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Do you dream of escaping to a pristine beach surrounded by sea and sky? Then head to Agua Blanca Beach, Mexico!
This secluded beach near Puerto Escondido on the southern coastline in the state of Oaxaca is a peaceful haven that’s perfect for relaxing in a hammock under a thatched roof palapa.
And feasting on fresh seafood including oysters!
I’ve had a 2-decade long love affair with windswept Playa Agua Blanca. Although this beach is a bit out of the way, that’s part of its appeal.
It’s a great spot to swim in tide pools, enjoy a seafood lunch and relax to the sound of the waves.
When writing Fodor’s Travel Guide to Oaxaca I even included it as a must-see on the Pacific coast!
Spending a day at Agua Blanca beach is still one of my favourite things to do in Puerto Escondido.
This travel guide to Playa Agua Blanca will help you discover its top attractions, enjoy local food and drink, explore the top things to do and experience the very best this under-the-radar Oaxacan beach has to offer.
Why Visit Playa Agua Blanca?
Not only is Agua Blanca the perfect place to enjoy grilled fish and fresh oysters, but since it’s still relatively untouched by mass tourism, you won’t run unto crowds of people.
Tucked on a pristine stretch of sand, its pounding surf has protected the community from over development. But it may not stay hidden for long.
The new Barranca Larga – Ventanilla highway is expected to bring 4,500 daily vehicles near its doorstep.
But for now, Playa Agua Blanca is a well-kept secret, offering travellers tranquility and a chance to bask in the awe-inspiring power of untouched nature.
It’s also a good option for a family outing from Puerto Escondido if your vacation rental doesn’t have a swimming pool.
Location of Agua Blanca Beach
It’s a 30-minute drive by car from Zicatela Beach in Puerto Escondido, 45 minutes from Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM) and 1 hour from Aeropuerto Internacional de Bahias de Huatulco (HUX).
The town of Agua Blanca is on the opposite side of Puerto Escondido from Roca Blanca, another Oaxacan beach town that makes a great day trip.
A road trip to this seaside haven takes you through a rustic coastal landscape of primavera trees, cactus and grazing livestock providing a glimpse into the rural charm of Oaxaca.
There are a few options for getting to Agua Blanca from Puerto Escondido:
Getting There By Bus/Mini-Van
Catch one of the blue and white Transportes Delfines mini-buses that run between Puerto Escondido and Pochutla. You can catch one at their terminal in Puerto Escondido (Google Map) or other bus stop along the west side of Highway 200 towards Pochutla/Huatulco.
The buses run every 15 minutes from 5:00 am to 7:30 pm. The cost should be around 50 pesos. Check for the current price on the Transportes Delfines Facebook Page or bring small bills.
Get off the bus at KM 172 intersection at the entrance to the community of Agua Blanca.
It’s a 2 km walk along a dirt road from the Highway 200 to the beach restaurants and beach zone.
There’s not a lot of shade so bring water (or buy some at the store on the corner) and wear a hat/sun protection.
Getting There By Taxi
Easier than the bus but considerably more expensive, taking a taxi or private shuttle can be a good option if you’re a group of three or more people.
Offering both taxi and shuttle van transportation, Oscar Flores gets good reports for reliability and service.
When you book, arrange a specific time for pick up.
Getting There By Car
The easiest and fastest way to get to Agua Blanca is by private car. Not only is it the most convenient but you can also makes stops along the way.
We like to stop for cocos frios (fresh coconuts), traditional Oaxacan food such as caldo de chacal or at a mezcal distillery whenever we go to Agua Blanca or other beaches on Highway 200.
Check out our post with tips on renting a car in Puerto Escondido. It’s not as expensive as you might think.
We rent our cars on Discovercars.com. It’s an online car rental booking site that compares rates from several companies to find the best deal.
Check for the best car rental rates at Discovercars.com
Things to Do at Agua Blanca Puerto Escondido
Upon arriving at Agua Blanca Beach, you’ll be greeted by a long stretch of powdery white sand, some giant rock formations and white-crested waves crashing on the shore.
Here are some top things to do when you arrive.
1. Go Swimming in the Tide Pools
However, Agua Blanca has an advantage that many other Oaxacan beaches don’t have. It has a series of tide pools at the water’s edge.
Protected by large rock formations from the pumping surf, the natural pools fill with sea water with the incoming waves.
