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Top 10 Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico

where is Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico

Years ago, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca Mexico (Puerto Escondido meaans”hidden port” in English) used to be considered a hidden gem, but you wouldn’t know that now since everybody that you talk to has heard about this little piece of paradise.  After all, there isn’t a more beautiful place for riding the waves, strolling along the shoreline, and enjoying life. As you can see on the map above, Puerto Escondido is almost as far south in Mexico as one can go. It’s Pacific Ocean beaches face South-South West. There’s lots to do, so I compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in the little town I now call home.

1. Go surfing

Puerto Escondido is the best place in Mexico when it comes to surfing and you will want to venture over to Playa Zicatela as soon as you arrive in the area. 

Playa Zicatela has two and half miles of sandy shoreline and the swells that can be found there are considered the strongest of anywhere.  If you are not an experienced surfer, don’t surf here. You will love catching a wave while out on the water, but if you are not an experienced surfer, you may want to try some of the calmer waters in the area first.  The instructors at Playa Carrizalillo and La Punta will have you up on a wave sooner than you think.

Adoquin Puerto Escondido
Photo credit: Erasmo Perez

2. Go for a walk or hike

The views in Puerto Escondido are unbelievable and you can walk and hike to see the best of the best.  Walking along Adoquin, which is the main walkway for every tourist, is the best way to feel the unique vibe of the area.  

You may want to take a stroll along this street at different times of the day, as each hour brings new experiences.There are stairs to get down to Playa Carrizalillo that will take you up high on the cliffs where you can follow trails created by stone as you look out towards the water of the ocean.  There are many hidden areas within those cliffs, and you are encouraged to keep an eye out, so you do not miss anything amazing.

If you prefer a more difficult challenge, you may wish to learn about hiking in Puerto Escondido, and there’s an organized group led by a local.

3. Take an eco-tour

There are plenty of tours available in Puerto Escondido, but none of them are as fabulous as the ones that go to Laguna de Manialtepec and Lagunas de Chacahua National Park.  Each of these destinations is filled with mangroves and a plethora of local wildlife. 

Playa La Punta - Puerto Escondido

4. Hang out on the beach

You do not need to surf in order to fall in love with any of the beaches in Puerto Escondido, and there are plenty for you to choose from.  Family fun and relaxation can be found on both Playa Manzanillo and Playa Puerto Angelito, but Playa Principal is also a wonderful option, especially if you want to body board or swim. 

5. Take a boat ride

There are numerous boat tours available in Puerto Escondido, and you will want to take one of them during your time in the area.  During your boating adventure, you may find yourself spotting dolphins, whales, or sea turtles.  However, you may also have the opportunity to assist with a baby turtle release too.  Your favorite option though may be one of the night tours where you can swim in the bright water filled with bioluminescence under the dark skies.

6. Go shopping

While Adoquin has shops scattered amongst the restaurants, you may prefer to do your shopping at the market instead.  Mercado Benito Juarez is a phenomenal market that sells everything from fruits, vegetables, and juices to clothing and flowers.  This market is open every day of the week, but you may find that you have more options on Saturdays, because that is when most of the local farmers show up to sell their goods.


7. Visit the coffee plantation

There is much more to coffee than brewing a cup and sitting down to drink it, and you will learn all about the labor-intensive process when you visit the coffee plantation in Puerto Escondido.  You can learn all about harvesting and roasting the coffee beans as you look out at the picturesque mountains in the distance.  Make sure that you have a cup or two of the deliciousness before you leave though, as you will be more tempted to take some coffee beans home with you. 

8. Eat at the local restaurants

Not everyone is adventurous when it comes to their food, but you will miss out on many delicacies if you do not try at least some of the yumminess that can be found in Puerto Escondido.  Seafood is the most popular item in the area, and it is prepared in so many different ways.  However, you will also be able to find staple Mexican dishes that include beans, rice, tacos, and more.  Ironically enough, there are also multiple Italian restaurants in Puerto Escondido, so you will not need to live without your weekly pizza and pasta, which can be a good thing if the local cuisine doesn’t tempt your taste buds. At the bottom, I have listed some links to my favorite eateries here in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. Here’s a great list of restaurants in Puerto Escondido to try. 

9. Enjoy the nightlife 

I don’t know the actual average age in Puerto Escondido, but I imagine it’s in the mid-20’s. There’s a very active nightlife here. Every beach bar will be open during the day for drinks, but at night, each one transforms into a fantastic destination where you can listen to music and dance the night away.  Depending on the night, you may need to change your beach bar destination, as they all have their own night where they offer more than the other nights.  If you are not sure which beach bar to venture to when, all you need to do is ask some of the locals and they will point you in the right direction. 

Playa Zicatela
Playa Zicatela

10. Relax

Puerto Escondido is a vacation destination, so you will want to spend part of your time relaxing.  You can do this at the beach, at your hotel room, in the pool, or anywhere else where you can hang out and have fun. 

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico is a great place for you to go if you are looking for adventures as well as quiet time.  There is no shortage of nice, but inexpensive hotels and hostels in town. You will have a blast as you experience the best that the area has to offer, and you may find that you never want to leave to return home.

How to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

How to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

If you are traveling to the Mexican state of Oaxaca, it’s likely that you’ll want to see Oaxaca City (also just called Oaxaca) in addition to Puerto Escondido. Oaxaca is a beautiful colonial city rich with history and culture and I highly recommend it. 

Oaxaca to Puerto by highway

Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido is only 257 km, but because of the beautiful Sierra Madre mountain range it takes 6.5 hours to drive. Either rent a car or for the more price-conscious travelers take the bus. Service Express La Solteca offers inexpensive mini-bus service from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido starting at around $300 MXN (~$14 US) and will take you from Oaxaca City to the bus station in Puerto Escondido. 

Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido by air

There is one airline, Aeromar, that flies from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido and back with a 40 minute flight time. Flights are $140 round trip as the time of writing.

Other posts to help you get the most out of your trip:

See my list of 10 great restaurants in Puerto Escondido

Beaches in Puerto Escondido 

And, if you need a fantastic place to stay right on Playa Zicatela, check out another of our blog posts:

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