, nightlife options, restaurants and shops. At night, it becomes a pedestrian-only street.

💵 Looking for Puerto Escondido ATMs? El Adoquín is where you’ll find the most ATMs in Puerto Escondido.

Playa Marinero

Playa Marinero and Playa Principal are actually one beach. However, during the Puerto Escondido rainy season from about May to October, the heavy rains will create a lagoon that separates them into two beaches.

Marinero Beach is popular for body surfing in Puerto Escondido, and you’ll find locals renting bodyboards on the beach.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

5. Playa Bacocho Beach

woman holding baby turtle for release in oaxaca mexico

🐢 Puerto Escondido baby turtle release beach

Playa Bacocho is on the west end of town, not far from Playa Carrizalillo, and a rather quiet beach. It is perfect if you just want to walk on the beach, and many people head here for the Puerto Escondido turtle release at sunset.

It’s not safe to swim at Playa Bacocho, but you can visit Club de Playa Villasol (AKA Sol Beach Club) or Club de Playa Villasol.

This is one of the best beach clubs in Puerto Escondido. It has a large pool, swim up bar, restaurant, showers, etc. — and you can buy a day pass for just $200 MXN pesos ($10 USD).

🐢 Puerto Escondido turtle release

The Sea Turtle Release is one of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido. As the name says, you’ll help newly hatched sea turtles make their way into the Pacific Ocean for the first time.

For many visitors, this is a Puerto Escondido must do, and a true Mexico bucket list experience.

🏩 Where to Stay near Playa Bacocho

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

A Few More Puerto Escondido Beaches

playa puerto angel, one of the best oaxaca beaches
Puerto Angelito beach in Puerto Escondido is one of the best Oaxaca beaches for swimming and snorkeling — as it has crystal clear waters and nice reefs just off-shore from this small cove.

Playa Puerto Angelito

This lively beach is frequented more by locals than visitors, so for a more authentic Puerto Escondido experience, head to Puerto Angelito. Located right next door, there’s also Playa Manzanillo Beach, which is up next on this list.

Playa Manzanillo

Playa Manzanillo is one of the best Puerto Escondido beaches for swimming, so you might want to get some snorkeling time in at Playa Angelito, then head to Playa Manzanillo for a meal and relaxing swim in the calm waters.

Punta Pajaros Beach

empty beach in puerto escondido, oaxaca (Punta Pajaros Puerto near Hotel Escondido)
Playa Punta Pajaros Beach in Puerto Escondido is a hidden gem.

This quiet, pristine beach is about 30 minutes from Puerto Escondido Town (AKA Downtown Puerto Escondido), but it’s still located within city limits. You’ll want a rental car if you’re headed to this area, where so few tourists go.

If you want to splurge at one of the best Puerto Escondido resorts, book a room at Hotel Escondido. The top attraction at Playa Punta Pajaros is Casa Wabi, a nonprofit art space and artist residence.

Playa Coral

Playa Coral is a secluded beach, popular with locals and travelers in-the-know. Located next to Playa Bacocho Beach, it’s the perfect place to escape the crowds and enjoy white sands, crystal clear waters and lush greenery.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido

The best neighborhoods in Puerto Escondido Mexico are Zicatela, La Punta and La Rinconada (near Playa Carrizalillo). If you’re doing Puerto Escondido budget travel, you’ll find some inexpensive places in Downtown Puerto Escondido.

When choosing where to stay in Puerto Escondido, remember that this is one of the best Mexico beach towns, so you’ll want to stay on the beach, or at least near it. Check out the best Puerto Escondido hotels below, with options in all price ranges.

Best Hotels in Puerto Escondido (For All Budgets)

Hotel Escondido ($$$$)

beach bungalows at hotel escondido in puerto escondido oaxaca mexico
Hotel Escondido is the best Puerto Escondido hotel for relaxing and disconnecting in 5 Star luxury accommodations.

Though the decor is rustic-chic, the service is 5 Star luxury all the way at Hotel Escondido, one of the best Oaxaca boutique hotels. It is the perfect place to disconnect from it all, in one of their private beachfront bungalows.