The warm, calm pockets of emerald sea are sublime for floating in. Depending on the tides, the depth of the pools can reach shoulder height. They’re a popular spot for all ages to splash around in.
The ocean floor has a soft, sandy bottom. But there can be submerged oyster shells so watch your step.
🌟 Pro Tip: Note that Agua Blanca is not a nude beach. If you’re looking to sunbathe nude, head further south to Zipolite Beach, near Mazunte. It’s an official playa nudista.
2. Dine on Fresh Seafood including Oysters
One of the quintessential food experiences in Oaxaca is enjoying a feast of seafood plucked fresh from the Pacific Ocean by local fishermen.
Some people drive to Agua Blanca’s seafood restaurants just for the food!
While it’s certainly possible to order the usual beachside fare of coconut shrimp, whole fish such mojarra and huachinango (snapper) served al ajo, a la diablo, al ajillo etc, or shrimp cocktail, the main attraction here is fresh oysters, shucked while you wait.
You get a dozen of the largest, freshest oysters you’ll ever see for around 200 pesos.
While you can get them a la Mexicana or empanizados (breaded), the best way to enjoy them is ‘naturales’ served raw with lime and hot sauce.
Service is attentive and it’s just steps to Agua Blanca’s tidal pools set among the rocks.
There are hammocks, plenty of tables and chairs and even a bin of fresh water to rinse off after swimming.
Public washrooms (10 MXN pesos) are across the street. There’s free private parking.
🌟 Pro Tip: Wifi is available for 25 MXN pesos.
3. Relax in a Hammock at a Beach Palapa
The peaceful atmosphere of Playa Agua Blanca is perfect for those seeking relaxation. You might hear some mariachi music on the weekends or holidays but overall there’s little for entertainment.
Most of the beachfront restaurants in front of the tidal pools have hammocks available to use free of charge with a minimum purchase of food and drink.
Or spread your beach towel in a picnic area on the soft sand (bring a beach umbrella), listen to the soothing sound of the waves and connect with nature.
4. Hang Out Poolside at a Beach Club
For a more upscale experience, you can book a Day Pass at an Agua Blanca hotel.
Beachfront Paradise Boutique Hotel Day Pass
You’ll enjoy a sparkling clean swimming pool, friendly service, a beach zone with hammocks (and honour bar), breezy terrace and excellent wifi.
Cost is 500 MXN pesos (minimum food and beverage consumption at onsite Casa de Pierogi). Reserve your Day Pass in advance via email@example.com or WhatsApp at 19178640715.
Nossa Hotel Day Pass
Nearby Nossa Hotel (Google Map) is another option for an Agua Blanca day pass. There’s a swimming pool, showers, washrooms, tables and loungers with umbrellas.
The cost is 300 MXN pesos (minimum food and beverage consumption).
Nossa is located directly on the beach and near the tide pools. The food menu has the usual selection of seafood, burgers and pastas with slightly higher prices than other restaurants in Agua Blanca.
There are no oysters on the menu at Nossa but you could easily walk over and order a platter from one of the nearby palapa restaurants.
The hotel itself gets mixed reviews and I haven’t spent a full day here but a Nossa Hotel Day Pass is worth considering if Beachfront Paradise is fully booked.
5. Witness a Sea Turtle Nesting
Witnessing a sea turtle nesting (or a baby turtle release) is an unforgettable experience and a top thing to do at Agua Blanca.
One of the amazing things about Oaxaca is that it’s home to four types of sea turtles including Olive Ridley, Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback.
There are many threats these turtles (and their eggs) face. Human poaching, fishing nets, dogs and cats, shorebirds, crabs, coastal development, pollution, oil spills, climate change and more.
Fortunately, organizations such as WILDCOAST, the Mexican Turtle Center (CMT) and CONANP undertake several efforts — from protection to education — to conserve these species at risk.
Agua Blanca happens to be close to La Escobilla, a protected beach where rare mass sea turtle nesting events or arribadas occur. In 2021, more than 1.7 million turtles nested here!
While some sea turtles may also come ashore to nest at Playa Agua Blanca, your best bet for witnessing a nesting is during a Ridley Sea Turtle Nesting Tour with local expert Gina Machorro.
The tour to Escobilla includes transportation, the services of a biologist and entrance fees to support local grassroots efforts.
6. Do Some Birdwatching
Agua Blanca beach is a haven for bird enthusiasts, as the area is home to a variety of coastal and migratory bird species.
