Falling in love with Puerto Escondido is almost inevitable. You won’t be the first person, and you definitely won’t be the last!
So what makes Puerto Escondido so irresistible? This small town situated on Mexico’s Pacific (West) coast is a surfers and beach-lovers paradise that has a charm guaranteed to woo you.
From kilometers of golden sand with turquoise waters, to intimate bays surrounded by swaying palm trees, this laidback town has numerous beaches waiting to be explored.
Offering some of the best surfing in the world, it’s the epic waves that draw most people to Puerto Escondido. Not a surfer yourself? Don’t worry, even when you’re not surfing, this surfer town is ideal for beach-bumming and you can embark on one of the best boat trips of your life.
When joining a boat trip from Puerto Escondido, you have the chance to see whales, dolphins and turtles all in one trip. You can even release baby turtles and contribute to the conservation of these special animals.
When people go on safari, their aim is to see ‘The Big 5’. When it comes to a boat tour in Puerto Escondido, it’s The Big 3 – whales, dolphins and turtles.
When is the best time to go on a boat safari?
The best time to see all three of these majestic animals is between December and March. Outside of these months, the whales will have migrated to another area. You can still spot dolphins and turtles all year round though.
When going, we recommend taking one of the early morning boat trips to increase your chance of seeing whales. It might be hard in the moment to drag yourself out of bed at 6:30am, but once you see the colossal whales crashing around in the water, all tiredness will be forgotten.
What can you see on the boat trip?
This boat trip will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your Mexico adventure. There’s nothing quite like gliding through the ocean, whilst a pod of over 100 dolphins jump and play alongside the boat. You’ll be able to spot the five different species of dolphins which call Puerto Escondido their home.
You’re also spoilt when it comes to whales too. In Puerto Escondido’s waters you’ll be able to find Humpback whales, Orcas, Fin, Whale Sharks, and Grey whales.
For the turtles, you won’t even have to look for them, there are so many. As you’re going along, you’ll spot little heads bobbing on the water coming up for air and peacefully going about its day.
Who to book the boat tour with?
You simply can’t leave Puerto Escondido without doing one of these boat trips! We’d recommend going with Robert’s Ecotours ($40). Robert is extremely friendly and very efficient at organising the tours. He can tell you everything you want to know about the animals, and is always conscious not to disturb them.
Prices start at 800 MXN ($39), but can be negotiated down if there is a group of you. If you search around you should be able to find the tour for as low as 350 MXN ($17).
#2 Release baby turtles on the beach
Puerto Escondido is thriving with sea turtles, which is partly due to the efforts of the number of conservation groups in the area.
The volunteers work day and night to protect the turtles that frequent Puerto Escondido’s beaches. A big part of the job is collecting the turtle eggs and providing a secure environment for them until they’re ready to hatch.
To help fund their efforts, some of the charities run turtle releases. You can do this at Playa Bacocho for only 100 MXN ($4.90).
How it works
The turtle release happens every day from 5pm and is just the most magical experience. You have the opportunity to witness the start of a new life and help the turtle on its way.
After a brief introduction and education on the turtles, you’re given a carved coconut bowl to house your new-born baby turtle. Some of the turtles may even be just 5 minutes old.
You then take your new baby turtle to the water and watch it start its journey! You can’t help but feel like a proud parent.
Do keep an eye out for the pesky crabs and birds that are looking for a snack though!
The best way to get to the turtle release site is by taxi. This should cost around 40 MXN ($1.95).
#3 Go surfing at one of Mexico’s best surfing spots
Ask anyone where one of the best places to surf in Mexico is, and Puerto Escondido will be on that list. Playa Zicatela in particular has become world famous for its massive barrels and waves that can reach over 12 metres.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there’s a beach in Puerto Escondido that can provide the right sized waves for you.
If you’ve never ridden a wave in your life, it’s probably best to head to Carrizalillo beach where you’ll find plenty of surfing schools. La Punta is your intermediate beach once you’ve become comfortable with the board and Puerto’s strong waves.
TIP: Our compact Puerto Escondido guide shows you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Puerto Escondido!
#4 Take a bioluminescent tour at Manialtepec Lagoon
Manialtepec is a deep lagoon situated 20 minutes outside of Puerto Escondido. The reason why most people visit this lagoon is due to the bioluminescent plankton that lights up the water like the stars in the sky!
Here you get the chance to take a boat ride amongst the mangroves before jumping in to join the shining plankton. As you splash around and move the plankton, the water comes alive with light.
The sight is stunning and even better when there’s a New Moon. During a New Moon the sky will be darker and the plankton more dazzling.
