Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido – The Coolest Areas, Hotels and Tips
No longer a ‘hidden port’ as the name suggests, Puerto Escondido – a surf mad beach town on the Oaxaca coast, still retains a blissfully laid back vibe despite it’s growing popularity as one of Mexico’s very best surf spots with sunsets as epic as the legendary waves. It’s actually quite a large, spread out town so its important to consider where to stay in Puerto Escondido carefully to get the most out of your time in this surf haven.
To help you, I’ll describe the best areas, neighbourhoods and places to stay in Puerto Escondido in one handy post along with my travel tips for how to get to Puerto Escondido and how to explore the rest of the beautiful Oaxaca Coast.
Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido
When thinking about where to stay in Puerto Escondido it’s useful to know the main areas and neighbourhoods to find out what suits you best before booking your accommodation. Although Puerto Escondido is a small town its actually quite spread out.
To walk the 6km between Playa Carrizillio and La Punta takes over an hour in the hot Mexican heat so it’s important to think about your reasons for visiting Puerto Escondido and base yourself in the area or neighbourhood that suits you best.
Best time to visit Puerto Escondido
The best time to visit Puerto Escondido is between November and March in the cooler, dry season. This is also the best time to visit for beginner surfers and the peak season and it’s a good idea to book in advance then as the best hotels get booked up.
The legendary waves get even bigger between May and August making it the best time to visit for experienced surfers that want a challenge but you may also experience some rain in this season.
The Best Areas and Neighbourhoods in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido can be split into four areas – The Town Center and Playa Prinicpal, Rinconada and Playa Carrizalillo, Zicatela Beach and La Punta.
The best areas and neighbourhoods to stay in Puerto Escondido are:
Playa Carrizalillo – Best Beach and Best for Learning to Surf
Zicatela Beach – Best for Nightlife and Legendary Waves
La Punta – Best for Island Vibes and Laidback Lifestyle
The Town Center and Playa Principal is a good central location for the bus station, airport and all the amenities of the town. While the Playa Principal is popular with holidaying Mexican families and local fishermen it was a little dirty and I didn’t really rate it. If you want to stay close to town then it’s better to stay near Playa Carrizalillo.
In this post I’ll describe each area and give my recommendations for the best hotels and places to stay to make booking your perfect trip that much easier.
The Best Places to Stay in Puerto Escondido
Playa Carrizalillo – Best Beach and Best for Learning to Surf
The most beautiful beach and my favourite place to stay in Puerto Escondido is Playa Carrizalillo. From above, this blissful bay of turquoise water framed by palm trees is a view I could happily gaze at for hours.
Down the steps, the sandy beach is the safest and best place to swim and to learn to surf in Puerto Escondido. There’s a smattering of rustic, laid back palapas (thatched beach bars) serving up fresh fish tacos and refreshing mojitos.
The area above the beach, Rinconada and Bacocho, is still not too far from the airport, bus station and all the shops and restaurants in the town centre. You can also explore the sheltered bays and calm waters of Playa Angelito and Playa Manzanillo nearby.
Where to Stay in Playa Carrizalillo
Villas Carrizalillo – Best Views!
The hands down best place to stay in Playa Carrizalillo has got to be the Villas Carrizalillo. These luxurious, fully equipped rooms, suites and villas offer spectacular views over the turquoise bay and private access to the beach.
Soak up the views from the comfort of a hammock or sun bed on the terrace or enjoy the beautiful swimming pool and tropical gardens. The restaurant here is another highlight.
Hotel Aldea del Bazar – Amazing Value!
The architecture and themed swimming pool area may make you feel like you’re in Arabia instead of Mexico, but the four star Hotel Aldea del Bazar and Spa is an amazing bargain from only $50. It’s only 10 minutes’ walk from the beach and offers spacious, modern rooms with garden, pool or sea views as well as a landscaped gardens and the El Mandil restaurant.
Playa Zicatela – Best for Nightlife and Legendary Waves
Home to the legendary Mexican Pipeline, Zicatela is one of the very best places to surf in Mexico and one of the world’s best and most consistent beach breaks.
Playa Zicatela is a long 3.5km stretch of wide sandy beach of crashing waves lined with beach bars, restaurants and surf shops. It’s the best place to stay in Puerto Escondido for experienced surfers and for those who like to be close to the most happening nightlife.
However, it’s not the best place for swimmers or learning to surf as the waves are just too huge!
Where to Stay in Zicatela
Selina – Social and Chic
The Puerto Escondido branch of Selina (the most popular co-living company) is the best place to stay in Puerto Escondido for digital nomads and anyone who wants a fun, chic stay in the heart of Zicatela.
Selina is just steps from the beach and offers a range of funky accommodation (I love the rustic A frame tepee tents!) around a leafy swimming pool area and a cafe and bar with a buzzing social scene.
La Playita Beach House – Best Value!
Located on the beach in a quiet area of Zicatela, these simple and comfortable whitewashed rooms around a swimming pool are amazing value. You’re still close to all the action but able to get a good nights sleep. There’s also a shared open kitchen you can use to cook your own meals to save money.
La Punta – Best for Island Vibes and Laidback Lifestyle
Located at the far southern end of Zicatela is laidback La Punta. The cove at the end is more suitable for swimming and learning to surf and the sandy streets, laid back beach bars, vegan cafes and yoga retreats give the area a mellow, tropical island vibe that makes it hard to leave.
Sunsets have a friendly community vibe with volleyball games on the beach and many long stayers walking their dogs and catching up.
La Punta is becoming more and more popular with many new restaurants and bars popping up creating a low key nightlife scene.
