Puerto Escondido is one of the most popular destinations on the southwest coast of Mexico in Oaxaca state. There are so many awesome things to do in Puerto Escondido and I guarantee that once you arrive, you won’t want to leave!
Puerto Escondido has made its mark on the map for its world-renowned surf beaches, but there are plenty of other great things to do other than surfing! From secluded beaches to raging waterfalls and everything in between, I have put together this ultimate guide of the 11 Best Things To Do In Puerto Escondido to help you plan your trip!
Also in this guide of what to do in Puerto Escondido, I have included some useful information on how to get to Puerto Escondido, the best time to visit, getting around and where to stay!
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#1 SUNSET ON ZICATELA BEACH
Zicatela Beach is the most famous beach in Puerto Escondido and the perfect place to start your adventures in this laid-back surf town on Mexico’s southwest coast.
Playa Zicatela boasts a whopping 3km stretch of white sand beach lined with coconut palms, beach bars, hotels, restaurants and markets! It’s the ultimate all-in-one package.
The best time to visit Zicatela Beach is in the late afternoon when the beach bars come alive, the water temperature is perfect for swimming and to witness an unforgettable sunset over the horizon!
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Zicatela Beach – What to do in Puerto Escondido
Beach bar at Zicatela Beach
Sunset beers – Things to do in Puerto Escondido
Unforgettable sunset at Zicatela Beach
#2 SURF & BEACH BUM AT PLAYA CARRIZALILLO
Playa Carrizalillo is the second-most popular beach in Puerto Escondido after Zicatela Beach. Featuring a secluded cove filled with lively beach bars, vibrant umbrellas, soft golden sands, medium-sized waves for surfers and swaying coconut palms along the shoreline! Playa Carrizalillo really is a hard-to-beat destination and it’s one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido!
Sheltered by lush greenery in a secluded cove that is no more than 300 meters in length makes Carrazlillo one of the most idyllic beaches in Puerto Escondido.
The wide beach and shallow blue waters are the perfect combination for beach bumming and swimming in the ocean to cool off.
Once you’re done, you can seek shade under one of the many straw-thatched beach huts dotted along Playa Carrizalillo to grab a bite to eat and wash it all down with a cold cerveza of fresh coconut!
Playa Carrizalillo is not just for the everyday beachgoers, it’s also a very popular spot for surfing, especially for beginners and intermediate surfers!
You can rent surfboards from one of the many surf shacks located down on the beach which cost 150 MXN per hour. There are shortboards, longboards, foamies, and bodyboards available to rent upon arriving at Playa Carrizalillo.
For beginner surfers, you can book in surf lessons with one of the locals down at Playa Carrizalillo which costs around 500 MXN for 2-hours, including the surfboard.
Full Blog Post: Playa Carrizalillo
Playa Carrizalillo – Things to do in Puerto Escondido
View from the top of Carrizalillo Playa
Carrizalillo Beach – What to do in Puerto Escondido
#3 TAKE A STROLL AT PLAYA BACOCHO
Playa Bacocho is hands-down my favorite beach in Puerto Escondido! Featuring an almost endless strip of glistening white sands and blueish-green waters making it the longest and one of the most idyllic Puerto Escondido beaches!
This long stretch of white sand beach is the perfect spot for sunbaking and beach bumming, long walks along the sloping sandbank and of course swimming in the ocean to cool off.
The waves and currents at Playa Bacocho can be quite strong at times so just be mindful of this before going for a dip. It’s best to ask the lifeguard on duty when you arrive to advise you where the safest spot is for swimming.
Apart from soaking up some sun on the shoreline, there are a couple of awesome beach clubs down on Playa Bacocho that welcomes outside guests.
Villa Sol and Club de Cocos are the most popular beach clubs at Bacocho both of which feature a palm tree fringed beach area, outdoor swimming pools, straw beach umbrellas, a restaurant and a bar that overlooks the ocean. All they ask is that you spend a minimum of 200 MXN when visiting.
Full Blog Post: Playa Bacocho
Playa Bacocho – Puerto Escondido things to do
Club de Cocos on Bacocho Beach
Playa Bacocho Puerto Escondido
Glistening sands at Playa Bacocho
#4 COOL OFF AT PLAYA CORAL
Playa Coral is one of the most untouched beaches along this stretch of coastline and it’s not to be missed on your list of things to do in Puerto Escondido. Featuring a secluded bay with calm waters, sugary soft sands and lush green surrounds. I think it is safe to say that Playa Coral Puerto Escondido is a slice of paradise!
