Puerto Escondido Beaches - Punta Zicatela

21 Best Puerto Escondido Beaches [2024]

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Are you planning a trip and want to know which are the best Puerto Escondido beaches to visit?

For any trip to Puerto Escondido, it’s vital that you know which beaches should be on your must-visit list to make sure that you have the best trip possible.

You’ll be devastated if you come home and realise that the perfect beach was just around the corner from your hotel and you didn’t even know.

There are lots of great choices and there’s a beach for every person. You might prefer somewhere more romantic and secluded, or something calmer for sunbathing or snorkeling.

To make it easy for you, I’ve set out below a comprehensive list of the 21 best Puerto Escondido beaches. You’ll easily be able to choose the best beach for you.

Let’s dive right in.


Where Is Puerto Escondido?

If you don’t know anything about Puerto Escondido, it is a picturesque coastal beach town in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

It is located comfortably between the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range to the north and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Oaxaca City is the closest major metropolitan area and is about 160 miles to the north on the other side of the mountains.

Along the coastline, Acapulco lies around 250 miles to the north-west. To the south-east, the beautiful beaches of Huatulco are 70 miles away.

You can easily reach them by car if you rent one at the airport when you arrive.


How Do I Get To Puerto Escondido?

Depending on where you’re coming from, your route to Puerto Escondido will be slightly different.

Travelling From Oaxaca

If you are already in Oaxaca, there are direct flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca International Airport.

Your best bet is to fly with Aerotucán. They are a small airline that offer direct flights once per day.

You can also rent a car, book a private transfer, or a take a bus.

If you need more details, I have a comprehensive related article on how to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.

Travelling From Elsewhere Within Mexico

If you’re elsewhere in Mexico, you can also get direct flights from Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Tijuana.

The majority of flights depart from Mexico City. Connections from Mexico City are very good and flights depart up to 10 times per day

Flights from Monterrey, Guadalajara and Tijuana are much less frequent, so you will need to be flexible with your dates if you are travelling from these cities.

Travelling Internationally

There are currently no direct international flights to Puerto Escondido. You’ll need to book a connecting flight from a Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara or Tijuana.

Mexico City is by far the most well-connected city in Mexico for international flights. If you’re travelling from outside the United States, your most direct route will be to Mexico City.

If you’re flying from the United States, there are also good connections from several major US cities to Monterrey and Guadalajara. You can also get a flight from Phoenix to Tijuana.


Is Puerto Escondido Worth Visiting?

The short answer is yes, Puerto Escondido is absolutely worth visiting.

Despite its growing popularity, Puerto Escondido is still a small place and has been able to hold on to its relaxed Mexican beach-town vibe.

There are loads of great hotels looking out onto the sea, and you can spend your time sunbathing, swimming in the sea and eating delicious Mexican food.

You can expect great weather all year-round, with a high of around 86°F in summer and a low of about 72°F in the winter.

If you’re an animal-lover, you can also take part in one of the local turtle-release programs. They’re not much bigger than a quarter and are really adorable as they flap their way down to the sea.

And then, of course, there are the glorious beaches. The Puerto Escondido beaches are known for being some of the best beaches in Mexico.

Let’s take a closer look at these now.


Best Puerto Escondido Beaches

If you don’t want to work your way through the full list below, my personal picks for the best Puerto Escondido beaches are:

  • Playa Carrizalillo (Best beach for swimming)
  • Playa Zicatela (Best beach for surfing)
  • Playa Manzanillo (Best beach for snorkelling)
  • Playa Coral (Best secluded beach)

Let’s get into the full list of the best Puerto Escondido beaches.


1. Playa Zicatela

Playa Zicatela is Mexico’s premier surfing beach, known internationally as the “Mexican Pipeline”. It’s a pro-level beach and major surfing competitions are held here frequently.

If you’re an experienced surfer, you’re in heaven. Zicatela breaks both left and right and during the swell season waves can reach a massive 20ft with a light offshore wind.

If you’ve got some surfing skill and want to take it to the next level, there are plenty of local pros around to give you a few lessons.