Hotel Escondido is located on a private beach area about 30 minutes from Puerto Escondido, near the Casa Wabi Artist Residence. Do note that Hotel Escondido is on the outskirts of town, so you’ll want a rental car to get around.

VILLAS CARRIZALILLO ($$$)

Villas Carrazillio resort in puerto escondido mexico
Villas Carrazillio is one of the best resorts in Puerto Escondido. (Photo: Villas Carrazillio)

Villas Carrazillio overlooks Playa Carrizalillo below — with million dollar views at a reasonable price tag.

Each villa here has a dining area and seating area with flat screen TV. Some of the villas also have a terrace and kitchenette. There’s a gorgeous pool and restaurant onsite with complimentary breakfast.

CASA UMI ($$)

casa umi hotel puerto escondido oaxaca mexico
Casa UMI is the best boutique hotel in Puerto Escondido. (Photo: Hotel Casa UMI via Instagram)

😍 I stayed here for about a week, and highly recommend Casa UMI.

It is located just four blocks from Playa La Punta in the boho chic La Punta neighborhood. My room was huge, with cold AC and a comfy bed, high end finishes in the bathroom, and a private hammock by the pool.

SelIna Puerto Escondido Hostel ($)

pool area at Selina Puerto Escondido hostel in Oaxaca, Mexico
Selina Hostel Puerto Escondido is affordable at just $25 USD per night for a shared room. (Photo: Expedia)

One of the top names in hostels worldwide, Selina Hostel has a location in a quieter area of Playa Zicatela. They are known to have the best WiFi in Puerto Escondido, so this is a popular spot for digital nomads.

Selina Puerto Escondido hostel is centered around a lush tropical garden, complete with a swimming pool, restaurant and bar. They have both private rooms and shared dorms available.

Note: If Selina Puerto Escondido is full, check out Casa Losodeli & CoWorking, another one of the best hostels in Puerto Escondido. This adults-only space is popular with long-term travelers and digital nomads in Puerto Escondido.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Top 10 Best Things to Do in Puerto Escondido

Not sure what to do in Puerto Escondido? For a small town, there’s actually a lot to see. While most think it’s little more than a surf town or beach town, Puerto Escondido has so much more to it than just beaches.

Below, you’ll find the 10 best things to do in Puerto Escondido — though this barely scratches the surface. For a more complete list, check out the 30 Best Things to Do in Puerto Escondido Mexico.

1. Laguna Manialtepec Bioluminescence Tour

bioluminescent lagoon in puerto escondido oaxaca mexico (laguna manialtepec)
Take a boat ride on Laguna de Manialtepec at night to see the bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido. (Photo: Kevin Wolf via Unsplash, Bioluminescence Puerto Escondido)

Just 30 minutes north of Puerto Escondido is Laguna Manialtepec Lagoon. You can visit the lagoon on a SUP paddle boarding tour by day, or head there at night to do the famous Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tour.

This is one of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido — as Laguna de Manialtepec is one of the few places in the world where you can swim in the water with bioluminescent plankton.

The plankton in the lagoon only emit light when they’re disturbed, so if you want to see them glow in the dark, get ready to jump into the water! Also, the bioluminescence is strongest in the center of the lake, so you must go by boat.

This highly-rated nighttime boating excursion is one of the best ways to experience this natural phenomenon. The local guides not only know the perfect place to go swimming, but they also keep an eye out for crocodiles.

Best time to see bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido

The best months to see these phosphorescent plankton are July, August, November and December⁠ — although you can see it year-round. However, if it’s raining or there’s a Full Moon, skip this tour.

To see the glow of the plankton in all its glory, you’ll need to be in complete darkness. This is why you don’t want to go during the Full Moon, as you won’t see as much if moonlight is strong.

Last but not least, if you plan on heading to Laguna Manialtepec, remember to pack a swimsuit, quick-dry towel, flashlight or headlamp, insect repellent, and some long-sleeved pants and a shirt to ward off insect bites.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

2. Release Baby Sea Turtles in Oaxaca

someone holding a cup with a baby turtle in it, this is one of the best things to do in puerto escondido mexico

The Sea Turtle Release is one of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido. As the name says, you’ll help newly hatched sea turtles make their way into the Pacific Ocean for the first time.