Playa Coral features a tucked-away little cove surrounded by lush greenery and what seems to be an abandoned hotel.
There are fewer waves breaking in the cove at Playa Coral which makes it an ideal spot to go swimming, snorkeling and beach bumming on the edge of the shoreline.
Playa Coral is known as the nude beach in Puerto Escondido, so just bear this in mind when taking photos. If you do feel like getting your kit out then this is the perfect spot to do it!
Do note that there are currently no beach bars or restaurants at Playa Coral unlike most other Puerto Escondido beaches so it’s best to pre-pack lunch and some drinks if you plan to spend a bit of time down on the beach.
Full Blog Post: Playa Coral
Empty shores at Playa Coral
Aerial perspective of Playa Coral
Playa Coral – Things to do in Puerto Escondido
#5 TURTLE RELEASING ON BACOCHO BEACH
One of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido is to join in on the turtle releasing which is a daily activity between 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm on Bacocho Beach.
The cost of the turtle releasing is 100 MXN per person. You can pick your own baby turtle hatchling to set free as you watch them scramble down the sandbank and take their first strokes in the ocean.
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Turtle releasing at Playa Bacocho
Run little fella – What to do in Puerto Escondido
#6 CATCH A MOVIE AT THE BEACH CINEMA
Just when you thought Playa Bacocho couldn’t get any better… Every Wednesday night Villa Sol Beach Club plays host to an open-air movie night down on the sands of Playa Bacocho.
The best thing about these beachfront movies on Playa Bacocho is that it’s completely FREE!
The movie typically kicks off at 7:00 pm so you can do the turtle releasing in the afternoon, watch the sunset from down on the beachfront and then end the night with a movie under the stars at Villa Sol. It sounds like an incredible afternoon if you ask me and not to be missed on your list of what to do in Puerto Escondido!
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Beach cinema at Playa Bacocho
#7 VISIT CASCADA LE REFORMA
Cascada La Reforma (The Reform Waterfall) is one of the best waterfalls in Oaxaca that is best visited as a half-day trip from Puerto Escondido. Cascada La Reforma is 38km northeast of Puerto Escondido and it takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes driving.
There are two ways of getting to Cascada De La Reforma and they are:
1. With a tour company
You can book a tour to visit Cascada La Reforma which can be booked through your accommodation in Puerto Escondido or from one of the tourist offices around town. The tour costs around 800 MXN per person.
2. Rent a scooter and DIY
The cheaper way to visit Cascada La Reforma (the way I did it) is to rent a scooter in Puerto Escondido for 400 MXN per day and make your own way out to these epic falls.
The entrance fee at Cascada La Reforma is only 10 MXN. That’s just 50c, cheap as chips if you ask me!
A small shop can be found at the entrance to Cascada La Reforma where you can purchase some snacks, soft drinks, beer and water before heading down to the falls.
It’s an easy 10 to 15-minute walk from the entrance down into the valley to reach Cascada La Reforma. The trail down to the waterfall is a combination of a dirt path, some concrete steps and metal hand railings making it easily accessible for all sorts of travelers.
The first set of falls you will come to features a large freshwater swimming hole and a 5 meter waterfall at one end that stretches across a chiseled rock face.
You will then have to cross over the stream here to reach the stairs on the other side and continue along the path to the main falls. The stream is only knee-deep in one section so it’s quite easy and safe to cross.
I was in complete awe when I laid my eyes on Cascada La Reforma. I could feel its immense power and energy with every step closer. My guess is that Cascada La Reforma is around 50 meters tall and the catch basin is 50 meters wide, surrounded by lush greenery and slate rocks. It’s honestly one of the most impressive waterfalls I have ever seen!
It’s possible to go for a dip here to cool off, though make sure to stay behind the yellow rope and don’t go directly beneath the falls. As tempting as this might be, the power of the surging water from the falls is no joke.
We spent around 1 hour at Cascada La Reforma, swimming in the natural pool and sunbaking on the rocks. Oh, and we were the only tourists there the entire time!