You also don’t need to worry about bringing your own kit if you don’t want to. You can rent a board from one of the many local surf shops on the nearby Avenida del Morro.

Unless you’re a confident surfer, you’re best off watching the pros rather than trying to surf Zicatela yourself. Try Playa Carrizalillo or Playa Marinero if you’re looking for one of the Puerto Escondido beaches where you can swim or surf as an amateur.

Beyond the surf, Playa Zicatela is close to some of the best bars and restaurants in Puerto Escondido.

The beachfront promenade is over 2 miles long and it’s a great place to just stroll along during the day to soak up the local atmosphere.

And when the sun sets, Avenida del Morro transforms into a vibrant hub as locals and holiday-goers go out to enjoy a cocktail or a delicious meal by the sea.

If you’re looking for a place to party or just enjoy a lively evening, Zicatela is one of the best Puerto Escondido beaches to do it.


2. Playa Carrizalillo

Unless you are only visiting to surf, Playa Carrizalillo is the best beach in Puerto Escondido and a must-visit on your trip.

Although it’s only about 300ft long, it’s a picturesque swimmable beach with gentle waves, turquoise waters, and a sheltered shoreline.

After you’ve gone down the 167 stone steps to reach the beach, you’ll find a golden strip of beach lined with colorful umbrellas and dotted with a few local places to eat.

If you swim out just a little way offshore, you’ll discover a live coral reef full of marine life, making it the perfect place for snorkelling.

If you’re an amateur surfer and you don’t want to take on Playa Zicatela, Playa Carrizalillo is a great alternative.

You won’t be surfing any barrels, but the waves are great for learning and there are a few surf-schools where you get a lesson if you want one.

And when you’re done for the day and you’ve made it back up the stairs, there are some great places to eat nearby.

If you walk just a few minutes north, you’ll reach an area called Rinconada, where some of Puerto Escondido’s best restaurants can be found.

Tip: if you’re an experienced surfer, you’ll find far better and more challenging waves at nearby Playa Zicatela.


3. Punta Zicatela

Punta Zicatela, or just “La Punta”, is the rocky outcrop at the south-eastern end of the 2-mile long Playa Zicatela.

The small beach just before the rocky point is known as Playa La Punta.

Playa La Punta

Playa La Punta offers a more laid-back alternative to the busy and sometimes a little touristy Playa Zicatela. It’s a longer walk to reach it, so it tends to be less crowded.

At the end of Playa La Punta, Punta Zicatela has lots of beautiful rock formations with caves and small passages.

You can walk through the caves at low tide or walk up over the rocks if the water is too high.


One of the most well-known of these rock formations is Chingbal’e.

Chingbal’e is a huge rocky arch that has formed right into the rocky outcrop itself and has created a window onto the Pacific Ocean.

It’s absolutely perfect for taking amazing photographs with the arch as a brilliant natural frame. If you’re travelling as a couple, it’s also a secluded romantic spot to watch the sun go down.


4. Playa Angelito

Playa Angelito is a local favorite and tends to be visited more often by Mexican families than international tourists.

It has a great low-key relaxed vibe and there are several beachside restaurants serving great local Mexican food including tacos and ceviche.

Like Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Angelito is also nested within a sheltered cove. At its south-eastern end, a low rocky outcrop separates it from its sister beach, Playa Manzanillo.

There’s a small offshore reef that can be easily reached from the shore that is great for snorkeling.

Due to its calm waters and sheltered beach, Playa Angelito serves as a small port and is frequently used for various boating activities.

From here you can do a dolphin watching tour, take a water taxi, or rent a boat and go exploring yourself.


5. Playa Manzanillo

Playa Manzanillo is the sister beach to Playa Angelito. It is located opposite it in the same cove, separated only by the rocky outcrop in the middle of the two.

Similar to Playa Angelito, Playa Manzanillo is another favourite of locals and Mexican tourists. It’s sheltered by rocky outcrops on both sides, and has calm turquoise waters that make it a great beach for swimming.

It’s about a half mile south-west of the Puerto Escondido town center and your taxi can set you down at a set of stone stairs leading down to it from Calle Quinta Sur.

