Selina’s Top 10 Best Things To Do in Puerto Escondido
By Brooke Nally on Nov 06, 2020
You’ve landed in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. The sun is shining, the waves are crashing, and the smell of spicy Mexican food fills the air. A day in the life looks like this: wake up, indulge in a juicy morning yoga practice, followed by a mouth-watering authentic chilaquiles brekky. Head to the stunning beaches to relax, surf, and prepare for a long day of eating more bomb Mexican food and ice-cold cervezas.
Welcome to Puerto Escondido
Nestled along the Pacific coast in the state of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido is most notoriously known for its epic waves and chilled-out surf vibes that attract big-name surfers from all over the world.
It’s not just suitable for the surfers, however- Puerto Escondido has a wide array of things to do for the non-surfers too. From experiencing Oaxaca’s world-famous food to kayaking and watching thousands of turtles hatching, there are infinite places to go and activities to interest all family members in Puerto Escondido.
Where Is Puerto Escondido, Mexico?
Puerto Escondido, which translates to the Hidden Port, is a resort town along Mexico’s Pacific shoreline in Oaxaca. A charming fishing village and home to around 45000 residents, Puerto Escondido is famed for its wild nightlife, tropical setting, pristine beaches and high-end resorts and restaurants.
Puerto Escondido is about 155 miles south of Oaxaca City and around 404 miles southeast of Mexico City.
The easiest way to travel from Mexico city to Puerto Escondido is by taking a direct flight to Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM) from Mexico city.
Regarding tourist safety, Puerto Escondido is one of the safest cities in Mexico, with a moderate crime rate of 56.25. For comparison, Tijuana- the most dangerous city in Mexico- has a high crime rate score of 82.64. Nonetheless, visitors are advised to take extra safety precautions when deciding where to stay and places to go in Puerto Escondido.
Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico, is a wildly popular destination with various accommodation options. Where you choose to stay in Puerto Escondido will mainly depend on what you want to do or experience. Generally speaking, people who want to experience Puerto Escondido beaches and beach activities prefer to camp around the main tourist areas of Playa Zicatela, Playa Principal and Playa Marinero.
If you’re considering accommodation around Zicatela, Selina Puerto Escondido is the place to stay for avid surfers, learners and those who want to witness the action of the most experienced surfers in the world. It’s also the best place to stay in Puerto Escondido for the nightlife because this location has the majority of laid-back bars, top-notch restaurants, high-energy dance clubs and markets.
Guests enjoy a host of amenities at Selina Escondido, including an on-site restaurant, rooftop bar, surf lessons, swimming pool and yoga classes. True to Selina’s culture of work-life balance, you also get a beautifully designed coworking space complete with free, high-speed Wi-Fi. If you need a place with good Wi-Fi, Selina is one of the only places in Puerto Escondido with a good and stable connection, allowing you to get some work done.
Selina’s Top 10 Things To Do in Puerto Escondido
The world-class surf spots in Puerto Escondido are the one thing that sets this place from other coastal destinations in Mexico. But the surf is just one among other interesting activities to enjoy in Puerto Escondido. We could list 50+ things to do in Puerto Escondido as a family or solo traveler. However, for the sake of this post, let’s get straight to the top 10 must-do things when you visit Puerto Escondido!
Try Puerto Escondido’s Restaurants
When most people think of a vacay in Puerto Escondido, tasting authentic Mexican food is often at the top of their things to do list. Rightly so, the Puerto Escondido food scene (mainly consisting of traditional Oaxacan dishes) has had a key role in positioning Mexico as a culinary destination.
Once a laid-back surfing and fishing outpost, this beach destination is now known as the place where traditional Mexican flavors and aromas converge. Whether in the restaurants, market stalls or street stands, nothing beats Puerto Escondido’s Tlayudas, Moles and smoked fish tacos.
If you’re staying with Selina, Puerto Escondido, you can enjoy the healthy, vegan and vegetarian options at the on-site restaurant. Make sure you eat there on Mondays to enjoy their “native day”- they theme their menu around what’s fresh at the local market.
Enjoy Puerto Escondido’s Waves
Puerto Escondido is popularly known for its expert-level surfing. Its giant waves that have a reputation for breaking run-of-the-mill surfboards are attributed to the Mexican Pipeline: massive swells and barrelling beach breaks that make Playa Zicatela a world-class surfing destination, albeit with an unforgiving undertow. The force of these swells makes Zicatela the ultimate proving ground for the advanced and the most daring surfers. Although Puerto Escondido waves are a no-go zone for the uninitiated, watching pro surfers ride the wave of their life is a great spectacle for beginners and non-surfers alike.