Something to keep in mind is the fact that crocodiles may also be lurking around in the water as it is a lagoon afterall. Don’t worry though, nobody has become a crocodile’s dinner recently!
Expect to pay around 350 MXN ($17) for this tour, but this price can be negotiated down if you have a larger group.
The salt water from the Pacific Ocean, fresh water from the Manialtepec River and the deep water of the lagoon help to create a thriving ecosystem. This has now become home to over 300 different species of tropical birds and animals.
You can rent a kayak for around $6 per hour. To get to the lagoon from Puerto Escondido, you’ll need to take either a 30-minute taxi costing around 300 MXN ($14.50), or a colectivo heading to Rio Grande for 18 MXN ($0.85).
Puerto Escondido is a beach destination, so what better way to spend your time than experiencing all that it’s beaches have to offer. Each of the beaches has a unique feel and look to it, so it’s worth trying different ones out.
Here are our top 3 favourite beaches in Puerto Escondido:
Playa Carrizalillo – a protected golden-sand bay lined with swaying palm trees and a selection of restaurants. Carrizalillo is a hidden gem situated at the bottom of 167 steps and might remind you of the beaches in the Mediterranean. It’s the perfect place to go swimming.
Playa Zicatela – this is the main beach in Puerto Escondido and boasts a gloriously long and wide beach. As the current is quite strong and the waves are also quite big, it isn’t the best place to go swimming. However, if you love to surf or watch other surfers take on the pounding waves then Playa Zicatela is the beach to visit.
Playa Bacocho – aside from being the location of the turtle release, Playa Bacocho is the ideal beach for a long stroll or simply relaxing. There are also a number of beach clubs such as Villa Sol and Club de Cocos that offer swimming pools, drinks and food. All they ask for is a minimum spend of 200 MXN ($9.50).
#7 Do nothing but relax at Mazunte
An hour south of Puerto Escondido, the sleepy little town of Mazunte can be found. Mazunte can be visited as a day trip, but most travellers decide to escape Puerto Escondido for longer and spend a few days there.
What’s the appeal? Mazunte is the perfect place to disconnect from the rest of the world and truly relax. It’s a simple way of life in this quirky town.
There aren’t many things to do apart from enjoy Mazunte’s stunning beaches and let your body get used to not being in a rush.
How to get to Mazunte
You can get to Mazunte from Puerto Escondido in just over an hour by car or by the local bus. Get the local bus from outside the Super Che Supermarket and ask the driver to stop at Las Cruces de San Antonio. This bus costs 40 MXN ($1.95). From that stop you’ll have to get a taxi the rest of the way to Mazunte.
#8 Get naked at Zipolite beach
If you need to get rid of some tricky tan lines, or simply love the freedom of being naked, then head to Zipolite beach. It’s Mexico’s only nudist beach.
There’s only a small section of the beach where you can go nude, so make sure you find the right part before stripping off and baring all. You can find it in front of the aptly named Hotel Nude.
If getting naked isn’t your kind of thing, Zipolite is still worth a visit. There are a number of bars and restaurants to explore, plus the golden-sand beach is perfect to relax on.
How to get to Zipolite
A local taxi will cost you around 600 MXN ($29) to get there, or alternatively you can get the bus. Get the bus heading to Pochutla before grabbing either a taxi or colectivo to continue your journey to Zipolite. This whole journey should cost you around 35 MXN ($1.70) and take around 1.5 hours.
#9 Spend the day out at sea fishing
Whether you’re looking to pick up a new skill or you’re already an avid fisherman, going fishing in Puerto Escondido is a great way to spend the day.
There are plenty of species inhabiting the waters of Puerto Escondido including blue marlin, pacific sailfish, red snapper and yellow fish tuna.
Some of the fish, such as the marlin are released back to the water, but other fish such as tuna can be kept and cooked for dinner!
Omar’s Sportfishing has over 25 years of experience and top quality gear. If you’re new to fishing they’ll teach you how to hook your own fish and catch your dinner for the night!
The boat for half a day costs $300 or $450 for a full day. Also don’t forget to keep your eye out for dolphins and turtles along the way!
#10 Escape to the idyllic island of Chacahua
Chacahua is an off-the-beaten-track hidden gem. That should be enough to persuade you to go there!
It’s an island not too far from Puerto Escondido that boats the perfect blend of jungle and ocean.
The best thing to do in Chacahua is absolutely nothing. It’s a laid back island where your day should consist of surfing or simply lounging on the beach. It’s an ideal place to escape the more busy of Puerto Escondido.