🐢 Note: If you plan on going on any turtle tour in Puerto Escondido, always go with a responsible tour company that has great reviews (like this one). Also, don’t ever use flash photography.

For many visitors, this is a Puerto Escondido must do, and a true Mexico bucket list experience. This Sea Turtle Release in Puerto Escondido Tour also offers hotel pick-up, a nice perk.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

3. Puerto Escondido Boat Tour (Dolphins and Whales)

dolphin doing a flip in the air while people watch from the boat
The dolphin boat tours are one of the most popular Puerto Escondido activities.

In Puerto Escondido, dolphin pods tend to swim closer to the shore. This gives tourists the unique ability to get up close and personal with these dolphins in their natural habitat.

On this dolphin-watching boat tour, guests have the opportunity to spot hundreds of dolphins jumping, swimming, and flipping around the boat.

With the help of your guide’s local knowledge, you’ll search for the four types of dolphins that roam these waters. These include spotted dolphins, common dolphins, spinner dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins.

🐬 Make sure to keep an eye out for the bottlenose and spinner dolphins — they are the most acrobatic of the bunch, and always put on a fun show.

🐳 Whale watching in Puerto Escondido (Winters only)

whale breaching in huatulco mexico, oaxaca state
Don’t miss the Oaxaca whale season, when you can see several species of whales along the Oaxaca Coast. (Photo: Canva, Whale watching Puerto Escondido Oaxaca)

This is one of the most popular things to do in Puerto Escondido in winter, as you will not see whales year-round. The best time to see whales in Puerto Escondido is from December to March, though you may see some in November and April.

However, if you visit in winter, you’re almost guaranteed to see some. In 2019, a 108 square mile (280 km²) area off the coast of Puerto Escondido was declared a Mexico Whale Watching Zone, as so many swim past the coast.

Most of the Puerto Escondido dolphin boat tours also offer whale watching during the season. If you get lucky enough, you’ll see both the dolphins and whales in Puerto Escondido, as well as sea turtles and mobula rays.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

4. Visit a Oaxaca Mezcal Distillery

bartender pouring mezcal into a small cup
🥃 Take the Ancestral Mezcal Distillery Guided Tour to try some locally-made Oaxacan mezcal.

Fun fact: Mezcal was the first distilled spirit to originate in the Americas. It was invented more than 400 years ago, when the Spanish conquerors taught distillation techniques to the native inhabitants of Mexico.

The word mezcal comes from the Aztec word mexcalli, which means “oven-cooked agave.” It is made with the fermented juices of the agave plant, and is known for its distinct smokey flavor (though not all mezcal is smoky).

Today, a large percentage of the world’s mezcal is made in the state of Oaxaca, near Oaxaca City. Thanks to the biodiversity of agave grown in the region, Oaxaca is the ideal place for mezcal production.

Puerto Escondido Mezcal Tour

Want to learn more about mezcal, and taste some? Book your spot on the Ancestral Mezcal Distillery Guided Tour with Antoine. You’ll learn how mezcal is made, and sample some of the best mezcal in Oaxaca state.

🥃 Oaxaca Pro Tip: Mezcal is very strong, averaging about 50% ABV. It is meant to be sipped and savored, not taken as a shot.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

5. Puerto Escondido Food Tours

Garnachas in Oaxaca, similar to a sope or memela
Garnachas are one of the traditional foods of Oaxaca, Mexico.

🌮 When in doubt: One of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido, day or night, is eat!

Oaxaca food is arguably one of the best regional cuisines in Mexico. The region is famous for various dishes and drinks, including mole, tlayudas, chocolate, mezcal, garnachas, nieves and tacos.

🍽 To try it all, book your spot on the best food tour in Puerto Escondido — the Made in Oaxaca Food Tour (Rated 4.91/5 Stars)

Organized by local guides, Alex and Ricardo, guests are taken on a food journey through the streets of Puerto Escondido to try some of the region’s best dishes.

