Unwind in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca: Top Attractions and Activities

There’s no doubt that today’s world is a fast-paced one. With all the pressures from our daily lives, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by work, family responsibilities, and many other obligations that constantly need our attention.

But maybe you need a break. Perhaps it’s time to leave all the noise behind and take a trip to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, where you can unwind for a few days or weeks.

This Pacific Coast beach in Mexico is popular among tourists for surfing, chilled-out beach bars, and amazing nightlife. It’s also relatively quiet and low-key — perfect for unwinding and getting that peace of mind you long for, whether you’re retired or not.

Let’s look at some of the top attractions you can visit and the best activities you can participate in when clearing your mind in Puerto Escondido.

Where Is Puerto Escondido?

Puerto Escondido, loosely translated as “Hidden Port,” is a port town about 324 km south of the emerald coast of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Known for its big waves and best surfing conditions, it’s one of the prime tourist destinations in the Mexican state of Oaxaca for solo travelers and groupies.

Most of the port is under the municipality of San Pedro Mixtepec, and its bay neighbors some rocky cliffs that vary in height.

How to Get to Puerto Escondido

Getting to Puerto Escondido is tricky, especially for international tourists, since they do not have direct international flights. The Puerto Escondido International Airport is small and can only handle a few daily flights.

To get to the port, you must first fly to any international airport in Mexico and then book a domestic flight to your destination. Most people prefer flying to Mexico City.

Once in Mexico City, you can choose which way you prefer to travel to Puerto Escondido:

  • Fly: You can book a flight to Escondido once you’ve reached Mexico. It takes about 1.5 hours.
  • Bus: You can take a bus from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido, but be prepared for a long ride of about 20 hours.
  • Rent a car: If you’re in the mood for an exciting road trip, you should rent a car.

Enjoy Puerto Escondido’s Tropical Climate 

Puerto Escondido experiences a tropical climate with an average annual temperature of 25.8°C.

The best time to visit is from December to April, when it’s dry. From June to September, it’s often rainy and muggy, with a significant presence of bugs.

Things to Do in Puerto Escondido 

Visit the Best Beaches in Puerto Escondido 

Puerto Escondido is a vast place with several amazing beaches for solo and family vacations that offer varying experiences — from colossal surfing waves to long coastlines for walks and horse riding.

Some beaches you can visit include Playa Zicatela, Playa Bacocho, and Playa Carrizalillo.

For the best experience, visit some of these perfect beaches and participate in various activities. 

Also, ensure you are guided by a certified tour guide who knows the beaches well. Of course, always check rates and compare to pick the one you’re comfortable with.

Visit the Shrine of the Virgin of Juquila 

The shrine of the Virgin of Juquila is a must-visit in Puerto Escondido. Take a long but fulfilling trip to the Shrine of the Virgin of Juquila, high up in the mountains.

Faithful Christians make pilgrimages to this place yearly, with the veneration object being a small Virgin Mary statue. The statue was brought to this shrine from Spain in 1552.

There’s also a buzzing market around the cathedral where you can stroll, find unique religious objects, and taste local food.

Dolphin and Whale Watching at Sunrise

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Watching dolphins play and jump around the boat and witnessing whales migrate to the south to give birth is a must, especially if this is your first time visiting Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. 

Getting close to the whales can be dangerous for you and stressful for them. For this reason, you should let a tour guide well-versed in whale-watching rules and regulations guide you for your safety.

Experience the Spectacular Bioluminescence at Night 

One thing you want to see is the bioluminescent spectacle in the lagoon. At night, the lagoon’s waters produce a blue-and-white glow. The light is even enhanced when you touch or swim in the water.

You can witness the bioluminescence phenomenon all year round, but it’s strongest from July to September. During this time of the year, the plankton are active, and the water is warmer. 

Witnessing this natural wonder will be a magical experience you won’t forget!

For safety reasons, visit this lagoon in the company of a certified tour guide at night.

Surf Lessons in Puerto Escondido

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Puerto Escondido is one of the best destinations for surfers in the world. The massive waves create the best conditions for surfing since they offer longer rides for surfers to perform more tricks and maneuvers.

However, there is always time to learn a new skill, and surfing might be a skill that quickly becomes an enjoyable hobby. Puerto Escondido has many beginner-friendly beaches you can practice on; plus, it’s easy to find a teacher.

