Find Your Chill at the Best Puerto Escondido Beaches
Looking for a low-key beach destination without all the tourists? Head to the Puerto Escondido beaches on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Whether you’re looking to surf, snorkel, or just relax with a sunset drink, here’s how to make these golden sands your next beach break.
Puerto Escondido is a beach town on the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s known for nightlife and surfing, with its Zicatela Beach considered one of the top 10 surfing beaches in the world. Other beaches are perfect for paddleboarding, swimming, and even helping conservation groups with a sea turtle release.
Puerto Escondido is the perfect way to finish a trip to Oaxaca City, or as a stop on a longer road trip of all the Oaxaca coast beaches. I’ll break down the best Puerto Escondido beaches for your trip, as well as tips on where to stay to make it the perfect getaway.
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In this Guide to the Best Puerto Escondido Beaches
Playa Zicatela | Playa Carrizalillo | Playa Manzanillo | Playa Puerto Angelito | Playa Bacocho | Playa Punta Zicatela | Playa Principal | Playa Marinero | How to Get to Puerto Escondido
Playa Zicatela | Best Puerto Escondido Beach for Surfing
Playa Zicatela is the most popular beach in Puerto Escondido. This 3 km long sandy beach is lined with beach bars, restaurants, and shops.
Playa Zicatela isn’t a beach for swimming, though. Its massive waves make it one of the top 10 surfing spots in the world. There is also quite a strong undertow. But plenty of people turn up in the early morning and at sunset to watch the surfers take on the waves.
There is a viewpoint here, Mirador Romance de Verano, at the start of the beach. You can climb the concrete steps for a vista over Playa Zicatela and neighboring Playas Marinero and Principal.
Playa Zicatela’s long, wide beach is lined with bars, restaurants, and hotels. It’s one of the best places to stay in town for lots of things to do, as well as a top spot for sunset.
Zicatela Beach is perfect for:
- Experienced surfers
- A variety of bars and restaurants with loungers and beachside seating
- Staying in the heart of Puerto Escondido
Where to stay in Zicatela Beach:
$ Casa Daikiri | Guesthouse with dorm beds and private rooms, shared kitchen, and pool
$$ Selina Puerto Escondido | Chic hostel with a pool and shared spaces; dorm beds and private teepee tents are the most affordable room options
$$ La Playita Beach House | Quiet, comfortable rooms with a terrace; shared lounge, kitchen and pool
$$$ Casa Joseph Zicatela | ZICATELA TOP PICK: Posh, 5-star, adults-only hotel with a pool and beachfront setting
Playa Carrizalillo | Best Beach for Paddleboarding + Views
Postcard-perfect Playa Carizalillo is a calm cove popular for lounging and water activities. Here you can take surf lessons or rent a paddleboard, then relax for a meal and drinks at one of the beach bars. Its calm waters are good for swimming and beginner surfers.
To get to Playa Carrizalillo, you’ll need to trek down a long set of stone steps. Or you can take a water taxi (lancha) from Playa Principal. Once you arrive, its golden sand and turquoise blue waters are the perfect place to chill. Be sure to bring cash for the beach bars.
Carrizalillo does get busy, so plan to hit this beach early in the day. Or late: it’s a perfect sunset spot. For the best views, stay at Villas Carrizalillo or dine at the restaurant there overlooking the beach. This is my personal favorite beach in Puerto Escondido!
Carrizalillo Beach is perfect for:
- Swimming, paddleboarding, and surf lessons
- Low-key beach bars for a meal and a cold beer
- Sunset views from Restaurante Espadín, the restaurant at Villas Carrizalillo overlooking the beach
Where to stay near Carrizalillo:
$ Casa Losodeli | Hostel and coworking space with a pool
$$ Suites La Hacienda | Rooms and suites with a pool in a lush jungle setting
$$$ Villas Carrizalillo | CARRIZALILLO TOP PICK: Boutique hotel with dramatic views, pool, stylish rooms and upscale restaurant
Playa Manzanillo + Playa Puerto Angelito
Calm Beaches for Families and Swimming
Looking for a family-friendly swimming beach in Puerto Escondido? Playa Manzanillo and Playa Puerto Angelito are twin beaches separated by a rock jetty. As you go down the road to the beach, head left for Manzanillo and right for Angelito.
Puerto Angelito is a calm cove perfect for swimming, paddleboarding, and snorkeling. Local families like this beach. Boat trips depart from here to see sea turtles and dolphins in season.
This beach is in the same bay right next to Playa Manzanillo, which has a similar laid-back vibe but is less crowded. Its calm waters are some of the best in Puerto Escondido for swimming.
It’s best to bring cash for the restaurants and amenities at both beaches. At Puerto Angelito, there are several beachfront bars and restaurants, but don’t miss Mar Y Sol which has fantastic views over the beach and great fresh seafood. At Manzanillo, check out Mi Último Amor and La Palapa de Carrasco.