From small secret spots to famous local restaurants, foodies will experience it all, tasting tacos, salsa, quesillo (AKA Oaxaca cheese), and chocolate, all with a side of local history and storytelling.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

6. Snorkeling Tour to Huatulco

man snorkeling in oaxaca mexico
Huatulco, Oaxaca has pristine beaches and many of the best spots for snorkeling in the state.

Located about 74 miles (120 km) south of Puerto Escondido, you’ll find the second most popular Oaxaca coast town, Bahías de Huatulco (usually just called Huatulco). The town’s name means Bays of Huatulco, as there are nine bays.

There’s also more than 30 secluded, virgin beaches, stunning waterfalls, beautiful resorts, and even coffee plantations. Although the white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters are gorgeous, the best part is underwater.

Huatulco National Park is a land and water park, and one of the largest protected areas in southern Mexico. As a result of conservation efforts, Huatulco National Park has incredibly healthy reefs, teeming marine life.

Puerto Escondido to Huatulco Tour

The best way to see the reefs is on this Huatulco snorkeling tour. During this boat trip, you’ll visit Bahía la India Bay and Bahía Maguey Bay, two of the most beautiful bays in Huatulco.

🤿 Pro Tip: If you plan to go snorkeling on your trip, invest in a mask and snorkel. Yes, most tours supply you with gear; however, if you want the best and safest experience, bring your own.

Not only is the water unpolluted and crystal clear, but snorkelers can expect to see a variety of exciting wildlife, including turtles, fish, and maybe even dolphins or humpback whales if the timing is right.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

7. Surf Lessons in Puerto Escondido

taking a surf lesson is one of the best things to do in puerto escondido mexico
Puerto Escondido has both world-class surfing for the pros, and great surf breaks for beginners.

Puerto Escondido is one of the best Mexican surf towns, and has been a surfer hotspot since the 1950s. The region is known for its massive barrels and huge waves, but it is also home to more beginner-friendly beaches.

The town’s most famous surf spot is Playa Zicatela, reserved only for the pros. It is world-renowned for having some of the craziest beach breaks, and the 10-foot-tall (3 m) Mexican Pipeline wave.

Although this particular beach is not for beginners, it is the perfect place for surf viewing enthusiasts. The town surrounding the beach is also filled with various surf shops and amazing restaurants.

However, if you’re a beginner surfer or a longboarder, several beaches in the region have gentler waves, like Playa Carrizalillo. This beach is also an excellent place for swimming and snorkeling, so it’s ideal for non-surfers as well. 

If you haven’t surfed before, or are a little rusty and need a refresher, private instructors in Puerto Escondido offer lessons to help you learn the basics, catch your first wave or improve your surfing technique.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

8. Horseback Riding to the Hot Springs

two people on a horseback ride through a river

​​Not many know this, but you can go horseback riding in Puerto Escondido. The most popular tour will also take you on an adventure to the Atotonilco Hot Springs, the perfect place to end a day of riding.

Located in a tropical rainforest, these hot springs are about 45 minutes from Puerto Escondido. They are made up of different thermal pools, in varying depths and temperatures.

The hot springs aren’t readily accessible by walking, so do opt for the tour. On it, you’ll ride on horseback through the forest, across six rivers, and even visit one or two local villages along the way ⁠— which makes for an incredibly unique tour.

The Horseback Riding Tour to the Hot Springs lasts about 5.5 hours. You’ll go for about one hour on horseback before arriving at the hot springs, where seven thermal pools beckon for you to jump in and enjoy.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

9. Zip Lining in Puerto Escondido

woman on zipline in huatulco mexico | hagia sofia eco park

🧗‍♀️ Looking for adventurous things to do in Puerto Escondido Mexico? If you’re craving some adrenaline on your vacation, the Zipline, Hiking and Waterfall Tour in the mountains is for you.

The tour starts at the village of San Juan Lachao, located in the Sierra. Here, guests can buy fresh fruit, swim underneath a waterfall or just take in all the beauty of the forest.

To cap off the day, you’ll enjoy the thrill of a zip line tour through five sections of the forest. In total, you’ll zip across 8,200-feet (2500 m) of Oaxaca wilderness.