Bring a pair of binoculars and explore the tidal pools and estuaries. You’ll be sure to spot herons, pelicans, plovers and even the occasional elusive frigatebird soaring gracefully overhead.
7. Go Surfing
Although the waves are certainly impressive in their height and ferocity, Playa Agua Blanca isn’t really known for its surfing. Most people interesting in surfing in Puerto Escondido head to the Mexican Pipeline, La Punta or Playa Punta Colorada.
However, there is a secret surf break near Agua Blanca that does draw intermediate and professional surfers. Part of its appeal is its seclusion so you’ll need to check with a surf camp or surf shop for details.
Check rates and availability of a surfing class in Puerto Escondido on Viator.com.
Where to Stay – Best Hotels at Agua Blanca
There’s very little development at Playa Agua Blanca. The low-rise hotels, thatched roof cabins and beach restaurants seem to blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
But if you do want to overnight there are a few good options:
Beachfront Paradise Boutique Hotel
This intimate hotel is by far my top choice for the best hotel at Agua Blanca Beach. It has so many good qualities it’s actually one of my top choices for the best boutique hotels in and around Puerto Escondido overall.
The six-suite B & B is owned and operated by Slawomir and Barbara (Basia) Grunberg, professionals originally from Poland who fell in love with the Oaxaca coast and made it their home.
Their boutique hotel is located at the southern edge of the main beach zone (Google Map) of Playa Agua Blanca.
With its white-washed walls, turquoise swimming pool, stone walkways and sexy curves, the hotel’s style channels the Greek Cyclades islands but with all the warmth of Mexico.
The European flavour carries over into its cuisine. The onsite restaurant Casa de Pierogi offers goulash, Greek salad, pierogies and one of the best selections of imported and local craft beers on the Oaxacan coast.
This is the only place I know of where you can find Cerveceria 3 Lunas pale ale, the craft beer brewed at Agua Blanca. Be sure to try it if you have the chance.
See the Beachfront Paradise Boutique Hotel website for a complete description of the rooms.
Check rates and availability of Beachfront Paradise Boutique Hotel on Booking.com.
🌟 Insider Tip: In addition to its spacious suites, Beachfront Paradise Boutique Hotel offers the Star Pavilion, an open-air rooftop bed set beneath gauzy netting.
Sleep under the stars with all the modern comforts (including a washroom!) handy.
Ocean Oasis Hotel in Santa Elena
This adult-only boutique hotel is located in Santa Elena, a short distance to Agua Blanca (Google Map).
But its intimate size and relaxed vibe makes it a good option for couples or groups of friends. It’s a short drive or a 10 minute walk down a beautiful beach to Playa Agua Blanca.
Ocean Oasis Hotel has four casitas, each with a king-size bed, ensuite bathrooms, AC, ceiling fans and a rooftop terrace.
They’re spacious, well-equipped and upscale. I stayed in one of the casitas (when it was known as Gecko Rock Resort) and loved the seclusion and proximity to a vast, untouched beach.
Check rates and availability of Ocean Oasis Hotel on Booking.com
Budget Hotels and Cabins
There are several rustic cabins and a few budget hotels in Agua Blanca. They provide a place to sleep at an economical price.
El Mesón Hotel is one of the closest budget hotels to the tide pools. Note that dining options are very limited once nightfalls.
Camping Under the Stars
For the ultimate connection with nature, camping on the beach is an option.
Pitch a tent beneath the starlit sky, fall asleep to the thundering waves, and wake up to the sunrise over the Sierra Madre Sur mountains.
While camping isn’t really my jam, it’s a bucket list experience for many people. It’s relatively easy to arrange camping.
Most of Agua Blanca’s seafood restaurants offer camping for a small fee. Access to the communal washrooms and showers is usually extra.
Final Thoughts on Agua Blanca Beach
In conclusion, Playa Agua Blanca in Oaxaca is a beach you should visit before everyone else catches on!
Whether you seek sun, sea, relaxation or all of the above, keep an eye on this off-the-beaten-path destination.
This hidden spot is one of the best beaches in Mexico for travellers who like to get away from it all!
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Dividing her time between Canada, Guatemala and Mexico (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is the founder of A Taste for Travel. Her award-winning travel and food writing has appeared in Lonely Planet’s cookbook Mexico: From the Source, National Geographic Traveler, Fodor’s and 100+ other publications.
Read more about Michele Peterson.