Guide to Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico

About Puerto Escondido

Translated, this name means “Hidden Port”, and it is an apt name. This Pacific gem is best known by surfers from all over the world. The “break” here is terrific, and surfers knew Puerto Escondido long before the local authorities in the State of Oaxaca invested in proper roads to draw more tourism to the location.

However, Puerto Escondido is much more than a hippy camp full of trendy surfers waiting for the next big break. Located just over 200 miles south of Acapulco on Mexico’s Pacific coastline, Puerto Escondido is not a manufactured resort; it’s a real Mexican coastal town with an old-world feel and as such it offers great value and a great opportunity to experience a wide variety of activities and pastimes.

Puerto Escondido has been shaking off its “surfer’s only” image in recent years. New and very affordable hotel-resorts opening up and these, combined with an emergence of local amenities such as vegetarian restaurants, a rise in the provision of alternative therapies as well as physical and spiritual rejuvenation including bodywork, massage, yoga, tai chi etc.; a vibrant nightlife scene and fantastic local coffee houses are fusing to create a very attractive get-away option that is comfortable, affordable, cultural and health-conscious without the tacky commercial feel of some manufactured resorts.

Puerto Escondido becomes particularly busy with surfers around the end and beginning of the dry season (March-April / October-November), when major surfing tournaments take place here. Summers are hot, humid and sultry and the beaches, although dramatic and beautiful are not ideal for swimmers, so choose a hotel-resort with a pool if you visit here in the hot summer months.

This venue is very popular with Canadians and Europeans. Many of the American expatriates who have discovered this “hidden port” have chosen to move here because of its authentic style and atmosphere and because everything is affordable. You can live here without having to win the lottery, and if you come for a visit, you’ll get some of the best value for your money you’ll find on any Mexican holiday.

Puerto Escondido is also a great base from which to explore the local area. Apart from the great beaches and water activities, the area offers the opportunity to experience stunning Eco Attractions as this is also one of Mexico’s premier ecological regions.

If you’re looking for a laid-back place to spend a couple of weeks, with plenty to do and without the manufactured feel of a traditional resort, then consider Puerto Escondido. Many people who visit here fall in love with the place and keep coming back, year after year. Perhaps you will, too.

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Key Attractions

Stunning Beaches

Puerto Escondido’s beaches are either good for swimmers or good for surfers. The surfers’ beaches are the ones where the waves and undertows are much more fierce— inexperienced swimmers especially would be advised to avoid these. The best beaches for swimming are Bahia Principal and Playa Marinero. You can also rent water craft at these beaches. Playa Zicatela has extremely strong undertows—only strong swimming surfers should negotiate these waters.

Water Sports

Surfing is the primary water sport in Puerto Escondido and body boards and surf boards are available for rent. If you’re going surfing, remember that the undertows here can be lethal especially for inexperienced surfers. Be sure you’re a strong swimmer and that you know what you are doing. Other water craft can be rented by the hour from some of the beaches. Snorkeling is popular here—a very enjoyable pastime in the crystal clear blue waters you’ll experience here.

Sports Fishing in Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is one of Mexico’s top locations for Sports Fishing. You’ll find a large choice of sports fishing operators locally.

Eco Tours from Puerto Escondido

A wide range of Eco Tours, including jungle and mountain tours, lagoon and bird watching trips and trips to the turtle sanctuary are available from Puerto Escondido.

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Getting There & Around

By Air – Small planes can land at the airport at Puerto Escondido. AeroCaribe offers flight transfers from Oaxaca airport to Puerto Escondido. From the USA or other airports in Mexico, you’ll need to fly to Oaxaca first (perhaps via Mexico City) and change planes to fly into Puerto Escondido. The airport is just 3 miles away to Puerto Escondido on the north side, and ground transportation is available from there to the town. For detailed information about flights and flying, see the Mexperience guide to Air Travel in Mexico.

By Bus – A luxury bus from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido will take you 11 hours. Buses from Oaxaca and Acapulco also travel frequently to Puerto Escondido. Flying is the most sensible way to get to Puerto Escondido, unless you are already on or near the southern end of the Mexican Pacific coast, or on a budget, and don’t mind the wait (and want to see the sights along the way!). Note that the road to Puerto Escondido is not a very good one and a bus journey will be tiring. For detailed information about bus transportation read the Mexperience guide to Bus Travel in Mexico.