⚠️ Note: Always buy Mexico travel insurance for these types of activities.

ATV and Rafting Adventure Tour

five people river rafting in huatulco mexico

Looking for other adventure tours in Puerto Escondido? This ATV & Rafting Adventure has your name all over it. Go off-road through the jungle on an ATV, then ride down the rapids of the Coplita River.

⚠️ Note: Always buy travel insurance for Mexico for these types of activities.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

10. Day Trip from Puerto Escondido to Mazunte

playa mermejita in mazunte oaxaca mexico
Playa Mermejita Beach in Mazunte, one of the best pueblos magicos in Oaxaca.

Mazunte makes for one of the best day trips from Puerto Escondido. It’s a quaint, laid back town, popular with bohemian types, backpackers, artists and yogis. (In fact, I did a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Mazunte 🧘‍♀️)

Mazunte is also a Mexico pueblo mágico (magic town). Pueblos mágicos are towns recognized by Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism for their outstanding value for visitors, and Mazunte does not disappoint.

Playa Mermejita in Mazunte is said to be the best beach in Oaxaca, and one of the best beaches in Mexico. If you’re staying there all day, hike up to Punta Cometa, which overlooks this beach, for epic views of the sunset.

How to get from Puerto Escondido to Mazunte

The Mazunte to Puerto Escondido distance is 41 miles (67 km). If you’re driving your rental car, it’s just over one hour from Puerto Escondido in normal traffic, and you can use this map.

Top 5 Best Restaurants in Puerto Escondido

1. El Cafecito

traditional mexican breakfast dish called chilaquiles, amde with chips, salsa and eggs
Try the chilaquiles at El Cafecito, one of the most popular Mexican breakfast foods.

🍳 Best Breakfast in Puerto Escondido

Whether it be breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner — if you’re craving homemade traditional Mexican food at a fair price, visit El Cafecito.

Located steps from Playa Carrizalillo Beach, El Cafecito Puerto Escondido is a locals’ favorite. It gets busy during peak hours, but is worth the wait. Note: They specialize in baked goods, but also have gluten-free options.

Note: El Cafecito is one of the most popular and top Puerto Escondido restaurants. It usually has a long line, so if you don’t want to wait, head to Cafe Ole instead.

2. Elephant Garden

☕️ Best Cafe in Puerto Escondido

Hidden down the side of the road, off the main strip of Playa Zicatela, is Elephant Garden. This quaint and cozy restaurant is known for its delicious breakfast menu, but they serve lunch and dinner as well.

Elephant Garden Puerto Escondido is a bohemian-style eatery that serves classic Mexican food, but they also offer healthy options. If the weather permits, enjoy your meal al fresco in their lovely outdoor courtyard.

3. Smoked Fish Tacos el Viejo

Wondering where to eat in Puerto Escondido, Mexico? Smoked Fish Tacos el Viejo is a locals’ favorite for cheap and delicious tacos.

🌮 Best Tacos in Puerto Escondido

If you’re looking for the best fish tacos in Puerto Escondido, look no further than Smoked Fish Tacos el Viejo.

This quaint family-run business specializes in pescado ahumado (smoked fish), hence the place’s name. Although the restaurant offers other types of tacos, like fried fish and shrimp, make sure to order their specialty.

The fish for their pescado ahumado is caught daily by local fishermen and purchased by the owner early in the morning. By the time it touches your lips, it’s been smoked for at least four hours.

4. Almoraduz Cocina de Autor

🍽 Best Restaurant in Puerto Escondido

Looking for fine dining in Puerto Escondido? While this isn’t proper fine dining, Almoraduz Cocina de Autor is one of the nicest restaurants in Puerto Escondido, and a foodie favorite.

The avant-garde menu has dishes that change according to the season, favoring organic ingredients from local farmers. For elevated yet delicious traditional Oaxacan cuisine, make a reservation at Almoraduz Puerto Escondido.

Need some other suggestions for a nice dinner in Puerto Escondido? Try Turtle Bay, El Coste Ceviche & Grill, Mar y Sol and Metxcalli.

