Puerto Escondido, the Pacific Coast of Mexico‘s trendiest beach resort, is home to glamorous bars and tucked-away nightlife spots, known only to locals and intrepid travelers.
Smaller-scale and more relaxed than the high-rise resort cities of Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Puerto Escondido was – until the 1980s – a forgotten village on a near-deserted turtle beach, visited only by a few daring surfers. The waves are still some of Mexico’s best, but the beach is now backed by boutique hotels and restaurants. A lively social scene awaits – enjoy cocktails with a sunset view at these bars.
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Boasting the best piña coladas in Puerto Escondido, this palm-thatch palapa bar sits in a plum spot on Playa Zicatela. It’s lively from day to night, with surfers and day trippers at the adjacent Palapita beach club downing cocktails and icy beers on tall stools and pallet loungers. Bar staff wow the crowds with cocktail-juggling tricks, DJs mix chill-out sounds, and there are happy hour discounts.
An established local favorite, this rooftop bar perched over Avenida del Moro and Zicatela beach has served cocktails and buckets of beer since Puerto Escondido was just a small village with a string of surfer shacks. The formula has changed little since those days – cheap alcohol after sunset, plenty of pumping music and an energetic young crowd, fresh off the beach.
The best spot for sunset in Puerto Escondido? It has to be Espadín, set on a cape above Playa Carrizalillo; a wine-glass cove of turquoise water fringed with white sand as soft as whipped cream. It’s as much a restaurant as a bar – selling some of Escondido’s best seafood and tacos alongside pitchers of sangría, excellent margaritas and one of the best selections of premium mezcals and tequilas in town.
A sandy floor, raw-wood tables, swing seats; Ala is a relaxed burger and pizza pitstop on the way to and from Escondido’s main surf beach, Zicatela. By night, it morphs into a pumping, backpacker-filled bar serving cheap, ice-cold beers, mojitos and margaritas. There are all manner of burgers on sale – from meaty beef, bacon and blue cheese to tuna and white fish, as well as plenty of options for veggies and vegans. The pizzas come in gluten-free varieties, too.
Swing seats, bamboo walls draped with driftwood mirrors, chunky timber tables and palm-thatched roofs – this beachside shack at the southern end of Zicatela beach is archetypal old-school Puerto Escondido. It’s always busy with twenty-something surfers and travelers from the adjacent Bikini Beach flashpacker hostel, quaffing margaritas and mojitos (sold as happy hour specials) along with taco and nacho bar snacks.
Classy cocktails and bar food, and a plum sunset view over the beach and ocean; you’ll find it all at Sativa. This chic, palm-roofed palapa (with beautiful hardwood dining tables) sits right on the sand in Zicatela beach’s smartest spot. The house mezcalito cocktails are superb – el capi comes with artisan mezcal, lemongrass, guava, serrano chili and lemon, while there’s a menu of upscale Mexican and international snacks.
Salsa near the sand? You’ll find it at Congo – a simple kerbside kiosk bar and dance space next to the market on Alfonso Pérez Gasga avenue, behind Playa Principal. This is where Mexicans come to party, drinking strong mojitos and cold beer at wooden tables which spill onto the pavement, before pairing up for salsa and merengue, fueled by a pounding sound system and occasional live bands.
A bar with food, or a restaurant with a bar? Pez Gallo isn’t quite sure. But there’s no arguing with the location – a wooden pier over Playa Bacocho, Escondido’s wildest beach (and sometime turtle nest). It’s a great spot for margaritas at sunset – or margaritas at any time, really. With excellent broadband, it is always filled with digital nomads. The Playa Villasol club next door sells day passes, has a huge pool and rents comfortable hardwood sun loungers.
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