Puerto Escondido has been well known for decades to the world’s surf community. Home to the Mexican Pipeline, one of the longest continuous surf breaks in the world, Puerto Escondido is becoming more than just a surf destination. It’s becoming one of Mexico’s up and coming top tourist and backpacker destinations. After living here for 3 months this is my all you need to know quick backpacking guide to Puerto Escondido.
Where to Stay
Puerto Escondido is kind of broken into 3 separate areas. You have the hippy, surf, beach, laid back area of La Punta. The main tour strip of Zicatela with hotels, bars and restaurants and you have the more modern but small and relaxed area called the Riconada. Each area has its own charm and all are worth a visit if you have the time. No matter where you stay in town getting around to each area is quick and easy. During my 3 month here I stayed in all 3 areas of town and enjoyed each differently but equally. Here are the 3 best accommodations in each area.
Selina Hostel – For those budget minded but still want a modern, clean and nice place to say look no further. Located across the street from the main surf break in Zicatela, Selina has a new, hip atmosphere.
Hostel Frutas y Verduras – Part hostel, part hotel and part fantastic restaurant Hostel Frutas y Verduras is a popular choice among travelers to stay at. It’s a longstanding hostel in town so it is well established and runs smoothly. Great vibes radiate off this place. Also if you are looking for a longer stay to catch all of the waves they do offer volunteer opportunities.
Punta Zicatela Hotel – Oh man this place is brand new and very very nice. If a private space is what you need the Punta Zicatela Hotel is the place to stay at. This hotel is directly next to the beach where they provide you with, private hammocks, your own beach umbrella and chairs.
Experiencia Surf Camp – Surfing is probably why you’re looking at visiting Puerto Escondido. Well Experiencia Surf Camp is a great place to do that. I learned tho surf through them, Juan and Yimmi were both fantastic teachers. Experiencia has dorm rooms and private rooms along with a communal area, scheduled activities like yoga and salsa and they even do Spanish immersion classes.
- Wild Tip: As of the 2019 winter there has been a good amount of new hotels, guesthouses and hostels opening up in La Punta. Just showing up and finding a place to stay is getting a lot easier. If you plan to stay for a long time, 1 month or more, its best to book in advance.
Casa Losodeli – This place is fantastic! Casa Losodeli was my home away from home in Puerto Escondido. The staff is so friendly and the vibe is relaxed and such a great atmosphere. The rooms are great, there is pool, restaurant, free to use kitchen and they offer a lot of activities. If your a digital nomad they have a co-working space with the fastest internet in town! Co-Working is free for guests and if you are not a guest it only cost’s 50 pesos a day and that includes use of everything at Casa Losodeli, so you can sit by the pool too if you want! Definitely the number 1 place to stay in town.
Vivo Escondido – In the heart of the Riconada, Vivo Escondido is surrounded by the best that the Riconada offers, restaurants, shops, bars. This cozy hostel has a great setup making you feel like family. The dorm rooms are not crowded and they offer a couple private bedrooms for those who want their own space. Communal kitchen, free water, games and a pool will let you relax when you’re not down by the water on the beach.
Villas Carrizalillo – What can I say besides stunning. Villas Carrizalillo is stunning. Waking up to overlooking the ocean is what mornings are for. This hotel has the best view in all of Puerto Escondido. If you are looking for a true holiday getaway Villas Carrizalillo is where you need to stay.
Most people coming to Puerto Escondido spend a long time here. There are a lot of multi-month rentals available in town and AirBnb is the best place to get the best rate. I stayed in a couple Airbnb’s that were cheap and well cared for!
Getting around Puerto Escondido
Collectivos – Puerto Escondido is very spread out and the best way to reach each area is by hopping on a Collectivo. These small converted pickup trucks are the main budget way to get from one end of Puerto Escondido to the other. Most Collectivos follow the main highway, 200. All you have to do is put out a hand and they will pick you up. The cost is 8 pesos a person no matter how far you ride. They run from the edge of La Punta all the way to the Mercado deep inside Puerto Escondido.