La Punta (or The Point)- just 10 minutes south of Zicatela- is an excellent surfing spot if you find Playa Zicatela too nuts. Thanks to its headland, La Punta is able to absorb most of the swell energy to deliver mellower waves that favor confident beginners and intermediate surfers. It does get freaking crowded, though, so the ability to navigate swimmers and other surfers comfortably is critical.
For beginner surfers, your best bet is to head to Playa Carrizalillo. This beach- located around five kilometers north of Playa Zicatela- has a relatively gentle surf making it the perfect spot for beginner surfers. Its shallow blue waters with excellent visibility and sandy shores are a perfect combination for snorkeling, swimming and beach-bumming too.
Sunbathe on Puerto Escondido’s Beaches
Many people only think of surfing Playa Zicatela waves in the context of Puerto Escondido beaches. While Zicatela has largely contributed to its popularity, Puerto Escondido has many other beaches with a lot of things to do for all sorts of travelers.
Located just a 30-minute walk from Playa Zicatela, Playa Carrizalillo is one of the best spots to unwind. Maybe it’s quieter because it takes 167 steps to climb down — and not everyone is ready for this ‘hike.’ All in all, this is a great place to swim since the water is calmer here, and it’s also a great place just to come and lay out in the sun with a good book. Note that Playa Carrizalillo boasts some of the best activities in Puerto Escondido for families and couples, thanks to its gentle waves and turquoise water. Thus, we suggest visiting it in the morning if you wish to beat the crowds.
Much like Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Bacocho is also a great place to relax in peace. However, this beach is located on the other end of Puerto Escondido, and if you’re staying in the hub of the town, you’ll have to get a taxi down here. Playa Bacocho is amidst more upscale resorts, giving you the opportunity to sunbathe with a fancy cocktail in hand.
Located south of Playa Zicatela is La Punta. In addition to being a popular surf site for beginners and intermediates, this beach is famous for one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido: sunset viewing. Previously a lesser-known, off-beat spot, La Punta now has an incredibly vibrant scene consisting of bare-foot runners in the morning and a party vibe in the evening.
Go Snorkeling & Diving in Puerto Escondido
While Puerto Escondido is definitely most well-known for its famous surf, snorkeling and scuba diving are not to be left out of its aquatic activities. Located on the stunning Pacific coast, the ocean here boasts abundant sea life and coral with warm ocean swells. Additionally, Puerto Escondido has a variety of calm beaches that make up the best places for these activities.
While snorkeling, you’ll find large schools of fish hovering just above the reef, whereas a scuba excursion will take you even deeper to potentially see groupers, guitar, and diamond rays. If you get the chance to go out on a boat, you’ll probably encounter schools of dolphins, or if you’re lucky, humpback whales!
The best Puerto Escondido beaches for snorkeling and diving are Carrizalillo, Puerto Angelito, Manzanillo and Coral Beach.
Discover Manialtepec Lagoon
A tour of the Manialtepec Lagoon is among the top things to do in Puerto Escondido due to its unique bioluminescent phenomenon. Laguna de Manialtepec is one of the top five lagoons along Mexico’s Pacific coast.
The Manialtepec lagoon is about 16 kilometers outside of Puerto Escondido. Come here to boat or kayak through the stunning lagoon or go exotic bird and wildlife spotting for herons, ibis, parrots, iguanas, and even crocodiles. Visit during the night (on a new moon if you can!), and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy and even swim with the stars of the sea- a truly magical experience! Book your adventure here.
Explore Chacahua Lagoon
If you don’t make it to Laguna de Manialtepec, make sure you at least have Chacahua Lagoon on your list of what to do in Puerto Escondido — or better yet, do both. (Live your best life!) We recommend taking the day trip tour through the lagoon with Selina.
A typical day trip to the Chacahua lagoon involves twisting through the fields of mangroves on a small boat or “lancha” in Spanish. The boat ride itself is scenic and gives you a perspective of this region’s immense biodiversity and natural beauty.
Then you’ll arrive at El Faro beach, where you can dive in the crystal clear water, followed by a sampling of delicious regional foods. Last, you’ll go to the lighthouse to catch the sunset. It’s truly breathtaking!
Watch the Turtles Release
Participating in the sea turtle release is easily one of the most memorable activities in Puerto Escondido. It just so happens that Puerto Escondido beaches in Oaxaca are among the top five turtle nesting spots in the entire world. During the hatching season (late August through early October), millions of baby turtles are born in turtle protection centers along the beaches. These centers collect the eggs to protect them from poachers. All the eggs they collect are incubated in the sand for around 60 days, and the baby turtles are released back to the ocean the same day they hatch.
