Beginner’s Guide to Puerto Escondido Beaches

Trying to decide where to go among Puerto Escondido beaches? In Puerto Escondido, located north of Huatulco Mexico on the Pacific coast (a short 1 hour flight from Mexico City), there’s a beach for every day of the week and  mood. Here’s the complete guide to finding the best of Puerto Escondido beaches to suit your travel style as well as the top spots to lay your beach blanket, ride a wave or just chill out.

Carrizalillo Beach: Chill Out

The name of this beach – Playa Carrizalillo (Car-eet-sa-lee-o) might be difficult to pronounce, but scramble 167 stone steps down a cliff and you’ll be rewarded with Puerto’s prettiest (and most swimmable) beach. Gentle waves, turquoise waters and sheltered shores make these waters popular with couples and families with kids. Its also quite near Puerto Escondido airport – perfect if you want to hop off the plane and head straight to the beach!

Beautiful Puerto Escondido Beach

Swim or learn to surf at this beautiful beach in Puerto Escondido

Perched on a cliff overlooking the beach is Villas Carrizalillo, the most secluded and romantic Puerto Escondido hotel. Cocktail hour at its Sunset Bar is a classic. Or, buy a dozen fresh-from-the-sea oysters for just $1.00 and you’ve got the perfect beach snack. Many of Puerto Escondido’s best condos, apartments and B & Bs are located within walking distance to Carrizalillo Beach. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Puerto Escondido Vacation Rentals for resources, tips and listings.

Manzanillo Beach: Viva Mexico!

Fish ceviche at Manzanillo Beach

Fish ceviche at Manzanillo Beach

This crescent-shaped Playa Manzanillo beach located near the heart of town shares the bay with the tiny fishing port of Puerto Angelito. It’s a favourite with local Mexican families who flock to picnic at the edge of the calm waters or snorkel among swarms of bright-hued fish. Roving troubadours singing romantic ballads and traditional ranchero songs add to the lively vibe.

This beach is one of the best of Puerto Escondido beaches for non-swimmers. My favourite spot to sip a margarita is la Palapa de Carrasco, operated by restauranteurs Pablo Carrasco and his wife Isadora Rivero. Their son, Pablo Carrasco, a friendly guy who also happens to be a  lawyer, is often on hand to welcome guests with a cool drink and the latest scoop on local happenings.  Lounge chairs come topped with pillows, rainbow-coloured serapes and big-shade umbrellas so plan to spend a full day.

La Punta Beach: Barefoot Chic

Sunset at La Punta

Sunset at La Punta

Full moon parties, sandy streets and tattooed surfers toting custom surfboards create a laid-back vibe at La Punta, a remote stretch of beach named for the rocky point that lures sunset lovers, fishermen and photographers. It’s also a popular spot for Puerto Escondido surfing and boogie boarding and is a favourite with those who like outdoor activities. At nightfall, head to Osa Mariposa, a beach-bungalow hostel with veggie fare and a hip mescal bar featuring the potent artisanal liquor distilled from agave. La Punta is also tops among Puerto Escondido beaches for vegetarian and vegan cuisine at eateries such as  One Love Restaurant, an upscale hostel that also has great food. 

RELATED: If you’re tired of beaches but want to stay on the water, don’t miss the boat tours in Lagunas de Chacahua Parque Nacional!

Bacocho Beach: Wet and Wild

Beach club at Bacocho Beach

Beach club at Bacocho Beach

Play castaway on this windswept beach at the edge of town. Interesting rock formations and an almost endless stretch of sand make Playa Bacocho one of the best Puerto Escondido beaches for strolling couples, nature lovers and fitness buffs. Pack water if you plan to make a dent in the 25-kilometre long expanse of golden sand. 

Or choose resort living for a day at Villa Sol Beach Club. With two pools (one a large freeform and the other for kids), a swim-up pool bar, Pez Gallo a new upscale restaurant, sprawling landscaped gardens and towering palm trees you’ll feel as though you’re at swanky resort. The cost? Admission is less than $5. Happy Hour cocktails are served between 12 noon and 1:00 p.m. It’s also a prime turtle nesting beach so you can often witness a sea turtle nesting or participate in a turtle release.

