THE BEST BEACHES IN PUERTO ESCONDIDO
Vamos a la playa! Puerto Escondido is located in southern Oaxaca on the Pacific Ocean. If you’re reading this, you’re likely a beachgoer, right? Whether you’re looking to surf the waves, snorkel, or just soak up some rays you’ll have plenty to choose from. Warm weather, tepid water, and all the tropical feels can be found here. This list of beautiful beaches is in order from north to south and hopefully, it gives you a better understanding of what each has to offer…
This is a long, beautiful stretch of sand and it’s mostly empty. It isn’t known for being the best place to swim as the waves can be pretty big and there is a strong undertow. Luckily, there’s a great beach club on Playa Bacocho called Club de Playa Villasol where you can hang that has an amazing view of the ocean.
The cost to relax at the pool all day is 200 pesos per person, which includes a voucher that goes towards food and drinks. The prices are reasonable and the food is pretty tasty. We recommend the fruit and veggie platter with tajín! They also have a happy hour that occurs twice a day. The music is vibey, the chairs are loungy, the palm trees are swinging, and the water is refreshing.
Besides the beach club, the main reason people come to Playa Bacocho is for the baby sea turtle release with the Vive Mar program. Arrive an hour before sunset and sign up. The cost of releasing a turtle as of January 2020 is 100 pesos and helps support their conservation efforts. On Wednesday nights Club de Playa Villasol plays movies on the beach in front of Pez Gallo Restaurant at 7 pm. Stay for sunset and enjoy a movie under the stars!
You can reach Playa Coral a couple of ways. The easiest is to walk about 10 minutes south of Playa Bacocho through a beautiful rocky area. If you aren’t already on Playa Bacocho you can also access Playa Coral from the road above it and wander down a winding dirt trail to the water. Recently, the owner of the property that gives access to this trail has put up a fence at the entrance. It’s still passable, but you’ll have to maneuver around a gate hanging over a cliff. Go at your own risk. It’s not as dangerous as it sounds, but be careful!
The great thing about Playa Coral is that because it’s more difficult to reach, it’s much quieter and less developed. There is only one hotel, and it’s pretty run down. For ladies wanting to let those boobies free, this is the beach to do it! Because there isn’t much development we also recommend bringing some snacks (or mezcal?) and some water along. The undertow here isn’t quite as strong as on Bacocho so it’s great for swimming, although you should still pay attention to the tides. The water is much calmer once you get out past the break.
You’ll find Playa Carrizalillo tucked away in a picturesque cove along La Rinconada. You’ll have to earn your day on the beach by hiking down 157 steps! It’s definitely becoming popular and a bit more crowded, but it still maintains its beauty and tropical charm.
Playa Carrizalillo is the best beach for swimming in Puerto Escondido. The tide isn’t too strong and the waves aren’t too big. It’s also the best beginner surfing spot with less intimidating waves. Take a lesson or rent a surfboard. Lessons are 600 pesos per 1.5 hr lesson and board rentals are 150 per hour. Just beware of the rocks, we’re speaking from personal experience.
Because the water is less tumultuous it can be a great spot for snorkeling. Once you’re on the beach, walk all the way to the right, up and over the hillside, and follow the path to the next cove. We snorkeled there and were swimming with a sea turtle within the first minute. Call it beginners luck! Just be mindful of sea urchins lurking under the azure waters. If you don’t have your own mask, snorkel rentals will cost you 100 pesos/hour.
If you’re in the mood for relaxation you can lounge in an umbrella chair for 250 pesos for the day. Whatever you do, don’t miss Espadín afterward! It’s consistently rated one of Puerto Escondido’s best restaurants. You’ll see it on top of the cliff overlooking Carrizalillo. Arrive before sunset and watch the tangerine sun melt into the Pacific. Seriously, the sunsets in Puerto are unreal from up there!