- Wild Tip: Collectivos stop running before 8pm and start at 6am. Sunday’s there are also fewer Collectivos running throughout the day. Around sunset is busy and you might have to stand on the back, but that is all about the experience!
Taxis – Puerto Escondido has tons of taxis in town. A lot of them have racks for transporting surfboards, so if your a surfer taxis will probably be your go to. Taxis wait by all the main breaks and beaches. Red taxis are a communal taxi and run certain routes but the cost is way lower. Blue and green taxis have fixed rates throughout the different areas of Puerto Escondido. Cost is anywhere from 35-45 pesos, not really negotiable.
What to do
Surfing – Surfing is the number one thing to do in Puerto Escondido. The type of break and where to go changes with the seasons but one thing is for sure, everyday there will be surf, somewhere.
Spotting Ocean animals – If you are visiting Puerto Escondido during the winter months odds are good that you will see some fantastic ocean critters, without having to step into the water! The cold winter weather and mating season bring thousands of Whales, Dolphins and turtles to this area, which sometimes can be seen from the beach! If you want to get more up-close and personal there are boat tours available. I recommend going with Deep Blue Dive Puerto Escondido. Diving is their main business but they do boat tours and they actually care about the animals.
Turtle Rescue – You can help reduce and release baby turtles into the ocean. The area around Puerto Escondido has a huge turtle conservation.
Bioluminescence – Bacteria, fungi, marine vertebrates, there is nothing like chilling with some glowing microorganisms in the middle of the night. Nearby Puerto Escondido you can easily check out this crazy nighttime experience.
Skydiving – This activity blew up during my 3 months in Puerto Escondido. Everyday there were dozens upon dozens of people skydiving here. I can see why, the view is spectacular, with the mountains of Oaxaca on one side and the ocean on the other. Plus you get to land on the beach.
Relaxing – Yeah there is always time for relaxing and Puerto Escondido has some of great beaches to do just that.
When to Visit
The winter months are definitely peak tourist season, especially around Christmas and New Years when the weather is cool and the waves are smaller. The peak advanced surf season begins around February and goes through April. You can also find great intermediate and beginner surf from September until the beginning of December. After that the waves die down.
Winter months are the most comfortable for the weather. Spring and fall it still can get stifling hot out during the day and summer the temperature and humidity is very high. During my 3 months here I could tell the difference of the temperature during the morning and throughout the day. It definitely got more bearable the closer it got to Christmas.
Beaches in Puerto Escondido
Playa Zicatela is also called the Mexican Pipeline, one of the best and longest surf breaks in the whole world! 3km of sand and surf await you. This beach is beautiful but you are on the Pacific Ocean and with the massive surf swimming is not allowed, but it looks nice.
Playa Carrizalillo might be a mouth full to say but when you descend the steps into this small alcoved beach you will find nothing but easy living. Here you will find small waves and soft sand.
Playa La Punta is the happy medium between the other two beaches in town. The surf is better than at Playa Carrizalillo and you are able to swim here, unlike Playa Zicatela.
Nightlife in Puerto Escondido
The nightlife in Puerto Escondido is a weird one. Bars and nights are very hit and miss. This is a surf community so most people are not looking to go out and party hard, they want to catch the waves in the morning. With that said there are a few areas in town to get your drink or dance on. Bars in La Punta are great for sunset and dinner beers but they shut down early, around 11 or so. Zicatela is the main nightlife hub. Here you will find the dance clubs and rooftop bars open till sunrise.
Puerto Escondido is definitely booming. throughout my short 3 months there I don’t know how many new hotels and restaurants I saw being built, everywhere. There is definitely a big push to make this more than a surf destination and there is good reason. Puerto Escondido was a blast and writing this backpacking guide to Puerto Escondido makes me want to go back there.
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