If you’re looking for a gorgeous beach destination without the throngs of tourists, head to the town of Puerto Escondido on the Oaxacan coast of Mexico. This beach destination is full of dramatic stretches of sand surrounded by cliffs, world-class surfing, delicious seafood, and a relaxed vibe. I’ll break down the best places to swim, surf, and hang out in this Puerto Escondido beach guide.
All the Best Puerto Escondido Beaches
Avid surfers (and those who want to witness some of the most skilled surfers in the world) should head to Zicatela beach, a long stretch of sand with giant waves that pummel down on it.
These waves are only for the experts, the swells are huge, and the rip current here is strong. This isn’t a place to swim, but to enjoy the buzzing energy and ambiance. Everyday around sunset, expert surfers head out and others gather on the beach to witness the action.
Playa Zicatela is also a great place for restaurants and nightlife, as well as to stay, to be close to lots of amenities. The whole stretch of beach is filled with cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops.
For a boho, barefoot vibe, trendy La Punta is the best beach for you. This little neighborhood at the very end of the Zicatela strip feels like its own village. It has only recently become more of a tourist destination, so the sandy streets feel off the beaten path. However, this has become an up-and-coming destination, so you can now find organic food shops, a few boutiques, and tasty restaurants popping up.
La Punta is also a great place to surf. The name, “The Point,” refers to the shape of the beach that curves into a rocky point. This means that there is almost always a good break here. Surfing is recommended for intermediate levels and above. If you’re a beginner, or unsure, head to one of the many surf shops to inquire about surf lessons, or what beach is best for your skill level.
This is the main town beach in Puerto Escondido. The development here is a bit older, and the cove is filled with fishing boats. It’s a nice place to take a walk and get a view of the town rising up on one side, and the long stretch of Zicatela in the distance.
Playa Carrizalillo is the epic postcard-worthy beach of Puerto Escondido. You arrive to this small cove beach from above at the street level. There you will find 160 steps that wind down to the stretch of sand and the gleaming turquoise water below.
Since this Puerto Escondido beach is surrounded by huge cliffs on all sides, there is a constant small wave that rolls in, making it perfect for leisurely swimming. It’s also a great place for beginners learning to surf.
This is a beach you will want to spend at least a full afternoon or more, soaking in the sun and splashing in the gorgeous water. You can pull up a beach lounger at one of the local restaurants (with a minimum spend requirement), snack on ceviche, and sip on a cold beer while gazing at one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast.
Playa Puerto Angelito/Playa Manzanillo
These two beaches are actually in one cove, split by a rock jetty down the middle. They are both lovely beaches with cliffs rising up on each side of the cove and calm turquoise water to splash in. Boat tours for viewing wildlife like turtles, dolphins and whales usually leave from Playa Puerto Angelito.
Playa Bacocho is often overlooked, but is a beautiful and unique beach in Puerto Escondido. This large stretch of sand is dotted with large rock structures and cliffs. The beach is almost always quiet, with few tourists.
While it’s not safe to swim here, there is a great beach club called Club de Playa Villasol with a large pool, swim up bar, and restaurant, that you can purchase a day pass to.
Playa Bacocho is most well known for the baby turtle release that takes place everyday just before sunset. This event is run by a turtle rescue program, and asks for a donation to participate. It’s quite a magical experience releasing the adorable turtles at golden hour, and watching them make their way into the sea.
This remote beach is actually about a 30 minute drive from the town, but is still considered part of Puerto Escondido. The big attraction here is Casa Wabi, a non-profit art project that aims to promote the exchange of art and ideas between artists in residency and the local community. The space was designed by famous architect Tadao Ando, and is a fascinating place to visit. Make sure to reserve your spot during one of their guided tours.
This is a great beach to visit for an afternoon, or to get away from it all for a few days. Because of its remote location off the main road, It’s best to arrive by rental car, and to bring food and supplies if you plan to stay overnight.
This remote stretch of beach is very calm, usually with very few people, but has started to gain a reputation as a destination for design lovers. Many gorgeous vacation rentals are popping up, designed by well known architects, and the beautiful hotel, Hotel Escondido is located here.
Puerto Escondido has a beach for every type of traveler and mood. Or visit them all for a taste of it all. And be sure to sample as much of the delicious Oaxacan dishes and seafood as possible.
For more Mexico travel:
- 20 Essential Mexico City Travel Tips
- What to Do in Oaxaca For First Time Visitors
- 50 Unmissable Things to do in Merida, Mexico
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