Puerto Escondido may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a Mexican getaway—after all, the scenic surf capital and laid-back beach town is usually overshadowed by more popular destinations south of the border like Tulum, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Mexico City.
However, the allure of this coastal gem cannot be denied: chock-full of super surf spots and sunny, sandy beaches, there is a small-town charm to Puerto Escondido that is often lacking in its larger, more touristy resort destinations. Think palm-tree-lined beaches without the horde of cruise ship tourists that are relaxing, idyllic, and just a short, sandy stroll away from an ice-cold mojito. And while surfing is a popular pastime, vacationers who aren’t into riding the waves will also enjoy the area’s thatched-roof beach huts; cool restaurant and bar scene; and scenic tropical atmosphere that’s perfect for maxing and relaxing with blue skies and even bluer waters.
The Best Beach: Playa Carrizalillo
Travelers who want a vacation full of swimming, surfing, and sun-drenched sandy beaches will want to stay in Playa Carrizalillo. Though not the only beach in Puerto Escondido, it is the best for vacationers looking to get their surf on. A beautiful bay surrounded by palm trees and breathtakingly beautiful turquoise waters, Playa Carrizalillo is also close to other fun spots in Puerto Escondido—close to the town center and its restaurants and shops, while also a starting point for exploring the nearby Playa Angelito and Playa Manzanillo, this secluded paradise is perfect for those looking for both relaxation and bustling activity. In between surfing and sunning, be sure to check out one of the many palapas (thatched-roof beach bars) that serve up local faves like mouthwatering tacos and ice-cold mojitos.
Where To Stay In Playa Carrizalillo
- Villas Carrizalillo has luxe rooms, stunning views, a delish onsite restaurant, and private beach access surrounded by lush gardens. Rates from $160 and up/night
- Suites La Hacienda is close to it all—shopping, restaurants, and of course, the beach! This top-rated spot is also known for its comfy lodgings and super cool swimming pool. Rates from $80 and up/night
- Hotel Aldea Del Bazar & Spa is an Arabian-style hotel with bright, sun-washed walls, spacious rooms with a view, a fun restaurant and bar, and a luxe spa complete with temazcal (traditional sweat lodge). Rates from $60 and up/night
A Hub Of Activity: Playa Zicatela
Like Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Zicatela is a super surf spot—but for experienced surfers only, as its tumultuously epic waves are not amateur-friendly. However, its stretch lovely beach is still nice for chilling out, whether its relaxing on the sand or bar-hopping at any of the bustling spots in the area. But Playa Zicatela is not just a surfers’ dream, it’s also a happening, hip spot famed for its vibrant nightlife—so those looking for a cool bar scene will find plenty to do here all day and into the warm, tropical nights.
Where To Stay In Playa Zicatela
- Bungalows Zicatela is a sprawling tropical paradise in the heart of Playa Zicatela with cozy rooms, great views, two onsite restaurants, and a fun surfer vibe. Rates from $70 and up/night
- Selina Puerto Escondido Here, think surf shop meets boutique tropical haven that’s also super trendy and right across the street from the beach. Rates from $35 and up/night
- Casa De Olas Boutique is all hip, tropical vibes with the feel of an upscale villa—all nestled on a quiet, verdant hillside near the sea that’s secluded, luxe, and intimate. Rates from $60 and up/night
Laidback Local Vibes: La Punta
La Punta has the best of both Playas Carrizalillo and Zicatela—its laid-back, beachy vibes are home to a low-key cool restaurant and bar scene, while its southern cove’s mellow waters are ideal for both swimming and surfing. Steeped in the community feels and fave local hangouts, anyone looking for an up-and-coming beach town atmosphere with a welcoming and fun community center will find their vacation Zen on La Punta’s sandy, palm-tree-surrounded streets.
Where To Stay In La Punta
- Casa Kuaa is beachfront lodging at its finest, located just minutes away from both La Punta and Playa Zicatela. Bonus for the cool outdoor pool and onsite bar. Rates from $155 and up/night
- Bikini Beach House is in the heart of Puerto Escondido—centrally located just two minutes from the beach and less than three short miles from the downtown area. The onsite bar and tropical gardens also give this fun spot an upscale vibe. Rates from $45 and up/night
- Shavanna Hotel Boutique is just a short walk away from La Punta’s best shops and restaurants, while being secluded enough to access all of Puerto Escondido’s beaches. Rates from $60 and up/night
The Center Of It All: Playa Principal
This town center is undoubtedly one of Puerto Escondido’s most bustling spots; adjacent to the popular Playa Principal and close to a number of hotels, restaurants, and shopping, it’s known as a go-to location for first-time visitors who want to be close to it all. The nearby walkway adjacent to the beach is great for those epic island sunset strolls, too.
Where To Stay In Playa Principal
- Casona Sforza has it all—an outdoor pool and bar, great views, and a central location close to all the beaches and fun spots in Puerto Escondido. Rates from $500 and up/night
- La Playita Beach House is just two minutes from the beach and a short walk away from the town center, and its lush tropical setting is elegantly affordable—so no worries about breaking the bank. Rates from $45 and up/night
- Hotel Quinta Carrizalillo A rooftop terrace, outdoor pool, and cozy, simple rooms make this centrally located hotel the place to be. Bonus: it’s just a ten minute walk from Las Tortugas observation point. Rates from $50 and up/night
Once a well-kept secret, the Oaxaca coast gem of Puerto Escondido is a tropical paradise famed for its epic surfing and bustling, beachy vibes. Divided into four neighborhoods each with its own personality and flair, Puerto Escondido is great for swimming, socializing, and surfing—but first-timers will definitely want to pick the right spot to make the most out of their travel itinerary: surf pros will love the epic waves of Zicatela Beach, while social butterflies will dig the laid back La Punta vibes. Either way, intrepid vacationers everywhere will enjoy an epic beach vacation in this coastal Mexican paradise, no matter where they decide to lay their beach towel.