Turtle release in Puerto Escondido happens at Playa Bacocho- north of Puerto Escondido. The event happens at sunset and is an amazing experience whether you’re just watching or actually participating in the release.
Go On a Dolphin / Whale Watching Tour
Another attraction to add to your must-do activities in Puerto Escondido. Most people don’t seem to realize that Puerto Escondido is an epic place to spot dolphins. Definitely take a dolphin-watching tour. Not only will you be able to spot five different species of dolphins, but you’ll get unobstructed beach views from the water. And if you’re especially lucky, you’ll even be able to see humpback whales. Book here.
Detox in Atotonilco Hot Springs
Atotonilco is a natural spa hidden in Mexico’s tropical rainforest. From Puerto Escondido, you get to adventure through 1 ½ hour of dense jungle trails brimming with incredible wildlife, flora, and fauna by horseback. Then you’ll arrive at the incredibly magic hot springs of Atotonilco. If you need a detox day — this is perfect. A must-try and one of the favorite things to do in Puerto Escondido for the locals and frequent visitors, bathing in the mineral-dense waters of these springs leaves you feeling refreshed, renewed and ready for more. Book here.
Our last recommendation of the exciting activities to try in Puerto Escondido is going fishing! Not just any old fishing tour, but a professional sport fishing tour, where you’ll have the opportunity to be out at sea for 7-8 hours catching fish such as tunas, dorados, or marlins. Not interested in fishing? It’s still an exciting experience simply to be out at sea, enjoying the beauty and excitement of the ocean. Plus, maybe you’ll get lucky and be boating alongside dolphins or even whales. Pro tip: Do NOT forget your hat and sunscreen!
Other Locations and Activities to Enjoy on the Pacific Coast of Mexico!
Delve Into Mexican Culture in Mexico City
Mexico City is the epicenter of Mexican culture. As soon as you touch down, you realize that there’s more to this country than tamales and tasty tacos. No matter where you look, this energetic metropolis oozes a truly fascinating cultural heritage consisting of native and Spanish traditions, cuisines, music and sophisticated colonial architecture.
Stay at Selina hotel in Mexico City to experience real Mexican culture, from celebrating dia de Muertos (Day of the dead) to listening to mariachis and witnessing Lucha libre wrestling.
Experience Oaxaca’s Culinary Scene
It’s widely accepted that Oaxaca is Mexico’s food capital. Oaxaca cuisine is a diverse mix of culinary traditions from over 16 indigenous groups. While most of its dishes rely on corn (just like most Mexican states), Oaxaca’s food landscape has a vast wealth of ancient ingredients ranging from quelites to tree barks and mushrooms. As your stay at Selina hotel in Oaxaca will reveal, this state’s striking culinary tradition also extends beyond the greenery to embrace various meats, including Chapulines (grasshopper), Tasajo (thinly sliced beef) and Cecina (pork).
The magical city of San Miguel de Allende is one tourist destination where first-time visitors become regulars easily. Perched on a plateau in the Bajio mountains, this small colonial town is a dream for art lovers, thanks to its vibrant art community boasting over 100 gallery shops, 500+-year old cobblestone streets and baroque architecture dating back to the 16th century.
Absolutely! Puerto Escondido, Mexico, is one of the best destinations in Mexico now. It’s a must-visit, particularly if you want a slice of authentic Mexican experience away from overcrowded destinations, such as Tulum, Isla Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.
Is Puerto Escondido safe for solo female travelers?
Puerto Escondido is a safe destination for everyone, including solo female travelers. Of course, that doesn’t mean that all places to go in Puerto Escondido are 100% secure. Be adventurous but adhere to common travel safety tips.
When is the best time to visit Puerto Escondido?
The best months to visit Puerto Escondido, Mexico, for good weather are April through May and October to December.
What things are there to do in Puerto Escondido for couples?
Puerto Escondido is packed with activities and exciting activities for couples. From touring the Manialtepec lagoon to slurping some fresh oysters and sipping cocktails at sunset, Puerto Escondido will create unforgettable experiences for two.
When is the best time to surf in Puerto Escondido?
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Puerto Escondido, Mexico, for surfing is towards the end of April through September, when the waves are between 7ft and 20ft. However, beginner surfers leaning toward safety may want to visit Puerto Escondido between November and early April, when the waves are smoother and less challenging.