The stairs down aren’t quite as bad as at Playa Carrizalillo and you might prefer trying Playa Manzanillo for that reason if you are traveling with your family.

If you’re coming from Playa Angelito, you can also walk across a walkway to reach Playa Manzanillo.

If you’re planning on staying for the day, you can rent lounge chairs that come with pillows and large shady umbrellas.

Playa Manzanillo isn’t so good for snorkelling, but it’s close enough to Playa Angelito that you could easily split your time between the two.


6. Playa El Puertecito

Playa El Puertecito is a cute little sheltered sandy beach tucked between crumbly rocky outcrops about 17 miles to the east of Puerto Escondido.

The beach itself is only about 200 feet or so long, but it’s so far away from Puerto Escondido that you’re likely to have it to yourself in any case.

The beach is completely sheltered, so you can swim and splash about without worrying about dangerous currents. This makes it a great option for you if you’re travelling with your family.

Its also a great romantic beach. The chances are good that you and your lover will be alone here, and you can spend the day sunbathing or watch the sun go down together.

Given it’s remote location, there aren’t any facilities at all, so you’ll need to bring whatever you need with you from Puerto Escondido.

There are a few hotels and AirBnB options if you’re looking to stay here. I’d recommend staying in Puerto Escondido and just making a day-trip here, though, so that you can have access to the great Puerto Escondido restaurants and nightlife of an evening.


7. Playa Principal

Playa Principal, as the name suggests, is the main beach in Puerto Escondido.

It’s located in a sheltered cove an easy walk from town and is one of the most popular swimming beaches in Puerto Escondido.

Its popularity means that if you’re planning a visit, you should try to get there early. By late morning, it’s likely to be packed and by mid-afternoon you’ll struggle to find a decent space.

The location is also perfect for eating out. Surrounding the beach are some amazing seafood restaurants restaurants serving grilled food.

When evening comes, many of those restaurants become bars and you can enjoy a drink and people-watch as the day cools down a little.

If you’re looking for a hotel near Playa Principal, Hotel Paraíso Escondido is highly-rated and within walking distance.


8. Playa Marinero

Playa Marinero is the next beach along to the south of Playa Principal.

During the dry season, they become one continuous beach, but when it rains an inlet forms splitting them into distinct beaches.

The beach lives up to its maritime name. If you visit early in the morning, you’ll see local fisherman hard at work hauling in the fresh seafood that you can eat later in a nearby local restaurant.

Aside from its commercial fishing uses, it’s also a popular swimming and body-boarding beach. The break tends to be smaller than nearby Playa Zicatela, and is much more suitable for amateurs and families.

When the beaches are separated, Playa Marinero tends to be a little less busy than Playa Principal, as it becomes a little more difficult to access.

The simplest route is to follow Avenida del Morro until the 4-star Hotel Santa Fe and then use a walkway that leads directly to the beach.

Alternatively, you can wander through some rocks near the previous sculpture of Las Manos (more below) and gain access that way.

Las Manos

Up until recently, there was also a well-known sculpture called Las Manos (the hands), which stood at the southern end of the beach near a small lookout, the Mirador Romance de Verano.

It was dedicated to two Italian tourists who lost their lives while swimming off Playa Marinero. The sculpture was erected in their memory.

Unfortunately, the sculpture collapsed in July of 2023 as a result of erosion over the years due to the salt spray. However, it was beloved by the local community before its collapse, so hopefully funds are found to restore it in the near future.


9. Playa Bacocho

Playa Bacocho is a beach about a mile to the west of the Puerto Escondido town center that tends to be ignored by most tourists.

It’s one of a few Puerto Escondido beaches that is known for its unspoiled, windswept shoreline, long expanse of sand and its captivating rock formations. It’s an ideal spot for leisurely walks and watching the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.

Playa Bacocho is also known for being a beach where baby turtles are released by certain non-profit organisations such as Vive MAR.

In order to help increase numbers of vulnerable species of sea turtles, Vive MAR and others allow tourists to observe the release of turtles for a fee of around US$10 (MX$150).

