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Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico — Nestled in a bay on the wild Pacific Coast of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the small yet exceptionally hip beach city of Puerto Escondido one of the country’s best-kept secrets.
Until recently, Puerto Escondido had been overlooked for decades by all but the most adventurous foreign tourists, which goes part way to explaining why the city and its surrounding beaches and coastline have remained in a pristine condition.
Legend has it that the bay in which Puerto Escondido lies today once provided refuge for a young indigenous Mixtec woman fleeing after being kidnapped by European pirates.
It is said that the town’s name, which means “Hidden Port” in Spanish, originates from this legend. Indeed, it is hard to think of a name that would more fittingly describe the town today.
Puerto Escondido offers a variety of characteristics and things to do that the more touristy destinations in Mexico (Ex. Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen) do not which is a real low-key, laid-back vibe, rustic yet trendy accommodations and big waves that attract surfers from around the world.
Beacause of this, Puerto Escondido tends to attract a type of tourist who is looking to escape the chaos, crowds and inflated prices that are home to many of Mexico’s more famous beach destinations.
If this sounds like you, it is probably a good idea to skip the bigger beach resorts in favor of Puerto Escondido and the idyllic towns and beaches that surround it.
Before You Go: Travel Insurance
When planning a trip to Mexico your first priority should be to make sure you make a small investment towards your health and well being by considering an affordable travel insurance policy for your trip.
Not only will this budget friendly travel insurance policy cover you if your bags are lost/stolen and if your flight is delayed/cancelled, but you’ll also be covered for all medical and injury related issues as well.
Let’s face it. No parents, family or friends want to have to cover the cost of you getting medevaced home from Mexico.
Unfortunate things do happen.
Especially when you least expect it.
Do yourself a favor and consider purchasing travel insurance coverage for your trip so you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of in the event of a serious emergency in Mexico.
P.S. You won’t believe how reasonably priced this travel insurance is.
How to Get to Puerto Escondido
There are two options when it comes to getting to Puerto Escondido (Flying, Driving, Taxi, Bus).
If you’re wondering you can get to Puerto Escondido by car or taxi, you’ll want to check out this link: How to get to Puerto Escondido.
Unfortunately, Uber does not operate in Puerto Escondido at this time.
Puerto Escondido Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in Mexico and serves more than 300,000 passengers each year.
Flights to Puerto Escondido International Airport are most commonly taken from Mexico City, Oaxaca and Guadalajara.
Note: It is also possible to fly to the nearby Huatulco International Airport which is approximately a 1.5 hour drive from Puerto Escondido.
Getting from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido then involves taking a 90-minute taxi or a colectivo (Puerto Escondido’s ubiquitous shared-minivans) ride along the scenic coastal road.
Most overland visitors to Puerto Escondido arrive by bus from Oaxaca City to the north.
Although it might not appear too far when looking at the map, the road from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido can take a long time to navigate due to the rugged mountainous terrain of southern Oaxaca and is not for the fainthearted.
The ride will take approximately 10 hours from door to door. If you do decide to take a bus, I would recommend taking the night bus so you can save on a night’s accommodations and sleep through the twists and turns.
Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido
The price and level of comfort of Puerto Escondido accommodations vary widely.
If chill vibes is more of your type of scene, Puerto Escondido’s many lively budget hostels will more than satisfy your need to socialize with like-minded travelers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of mid-range and luxury accommodation options as well and many of them offer beautiful pools with sea views.
Airbnb is the one of the most popular platforms for finding accommodations and experiences in Mexico and the number of properties available for short-term rent has exploded over the course of the last few years.
Most tourists prefer renting Airbnbs over hostels and hotels these days due to the privacy, great values that can be found as well as the feeling of having a place to call home.
If you’re lucky, some of the Airbnb options in Puerto Escondido even offer extras such as surf lessons, guided hikes and cooking classes, which are often the best way to get to know the local culture and lifestyle.
Here are some recommended Airbnbs bellow:
Villa Coral – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
Casa Conti Palma – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
Casa Conti Sol – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
Villa Ocean – 2 Bed / 2 Bath
Casa Nicolas – 1 Bed / 1 Bath
Bikini Beach 2 Bed / 2 Bath
Ocean View – 3 Bed / 2 Bath
Villa Rasta – 3 Bed / 2 Bath
If this is your first time using Airbnb, we recommend that you read our Insider’s Guide to Saving Money on Airbnb Apartments.