Full Blog Post: Cascada La Reforma
Down in the catch basin of the main falls
Cascada La Reforma – Things to do in Puerto Escondido
Cascada La Reforma
About to go for a dip!
#8 MIRADOR ROMANCE DE VERANO (ZICATELA VIEWPOINT)
Mirador Romance de Verano is a worthy addition to your list of things to do in Puerto Escondido!
Mirador Romance de Verano can be found at the northern end of Zicatela Beach and easily accessed by a set of concrete steps leading up to the top of the hill.
This epic panoramic viewpoint overlooks the entire bay at Zicatela Beach and you can also get beautiful views of the nearby Playa Principal.
I stumbled across this viewpoint while exploring Zicatela Beach and I was surprised that we were the only tourists there when we arrived. If you want to get an awesome keep-sake photo of Playa Zicatela, I highly recommend adding Mirador Romance de Verano to your list of places to see in Puerto Escondido!
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Mirador Romance de Verano
Extensive views of Zicatela Beach
Beautiful views of Playa Principal
#9 GO SNORKELING AT PLAYA ANGELITO
Puerto Angelito is one of my favorite beaches and definitely not to be missed on your list of things to do in Puerto Escondido! Featuring a small idyllic cove filled with a few fishing boats, a dozen beach bars and calm waters making it the perfect location for a day of beach bumming, swimming and snorkeling!
There is not one but two epic beaches that lie in the same crescent-shaped bay at this location. One is, of course, Playa Angelito and the other is Playa Manzanillo. Depending on what you feel like doing, each end of the bay offers something different for everyone.
Playa Puerto Angelito is good for grabbing a bite to eat and drink from one of the beachfront restaurants, exploring the rocky headland on the northern end, swimming in the calm waters in the bay or joining in on a boat tour along the coastline of Puerto Escondido.
There are a number of boat operators offering tours up and down the coastline and to other nearby beaches for around 150 MXN per person and also banana boat rides for 80 MXN per person. So if you’re up for a fun-fuelled adventure, this is the perfect opportunity to get your fix!
Snorkeling and free-diving are also popular activities to do at Puerto Angelito boasting beautiful corals, an abundance of marine life, warm waters and great visibility underneath the surface.
From Puerto Angelito, walk to the southern end of the bay and around the rocky outcrops to reach Playa Manzanillo. Featuring another secluded cove lined with swaying coconut palms and a few beach shacks serving up ice cold beers, local cuisine and boasts the ultimate laid-back beach vibes!
There are fewer boats in the cove at Playa Manzanillo and it’s more ideal to go swimming here as opposed to Playa Angelito. There are no waves, the water is calm and perfect for going for a dip to cool off!
Full Blog Post: Playa Puerto Angelito
Playa Angelito – Puerto Escondido things to do
Exploring the rocky headland at Puerto Angelito
Vibrant beach bars at Puerto Angelito
Taking a dip at Manzanillo Beach
#10 SURF THE POINT BREAK AT PUNTA ZICATELA
Punta Zicatela is sometimes referred to as the Mexican Pipeline boasting large barrelling waves that wrap into the bay on a left-hand point break.
On a decent sized swell, Punta Zicatela can see up to 10ft waves breaking into the bay and definitely recommended for experienced surfers only.
On a small swell, Punta Zicatela is perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers when the waves are more mellow. If you don’t have your own surfboard, it’s possible to rent one from the surf shacks located down on the beach for around 150 MXN per hour.
Surfing at Punta Zicatela
Aerial shot of Punta Zicatela
The left-hand point break at Punta Zicatela
Punta Zicatela – Things to do in Puerto Escondido
#11 VISIT MANIALTEPEC LAGOON
Laguna Manialtepec an impressive 6km long lagoon just 30-minutes north of Puerto Escondido. Most famous for its many different species of birds, local wildlife and the bio-luminescent plankton that can be seen only at nighttime.
You can visit Laguna Manialtepec DIY though my recommendation is to book a tour of the lagoon which includes boating, kayaking and a nighttime swim with the bio-luminescent plankton.
The best way to activate the strange phosphorescent glow is to run your hand through the water and the plankton will start to sparkle like stars in the night sky.
There are many tour operators offering trips to the Manialtepec Lagoon and the easiest way to book is via your accommodation in Puerto Escondido. The cost of the tour is around 350 MXN which includes a pick-up and drop-off to your hotel.