These releases take place daily at 5pm local time at Playa Bacocho. No reservation is necessary, although Vive MAR recommends calling ahead to confirm that a release will take place (contact: +52 954 544 1330).

Fast Facts: Of the 7 types of sea turtles in the world, 6 of them visit Mexico, and 4 of those lay eggs on the Oaxaca coast near Puerto Escondido. These 4 species are the Oliver Ridley Turtle, the Green Turtle, the Leatherback Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle.

One downside to Playa Bacocho is that it isn’t swimmable due to strong currents that constantly sweep along the unsheltered beach.

However, if you’re keen to swim, you could consider visiting nearby Villa Sol Beach Club. Non-members can buy a day-pass for US$10 (MX$200) in order to use all of its facilities.

Those facilities include showers, inviting pools, and a swim-up pool bar. The club also has a great restaurant, Pez Gallo, that serves fantastic seafood and also has vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.


10. Punta Pájaros

Punta Pájaros is a rocky outcrop about 20 miles to the north-west of Puerto Escondido.

The beach on the south side of the outcrop is called Playa Punta Pájaros. It’s known for being the beach onto which the luxurious adults-only Hotel Escondido looks out.

Its distance from Puerto Escondido and relatively remote location mean that Playa Punta Pájaros is really only used by guests in the nearby hotels.

You’ll need to rent a car or a scooter to reach it, but it is worth the trip if you’re looking for a quiet beach to walk away from the tourist crowds.

Casa Wabi

If you like art installations, there are two that you can visit while you are checking out the beach.

Meridiano is a relatively new art gallery that has opened next to the Hotel Terrestre, another luxury hotel in the area.

Casa Wabi is an artistic space that houses several resident artists and has 460 m² of contemporary art exhibits.

It was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando under the initiative of the Mexican artist Bosco Sodi.

It’s open Mondays to Fridays at 10:00am, noon, and 4:00pm, and on the weekends at 10:00am, noon and 2:00pm.

You will need to make a reservation on their website and entrance will cost you US$30 (MX$600) per person.


11. Playa Coral

Playa Coral is Puerto Escondido’s closely-guarded secret beach. It’s often referred to as “Playa Escondido” (the hidden beach) because most tourists aren’t aware of it.

When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by soft white sands under your feet, beautiful clear blue waters, and swaying palm trees.

You’ll need to be a bit careful swimming here, because there is a bit of a steep drop-off a few meters offshore and the currents can be strong.

Since most tourists don’t know about Playa Coral, even during high season you usually won’t have to share it with many people.

So how do you get to the “hidden beach”? You have a few different options.

access From Playa Bacocho

If you don’t want to stay in a hotel nearby, the simplest way to get to Playa Coral is by walking from nearby Playa Bacocho.

Essentially, you just need to walk southeast along the beach past Cocos Beach Club until you reach a small rocky outcrop, which marks the end of Playa Bacocho.

At low tide, it’s easy enough to pass through, and Playa Coral is right on the other side.

Access from Calle Tlaxiaco

If you’re not coming from Playa Bacocho, you can also gain access along a footpath that begins at the end of Calle Tlaxiaco.

However, the footpath is basically just a dirt track without steps, so not ideal for families or elderly visitors. If you’re looking to access the beach publicly, I recommend doing so via Playa Bacocho as set out above.

The other options are to gain access through nearby hotels. I’ve set out how to do this below.

Access Via Hotel Posada Real

One option is to stay at Posada Real, a great all-inclusive 4-star Puerto Escondido hotel with direct access to the eastern end of Playa Bacocho.

You can walk down onto the beach, go left, and with a bit of maneuvering across the rocks, you can easily access Playa Coral.

Access Via Hotel Villa Mexicana Beach Club

If you don’t want to get a hotel nearby, you can go to the Hotel Villa Mexicana and get access to Playa Coral via the hotel.

Hotel Villa Mexicana has direct beach access to Playa Coral, and you can buy a day-pass for US$5 (MX$100) to use it.

The day-pass fee is credited towards food and drink at the hotel, so if you eat lunch there as well, it essentially pays for itself.


12. Playa Punta Colorada

Playa Punta Colorada is the beach next to the rocky lookout at the western end of Playa Bacocho.

