Most people, it seems, come to Mexico’s Pacific coastline town of Puerto Escondido for one thing… and that is to get barrelled. Either by the pipeline surfbreak that loops in here (peaking April through October) or by the wave of street vendors, beach bars and food establishments covering the 3.5km length of Zicatela beachfront selling micheladas, margaritas, fresh coconuts and cervezas for as little as 20 pesos a pop. That’s as little as 72p.
If you’re travelling to Puerto Escondido (or Mexico in general) from the likes of Costa Rica, you’ll be welcoming the lower prices of both food and accommodation with welcome arms here. I’ve included some example prices for travelling in Puerto Escondido below.
There were many things I loved about Puerto Escondido during my time there in December… including the sunshine, the warm waters, the sunsets, exploring the local spots on the north end of the beach and enjoying some gorgeous dining experiences on the beach. What I will say though is that there’s an evident and unfortunate divide between the local end and the western end of the beach. Whilst La Punta, home to the more upmarket expat run establishments, finely tuned Airbnbs and cocktail bars is a very enjoyable and social place to spend your time… there’s no denying that when I visited the north end of the beach and interacted with the locals and their culture I breathed a sigh of relief. A sigh of… ‘oh hey Mexico, this is how you do things’. This is why I love to travel.
All I’d say is, check them both out. Respect the locals, their culture, their land… and support them.
There’s also a very conscious scene here in Puerto Escondido and so if you’re looking for yoga classes and a more relaxed vibe in Puerto Escondido – you have plenty of choices. You’ll find yoga retreats, spaces, offerings and immersions dotted all across this coastal town for you to enjoy. I’ll list my favourites further down in this Puerto Escondido travel guide.
Having just spent 3 weeks working abroad and celebrating Christmas in Puerto Escondido I am ready to share all the best things to do in Puerto Escondido, the best places to visit in Puerto Escondido, the best places to eat in Puerto Escondido and the best day trips from Puerto Escondido.
If there’s anything I’ve missed and that you’re still wondering at the end of this Puerto Escondido travel guide, be sure to leave me a comment and I’ll update it for you!
Where is Puerto Escondido? How to get to Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido is a port town and beach resort on Mexico‘s Pacific coastline in the state of Oaxaca.
The main airport to access Puerto Escondido is Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM).
The airport itself is very close to the city centre, just a 5-minute drive. To get to the main Zicatela beach it’s only 15 minutes.
I turned up to the airport with no taxi / transfer booked and booked a taxi with the taxi desk at arrivals. I paid 380 pesos which is about £14 for a private taxi. There was the option to share a ride for 70 pesos each which is a cheaper option if you’re exploring Puerto Escondido on a budget.
Note: It was cash only (like most of Mexico). There was an ATM by the taxi desk.
If you are arriving by bus, the main bus station is also in the city centre and you can flag down a taxi very easily.
Taxis, you will soon realise, pass you by the second and so getting around Puerto Escondido without a car or scooter is very easy and affordable.
Where to stay in Puerto Escondido?
It depends what kind of vibe you are looking for?
During my 3 weeks in Puerto Escondido, I hopped around and experienced staying in La Punta, Zicatela main beach and Puerto Escondido town. I hopped around mainly because I came during the peak season (Christmas and New Year) and I booked my accommodation very last minute so availability was very low.
If you’re travelling to Puerto Escondido during the months of December and January, I’d highly recommend booking your accommodation in advance. Hotels and Airbnbs are known to increase their prices up to 4X during this period. No word of a lie! The demand is there!
- La Punta – this is where the ex-pat community is. Beginner waves, restaurants on the beach, boutique shops and brunch spots. Very similar to the feel of Canggu.
- Main Zicatela beach – if you’re here for the main beach break and want to run down to the water with your surfboard, this is your spot! Lots of restaurants and beachfront hangouts to enjoy the sunset from. You’re halfway between the airport and La Punta here.