Where to Stay in La Punta
Casa Kuaa – Beachfront Luxury!
This newly built, modern and stylish hotel sits right on the beach just steps from the bars and restaurants of La Punta. All rooms have balconies and sea views. You can jump from pool to ocean and soak up the spectacular sunsets right from your balcony or the beautiful swimming pool.
Bikini Beach House – Great Value, Great Location
Steps from the beach and right in the heart of the most happening area of La Punta (and possibly the coolest area of all of Puerto Escondido) Bikini Beach House offers comfortable accommodation at unbeatable value.
All rooms have rustic chic touches and a private balcony where you can soak up the tropical greenery outside. There’s also a cool cocktail and coffee bar downstairs complete with swings and colourful tropical flowers.
Learning to Surf in Puerto Escondido
While the surf in Zicatela is not for beginners there’s still plenty of places to learn to surf in Puerto Escondido like Playa Carrizalillo and also La Punta on calmer days. It’s easy to find board rental and surf lessons all over town.
If you’re serious about learning to surf and enjoy a fun, social atmosphere I’d recommend joining a surf camp where your accommodation, lessons and sometimes food are all provided in one package. Some surf schools also include other activities like yoga, Spanish lessons and excursions to the nearby Manialtepec lagoon where you can sometimes see bioluminescence.
The Best Surf Camp in Puerto Escondido
My favourite surf camp in Puerto Escondido is Oasis Surf and Spanish School. The instructors make learning to surf easy, safe and fun, plus, learning some Spanish will really help you connect better with locals and make your travels in Mexico much easier. You’ll stay in one of their surf houses near Playa Carrizalillo, which have fully equipped apartments, a swimming pool, terrace and common area.
Read More: Best Surf Camps in Mexico
Best Yoga Retreat in Puerto Escondido
Where there are surfers, there is also yoga. The two make a great combination and are often combined into one perfect retreat. There are drop in yoga classes in Puerto Escondido and most of the surf camps also offer yoga classes.
My favourite yoga retreat in Puerto Escondido is Barbarenas, located in a beautiful, sustainable and eco friendly chic setting in Zicatela. The gorgeous cabanas and yoga shala have mesmerising views over the ocean and the swimming pool is a tropical haven. The retreat package includes personalised yoga, meditation and pranayama sessions as well as delicious vegan food.
Read More: Best Yoga Retreats in Mexico
How to Get to Puerto Escondido
It can be a bit tricky figuring out how to get around the Oaxaca Coast – which is probably why this coast hasn’t been totally overun with tourists like other areas of Mexico. Don’t worry though, I’ll let you know how to get to this slice of paradise.
Great news! Puerto Escondido may be a small town but it has an airport! Puerto Escondido Airport (PXM) is a great gateway to the Oaxaca Coast. There are cheap direct flights from Mexico City that take about 1 hour, much quicker than a 19 hour bus ride!
Mexico City Airport (MEX) has many international connections from all over the world so you can fly into Mexico and easily connect in Mexico City from an international flight to reach Puerto Escondido. This is definitely the quickest way to get to Puerto Escondido. Check Skyscanner to find the best deals.
Puerto Escondido airport also has direct flights to Guadalajara. Huatulco Airport (HUX) is about 100 km away and has direct flights to Canada. You can also fly from Oaxaca City by taking a 30 minute scenic flight in a small plane. You’ll get great views over the mountains but this is the most expensive options and flights often get booked up way in advance. See prices, availability and book here.
By Bus from Oaxaca City
A popular route to get to Puerto Escondido is from Oaxaca City. The best and most comfortable route is to take the ADO or OCC bus which travels overnight and takes about 11 hours. It’s a popular route so you should book your bus online in advance. If you suffer from motion sickness be aware that this route does involve traveling along windy mountain roads.
Another option is to take a 7 hour mini bus from Oaxaca to Pochutla. This is the quickest route but also the most windy although personally I didn’t find it too bad but then I don;t normally suffer from travel sickness. From Pochutla you can take a local bus, taxi or transfer to Puerto Escondido which will take 1 – 2 hours.
Huatulco is also another beautiful beach resort to check out. The ADO and OCC buses take about 2.5 hours to travel between Puerto Escondido and Huatulco.
You might also want to check out Mazunte, a small beach town turned hippie and yoga hotspot and Zipolite, Mexico’s only nudist beach just 1 hour away along the coast from Puerto Escondido.
Getting to Mazunte and Zipolite is a little more tricky though.
I took the local Transportes Delfines bus that leaves from across the road from the Chedraui supermarket in Puerto Escondido heading to Pochutla and Huatulco.
I had to get off at Crucero de San Antonio and take a collectivo (shared pick up trucks with benches and a kind of tent covering) to Mazunte. It took about 1 and a half hours for the total journey and cost 50 MXN for the bus and 20 MXN for the collectivo.
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Mazunte from Puerto Escondido is to book a transfer that will take you from your hotel in Puerto Escondido straight to your hotel in Mazunte.
Or why not make a day out of it with a transport and tour bundle from GuateGo that will pick you up from your hotel in Puerto Escondido and visit the Ventalina ecological zone, Mexican turtle Centre, Mazunte, Zipolite and Puerto Angel before dropping you at your hotel in Zipolite. See more details here and book your trip.
Mazunte and Zipolite are only 15 minutes apart and collectivos run between them, stopping at San Agustinillo, for only 10 MXN so it’s easy to get between the two and you could even choose to stay in one town and visit the other on a day trip.
Hammocking at Pousada Mexico, Zipolite
If you’re heading to Mexico City then my Guide on the safest areas to stay in Mexico City is a must read!
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