Explore San Pedro Tututepec

Take a journey to the hidden gem of San Pedro Tututepec — an hour northwest of Puerto Escondido, and you’ll be transported back in time.

This archeological site and town was once the capital of the mighty Mixtecs, an empire that ruled over Oaxaca from 1100–1522 AD with absolute power and authority.

Discovering this ancient destination is sure to be one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of your life — as if you’ve stepped into a portal straight out of history.

Sea Turtle Nesting at La Escobilla Beach 

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Learn something new by visiting the sea turtle conservancy at La Escobilla Beach in Puerto Escondido and learning about the lives of these majestic marine creatures.

The nesting season for the turtles at La Escobilla starts in June and ends in February. Unlike other turtle species, Lepydochelys olivacea nests during the day, which enables you to experience the whole process.

If that’s not enough, you can participate in helping baby turtles leave their nests for the first time and get to the ocean. The turtles at La Escobilla are endangered, and your help protecting them will be much appreciated.

Kayak Adventure On Manialtepec Lagoon 

Kayak tours allow you to explore the ocean and enjoy the extraordinary ecosystem. The typical mangrove forest on this lagoon hosts many birds. Plus, it will also give you the paddling challenge of your life.

It’s best to go on your kayak adventure on Manialtepec Lagoon early in the morning because, at that time, the waters are still. In the early morning, the surroundings are deep in silence and only interrupted by birds chirping, and the air smells fresh.

Paddling can be challenging for first-timers, but you’re sure to exercise your upper body, helping it to loosen up and correcting that bad office chair posture.

Embark on a Horseback Riding Adventure 

With the help of a local Oaxacan guide, hop on horseback and embark on an adventurous journey into the foothills or anywhere your guide will see best. These horseback riding trips allow you to see and experience beautiful, awe-inspiring coastal jungle scenes.

Have fun racing your companions along the coast or guessing the names of birds, animals, and strange tropical vegetation you come across.

You can then gather around a bonfire and relax while watching what’s up in the sky.

Experience the Thrill of Diving Into a Jungle Waterfall at La Reforma

Another fun activity to help you unwind while touring Puerto Escondido is diving your boredom away in one of the many breathtaking waterfalls along the coast.

I recommend the waterfall at La Reforma since it’s the closest and most accessible. However, it’s always advisable to visit in the company of an Oaxacan guide if you’re new and need to learn your way around the area to avoid mistakes.

To access the waterfall, you’ll have to go through the entrance, where they charge a modest admission fee — washroom facilities and a tienda are also available.

Puerto Escondido Beaches 

Puerto Escondido has some of the most beautiful beaches known for surfing and a laid-back atmosphere you can visit. 

Let’s look at some of the famous beaches in this place.

Playa Zicatela 

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Playa Zicatela is the home for experienced and professional surfers and their entourages. If you want to witness the best surfers navigating waves as high as 13ft, Playa Zicatela is the place to be. 

The idyllic beach stretches for 3.5 km and is perfect for strolling. There are also beachside shops, cafes, restaurants, and more, so you’ll surely get the supply you need.

If you are a beginner at surfing, you should practice on the southern part of the beach because the waves there are smaller and can accommodate someone just starting. The southern region is less crowded, suitable for those who want quiet moments to walk and view the sunset.

Bring more sunscreen if you plan to spend the whole day on the beach, as the temperatures can be scorching. However, you’ll love the mornings and evenings since the temperatures are just right.

Playa Carrizalillo

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Located in the heart of Puerto Escondido, Playa Carrizalillo is thought to be among the most popular beach destinations, attracting tourists from far and wide.

The beach prides itself on having soft golden sands, average waves perfect for beginner surfers, bustling bars, and coconut palms that sway gently with the breeze.

If you’re a nature lover, consider spending time at Playa Carrizalillo. It is not a big place like the rest of the beaches, but the scenery it offers is breathtaking.

There are plenty of activities you can indulge in, including snorkeling in the blue water, surfing, fishing, and many more.

The only downside to Playa Carrizalillo is that to reach the place, one must use a staircase of about 150 steps, making it difficult for people with disabilities to access it.

Playa Manzanillo

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Playa Manzanillo is a fairly secluded beach in Puerto Escondido that is less developed, enabling visitors to enjoy the fine white sand without distractions.