- Town centre / north beach – this is the more local end of the beach and where you’ll get all of your local street vendors and hangouts. Lots of local markets and opportunities to dive into the culture.
My accommodation recommendations for Puerto Escondido:
- Airbnb in La Punta (pictured below) – Clean, cool, hot water and secured gate for safety. It’s a 10-minute walk from the main strip which was a lovely walk and meant I was away from the sounds / activity if I sought peace!
- Aqua Luna, Zicatela – I stayed here for a week over Christmas and it was fab. Basic affordable rooms with everything you need. Pool, rooftop to watch the sunset. Great central location.
- Beach front guesthouse – Another great spot near the Zicatela main surf break and on the beachfront. Great hosts, lots of space, epic rooftop and a lime tree outside the front for a daily dose of vitamin C!
Example prices in Puerto Escondido:
(As of January 2022)
- Cocktail = beach front bars will do 2 for 100 pesos
- Local main meal = 70-90 pesos
- Restaurant main meal = 100-250 pesos
- Scooter 1 day rental = 300-400 pesos (you can negotiate for longer rentals)
- Coffee = 45 pesos
- Burrito / lunch on beach – 85-120 pesos
- Cold coconut (coco frios) – 30-50 pesos
- Yoga class 100-150 pesos
- Smoothie – 45-70 pesos
- Taco 35-70 peso
Top tip: Accommodation prices literally double/triple over Christmas and New Year.
Top tips for Puerto Escondido:
- If you’re looking for a sim card, the best place is TelCel in the main town. I paid 150pesos for 2GB data and unlimited socials
- Get cash out whenever you can. There are only a couple of ATM’s dotted around Puerto Escondido and not many places take card. I got stuck a few times when ATMs were out of service!
- Download the DuoLingo app and learn some basic Spanish phrases, you’ll be needing some Spanish to get by
- In the meantime, download the Google Translate app. The camera is amazing for translating menus and helping with conversations!
- ‘no nadar’ means do not swim in Spanish, there are strong rips on certain parts of the beach – be careful!
- Remember sunscreen and zinc, the sun is strong!
My favourite places to eat in Puerto Escondido:
One of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido is to make your way around the local street food, restaurants and eateries! Here are a few of my favourite spots.
- Spirulina – your go-to health food restaurant with all the smoothie bowls, a big smoothie list and a veggie / vegan-friendly lunch and dinner menu. Pop in after a surf put a dress on and mate it an evening date. This place caters for all. Closed on Tuesdays!
- Elephant Garden – tucked away just off of the main Zicatela strip is this paradise. The menu is probably the most divine in Puerto Escondido (in my opinion). Vegan and veggie friendly.
- Café Nduva Punta – The peanut butter Frappuccino and vegetarian brekkie!
- Dulce Tierra La Punta – coffee and baked goodies! The vegan brownie and banana bread are amazing!
- Barrio Cafe La Punta – morning coffee and croissant
- Finca Las Nieves – Cacao coffee elixir and tofu Mexican breakfast! Second fav breakfast spot! The banana bread portions are worth returning for alone.
- La Mariinera – a little pricier dinner than most but the BEST prawn curry!
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido is to get in the water!
If you’re a beginner, head to the La Punta end of the beach and book a surf lesson. The waves are a lot more mellow on the south end of Zicatela. There are plenty of surf schools and places for board hire down towards the end of the strip. It’s around 100 pesos for an hour to rent a board! You could also try Carrizalillo beach.
The wave that Puerto Escondido is famous for is Playa Zicatela, though this is absolutely not for beginners. Rarely flat, Zicatela is one of the venues for the worlds best big wave surfers and bodyboarders to test their skills. The waves break pretty close to the shoreline here, an amazing chance to see some epic surf up close.
2. Have a beachfront cocktail at sunset
Puerto Escondido hosts some pretty consistent and stunning sunsets. I saw some of the most beautiful sunsets to date whilst I was here. There are many beachfront bars and restaurants to soak up the sunsets in.