It’s only 5 miles from Playa Zicatela, but it is far enough off the beaten track that few tourists make the trip.

To reach it, you’ll need take highway 200 until it starts to run alongside the airport, and then you’ll take a left onto a dirt road. After you’ve followed that for about a half mile, you’ll reach the beach.

The beach can often have a large break popular with local surfers. If you’re not confident in the water, though, you’re better off going to Playa Carrizalillo if you’re looking for a great swimming beach.

Like Playa Bacocho, Playa Punta Colorada is used daily by several of the turtle release programs including Vive MAR. You can observe a release for a fee of US$5 (MX$150).

Playa Punta Colorada is also known for being close to a lagoon that is home to some native crocodiles.

They don’t tend to wander away from the lagoon, though, and there are signs warning you when you are close, so you’ll know to stay away.


13. Playa Delfin

Playa Delfin is one of the many long sandy Puerto Escondido beaches about 5 miles to the north-west of Puerto Escondido.

It’s another great walking beach, but there are strong and unpredictable currents, so it’s not great for swimming.

Tourists don’t tend to visit often because of its distance from town, and you won’t need to share it with many people as a result.

You’ll need to rent a car or a scooter to reach Playa Delfin, as it’s a little too far to walk. There are no facilities and relatively few trees, so you should bring an umbrella for some shade if you’re planning to relax on the beach.

Playa Delfin is also another beach where you can watch a baby turtle release. Turtle releases take place at 7pm of an evening. You’ll need to book and pay a fee of US$5 (MX$150).

The non-profit that runs the releases is Palmarito Turtle Camp (Campamento Tortuguero Palmarito). Their contact details are set out below:

Palmarito Turtle Camp Contact Details

  • www.campamentopalmarito.com/
  • (+52 1) 958 104 4707
  • campamento.tortuguero.palmarito@gmail.com


14. Playa Agua Blanca

Playa Agua Blanca is a little over 20 miles to the east of Playa Zicatela to the south of a small town called Agua Blanca, from which it gets its name.

Although it isn’t far from Playa El Pedrero (Stonecutter Beach), which is very stony, there a fewer rocks at Playa Agua Blanca. Here, the beach is wide and very sandy.

The facilities available at Playa Agua Blanca are quite good considering its distance from Puerto Escondido.

Playa Agua Blanca has several great restaurants such as Restaurante Mestiza by Shavanna (pictured) that open onto the beach.

Flags are also usually set up by the nearby hotels and local community to help you choose the safest place to swim.

If you’re considering staying here, there are lots of hotels overlooking the beach, including Nossa Hotel and Beachfront Paradise Boutique Hotel.

Playa Agua Blanca is one of the great Puerto Escondido beaches outside of the city center where you can unwind away from the crowds, but without needing to go completely off-grid.


15. Playa Roca Blanca

Playa Roca Blanca is a little over 25 miles to the north-west of Puerto Escondido just to the south of a town called El Cacalote.

It takes its name from the white colour of a large rocky island about a half mile off the coast opposite the beach.

The beach is very sandy, with few rocks (other than the enormous one offshore). It’s also sheltered on one side by the Bahía Roca Mar, a small cove on the western side of the beach.

The water at the end with the sheltered cove is usually calmer, but you should still only swim if you’re a confident swimmer, as there are no lifeguards or rescue facilities nearby.

There aren’t any hotels or restaurants nearby, so I recommend that you only visit this Puerto Escondido beach as a day trip.


16. Playa Santa Elena

Playa Santa Elena is about 20 miles outside of Puerto Escondido, about 2 miles south of Santa Elena El Tule.

It’s a beautiful quiet beach next to the Laguna Santa Ana, a small lake set just 50 meters or so back from the ocean.

The beach takes its name from being very close to the town of Santa Elena El Tule. There is also a distinct rocky outcrop on the waterline with a crucifix mounted prominently on top.

Given the distance from the Puerto Escondido tourist hub, you’ll see few tourists here. However, it’s a known fishing spot, so you may see a few locals trying their luck as the sun goes down.