The bay is located between Playa Carazillo and Playa Principal, and if you’re staying at Principal, you can take the long coastal walk to get here.

Catch some sun and dip into the crystal clear waters of Playa Manzanillo — one of the safest spots for swimming. It’s also an excellent spot for snorkeling thanks to its shallow sandy seafloor.

To make the most of your day and secure yourself a lounger, head over early, as it can get quite 

busy on weekends.

Playa Bacocho

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Near Playa Carrizalillo lies the quiet Playa Bacocho, iconic for sea turtle release activity.

This beach has a long coastline of white sands and blueish-green waters where you can enjoy lovely beach walks quietly, beach bum, sunbake, and swim.

Most people come here to participate in sea turtle release, which involves helping hatched baby sea turtles get to the ocean.

Although not as strong as those in Playa Zicatela, the waves here at Bacocho can get intense, so be careful when going for a dip. Remember to ask a lifeguard for the best and safest spot to swim, especially if it’s your first time.

Playa Principal

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Playa Principal, which translates to “main beach,” is the most popular beach in Puerto Escondido. It’s an excellent spot for swimming and offers plenty of restaurants and amenities. 

The family-friendly atmosphere makes it a hit with locals and visitors alike!

Unlike other beaches, Playa Principal is more like a small bay cove than a long stretch of sand. As a result, it can feel cramped when crowded, which might not suit retirees looking for a quiet beach. So if you’re looking for peace, head there early in the morning — after 11 am, the atmosphere becomes much busier.

It’s easy to see why Playa Principal is so beloved; its convenient location and diverse activities make it an ideal destination for everyone.

Puerto Escondido Food 

La Salsa Restaurant (for the Best Seafood)

La Salsa is an open-air restaurant with surprisingly delicious seafood you can enjoy while in Puerto Escondido.

It’s not a very busy restaurant. You’ll receive the best service because there are only a few diners at a time.

La Salsa is the place to enjoy a good combination of fresh seafood and tasty cocktails. A good recommendation is the aguachile verde, a very spicy dish that goes with almost every cocktail available. You can also choose the level of spice you can handle.

The restaurant plays soothing Mexican music. The sand floors are decorated in a stunning array of colorful papel picado — a clear reminder that you’re at the beach in Mexico.

Arrachela Grill 

Arrachela combines two Mexican classics — arrachera (grilled steak) and chelas (a beer bottle). A glass of red wine would also go perfectly with it, but when you’re at the beach, there’s nothing better than an ice-cold cerveza.

This restaurant offers a variety of delicious options on its menus, such as arrachera, Argentinian chorizo, Spanish chorizo, potatoes, and even an assortment of grilled fruits and veggies — like pineapple and spring onions.

Tacos topped with french fries and grilled onions are a must-try at Arrachela Grill. The arrachera steak is also something that you should take advantage of. Even the taco meat is incredibly tender.

This place should be your go-to spot if you’re looking for a non-seafood option while visiting Puerto Escondido.

Metxcalli 

Metxcalli is a high-end restaurant in Rinconada with a menu full of inventive dishes made from Oaxacan ingredients.

The selection ranges from cold appetizers and hot starters to tacos, tostadas, and main courses. Standouts on the menu include esquites served with bone marrow, octopus and tuna tostadas, coconut fish, and Lechon (slow-cooked baby pig), available as both tacos and an entrée.

This restaurant is perfect for vegetarians as it offers mushroom tacos with lentil puree and roasted cauliflower in pumpkin seed sauce. The menu also caters to vegans.

While there may not be an ocean view here, this Puerto Escondido eatery serves good food.

Sushido 

Sushido, located at the far end of Rinconada’s restaurant strip, is one of the original sushi joints in Puerto Escondido. Although some rolls contain cream cheese, a Mexican specialty, the fish is always fresh, making it a bustling place.

It’s an excellent spot for Japanese cuisine, offering everything from miso soup to sashimi, poke bowls, and Japanese street food. You’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy here.

If you’re looking for great sushi in Puerto Escondido, look no further than Sushido. Their delicious menu items will have your taste buds singing, so don’t miss out.

Restaurant Rey Shaman 

Head to Restaurant Rey Shaman in Puerto Escondido for an incredible dining experience.

In the late afternoon or evening, you can sample their mouth-watering mezcal and pair it with your meal — or go all out with their exceptional mezcal-plus-beer combo that would make any Oaxacan bar proud.