Fortunately, there are hotels for every budget in Puerto Escondido.
However, if you have a bit more to spend, you will find that your money goes a long way.
The luxury Puerto Escondido Hotels are said to rival their upmarket counterparts in Cancun, Los Cabos or anywhere else in Mexico at times, and they are often a lot cheaper.
Below, you’ll find a recommended list of the best hotels in Puerto Escondido:
Additional Hotel Options:
Things to Do in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido and the surrounding area is packed with tons of fun activities suitable for all ages.
Puerto Escondido has long been famous in surfing circles for its large waves and perfect breaks, which are unrivaled anywhere along Mexico’s southern Pacific coast.
Take the short trip down to Playa Zicatela to catch some pro surfers doing their thing as they ride the beach’s famous “Mexican pipeline”.
If you visit in late spring/early summer, there is a chance that you will see swells of upward of 20 feet.
Explore Puerto Escondido Beaches
The coastline near Puerto Escondido is also home to a fantastic range of beaches, each with its own personality and quirks.
Just down the road from Zicatela is Playa La Punta, a beach with waves that are great for beginner surfers who are still learning the ropes.
Playa Manzanillo and Puerto Angelito are two adjacent beaches easily accessible from the city center and perfect for an after-dinner stroll to watch the sun go down.
A bit further away, you will find Playa Carrizalillo, one of the more popular beaches in the area to swim and surf.
Release Sea Turtles in Puerto Escondido
Among the most unforgettable experiences you can have in Puerto Escondido is an evening tour which offers the opportunity to release baby sea turtles into the wild.
After a brief yet fascinating explanation by an experienced guide, the moment of release is an incredible one to say the least. Watch closely as the babies begin their long journey to full adulthood.
Take a Day-Trip to Chacahua National Park
With its five lagoons, labyrinthine mangrove forests, bird sanctuary and traditional villages, Chacahua National Park is not to be missed.
Take a boat trip and stop off at the lighthouse before going for a swim, snorkeling with an astonishing variety of marine life and building bonfire on the beach to cook your dinner.
Watch the Sunset at Manialtepec National Park
Just a few miles away from Puerto Escondido is Manialtepec National Park — a place that is home to wild birds, lush mangroves and pristine sandy beaches.
The best way to see the park in all its glory is to hire a kayak or paddleboard and to take your time as you explore the unique ecosystem which is the product the meeting of salty seawater and a freshwater river.
Explore a Coffee Plantation
If you’re looking for a break from the beach, there are some excellent opportunities to check out one of Oaxaca’s most famous exports — coffee.
Many of the coffee plantations here have been producing top-quality coffee beans since as far back as the nineteenth century.
Diving in Puerto Escondido
The waters off the coast of Oaxaca offer some world-class diving opportunities suitable for divers of every experience level.
The ocean is teeming with life, and you can expect to see three different species of turtles, moray eels, butterflyfish, triggerfish, parrotfish angelfish, stonefish, groupers, and more on a diving trip booked from Puerto Escondido.
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Skydiving in Puerto Escondido
Most visitors to Puerto Escondido are aware of the amazing diving you can do in the area, but most will not be aware of the chance to do another type of diving that does not involve oxygen tanks and facemasks.
Every Christmas and Easter, Skydive Cuautla flies into town. The skydiving company organizes non-stop daily jumps for a limited time only for the more intrepid traveler.
Getting Around Puerto Escondido
Exploring Puerto Escondido and the many attractions in the area requires motorized transport.
If you don’t have your own rental car, you will need to find a way of getting from A to B.
If you do not rent a car, your only other option is to hire a taxi to take you around for the day. Fortunately, the cost of taxis are very reasonable.
Best Time to Visit Puerto Escondido
The climate on the Oaxacan coast is quite warm and arid, and rain is not too common.
The Puerto Escondido temperature does not vary much throughout the year, with a daily high of between 28.5 (83°F) to 31°C (87°F) and cooler overnight temperatures.
Summer in Puerto Escondido can be busy, and it is best to visit before the crowds arrive before the beach season really kicks off in mid-June.
Winter in Puerto Escondido is a bit cooler, and January can be busy, but there is nothing to stop you visiting in the winter months to escape the chilly weather at home.
For those who are turned off by the tourist traps of Mexico’s better-known beach hotspots and are looking for a more authentic experience, booking a trip to Puerto Escondido certainly won’t disappoint.
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