17. Playa El Pedrero

Playa El Pedrero (or “Stonecutter Beach”) is a very pretty beach a few miles to the east of Playa Puertecito.

It takes its name from the many large rocks that dot the beachhead. Lots of them have long cuts etched into them and look as though someone has chipped away at them like a stonecutter or a mason.

Playa El Pedrero is 20 miles away from Playa Zicatela, so you’ll need to rent a car, scooter or take a taxi to get there.

There are no hotels nearby, but there are a few houses that you can rent through AirBnB such as Casa Cal. They’re right on the beach, so if you book you’ll essentially get the beach to yourself as a bonus.


18. Playa La Barra

Playa La Barra is a long stretch of white sandy beach to the south-east of Playa Zicatela. It runs past the part of town known as La Barra right up to the mouth of the Colotepec River.

It’s distance from town means that it is visited only by locals, so if you make the trip, you’ll have a huge expanse of beach mostly to yourself.

Reaching it is the only real challenge. You can take a taxi or colectivo, but the best way to reach it is either by walking or with a rental car or scooter.

If you take a taxi or colectivo, you may have trouble finding one to take you back and you might have to walk the 3 miles back to Puerto Escondido in any event.

Playa La Barra is a perfect walking beach. It’s enormous, so you can literally walk for miles until you reach the river mouth.

It’s also near another turtle-release program run by Boca Barra Campamento. Here, you can also participate in a turtle-release similar to those run by Vive MAR for a fee of around US$10 (MX$150).

It’s not a sheltered beach, and there are no lifeguards. If you want to swim, make sure you do so carefully, checking for strong currents before you go in too deep.

If you’re thinking about staying in the La Barra area, Casona Sforza is a fantastic highly-rated luxury option.


19. Playa Cencalli

Playa Cencalli is another long stretch of beautiful white sandy beach on the other side of the River Colotepec to Playa La Barra.

The land is quite flat here, and the grass grows right up to the edge of the beach. It makes for a dramatic contrast between the green of the plants, the sparkling white sand and then the bright turquoise-colored water.

You’ll need to rent a car or a scooter to visit Playa Cencalli, as it’s too far to walk from Puerto Escondido.

Once you get there, though, it’s a fantastic unspoiled strip of beach that is miles away from the tourist scene at Playa Zicatela.

After you’ve spent a few hours walking or relaxing on the beach, you can also visit nearby Laguna de Los Naranjos (Lake of the Oranges).

It’s just a half-mile to the north of the beach, and you can see native crocodiles and lots of different bird species on their home turf.

If you go alone, you obviously need to be very careful to stay out of reach of the crocodiles. There are local guides that can show you around if you want to be on the safe side.


20. Playa El Tomatal

Playa El Tomatal is a local beach outside El Tomatal, a small town about 10 miles to the east of Playa Zicatela.

Similar to Playa Cencalli, Playa El Tomatal is also a great walking beach with long white sands that go on for miles.

It’s unsheltered, which means you’ll need to check the currents carefully before you go out more than waist deep.

There are no lifeguards or other facilities, so you should bring anything you need, such as a beach umbrella or some snacks.

If you’re looking for a hotel outside of Puerto Escondido, Samora Luxury Resort is absolutely beautiful and has direct access to Playa El Tomatal.


21. Playa Tierra Blanca

Playa Tierra Blanca is a mile or so further south-west from Playa El Tomatal, about 14 miles from Playa Zicatela.

If you’re looking for one of the most deserted Puerto Escondido beaches, this one fits the bill.

There are no facilities at all, and although the town of Tierra Blanca is a mile or so to the north, there isn’t really much there aside from a few holiday homes.

Make sure you don’t take a taxi out here, as you won’t be able to hail one to get back. If you want to make the trek out here, you’re better off renting a car or a scooter.

If you make it though, you’ll have the place to yourself, and the beach is long, sandy, and white, living up to its name.


Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll probably agree that it’s hard to go wrong with Puerto Escondido beaches.

No matter what type of beach you’re looking for, whether it’s a sheltered swimming beach or a killer surfing break, you’ll find it in Puerto Escondido.

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