If fish tacos are what you’re after, then look no further. Also, if you’re craving something more unique, try their fried coconut shrimp tacos. These beauties are filled with succulent shrimp coated in sweet coconut before deep-fried and topped with shredded purple cabbage.

This restaurant also perfectly balances price and quality, making it an unbeatable deal.

Puerto Escondido Accommodations

Casa de Olas Boutique Hotel

The Casa de Olas Boutique Hotel is a delightful and inviting hotel three minutes from Zicatela Beach and four kilometers from the Commercial Walkway.

It provides a terrace and bar, free bikes, a fitness center, a garden to wander through, and a shared lounge you can hang out in — all while vacationing in Puerto Escondido.

Their rooms are medium in size, and the beds are super comfortable. You’ll enjoy a place with good air conditioning, a nice balcony, and gentle music to relax to during the day.

The hotel offers more than just amenities — they have the friendliest staff, always ready to provide support and help when needed.

Oceanfront

This incredible five-bedroom villa is a true oasis in the ideal spot for tourists in Puerto Escondido.

The seaside villa is just a few steps away from Manzanillo Beach, which provides excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities — plus, it’s perfect for kids since the currents are not that strong here.

The villa has two master bedrooms, king-size beds, and private bathrooms. A housemaid will be available two days per week, and there’s also a cook — but for hire.

Hotel Escondido

Hotel Escondido is situated in a tranquil spot on the shoreline with crashing waves.

It’s 45 minutes away from Puerto Escondido’s main town by car. Some may find it quite secluded, which makes it perfect for couples looking for a perfect honeymoon escape.

The rooms are stunning — immaculate and inviting. Each one boasts a generous plunge pool, so stay in the privacy of your suite.

The staff is also very attentive and kind, ensuring your experience in Puerto Escondido is pleasant.

Villas Carrizalillo

Villas Carrizalillo is an idyllic Puerto Escondido hotel with 12 unique units. Nestled beneath a palm grove on a cliff-side overlooking one of the area’s most picturesque bays, it provides the perfect setting for relaxation.

When driving, you can access the property in five minutes from Carrizalillo and Puerto Angelit Beaches.

The villas have various amenities, including air conditioning, wireless internet, private outdoor areas, a library, a restaurant, kitchenettes, and a swimming pool for maximum comfort.

The views from this place are stunning, and the sunsets are among the best you’ll ever witness.

Casa Caitlin

This abode is an absolute charmer: a two-bedroom house situated cozily at the corner of a block of six similar homes. Its safe and tranquil location offers a bonus — an upstairs where you can catch the most spectacular view of the ocean and sunset while feeling a gentle breeze.

The kitchen is open and inviting. The living room and main bedroom have high, domed ceilings with ceiling fans and air conditioning. You can also access a shared pool in the backyard by walking through a small courtyard.

A cleaner visits twice a week, so you don’t have to worry about tidying up, and you can use the Wi-Fi and watch Apple TV. The house is conveniently located near the beach and restaurants, so you can easily stroll.

Tip: Hotel prices vary with seasons, and the peak season might attract higher fees. Always check the rates of different places to compare before booking a room.

Puerto Escondido Nightlife 

Where to Find the Nightlife 

If you’re in Puerto Escondido, you’ll never be at a loss for places to party!

El Alebrije and Bar Fly are the perfect spots to dance the night away, while La Punta Zicatela offers an unbeatable beachfront atmosphere with tasty cocktails and live music.

But if you want to take your evening up a notch, head over to the Vivo Escondido Rooftop Bar — it’s got one of the best views in town, plus good drinks.

Alternatively, plenty is going on downtown if you fancy something more low-key.

Let’s look at how typical nightlife is in Escondido, day by day.

Monday Nightlife 

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Quality nightlife on Mondays is rare in most places, but not in Puerto Escondido.

The Cactus Bar is the place to be for the party of your life, and if you enjoy electronic/dance music, it’s even better. Here, local fire twirlers and dancers also entertain the party-goers.

Before heading to the Cactus Bar, you can start the night early at Savanna in La Punta, which overlooks La Punta beach and offers a 2-for-1 cocktail special between 6 pm and 8 pm.

Tuesday Nightlife 

Tuesdays, we gallivant to Chula, Xcaanda, or any other raucous blowouts advertised in Zicatela. 