Take your pick and make it your daily routine! Soaking up the sunsets is one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido by far.
One of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido is to make the most of the morning light. As the sun rises, the air is cool and you’ll find many people taking their daily exercises and walks before the sun gets too high in the sky.
The mornings are a precious time in Puerto Escondido. Take a walk, journal on the beach, run along the beachfront, sit and watch the surf.
4. Walk around the coastal path at the north end of the beach for sunset
I hadn’t noticed this one as a recommendation online but after staring into the distance at the rocks on the north end of the Zicatela beach many a time, I wondered whether there was a coastal walk to enjoy.
One afternoon we packed our snorkel and went to see if we could make our way around and maybe jump in the water / enjoy the sunset from the rocks.
To our delight, and now yours, there’s indeed a gorgeous path that winds right around the coastline and ends up at a hotel. There are a few places to get in the water but the rocks are covered in sea urchins! Be careful if you do get in.
Take a picnic, some cervezas and your friends and watch the sun go down from the rocks. This was one of my favourite evenings in Puerto Escondido and in my opinion one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido.
I mentioned this beach previously as somewhere you can jump in the water and surf some more mellow waves but it’s also a fabulous spot for snorkelling.
If you don’t have your own, you can rent snorkels on the beach from one of the restaurants for 200pesos (1 hour) or from the main road before you walk down where you’ll be able to rent them a little cheaper.
We saw turtles and many schools of fish around the rocks whilst we were snorkelling here. It was amazing! There are restaurants and bars on the beach here too to get some refreshments. A beautiful place to spend the day and one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido.
6. Take a day trip down to Mazunte
I never made it to Mazunte but I’ve heard so many good things and not many people visit Puerto Escondido without tagging on at least a day here.
Some of the best things to do include:
- Turtle conservation centre
- enjoying the best spot in Oaxaca for turquoise sea and golden sandy beaches
- visit/stay at one of the yoga retreats
- hunt down the good sushi cafes
7. Eat tacos from Fish Shack
Best tacos I had whilst in Puerto Escondido. Located in La Punta this little spot is always busy and for good reason.
I recommend the coconut fish tacos!
There are so many beautiful spots to dive into a Yoga class.
My favourites were:
- One Love Hostal
- The yoga studio onsite at Spirulina
9. Skydive over Puerto Escondido at sunset
Every sunset in Puerto Escondido we’d witness many skydivers falling into the rainbow of colours that the sky displayed.
Our friends actually did the skydive one evening and absolutely loved it. It’s very reasonably priced and considered one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido.
10. Brunch at Finca Las Nieves
This deserves a place of its own because I feel like it’s a beautiful experience in Puerto Escondido. Finca Las Nieves is such a gorgeous brunch spot and is the epitome of a laid-back Mexican morning.
The interior is gorgeous, the earthware makes drinking your morning coffee that much more delightful. The menu is amazing. It’s vegan and veggies friendly and the windows are so huge you can watch the world go by as you tuck into your book and a refreshment of your choice.
Oh and did I mention how generous the banana bread portions are?
The best day trips from Puerto Escondido:
There are so many amazing day trips and adventures to go on from Puerto Escondido. Taxis are very reasonably priced, you can hire a scooter or you can hire a car. Consider one of the following:
- Barra de la Cruz – surf spot for the advanced surfer!
- Chacahua – remote surf spot and longboard waves. You take a boat through the lagoon and rent a beach hut. Epic adventure!
- Mazunte – Home to the turtle conservation centre, stunning beaches, yoga retreats and sushi spots!
- San Cristobal – Stunning mountain town around 9.5 hour drive away. You can take an overnight bus to get here from the main bus terminal in Puerto Escondido.
- San Jose – Venture up into the mountains!
Where are your favourite things to do in Puerto Escondido? Anything you’d add?
Love as always and happy adventuring,