Manialtepec Lagoon – What to do in Puerto Escondido
WHERE TO STAY IN PUERTO ESCONDIDO
Puerto Escondido has hundreds of accommodations to choose from so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in Puerto Escondido to suit the needs of luxury travelers and budget backpackers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Posada Real Puerto Escondido
One of the best luxury resorts in Puerto Escondido! Located right on the beachfront with a private beach club, 2 restaurants, 3 bars, 2 outdoor pools, tennis court, mini-golf, games room and water sports facilities. The rooms are air-conditioned with ocean and garden views, large comfortable beds, spacious living, cable tv, coffee maker and private bathroom. Perfect for couples, families and friends.
Mid Range: Casa Losodeli
I personally stayed at Casa Losodeli and can’t recommend this place enough! From the moment you step in the door, you will feel like family. Centrally located and walking distance to the beaches, bars, restaurants and cafes. Featuring an outdoor pool, co-working space, free wifi, cafe, communal area, shared kitchen, bar, beautiful gardens and free bicycle rental. Choose from a dorm room, private room or fully equipped apartment with a kitchen and flat-screen tv. Perfect for solo travelers, couples, friends and families!
Budget: Casa Daikiri
Casa Daikiri is rated as one of the best budget accommodations in Puerto Escondido. Just a stone’s throw from the famous Zicatela Beach, this vibrant hostel features an outdoor swimming pool, free wifi, shared kitchen, tour desk, sun terrace and well-kept gardens. Choose from either a dorm room, triple room or a double suite each with air conditioning, seating area, patio and pool views. Perfect place to stay for solo travelers, couples and friends!
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BEST TIME TO VISIT PUERTO ESCONDIDO
Puerto Escondido has only 2 seasons, the wet season and the dry season.
The wet season in Puerto Escondido is typically between the months of June and October and the dry season is between November and May.
Puerto Escondido can be visited year-round as the average temperature during the day is 27°C and it rarely goes below 20°C at night.
High season in Puerto Escondido is during the summer months of June to August which sees a large number of tourists and prices are usually inflated during this time.
My recommendation is to visit Puerto Escondido during the winter months between November and March when there are fewer tourists, prices for food and accommodation is lower and it’s sunny every day!
GETTING AROUND PUERTO ESCONDIDO
The easiest, cheapest and the best way to get around Puerto Escondido is on foot. Depending on which part of town you end up staying, all of the beaches, bars, restaurants and shops are within 1-hours walking distance.
If your legs are painted on, it’s possible to rent a bicycle or a motorised scooter for the day and make your way around to all of the tourist spots in Puerto Escondido at your own pace. Bicycle rentals are around 50 MXN per hour and scooter rental is around 400 MXN per day, both options can typically be booked through your accommodation.
Taxis are another option for getting around Puerto Escondido which costs as little as 30-40 MXN for a 10-minute drive from one end of town to the other.
And last but not least are the collectivos (shared taxi vans) which zip around town on a daily basis from dawn to dusk for as little as 7 pesos.
HOW TO GET TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO
The 2 most popular ways of reaching Puerto Escondido is by bus and by plane.
The most common route for the majority of people traveling by bus is from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido which takes between 7 and 10 hours depending on which bus you take. The roads are windy with many hairpin turns that can be gut-churning so you may want to take a motion sickness tablet before setting off.
The larger, more comfortable buses between Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido cost around 300-400 pesos and this journey takes up to 10 hours. There are overnight buses available which are common among backpackers to save money on 1-night’s accommodation.
You can check the bus times and prices with ADO Buses Mexico and book online ahead of time.
Alternatively, you can ride in a shared minivan from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido which is a little more cramped inside though it’s a shorter journey that takes around 7 hours and costing only 200-250 pesos.
Last but not least is to rent a car in Oaxaca City and make the drive yourself down to Puerto Escondido. Having your own wheels also gives you the freedom to explore the other towns and beaches to the north and to the south of Puerto Escondido before returning to Oaxaca.
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Arriving in Puerto Escondido by plane is also an option and the airport is conveniently located just 10 minutes drive from the center of town.
The most common flight route is from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido which takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes and there are daily flights available for as little as $50 one way.
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PUERTO ESCONDIDO MAP
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all about Things To Do In Puerto Escondido, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.