Usually, these places require a fee after midnight, which can run you up to 100 pesos.

Wednesday Nightlife 

Wednesday night is the time to salsa in La Punta, and Juana Mezcala bar is the place to be. 

With a lively atmosphere, you can sample a variety of mezcal while sipping on a beer for only 100 pesos. It’s an unbeatable deal that won’t let you down. So join the party and let loose with great music and good drinks.

Thursday Nightlife 

Thursday nights are a must-attend for ex-pats when La Punta transforms into the hottest open mic night spot. From 10 pm onward, you’ll want to be here to join in on the buzz and sway of the evening. Take advantage of it — it’s an experience to be remembered.

Friday Nightlife 

Ah, the weekend is finally here, and if you’re feeling wild, a romp in Puerto Escondido nightlife will do you some justice. You can choose from many experiences — whether you want to dance your weekend away or chill out and enjoy a drink with a view.

Head to El Alebrije or Bar Fly for a lively night out for dancing, music, and drinks. Check out La Punta Zicatela for a beachfront setting, great cocktails, and live music if you want a more relaxed atmosphere.

For an unforgettable night, visit the Vivo Escondido Rooftop Bar for a stunning ocean view and delicious drinks. Whatever you choose, Puerto Escondido’s nightlife won’t disappoint.

Saturday Nightlife

Saturday nightlife is similar to Fridays, if not heightened. Most hotels, bars, and restaurants are open all night long, and revelers do not shy away from enjoying the experience. There’s also lots of street food you can sample while partying.

Sunday Nightlife 

Wondering if the Puerto Escondido nightlife ends after Friday and Saturday? Well, that’s not true at all! A ton of folks still like to keep it going on Sunday. Rest assured, regardless of the day, you can find a place to have fun in Puerto Escondido. 

Discover Oaxaca and Escape the Daily Grind

All in all, Puerto Escondido should be at the top of your bucket list to visit. With incredible beaches, colorful culture, and plenty of activities, this town has something for everyone.

Whether you’re after an adrenaline rush with surfing, discovering the local markets, or want to lounge by the shores and enjoy the scenery, Puerto Escondido won’t disappoint you. And when night falls, its buzzing nightlife offers an opportunity for more fun.

So what are you waiting for? 

Start planning your Puerto Escondido trip now and prepare for an extraordinary experience in one of Mexico’s most gorgeous destinations.

FAQS 

Why Is Puerto Escondido So Popular? 

Puerto Escondido is popular because it has the best beaches for surfing. The long, huge waves attract surfers worldwide who want to experience the thrill of maneuvering them.

Puerto Escondido is known for its vibrant culture, delicious food, and friendly locals. The town has a laid-back vibe, which suits people who don’t want to go through the hassle of big cities.

How Long Should You Stay in Puerto Escondido? 

You can spend time in Puerto Escondido as long as you may want. Your schedule and travel 

preferences will dictate the days you spend in this town.

A minimum of three to four days is recommended. However, if you want to explore more of the surrounding area, including nearby towns and attractions, consider staying for a week or more.

Is It Worth Going to Puerto Escondido? 

Yes, It’s worth going to Puerto Escondido. With its stunning beaches with long stretches, world-class surfing, lively nightlife, and rich culture, there is something for everyone in this charming town. 

Remember to check rates if you want to get services worth your money.

Which Is Better: Huatulco or Puerto Escondido? 

Deciding between Huatulco and Puerto Escondido depends entirely on your travel preferences.

Huatulco is perfect for those seeking a more luxurious and laid-back vacation experience, as it is more developed and has modern infrastructure.

On the other hand, Puerto Escondido is famous for its surf culture, bohemian vibe, and lively nightlife. The town has a more authentic Mexican feel, with various traditional restaurants, shops, and cultural events.

Is Puerto Escondido Safe? 

Puerto Escondido is generally safe, but as with any other place, you must take the necessary precautions. Be mindful of the ocean conditions and follow any advisories issued by local authorities. You’ll have to monitor your belongings, especially in crowds, as petty theft can occur.

Author: Christopher Alarcon

Title: Journalist

Expertise: personal finance, side hustles, time management

Bio:

Christopher Alarcon is a journalist with a deep passion for personal finance. He has contributed to major online publications, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and Business Insider.