5. Mi Ultimo Amor (Beachfront)

pouring a beer on the beach at Mi Ultimo Amor in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico
Looking for Puerto Escondido restaurants on the beach? Don’t miss Mi Ultimo Amor.

🏝 Best Beachfront Restaurant in Puerto Escondido

Located on Playa Zicatela, Mi Ultimo Amor Puerto Escondido offers the perfect beach bar experience.

This no-frills eatery is the ideal place to enjoy fresh seafood and a cold Mexican beer. Your yummy food is served under swaying palm trees, as you relax and take in the epic views of the blue-green waters in the Pacific Ocean.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico: FAQ

How big is Puerto Escondido?

The City Center, or Downtown Puerto Escondido, is relatively small. The main tourist zone runs from Playa Bacocho on the west side, to Playa Zicatela on the eastern end of town.

The drive from end to end across town, or from Playa Bacocho to Playa Zicatela, takes just 20-30 minutes on Highway 200. This is the main road that connects all of Puerto Escondido.

What’s the best time to visit Puerto Escondido?

sea turtle laying eggs on the beach in puerto escondido, mexico (Playa La Escobilla Mexico)
If you visit from July and January, don’t miss La Arribada, which means “the arrival,” when thousands of Olive Ridley turtles nest on the beach at La Escobilla Sanctuary.

Weather-wise, the best months to visit Puerto Escondido and the beaches of Oaxaca and Oaxaca Coast are November to April during the dry season.

The rainy season in Oaxaca lasts from May to October, and the coast of Oaxaca sees a lot of rain thanks to its tropical climate.

When is the Oaxaca Whale Season?

The best time to see whales in Puerto Escondido is from December to March. In 2019, a 108 square mile (280 km²) area off the coast of Puerto Escondido was declared a Mexico Whale Watching Zone.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Puerto Escondido Weather

puerto escondido weather chart
Average yearly weather in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico. (Photo: Weather and Climate, Oaxaca weather)

If you can, plan your Puerto Escondido vacation for the winter months, when temperatures and humidity are mild, the mosquitoes are at bay, and you can see the whales.

If you’re visiting in summer, you can expect rain, but usually only for 1-2 hours per day in the afternoons.

🦟 Oaxaca Beaches Travel Tips: Regardless of when you visit, you’ll encounter mosquitoes and other bugs on the Oaxacan Coast. Practice sustainable tourism in Mexico by using eco-friendly mosquito repellent.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Is Puerto Escondido safe for travelers?

forms for travel insurance for mexico

For the vast majority of tourists, Puerto Escondido is quite safe to visit. As safety is a complex topic, head to Is Mexico Safe to Visit Right Now? for a deep dive.

In general though, Oaxaca is among the safest states in Mexico, and the Mexican government wants to keep it this way.

Aside from big surf waves, mosquitoes, sunburns, and not drinking too much Oaxaca mezcal, you’re in little danger in Puerto Escondido.

However, no place on Earth is 100% safe, so you’ll want to take the same general travel safety measures you would anywhere else.

🗣 You should also register for the United States STEP Program for international travelers, and put your mind at ease with Mexico travel insurance.

Mexico Travel Insurance for Puerto Escondido

Just as you insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling.

If Puerto Escondido travel safety is on your mind, get a FREE quote below from two of the biggest names in travel insurance for Mexico.

  • World Nomads: Perfect for general travel coverage, and those who want to do adventurous activities while traveling to Puerto Escondido, like surfing.
  • Safety Wing: Perfect Mexico digital nomads who plan to be in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca state or Mexico for an extended period of time.
Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Is there Uber in Puerto Escondido?

passenger calling uber in oaxaca from their cell phone

No — There is no Puerto Escondido Uber service, nor Lyft in Puerto Escondido. They do have DiDi Taxi through the DiDi Rider app, which lets you call a taxi via the app. It’s basically like using Uber or Lyft, but you will get a regular cab.

🚕💨 Are Puerto Escondido taxis safe?

For the majority of travelers, yes, taxis are perfectly safe to use in Puerto Escondido.

