8 Incredible Outdoor Adventures in Puerto Escondido
One of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido is experience the awe-inspiring power of nature. Although the state of Oaxaca has less than 5% of Mexico’s total land area, it’s home to 50% of Mexico’s plant species, 60% of its bird species and 50% of its mammal species.
Here are our favourite things to do when it comes to outdoor adventure, sports and wildlife watching if you’re visiting Puerto Escondido, Mazunte or Huatulco.
1. Explore Manialtepec Lagoon near Puerto Escondido
If you’re interested in wildlife, one of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido is explore Manialtepec Lagoon, a convergence of three ecosystems, each hosting unique flora and fauna. There are 285 species of birds found in the region and it’s possible to see up to 70 species of birds on a trip to this protected lagoon near the pueblo of Bajos de Chila, just 10 minutes outside Puerto Escondido.
In 2017, ornithologist Mike Malone retired his popular Hidden Voyages Ecotours, so now your best guide options include Dimar Agency, Javier Santos and Lalo Ecotours, who offer several tours including the unique Bioluminescent Tour of the Lagoon, a rare opportunity to witness the magical bioluminescence of phosphorescent plankton. It’s best experienced on a moonless night. See Travel Planner Below for tour operator contact details.
2. Swim with Dolphins in the Wild
Another one of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido is to do some wildlife watching on the ocean. From November onward, it’s possible to enjoy whale watching as migrating humpback whales pass through local waters. Year-round you can see sea turtles, manta rays and many types of dolphins.
Tour operator and dive instructor Deep Blue Dive (located in Beach Hotel Ines) offers a morning excursion with a great track record of sightings. They are also responsible tour operators and don’t chase whales or harass other marine life by getting too close.
During my most recent trip, hundreds of dolphins were racing alongside the boat, jumping and spinning much like in this incredible Video of Spinner Dolphins in Puerto Escondido.
3. Sea Turtle Hatching and Turtle Release
Watching sea turtle eggs hatch and seeing the baby sea turtles emerge and run to the ocean is both exhilarating and feel-good inspiring. Puerto Escondido and the coast of Oaxaca is one of the world’s top destinations for nesting olive ridley sea turtles, so your likelihood of seeing a nesting or participating in a turtle release is quite high during the months of July-December.
Check with Gina Machorro at the Tourist Information Booth for times and locations of turtle nestings and releases near Puerto Escondido. To learn more, read about my experience with turtles in Escape to Gecko Rock Resort.
4. Experience an Unforgettable Pacific Coast Sunset
Pacific Coast sunsets are incredible. Watch for the “green flash” a rare phenomenon sometimes seen as the sun drops below the horizon.
Be humbled by the majesty of a brilliant sunset from vantage points in La Punta, Zicatela and Carrizalillo. The best places to enjoy a margarita or other cocktail at sunset include Espadin Restaurant ( located within Villas Carrizalillo), Fresh Restaurant (Zicatela), the rooftop of the Ben Zaa Hotel or any of the beach bars in La Punta.
It’s also possible to go surfing at sunset to get up close and personal with the magical merger of sky and surf.
5. Go Horseback-riding and Soak in Hot Springs
Journey into the Sierra Madre Sur mountains by Riding Horseback to Atotonilco Falls where you can soak in steaming thermal hot springs or take a dip under the refreshing La Reforma waterfall. You can contact local trail-riding expert Javier Santos (044 954 1350188 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org) who has a stable of horses and offers tours by horseback as well as lagoon and waterfall tours.
6. Grab a Fishing Rod and Lunch on a Secluded Beach
Both Agua Blanca and Roca Blanca are still-wild beaches where you’ll see few crowds and can spend the day lazing in a hammock enjoying fresh oysters and grilled fish.
7. Go Swamp Trekking at Barra de Navidad
Hike the jungle and tour a crocodile-infested lagoon at Barra de Navidad (Oaxaca), just a five minute ride out of town past La Punta. When it comes to adventurous things to do in Puerto Escondido, getting scared silly is a good sign you’ve ventured far off the beaten path.
Learn about hiring a local guide to explore this incredible wild lagoon. From bird-watching to dining on fresh-grilled fish at the water’s edge you’ll feel as though you’re far from civilization.
8. Go Surfing in Puerto Esondido
Surfing is definitely the top outdoor adventure in Puerto Escondido and while Zicatela Beach is famous for the Mexican Pipeline, a challenging break reserved for the most skilled surfers, there are many other beaches in Puerto Escondido available for beginners.
We suggest contacting Zicazteca Surf School ( located at the Hotel Rockaway on Zicatela beach) or Oasis Surf and Language School (on the Rinconada ) for skilled instructors, surf lessons and surf tours for all levels.
More Amazing Things to Do in Puerto Escondido
And that’s not the end of things to do in Puerto Escondido! Read our Essential Puerto Escondido Travel Guide for more information on taking surfing lessons, finding hotels and vacation rentals, exploring the food scene, taking day trips and more. Or go directly to these posts:
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Tel: 011 52 954 582-0276
Deep Blue Dive Puerto Escondido
You can book online or stop at their office located within Hotel Ines on Calle del Morro, Zicatela Beach
Tel: 01 (954) 1189037
Javier Santos Tours – Hotsprings by Horseback; Waterfalls Hike: Manialatepec Lagoon
Dimar Travel Agency – Tours to Manialtepec & Chacahua Lagoons; Huatulco & Mazunte Tours
Updated June 2018