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PLAYA MANZANILLO & PUERTO ANGELITO
These two beaches are within the same bay separated by a rocky outcropping. You can reach them by a short taxi ride or walk from the Rinconada. Once you reach the parking area, Puerto Angelito is to your right and on your left is Playa Manzanillo. It’s a local area with a very laid back atmosphere.
Playa Manzanillo is the better beach. Located in a cute sandy bay it’s a great spot to spend a lazy afternoon sipping on cold coconuts. Snorkel rentals can be found at Josimar’s, a tour company behind the rocks near the beach costing 50 pesos for 1.5 hours. When we went snorkeling we saw three turtles within 30 minutes! Go along the rocks to the south (on your left) for the best snorkel spot. Just be aware of the currents and fishing boats.
There are many fishermen on Puerto Angelito where you can find a nice lunch. Local families come here to spend the day, swim, and eat seafood together. We didn’t get a chance to eat there, but were told Los Buzos is where it’s at! Puerto Angelito is also where you’ll catch your boat if you decide to go on a whale watching or dolphin tour (which you should absolutely do).
Zicatela is where pro surfers come to rip the waves and where international surf competitions are held each year. This is the home of the famous Mexican Pipeline, one of the heaviest beach breaks in the world. It became popular with foreigners in the 1950’s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s and the advent of shortboard surfing that it was officially on the surf circuit. It’s for professionals only, so it’s probably not smart to swim here either.
Zicatela beach has a stretch of bars and nightclubs that stay open pretty late. This is the main party area, because of that it’s more touristy. Still, it’s a marvelous place to watch the sunset, sip a cocktail, and listen to the perilous waves.
This is a chill area with a younger vibe, trendy restaurants, hip hangouts, and a few shops. There’s even a health food store called Moringa that has cheap tasty vegan empanadas.
However, the area is mostly associated with surfing. There’s a left-hander pointbreak that’s good for intermediate surfers. The Puerto Surf School is in the area for those who want proper lessons. If you’re not a surfer you can still just hang out and watch. We rented day beds under an umbrella on the beach for a 400 peso minimum on food and drinks. It’s a relaxing way to spend a day.
The real magic is at Punta Zicatela, the rocks on the southern point. Sit in the shade and watch the surfers or walk around the corner to La Barra beach.
*Most of Puerto Escondido is safe, but be careful at night and use common sense. Robberies are not unheard of and there seems to be a bit of resentment from some of the locals in the La Punta area with the influx of travelers in recent years. Don’t walk the beaches at night. La Punta isn’t well lit. No need to be paranoid, just be aware.
PLAYA LA BARRA
This is a secluded beach that’s more difficult to reach, but the rewards are worth the extra energy. At the very end of La Punta, you’ll find a trail that goes up and onto the cliff that leads to the other side. From there you can visit quiet coves or hike a little further up to the lighthouse. Most people don’t come over here which makes it all the more special, it’s soo soo beautiful. This is by far the best sunset spot if you’re feeling adventurous!
Tierra Blanca is a rural beach outside of Puerto Escondido. To get there we took a 30-minute SUR bus ride from the ADO bus station. We just told the driver where we wanted to go and he dropped us off on the side of the road. From there it’s a fifteen-minute walk on a dirt road to the beach. Otherwise, you can take a taxi if you find one or try to hitchhike with passing cars.
When you arrive you’ll be rewarded with a long stretch of empty coastline. It’s breathtaking! You might see 5-10 people the entire day. There are a few palapas around too if you’re looking for shade. There is one sleepy restaurant that serves food and has cabañas for rent. Not sure how the food is, we had a picnic with sandwiches and drinks we bought at Chedraui. The cabañas are a bit more expensive than they should be, but you’re obviously paying for the seclusion.
This beach is 28 km from Puerto Escondido. The easiest way is to catch a SUR bus to Huatulco from the ADO bus station and ask to be dropped off at Santa Elena. Then take a taxi from there to the beach. Agua Blanca is known for its tide pools and fat oysters when they’re in season typically September to April. That concludes our list of the best beaches in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca!
Have you been to Puerto Escondido? If so, which beach is your favorite?