I prefer to call taxis via the DiDi Rider app, so I have a record of my trip and the price is already set for me, but you can also just hail a cab on the street.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Do I need a car in Puerto Escondido?

You’ll only want to rent a car in Puerto Escondido if you’re visiting the nearby towns; you won’t need one in town.

No — This really is a matter of personal preference, but if you’re just staying in Puerto Escondido itself, skip the rental car and just use taxis to get around. If you’re planning for some Puerto Escondido day trips, then get a car.

If you stay in Zicatela Beach, you’re within walking distance of anything you need. As the main part of town, all the beaches, restaurants, bars, etc., all within a 5-15 minute walk.

Best PUERTO ESCONDIDO rental car company

When renting a car in Puerto Escondido, or anywhere in Mexico, I always recommend, and personally use, Discover Cars. They search both big-name international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates.

Find Your Rental Car
Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Is Puerto Escondido worth visiting?

When visiting Puerto Escondido, make sure you try a Oaxacan tlayuda. They are the quintessential street food, similar to pizza in New York City.

As it takes at least two flights to get to Puerto Escondido, you might be wondering if traveling to Puerto Escondido is worth it. The answer is HELL YES.

While the Oaxaca beaches aren’t as easily accessible as other Mexico beach towns, they’re some of the most beautiful. If you want more than just all inclusive resorts, Puerto Escondido is your place.

While there are luxury hotels in Puerto Escondido Mexico, like the chic Hotel Escondido, Oaxaca beaches also offer a chance to connect with nature.

Pro Tip: For an all-inclusive Mexico trip, opt for Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cabo San Lucas (Los Cabos).

If you want to immerse yourself in local culture, eat authentic Oaxaca food and some of the freshest seafood of your life, Puerto Escondido is it.

As it’s still mostly off the main tourist radar, the golden sand beaches of Puerto Escondido are peaceful and gorgeous.

Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Guide

Puerto Escondido vs Huatulco: Which is better?

Playa Organo Beach is one of the best Huatulco beaches.

It depends Huatulco vs Puerto Escondido is a common question, as these are the two best Oaxaca beach towns on the coast. However, they’re very different, so the “best” one will depend on your preferences and travel style.

Stick to Puerto Escondido if you want to surf and party. For a more laid back trip, Huatulco is ideal. They both have beautiful beaches, but the beaches in Huatulco are usually less crowded.

Is Puerto Escondido expensive?

No — “Expensive” is a relative term, but compared to most beach towns in Mexico, Puerto Escondido is on the cheaper side.

🤑 Traveling to Puerto Escondido on a budget? Opt for Selina Puerto Escondido Hostel or Casa Losodeli & CoWorking. Both of these best hostels in Puerto Escondido have private rooms and shared dorms for a good price.

Even if you don’t want to stay in a hostel, many of the best hotels in Puerto Escondido average about $75 USD per night, so your money still stretches pretty far in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca.

Final Thoughts: Traveling to Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico

While many think this is just your average beach town, it has much more to offer visitors. The Puerto Escondido beaches are undeniably beautiful, but there’s also mountains, waterfalls, amazing food and great accommodations.

Though it might be overshadowed by the likes of Cancun and Los Cabos, Puerto Escondido has a charm all its own. As one of the best places to visit in Mexico, you’re in for a treat from the moment you arrive.

Oaxaca Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy Mexico travel insurance for Oaxaca?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from World Nomads, the biggest name in travel insurance. (Read more)

💧Can you drink the water in Oaxaca?

No — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling to Oaxaca. (Read more)

🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Oaxaca?

Yes — Renting a car in Oaxaca is one of the best ways to see the state. I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Oaxacan companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

📲 Will my phone work in Oaxaca?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Oaxaca?

For Oaxaca hotels, Booking is the best site. If you’re considering a Oaxaca Airbnb, also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb. For the best Oaxaca hostels, use HostelWorld.

🧳 What do I pack for Oaxaca? Head to the Ultimate Mexico Packing List + FREE Checklist Download to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

✈️ What’s the best site to buy Oaxaca flights? For finding cheap Oaxaca flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

🎫 Do I need a visa for Oaxaca?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do need a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa upon arrival.

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