Spend a few days here and we guarantee you’ll come back feeling refreshed and relaxed!
How to get to Chacahua
All good things in life tend to require a bit of effort and getting to Chacahua from Puerto Escondido is no different.
First you’ll need to take a colectivo towards Rio Grande and get off at the intersection with El Zapotalito. Next hop in a taxi to El Zapotalito, before taking a direct boat to Chacahua. This trip should cost you around 270 MXN ($13) in total and take around 2 hours.
Puerto Escondido is a pretty popular party town. It’s no wonder with the number of bars that are clustered within the small town.
The days may seem lazy and laid back, but once the sun has set, the town comes alive.
There are a number of great bars to spend the night in such as Bar Fly for great DJs and dance music or Casa Babylon for some live music and a great atmosphere.
What really puts Puerto Escondido on the map as a party destination is its jungle raves. You’ll have to do some investigative work to find out where these secret raves are located though as they’re often at least half an hour away hidden in the jungle. Trust us, they’re on a whole other level!
#12 Splash around at La Reforma waterfall
If you fancy getting out of Puerto Escondido and exploring some of the surrounding area, then La Reforma waterfall is the perfect place to go.
La Reforma waterfall is hidden within the jungle, creating a lush and idyllic surrounding for a swim in its refreshing water.
It’s 1 hour 45 minutes from Puerto Escondido and can be visited with either a tour or you could add to the adventure and rent a bike for the day.
A tour will cost around 800 MXN ($39) per person, whereas renting a motorbike for the day will cost around 400 MXN ($19.50). Entrance to the waterfall is practically free, costing just 10 MXN ($0.45).
#13 Spend the day at Club de Playa Villasol
If your accommodation doesn’t have a pool or you just fancy spending the day surrounded by good vibes, then head to Club de Playa Villasol.
It’s a luxury beach club with a swim up bar, delicious cocktails and food, plus it’s metres away from the beach.
To spend the day here, all the beach club asks for is a minimum spend. This means that you have to spend a certain amount of money on their food and drink.
From Monday to Thursday is 200 MXN ($9.50), whilst on Fridays and the weekend it’s 300 MXN ($14.50).
This way it basically feels like you’re spending the day enjoying their brand new facilities for free!
#14 See Puerto Escondido from above the clouds by skydiving
If you’re looking for something to get the blood pumping and heart racing, then jumping out of a plane over Puerto Escondido will get you there.
The most popular company to go skydiving with is Skydive Puerto Escondido. All of their instructors are certified by the USPA (United States Parachute Association) so at least you don’t need to be nervous about that part!
A jump won’t break the bank either. A tandem jump, where you’re attached to an instructor, will cost $180.
Villas Carrizalillo are the epitome of luxury. Each detail of the hotel - from the pool to the rooms - will make you want to say wow. The hotel views should be enough to convince anyone to stay here. The hotel overlooks one of the best beaches in the whole of Mexico! You even have your own private staircase down to Playa Carrizalillo.
All of the rooms are spacious, beautifully decorated and clean, with most of them offering balconies. You’ll also receive a delicious continental breakfast every morning and can enjoy the excellent food prepared in the hotel's restaurant at night.
Casa de Olas is one of those hotels you see on Instagram and you would instantly love to stay. It’s aesthetically beautiful and has all the facilities you could need, a pool, fitness centre, bar and garden.
There’s so many peaceful spots to just hang out in, that you’ll leave the hotel completely relaxed and rejuvenated. It’s the little touches that make this place special like the yoga classes, free breakfast and friendly staff. The rooms are spacious, modern and all include a private bathroom.
Whether you’re a digital nomad or not, Casa Losodeli is a great choice in Puerto Escondido. It’s a beautiful hostel that creates a welcoming community feel amongst the guests, something often lacking in hotels.
If you are not here to work, you can spend the day lounging around the pool in the shade below one of the many mango trees. Casa Losodeli also has a well-equipped communal kitchen, although there are plenty of restaurants and bars only steps away. If you’ve seen what’s on offer you may not want to cook anymore...
Casa de la Gente Nube is only a 5 minute walk from the sea. You can even see it from your balcony! And if you are very lucky, you can even see whales whilst eating your breakfast from the balcony during Puerto Escondido’s whale season (Dec-Feb).
Each room is open and brightly coloured, perfectly matching Puerto Escondido’s vibrant vibe. The hosts will deliver you a great start of the day with their friendly smiles and delicious breakfast. Puerto Escondido accommodation isn’t the cheapest, so Casa de la Gente Nube is a real steal.