Where to Stay Near Manzanillo Beach + Angelito Beach
The closest options are all vacation rentals, or stay at one of the recommended hotels near Playa Carrizalillo
$ Casa Harley | TOP PICK: 2-bedroom, 2 bath house with pool a short walk to Manzanillo Beach
$$ Casa Caitlin | 2-bedroom house with a balcony and lovely views
$$$ Oceanfront 5-bedroom house | 5-bedroom luxury rental home with infinity pool and stunning view
Playa Bacocho | Best for Beach Clubs + Turtle Releases
Puerto Escondido’s Playa Bacocho is a long stretch of beach with soft white sand, turquoise waters, and picturesque palm trees. Don’t miss including this beach on your itinerary
Bacocho is about 15 minutes by car from town, which makes it much less crowded than other beaches on this list. It’s easiest to get here by taxi or scooter.
Even if you’re staying at another beach, Playa Bacocho is a great place for a day trip. Club de Cocos and Villa Sol are beach clubs that offer beach access along with a pool, thatched umbrellas, and a bar and restaurant that overlooks the beach. To use the clubs for the day, you need to commit to a minimum food and drink spend (around $10 US) for the day.
Playa Bacocho is also home to one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido. A conservation group here releases baby sea turtles at sunset during hatchling season. You can release your own cutie by booking a tour with the group.
Sea Turtle Conservation in Puerto Escondido
In Mexico, conservation groups monitor beaches for nesting turtles. After a female turtle lays her eggs, she covers the nest and returns to the sea, leaving it vulnerable to poachers and predators. Rescue groups find and relocate nests to a safe enclosure to protect them until they hatch. Tours and turtle releases help with groups’ operating costs and offer a sustainable alternative industry to turtle fishing, which once nearly decimated Oaxaca’s turtle population.
Playa Bacocho is not good for swimming, due to strong rip currents. But you can talk to the lifeguard on duty to get the outlook for the day. Or follow the rocky path at the southern end of the beach to find the calmer and hidden beach of Playa Coral. This secluded beach seems to be clothing-optional, so keep that in mind.
Bacocho Beach is perfect for:
- Beach and pool lounging
- A picture-perfect beach
- Travelers looking for a less-crowded spot and good beach clubs for the day
Where to Stay Near Bacocho Beach
$$ Posada Real | Beachfront hotel with 2 pools, beach club and restaurants
$$$ Hotel and Suites Villasol | Simple, modern hotel with restaurant, bar, pool and shuttle to its beach club
Playa La Punta: Best Boho Vibes + Intermediate Surf Spot
Playa La Punta is located at the south end of Playa Zicatela, separated by a rocky outcropping. The smaller waves at La Punta make it better for less experienced surfers. It’s also perfect for travelers looking for a chill, boho vibe at trendy bars and restaurants on the beach.
It’s a 20-30 minute walk down the beach to get to La Punta from Zicatela.
Where to Stay Near Playa La Punta
$ Bikini Beach House | Charming stay in the heart of La Punta
$ One Love Hostal | Dorms and bungalows a few steps from the beach
$$ Casa Beu | Top-rated, stylish hotel with a pool in a quiet setting
$$ Punta Zicatela Hotel | LA PUNTA TOP PICK: Hotel with a rooftop restaurant and bar in a prime location and great reviews for friendly service
Playa Principal + Playa Marinero
Playa Principal and Playa Marinero are two adjoining beaches in the bay of Puerto Escondido (Bahia Principal/Bahia Puerto Escondido) just north of Playa Zicatela
Playa Principal is the main beach of the city, where many boats and water taxis arrive and depart for nearby beaches. In the mornings you’ll see fishermen returning to sell their catch to local restaurants and families. This is a busy beach with a lot of activity, so it’s not the best beach for swimming or hanging out.
Playa Principal backs up to el Adoquin, the main street and tourist center of Puerto Escondido. Here you can find hotels, bars, restaurants, souvenirs, dive shops and an ATM. At night, it becomes pedestrian-only, and gets crowded with vendors, tourists, and locals. If you want tips on local events and tours, stop at the information booth here and talk to local expert Gina.
Playa Marinero adjoins Zicatela but is more protected, so the currents and surf aren’t as strong. You’ll see intermediate surfers and bodyboarders here.
Puerto Escondido Vacation Rentals
Want more options for places to stay in Puerto Escondido? Check out these vacation rentals with private spaces and room for a group.
How to Get to Puerto Escondido
The Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM) has connecting flights from Mexico City and Oaxaca City. Airlines serving PXM include Interjet, Aeromar and Viva Aerobus. Flights can be found for as little as $100 round trip.
Mexico’s ADO buses also serve the region, although it’s a long and winding bus ride from Oaxaca City. (Seriously, people get bus sick on the 10-hour trip through the mountains!) If it’s in your budget, I recommend flying; or find ADO bus routes here or reserve tickets with the app Busbud.
Once you reach Puerto Escondido (PE), taxis are plentiful and cheap at a few dollars US per trip. Expect to pay more for hotel transfers, though, and always agree on a price for taxis before you get in. You can also rent a bicycle or scooter for the day or week to get around – your hotel can typically assist with booking. There are also inexpensive colectivos (shared vans) if you’re comfortable using local transport.
Got Your Bags Packed?
While Puerto Escondido might not be as touristy or have as many resorts as other Mexican beach towns, it still has an authentic and lively energy. And plenty of beautiful beaches to fill at least a week with adventures and relaxing!
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