Puerto Escondido Tourism
Puerto Escondido: Puerto Escondido (English: “Hidden Port”) is a small port and tourist center in the municipality of San Pedro Mixtepec Distrito 22 in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Prior to the 1930s, there was no town. The bay had been used as a port intermittently to ship coffee, but there was no permanent settlement due to the lack of potable water. The name “Puerto Escondido” had roots in the legend of a woman who escaped her captors and hid here. The Nahuatl word for this area was Zicatela, meaning “place of large thorns”. Today, it refers to the area’s most famous beach.
Puerto Escondido is one of the most important tourist attractions on the Oaxacan coast. It caters to a more downscale and eclectic clientele than neighboring Huatulco, mostly surfers, backpackers and Mexican families. The main attractions are the beaches: Zicatela Beach hosts major surfing competitions, while other beaches have gentle waves. A large lagoon area to the west of the town is popular for fishing and birdwatching.
Puerto Escondido Mexico
Is this where surfers go when they die? Many places claim to be the world’s best-surfing beach, but Puerto Escondido’s Playa Zicatela – 3.5km of golden sand and crashing waves – would make most wave-riders’ top tens. Even if you have no desire to test your balance as a 20ft wave curls over your head, Mexico’s ‘hidden port’ is a highly desirable place, a small mellow town where Mexicans, ex-pats, and world travelers intermingle, and surfboards are as ubiquitous as cell phones.
Puerto Escondido, on the Oaxacan coast, is the third Mexican beach town we’ve lived in. We loved Playa del Carmen and San Pancho and were tempted to return, but we decided to explore a new part of the coast.
Puerto Escondido is a relaxed, medium-sized beach town with a population of around 45,000 known for its excellent surfing. It has grown in size over the years and is popular with ex-pats and surfers, but has managed to avoid huge development and all-inclusive resorts.
Puerto Escondido is very spread out with a series of beaches stretched along the coastline. The surf beach Zicatela is the longest, and there are a number of smaller beaches closer to the center of town.
The beaches are beautiful and we enjoyed our stay but it wasn’t our favorite Mexican beach town. Playa del Carmen was more walkable and had better infrastructure like faster WiFi and a cinema, and San Pancho is much smaller with a magical charm. Comparisons really affect your experience and the more we travel the more spoilt we become, so I’m sure we would have loved it if we hadn’t been comparing it to other towns.
Puerto Escondido Oaxaca
Looking for a tropical Mexican fishing village with relaxing beaches, oceanfront seafood bars, and restaurants, unspoiled reefs for diving and snorkeling, and waves suitable for championship surfing? Puerto Escondido has all that plus the Laguna de Manialtepec mangrove lagoon for tours combining kayaking, boating, bird-watching, and swimming in phosphorescent waters. Regularly scheduled airline service links Mexico City and Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Airport (PXM)
Rent an umbrella at the town beach, Playa Principal, which parallels the Avenida Perez Gasga hotel and restaurant row. Stop in one of the hotels near the beach for a drink or take the family horseback riding. A small freshwater lagoon at the mouth of the river, Rio Rigadillo, marks the border with Playa Marinero, which has waves suitable for beginning surfers. The whole family will enjoy the mile-long shoreline walkway known as Andador Escénico, which leads across the rocks to El Faro lighthouse and the Sueño Posible scenic overlook.
Beyond the lighthouse, Playa Principal transitions into Playa Manzanillo, a swimmable beach with clear waters extending towards Puerto Angelito. Rent a boogie board or equipment to snorkel the coral and rocks. If Playa Manzanillo gets too crowded on a holiday weekend, catch one of the water taxis linking Puerto Escondido’s seven beaches. Hire a skiff to take the family sightseeing or dolphin and sea turtle viewing. Fish for trophy sailfish or catch a dinner of yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi (dorado), grouper, roosterfish, mackerel, or snapper.
Watch the experts surf the 6-15 foot swells and hollow tubes of Playa Zicatela. International competitions in August and November draw the pros to demonstrate their prowess on the Mexican Pipeline.
Snorkel or surf the clear shallow waters beneath the high cliffs surrounding Playa Carrizalillo. High red cliffs, housing, and hotels surround riptide-plagued Playa Bacocho, which is good for long romantic beach walks and sunsets. For more adventure, dive Pressure Point’s tectonic plate fault lines or Punta Colarada’s volcanic overhangs, ledges, and lava rock swimthroughs. If you are lucky you will see lobsters, stingrays, moray and snowflake eels, barracudas, yellow tangs, parrotfish, and puffers.
Puerto Escondido Surf
As the day draws to a close, enjoy a sundowner at El Espadin restaurant and watch the impressive sunset over Playa Carrizalillo.
Puerto Escondido Real Estate
The accommodation was our biggest problem in Puerto Escondido. Apartment rentals in Mexico are cheaper if you turn up and look around rather than booking online. But we made the mistake of arriving in January which is peak season—everything was booked up and prices were much higher than we expected.
A few days before we arrived I contacted a number of Puerto Escondido real estate agents to see what was available and arranged viewings for our first day in town. In the meantime, we stayed at Hotel Las Olas, a simple but decent and central option on the main Zicatela strip.
Brett from Puerto Real Estate showed us a few villas but the best place was double our budget at the US $1550 a month. Luckily our friends Tom and Jenny were also looking for a place so we were able to share the two-bedroom house.
I’m sure if we were looking for a long term rental in Puerto Escondido we would have found a better deal. For short term rentals, I recommend looking at Airbnb. This works best if you book in advance as in peak season all the reasonably priced options were booked up.
I would not recommend trying to find a rental in Mexican beach towns from December to February. It’s best to arrive before (or even better after) the peak season to find an affordable place, or book online but prices will be higher.
Is Puerto Escondido safe?
For the most part, Puerto Escondido is a very safe place to travel. That being said, incidents do occur here, especially robberies. It’s best to avoid walking on the beach at night.
Is Puerto Escondido expensive?
The Cost of Living in Puerto Escondido, Mexico for a Month. Puerto Escondido, on the Oaxacan coast, is the third Mexican beach town we’ve lived in. Puerto Escondido is a relaxed, medium-sized beach town with a population of around 45,000 known for its excellent surfing.