By Car – From Oaxaca, a drive will take around 7 hours. The road from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido is not a good road; it’s mountainous and very remote; driving on it will require a car in excellent condition and will be a tiring drive. If you must drive there, drive during the day only and keep in mind that it will take longer than the route on the map would have you believe! From Acapulco, you’ll need to take Highway 200 south, but stay off this road at night for the same reasons as mentioned above. The current advice is to fly to Puerto Escondido. See additional information about Driving in Mexico and Mexico’s Toll Roads on Mexperience.

Car Rental – To explore Mexico’s provincial towns and cities— including its beach locations and the scenery and attractions nearby them— consider renting a car for your visit. Having your own car will give you more flexibility than using public transport options and, in some cases, offer you access to places which are otherwise difficult to visit without the use of a car. Read our guide to Car Rental in Mexico to learn what you need to know about car rental in Mexico and connect to the Mexperience Travel Center to reserve your Rental Car.

Taxis – Taxis in most of Mexico’s beachside towns and cities are not metered, so agree your price before you get in. Taxi travel is very affordable in Mexico, in comparison to the USA, Canada and Europe, and so provides a viable means of public transportation in Mexico. Your hotel can arrange taxis for you; some post their rates on a board in the lobby; taxi hotel rates are usually higher than cabs you hail off the street. If you speak Spanish, you will have a distinct advantage and be able to negotiate a price with the driver. For detailed information, read the Mexperience guide to Taxi Travel in Mexico.

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Local Events Calendar

As it’s world reknowned for its superb surfing, Puerto Escondido hosts two international surf contests on Zicatela beach each year: the International Surfboard Contest in August and the International Surfing Tournament in mid-November. On the light-hearted side, the town also puts on a local surf carnival around the time of Semana Santa (Holy Week).

Some more traditional Mexican holidays that you can celebrate in Puerto Escondido include Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter), the Coastal Festival of Dance (Festival Costena de la Danza) and a sailfishing contest, both held in the November.

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Practical Information

Telephone: Connect to the Communications in Mexico page on Mexperience for detailed information about keeping in touch and the latest table of national dialing codes.

Exchanging Currency: Banks with ATM machines can be found in the downtown area of Puerto Escondido. During business hours, they and the Casas de Cambio will buy traveler’s checks and cash from you as well. For detailed information about exchanging and managing your money, read the Mexperience guide to Money in Mexico.

Travel Insurance: We recommend that you are adequately covered with travel medical insurance and/or travel assistance insurance when you are visiting Mexico. Read the Mexperience guide to Travel Insurance in Mexico for full details and links to specialist insurance suppliers.

Internet Access: Internet cafes can be easily found in towns and cities across Mexico and WiFi is increasingly commonplace–from cafes, shops, hotels, and some cities even offer free WiFi in some defined public spaces.

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Restaurants

We have no specific restaurant recommendations at this time.

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When Night Falls

Puerto Escondido is one of the top venues on Mexico’s Pacific coast to watch the sun melt into the ocean. When darkness falls, there is plenty to do and party-craving night owls will find their thirsts quenched by the nocturnal rituals on offer at Puerto Escondido!

Locally Hosted Parties – Many of the Hotels host their own parties which include dinner, dancing, a show and all drinks for a fixed fee. Ask at your hotel to find out what is happening locally.

Nightclub Scene – Nightclubs are varied and plentiful in Puerto Escondido, and like their Acapulco and Mazatlan counterparts, they don’t stop till the sun comes up! Some night clubs charge an all inclusive cover fee; some a smaller cover and drinks on top. Drinks are served all night. Don’t even consider going to a nightclub before 11pm. Nightclubs keepgoing all morning and most people will start to leave between 5 and 7 am.

Night Bars / Restaurants – Puerto Escondido has a good selection of local, national and international names in late night entertainment.

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What to Buy in Puerto Escondido

There’s a healthy variety of shopping experiences to be discovered at Puerto Escondido—from the usual T-shirts and hats to really good Mexican arts and crafts, including the world-famous Oaxaca Black pottery.

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Local Climate

Puerto Escondido’s climate features heat and humidity year-round. The rainy season is May to October, but as with most monsoon areas, rains tend to be fierce and brief in the late afternoon, leaving the evenings dry and cooled off. September brings the highest levels of humidity and sees the heaviest of the rains.

Weather & Climates in Mexico

Learn more about the weather and climates through the seasons and regions by connecting to the Mexperience guide about Weather and Climates in Mexico

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