Principal and Marinero Beaches: Body Surfing & BBQ

Playa Principal

A rare quiet moment at Playa Principal

 

Marinero Beach at sunset

Playa Marinero Beach at sunset

Sun worshippers are drawn to Principal and Marinero beaches in the heart of town. The most Mexican of Puerto Escondido beaches, these shores are also where pilgrims head for purification after visiting the shrine to the Virgin of Juquila, one of the world’s top Catholic shrines, and where the annual “Blessing of the Fishes” boat procession takes place each December.

Although these beaches aren’t the cleanest in town, they score high marks from body surfers. Rent boogie boards from vendors right on the beach and wind up your afternoon by browsing El Adoquin, a lively pedestrian zone of souvenir shops, beach bars and restaurants. At Brad’s Split Coconut, under a set of shady palm trees on Marinero Beach, grab a plastic chair and dig your toes into the sand. Then dive into a rib dinner from his “bone suckin’ good” barbecue menu.

Zicatela Beach: The Scene

Corona girls Credit: Jaclynn Campbell

Corona girls on Playa de Zicatela Beach Credit: Jaclynn Campbell

If the Kardashians came to Puerto Escondido this is where they’d hang out and it is one of the most famous beches of Puerto Escondido. Playa Zicatelas is home to the epic Mexican Pipeline, an unforgiving wavebreak that draws surfing aficionados from around the world, it’s also the place to see and be seen. But even if you’re not a celeb, you’ll find plenty to do on one of the most popular Puerto Escondido beaches. Downward dog it at a yoga class, relax in a temazcal (traditional sweat lodge) or lounge in a breezy Bali bed and watch the tanned and toned crowd.

Gnarly waves and a strong undertow make Punta Zicatelas dangerous for non-surfers. But depending on the tides, you can flaunt your new bikini in one of the shallow tidal pools without too much risk. The main strip, Calle del Morro, is packed with restaurants and you can party until dawn at nightclubs such as Barfly and Playa Kabbalah.

 

Puerto Escondido Beaches Travel Planner

 

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And that’s not the end of our travel tips and things to do in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico! Read our Puerto Escondido Travel Guide for world travelers for more information on hotels, things to do, day trips and more in Puerto Escondido. Or go directly to these posts:

Swimming in Puerto Escondido’s Bioluminescent Lagoon

9 Tips for a Perfect Romantic Getaway in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca City

Day Trip to Untouched Mexico

Food and Drink to Try in Puerto Escondido

Massage Therapy in Puerto Escondido, Mexico 

Day Pass ( Bring the Kids) to Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa  

7 Reasons to Love Mazunte & San Agustinillo

Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala, Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 29 comments
  • noel
    Reply

    My kind of beach if you can get a dozen oysters for a buck – what a fun vacation and meal that would be!

  • santafetraveler
    Reply

    Years ago- when the Puerto Esscondido beaches were people sleeping in hammocks on the sand- we were supposed to go to Puerto Escondido. Sadly the trip didn’t happen. Now I see a bit of what we missed.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      You haven’t missed anything — there are still quite a few people who sleep in hammocks in the sand! Although parts of Puerto have ramped up the luxe factor, it’s Mexico like it used to be.

      • Mike
        Reply

        Agreed. It’s a complete misnomer to think that you can’t get the secluded off-the-beaten path feeling these days in Puerto. Sure, Zicatela is going to look a lot different than it did 10 years ago, but there are tons of quiet beaches where you’ll find nothing but basic palapa restaurants, hammocks and the sand.

  • Suzanne Stavert
    Reply

    LOVED THIS! I wanted to sit down and drink that beer and eat the ceviche. I am not familiar with any of those places and this was so helpful! I will save it for future reference!

  • Colleen Friesen
    Reply

    Sigh…Puerto Escondido is one of my favourite places in Mexico. It really is ‘Mexico like it used to be’.
    Thanks for this Michele!

  • Ming
    Reply

    That sunset at Marinero Beach is glorious! Good thing I now live in a tropical climate, or this post would have made me want to pack up for a Puerto Escondido visit.

