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 surfer and beach-lovers paradise that has a charm guaranteed to woo you.
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.
Get your bucket list ready. In this guide, we’ll show you the best things to do in Puerto Escondido and how to experience them.
Need help planning your trip? Check out our tips for visiting Puerto Escondido — you’ll find the best restaurants, where to stay, how to get around and more!
Top tours in and around Puerto Escondido
- Learn to surf at one of the best surfing spots in the world for $47
- Boat tour to see dolphins, whales and turtles with Robert’s Ecotours for $50
- Bioluminescent lagoon boat ride and swim for $54
#1 Go dolphin, turtle and whale watching
When people go on an African safari, their aim is to see ‘The Big Five’ ( lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo). When it comes to a boat tour in Puerto Escondido, it’s The Big Three: 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. Dragging yourself out of bed at 06:30 might be hard in the moment, but once you see the colossal whales crashing around in the water, all tiredness will be gone.
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 five different species of dolphins which call Puerto Escondido their home.
You’re 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 their 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. 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 ($46.00) per person but can be negotiated down if you’re with a group of friends. If you search around, you should be able to find the tour for as low as 350 MXN ($20.00).
#2 Release baby turtles on the beach
Puerto Escondido is teeming 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 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 ($5.50).
How it works
The turtle release happens every day from 17:00 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 newborn 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 ($2.30).
#3 Go surfing at one of Mexico’s best surfing spots
Ask anyone where the best places to surf in Mexico are, 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.
If you’re keen to learn how to surf then Oasis Surf School is a great option and offers packages starting at $220 for a week.
For those not ready to commit a whole week to surfing, you can book a 2-hour surf lesson with Waves of Puerto Escondido for $47.
To just rent a surfboard for the day, prices start at around $15.
#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 in 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. It is a lagoon after all. Don’t worry though, nobody has become a crocodile’s dinner recently!
Expect to pay around 350 MXN ($20.00) for this tour, but this price can be negotiated down if you have a larger group.
Witness this magical act of nature on this bioluminescent lagoon boat ride and swim for $54.
#5 Kayak around Manialtepec Lagoon
Manialtepec Lagoon is also worth visiting during the day for a kayaking tour.
The saltwater from the Pacific Ocean, fresh water from the Manialtepec River and the deep water of the lagoon help to create a thriving ecosystem. It’s home to 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 ($17.00) or a colectivo heading to Rio Grande for 18 MXN ($1.00).
Alternatively, you can join this 3.5 hour kayaking tour which arranges everything for you. All you’ll need to do is paddle!
#6 Beach hop along the coastline
Puerto Escondido is a beach destination, so what better way to spend your time than experiencing all that its 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 range 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, gloriously long and wide. The current is quite strong and the waves are big, so 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 Villasol and Club de Cocos, that offer swimming pools, drinks and food. They ask for a minimum spend of 600 MXN ($34.50) and 1,000 MXN ($57.00), respectively.
#7 Do nothing but relax at Mazunte
An hour south of Puerto Escondido, the sleepy little town of Mazunte is still waiting to be discovered. Mazunte can be visited as a day trip, but we recommend spending 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 enjoying Mazunte’s stunning beaches and letting 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 ($2.30). 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 ($34.50) to get there, or alternatively, you can get the bus. Get the bus heading to Pochutla before grabbing either a taxi or a colectivo to continue your journey to Zipolite. This whole journey should cost you around 35 MXN ($2.00) 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 into 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 boasts 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. An ideal spot to escape the more busy 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 ($15.50) in total and take around 2 hours.
Join a tour to Chacahua Lagoons National Park for $91.
#11 Party the night away in Puerto Escondido
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 Casa Babylon for some live music and a great atmosphere.
What really puts Puerto Escondido on the map as a party destination are 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 areas, 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 ($46.00) per person, whereas renting a motorbike for the day will cost around 400 MXN ($23.00). Entrance to the waterfall is practically free, costing just 10 MXN ($0.50).
#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, and it’s metres away from the beach.
To spend the day here, the beach club asks for a minimum spend. This means that you have to spend a certain amount of money on their food and drink. From Monday to Thursday it’s 200 MXN ($11.50), whilst on Fridays and the weekend it’s 300 MXN ($17.00). Update: it seems the price has increased to 600 MXN ($34.50) now.
This way it basically feels like you’re spending the day enjoying their brand-new facilities for free!
#14 See Puerto Escondido from above by skydiving
If you’re looking for something to get the blood pumping and your 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 tandem jump, where you’re attached to an instructor, costs $220.
How to get to Puerto Escondido
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Mexico City||2hrs – 18hrs||824 MXN ($47.50) – 1,686 MXN ($97.00)||Mexico City to Puerto Escondido|
|Oaxaca||30 mins – 10.5hrs||250 MXN ($14.00) – 2,800 MXN ($160.00)||Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido|
|San Cristobal||6hrs – 13.5hrs||992 MXN ($57.00) – 2,020 MXN ($115.00)||San Cristobal to Puerto Escondido|
Rounding it up
Now you’ve picked the best things to do in Bogota, it’s time to start ticking off that bucket list. Not sure how to plan your trip? Our guide is here to help! You’ll find out how long to stay in Bogota, where to eat, how to get around and more. Happy planning!
Villas Carrizalillo - Treating Yourself
Villas Carrizalillo are the epitome of luxury. Every detail of this hotel – from the pool to the rooms – will make you want to say wow. The hotel views should be enough to convince you to stay here. It 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. It’s one of the most popular hotels in Puerto Escondido, so make sure to book in advance.
- Some of the best views in Puerto Escondido
- Private staircase to Playa Carrizalillo
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Delicious breakfast included
Double rooms start from $90 per night
Casa de Olas Boutique Hotel - Mid Range
Casa de Olas is one of those hotels you see on Instagram and instantly want to stay in. It’s stunning and has all the facilities you could ever need — a dreamy swimming pool, fitness centre, tennis courts, bar and tropical gardens.
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.
- Relaxing swimming pool
- Bicycles for rent
- Fitness centre and tennis courts
- Incredible breakfast included
Double rooms between $50-$90 per night
Casa Losodeli & Coworking - Mid Range
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 friendly community amongst the guests, something often lacking in hotels.
If you are not here to work, you can spend the day lounging around the pool 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. You’ll never want to leave this place!
- Refreshing swimming pool
- Co-working space
- Communal kitchen
- Close to bars, restaurants and Carrizalillo beach
Double rooms between $50-$90 per night
Casa de la Gente Nube - Budget Friendly
Casa de la Gente Nube is only a 5 minute walk from the beach. It’s so close, you can see it from your private balcony! And if you are very lucky, you can even see whales whilst eating your breakfast on the balcony during Puerto Escondido’s whale season (Dec-Feb).
Every room is spacious and brightly coloured, perfectly matching Puerto Escondido’s vibrant vibe. The hosts will start your day right with their friendly smiles and delicious breakfast. Puerto Escondido accommodation isn’t the cheapest, so Casa de la Gente Nube is a real steal.
- Incredible sea views
- 5 minutes from Zicatela beach
- Friendly and welcoming hosts
- Delicious breakfast included
Double rooms between $15-$50 per night
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