Explore your world
Playa Manzanillo | ©
Playa Manzanillo | ©

A Beach Lover’s Guide to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Picture of Lauren Cocking
Updated: 2 February 2017
Puerto Escondido has long been the worst kept secret in Mexico, and it looks like that status is set to endure after the New York Times named it one of the 52 must-visit spots for 2017. So, if you want to hop on board this travel trend, do it soon before the place gets overrun! Here’s a beach lover’s guide to one of Mexico’s most beautiful stretches of coastline, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

Playa Zicatela

There’s a reason Puerto Escondido is known as a world-class surfing destination, and Playa Zicatela has played one heck of a large part in forming that reputation. It’s the site of the so-called Mexican Pipeline which only means one thing: perfect surfing conditions, albeit with a strong undertow that makes it dangerous for non-surfers. Either way, it’s a must-visit stretch of coastline while in Puerto Escondido, even if you do just come to ogle the world-famous surfers rather than grab a board yourself.

Playa Zicatela, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Playa Zicatela | © Pan American Health Organization PAHO/Flickr

Playa La Punta

Situated just down from Playa Zicatela, at the southeast end of the stretch of sand, is La Punta. If you want all the atmosphere of Zicatela but with waves safer for newbies, this is the beach for you. Aside from surf beginners, classes, and bodyboarders, you’ll regularly see runners getting their exercise along this beach as the sand is compact and ideal for a quick jog. What’s more, a little birdie tells us this beach has the best chocolate croissants in Puerto Escondido.

Playa La Punta, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Playa La Punta | © Darij & Ana/Flickr

Playa La Punta | © Darij & Ana/Flickr

Playa Principal

Right in the center of Puerto, you can find the appropriately named Playa Principal, which is particularly popular with locals, especially fishermen. While surfers should look elsewhere, if you want to try your hand at bodyboarding or just a gentle swim, Playa Principal offers the ideal conditions to do so. Although you might not be blessed with powder-perfect, bleached white sand, you’ll find that the familial atmosphere here is second to none, and the lancha (speedboat) connections with other beaches in the zone makes it incredibly convenient.

Playa Principal, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Playa Principal | © Adam Jones/Flickr

Playa Principal | © Adam Jones/Flickr

Playa Marinero

Right in between Playa Principal and Playa Zicatela, you’ll find Playa Marinero, which has a similar atmosphere and vibe. For those who love to sunbathe and soak up their surroundings, especially if you like people-watching, this is the beach to visit. Again, swimming and bodyboarding are popular along this stretch of surf, and there are plenty of beachside restaurants where you can enjoy a quick and delicious lunch before continuing your day of relaxation.

Playa Marinero, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Playa Marinero | © 16:9clue/Flickr

Playa Marinero | © 16:9clue/Flickr

Playa Manzanillo and Puerto Angelito

We’ve put Playa Manzanillo and Puerto Angelito together, as while they are technically separate, they’re so petite and close together that if you visit one, you might as well visit the other! Situated in a small crescent-shaped bay not far from the town center, both Manzanillo and Angelito have very relaxed, laid back vibes due to the fact that the water is calm. For that very reason, snorkeling is a popular activity at both, as is swimming. You’re likely to find more Mexican families lunching here than foreign tourists.

Playa Manzanillo, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Puerto Angelito, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Playa Manzanillo | ©

Playa Manzanillo | ©

Playa Carrizalillo

Don’t let the tongue twister of a name put you off this secluded and beautiful Puerto Escondido beach. Playa Carrizalillo takes a bit of effort to get to, so only head to it if you think you can manage the 167-step climb each way up a rocky cliff face! However, if you do take the metaphorical plunge, you’ll be met with a jaw-dropping beach that offers perhaps the best swimming conditions in the area and a veritably romantic atmosphere. As you can imagine, it’s not often overrun with people.

Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Playa Carrizalillo| ©

Playa Carrizalillo | ©

Playa Bacocho

Finally, the party beach that’s known for its top-quality beach clubs: Playa Bacocho. If what you’re looking for in a beach is a comfortable sun lounger, great music, and someone on hand to bring you cocktails all day long, this might just be the spot for you; we recommend checking out the excellent Villa Sol Beach Club. However, you don’t have to go to a beach club to appreciate Bacocho, and you’ll find many joggers taking advantage of the 25k length of sand. This is not a good beach for swimming, though.

Playa Bacocho, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, México

Playa Bacocho | © María Micoletán/Flickr

Playa Bacocho | © María Micoletán/Flickr