  • Carol Perehudoff
    Reply

    I vote for Playa Principal! I can’t wait to visit them. Except maybe the Snookie beach.

  • Patti Morrow
    Reply

    Great shots! I’ll be in Huatulco this fall, so I’ll be sure to check out some of those places.

  • esperanza
    Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous beaches and the food looks great, too. Can’t wait to relax and enjoy it all!

  • Lesley Peterson
    Reply

    Puerto Escondido seems to be unique in that it has a beach suitable for absolutely everyone. Pick a day, pick a beach according to mood or whim–LOVE your photos!

  • Helwig George
    Reply

    You just missed the movie nights at Bacocho Beach every wednesday during the dry season. Very special nigh! Cheers!

  • Lois Alter Mark
    Reply

    Can you believe we live in Southern California and have never visited Mexico? I think you just motivated us to change that.

  • Kay Dougherty
    Reply

    I’ve never been to Puerto Escondido or Mexico’s Pacific Coast for that matter. Are there any good, healthy reefs where you can snorkel from the shore? I loved your pictures!

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Hi Kay…I’ve seen people snorkelling from the shores of Manzanillo Beach alongside sea turtles so that spot is popular. The best person to contact is Lorenzo at Deep Blue Dive – he offers amazing snorkelling tours where you can jump in the water and swim with hundreds of wild dolphins. Check out the post by Hecktic Travels for some photos of their experience whale watching http://www.hecktictravels.com/whale-watching-in-puerto-escondido

  • Rob
    Reply

    Wow lovely beaches, that sunset is fantastic. I can see we will be travelling down the Pacific Coast at the end of our house sit in San Miguel.

  • Michelle
    Reply

    These photos are amazing. What an incredible sunset you captured. I love Mexico and this looks like a nice relaxing place to visit – bucket list 🙂

  • Jo
    Reply

    Great photos, and such a fab looking beach. Mexico isn’t a place I know a lot about, so maybe I need to do some research!

  • Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it
    Reply

    I’m so amazed that you could get all those fresh oysters for a dollar? My niece lives with her family on the Pacific side and her husband has to guard the area constantly. I love the beaches you visited for the peaceful views of the water.

  • Irene S Levine
    Reply

    What a great array of beautiful beaches! Have to get to Puerto Escondido one day!

  • Nancie
    Reply

    I’d be trying a new beach everyday. They all look awesome.

  • Sylvia
    Reply

    Great pics, Michele!
    Can’t wait to return to Puerto for my 6th year. Mexico’s little hidden gem.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Thanks Sylvia! I hope you have a great time back in Puerto this year – there are so many new and fabulous restaurants to enjoy. Hope to see you again soon!

  • Oliwia
    Reply

    I am going to Puerto Escondido next month and I was wondering what is the best/cheapest way to get there from Mexico City. Anyone could help?

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Hi Oliwia..the cheapest way to get to Puerto Escondido from Mexico City is a direct flight on Viva Aerobus. A oneway flight costs around 800 MXN pesos. Interjet is another option but is more expensive. If your flight into Mexico City arrives in the afternoon you may need to overnight in Mexico City as most flights to Puerto depart in the morning or early afternoon. You can check my post on the Grand Prix Hotel — a good budget option if you do have to overnight. I hope that helps!

  • erika
    Reply

    we are looking at going to puerto escandido for the month of February. Our friends are staying at Les Turquesza, was wondering if anyone would know of a 1 or 2 bedroom condo near this place?

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Hi Erika…that’s exciting! Your friends will be in the Bacocho neighbourhood so anywhere there or the Rinconada would put you pretty close. Did you check out our post on Ultimate Rental Guide to Puerto Escondido? It has lots of resources that should help! http://www.atastefortravel.ca/5971-ultimate-guide-to-vacation-rentals-in-puerto-escondido/

  • Kay
    Reply

    Don’t go!!!!! Had been a quaint tranquille town of LaPunta. Surf Nazis everywhere. Not just trash talk!!! Surf instructors can be violent!!!!! Watch out for Francisco and Bennie!!!!

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      So sorry to hear of your experience, Kay!

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