Puerto Escondido is my new favorite beach town (sorry Tulum). I was not expecting to fall in love as much as I did, but with the abundance of beaches, everything within walking distance, cheap accommodation, great cafes, bars, and restaurants (hello Oaxacan food, how I’ve missed you), and the slow pace of it all, six days wasn’t nearly enough. Before we left, we were plotting our return to this perfect Mexican beach town.
Hotels in Puerto Escondido
There are plenty of places to stay in Puerto Escondido, it just depends on where you want to be. Puerto Escondido can easily be broken down into three different areas. You’ve got the famous surf beach Zicatela where you’ll find the budget hotels and hostels as well as tons of great beach bars. Then there’s Rinconada, which is close to beaches like Carrizalillo and Puerto Angelito and is also home to surf and language schools, good cafes, and of course, the best swimming beaches. In the middle is the town of Puerto Escondido which is a good place to base yourself if you’re on a budget or want to be in the middle of all of the cheap, local eats.
We stayed in Rinconada at the Mango Surf House. I found it on Airbnb and while I wasn’t at all interested in learning to surf, I was interested in their amazing apartments which are a five-minute walk to the beach and only slightly more to great cafes in the morning. It was absolutely perfect for what we needed. We booked this room specifically and we spent many a morning drinking coffee in the outdoor lounge area with a book. There’s also this smaller room with two twin beds if you’re traveling with a friend.
If you’ve never used Airbnb, sign up with this link to receive up to $35 off your first booking (that’s one night basically free!).
If you are coming to Puerto Escondido for the big waves, you’re backpacking through the area, or you want to be close to the party scene, you’ll probably want to stay around Zicatela. There are tons of great little hotels that aren’t too expensive. One that had great reviews that I considered booking was Bungalows Zicatela. There’s a resident dog, clean rooms, and it’s right across the street from the beach.
For a great hostel, One Love Hostal gets great reviews. It is located right near Zicatela Beach and has a huge courtyard area with hammocks and a little pool where you can chill in the shade on those steaming hot days. There’s also a restaurant and bar onsite as well as dorms and private rooms available.
For those that are interested in staying in the town center of Puerto Escondido, I recommend checking out Airbnb for the best deals. You can easily zoom into the map and find the exact area that you want to stay. A lot of motels put their rooms on Airbnb and I found that most were cheaper on Airbnb than if you went to that hotel’s website. I almost booked a night at this place, but they were booked out for one of our stays.
This Airbnb spot has an outdoor pool that is literally perfect for sunbathing beside. The reviews are great and since it’s in the town it’s right in the middle of everything there is to love about Puerto Escondido.
Restaurants in Puerto Escondido
There are SO many amazing restaurants in Puerto Escondido. From streetside burgers and tlayudas to restaurants that serve whole grilled fish while you wriggle your toes in the sand under the table. I recommend sampling a little bit of each.
Boulevard Benito Juárez 1, Rinconada OR El Morro S/N, Playa Zicatela
If you’re looking for a place for a filling and delicious breakfast or brunch, look no further than Cafecito. They make their own bread which you can enjoy while you wait for your meal. Their chilaquiles are absolutely delicious and their fresh juices were refreshing. We ended up coming here almost every morning because it was just such good value for money and it was a short walk from our Airbnb. They also serve up super strong coffee which I recommend ordering at the end of your breakfast.
Avenida Hidalgo, Centro
If this is your first trip to Oaxaca state or you simply want to enjoy some really great Oaxacan-style food, I highly recommend Las Cazuelas. They have really tasty pozole (a rich soup with different meat options), but I really loved their tlayudas, which for lack of a better description, are really big and tasty quesadillas.
Calle del Morro, Playa Zicatela
I’m going to put this here because it’s right next to El Coste and is the perfect place to head before you go for dinner. They have a really nice selection of craft beers which you can drink on an Adirondack chair looking out over the ocean. It was my favorite place to go for the sunset before heading next door to El Coste for a whole fish. Jardin also does fish tacos that looked really nice.
Puerto Angelito 2011, Rinconada
This place served up the best-smoked fish tacos I’ve ever eaten. It’s a tiny little restaurant with no more than four tables, so if it’s busy you might have to wait, but you should definitely wait. We tried a regular fish taco and a smoked fish taco and both were exceptional. They serve it with salsas and parsley oil which go perfectly with the fish. We also tried their ceviche which I really enjoyed, too. It’s one of the best budget restaurants in Puerto Escondido.
El Coste Cevicheria
Calle del Morro, Playa Zicatela
They may call themselves a cevicheria, but the reason I came back to this restaurant a second time in six days was for the whole grilled fish. It’s an absolute steal at around 700 Pesos and is more than enough food for two people. It’s served with potatoes and a big green salad. They also make a really tasty margarita which goes perfectly with the buttery fish.
Avenida Oaxaca 103, Centro
This place had a line out the door every single night. You have to just be ready to pounce on a few chairs when they become available because there didn’t seem to be any organized line or waiting list. There are two options, tacos or pozole. Both are offered with pork or chicken and you can also opt for the tacos filled with beef. We went for the pozole with pork and it was so, so, so delicious. The tacos also looked great and if I was still hungry (which I wasn’t), I would have ordered a pork taco because that meat was so tender and rich.
Beaches in Puerto Escondido
Before coming to Puerto Escondido, I naively thought there was just one beach there when in fact there are seemingly endless beaches in Puerto Escondido. These were the different beaches that we visited during our trip to Puerto Escondido and a few that I’ll definitely be checking out on my next trip (there will definitely be a next trip).
This is one of the main beaches in the town. In my experience, this is where you find tons of the bars, restaurants, and cafes. Pretty much every great restaurant and bar that is in town also has a branch in Zicatela. This is where the surf competitions take place and where you’ll get plenty of space on the sand to lay your towel. It’s also where tons of vendors are selling snacks, sunglasses, and massages – so if you’re looking for a quiet place to read and relax, head to one of the other beaches.
Right next to Zicatela, this is less of a beach to lay your towel, and more of a beach to grab a table and umbrella and eat. The water was pretty rough here when I visited in early April, so we didn’t really do any swimming here. I pretty much only came here because it was quicker and safer to walk along Playa Principal to get to Zicatela than it was to walk along the main road (you can also take a taxi or colectivo). If you want to be around tons of people selling fruit, coconut water, and shrimp cocktail, this is the beach for you.
Playa Manzanillo and Puerto Angelito
This is a great little cove with two patches of sand – Playa Manzanillo to the left and Puerto Angelito to the right (as you’re looking at the ocean). I liked this beach because it had tons of restaurants along the sand where you could sit in the shade, drink beers, and eat grilled seafood. We came to this beach on our first day and it was incredibly busy, but if you came early in the morning, I imagine it would be a great place to spend a few hours.
This was my favorite beach. We came here almost every day to swim, lay in the sand, and read our books. It was really quiet in the mornings, getting busy around 4pm when the sun lost some of it’s strength. The water is really calm, making it one of the most popular places to swim. I really loved Carrizalillo and that view as you climb the steps down to the beach is seriously breathtaking.
I didn’t get a chance to go to Bacocho, mostly because I was too busy being in love with Carrizalillo and because the best way to get there from the rest of Puerto Escondido is to take a taxi. It’s at the opposite end of Puerto Escondido from Zicatela and the vibe is meant to be very different there, too. Because it’s slightly more difficult to get to than the other beaches, it’s much quieter. There are several upscale boutique hotels around Bacocho, so if you want to find a place to sit on a sunbed with acocktail in hand, this is the beach for you.
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