Top 5 Puerto Escondido Surf Spots Guide by Selina Hotel
By David Bolaños on Jun 09, 2022
Whether you surf or enjoy watching surfers getting barreled, you’ve definitely heard of Puerto Escondido’s surf spots.
Puerto Escondido is the dreamscape surf destination for highly-accomplished big-wave surfers with an urge to bob along some of the craziest swells in the world. Unexpectedly, this secret beach town also boasts some of the safest Oaxaca surf spots for novice and intermediate surfers.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that Puerto Escondido is where all types and levels of surfers meet and head in various directions to search for the most epic waves for their level.
This Puerto Escondido surf guide covers everything from the best Puerto Escondido surf season for various surf levels to where to stay and the type of gear to bring. Also, find the Puerto Escondido surf map for a visual guide of the top five unmissable surf spots in Puerto.
Located around 260 kilometers from Oaxaca City, Puerto Escondido (or just Puerto) has been one of Mexico’s best-hidden beach towns. This is partly referenced by its name, which translates to “Hidden Port.” But while it’s only opening up to the typical tourist, this bohemian fishing village has been a hotspot for the surfing community since the late 1950s.
Word has it that Puerto Escondido surf was first discovered by two surfers from Texas in 1959. However, it was not until the rise of the shortboard in the mid-1970s that surfers worldwide started flocking here.
With a sub-humid and tropical climate, the sea temperature around Puerto Escondido ranges between 82 °F (28 °C) and 86 °F (30 °C).The offshore winds that blow from the north-northeast help maintain uniform climatic conditions for surfing year-round.
Puerto Escondido is a fully-fledged surfing destination, so the place is teeming with surf shops selling surfing gear and fixing inevitably broken boards. On that note, if you’re traveling purposely to surf Puerto Escondido waves, it’s recommended to pack at least three surfboards: a longboard and two shortboards. You don’t need a full wetsuit when surfing in Puerto Escondido.
Puerto Escondido Surf Season
The best Puerto Escondido surfing season will largely come down to your experience level and your preferences in terms of weather conditions. But the surf is pumping throughout the year.
Summer- late April through September- is the peak surfing season in Puerto Escondido. This season sees 8ft-10ft+ swells with 90 to 95 percent consistency. The air and water temperature remain relatively warm throughout the season at between 82°F (28°C) and 86°F (30°C).
If you don’t mind the crowds, the heat and the rain, this is the best surfing season for experienced surfers looking to challenge the barrels of the Mexican Pipeline. There’s still a lot of action from late September to November for intermediate and pro surfers who’d prefer a quieter surf time.
The best time to go surfing for beginners is between January and mid-April when the surf is cleaner and more playful.
Pros and Cons Of Surfing Puerto Escondido
Great surfing water and air temperatures throughout the year
Waves available for both professional and beginner surfers
Surf shops along the beaches for quick repairs and gear
Hawaiian-style barrels with excellent consistency at Playa Zicatela
It can get crazily hot, particularly during summer
Playa Zicatela surf tends to intimidate even the most experienced big wave riders
Puerto Escondido Surf Map
Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido
While it’s yet to morph into the likes of Cancun, Puerto Escondido is no longer hidden. Its growing popularity as one of the best Oaxaca surf towns has forced it to spread out and now has various accommodation options for all travelers.
Most visitors coming to Puerto Escondido for surfing (or to watch professional surfers) prefer staying along Playa Zicatela- the main surf zone in Puerto. This beach is lined up with restaurants, nightclubs and beach bars, making it one of the best places to stay in Puerto Escondido for the nightlife.
If you prefer to stay in the action at Zicatela, then head to Selina Puerto Escondido hotel. This property is located barely two minutes from the beach, making it the best place to stay in Puerto Escondido for surfers who don’t want to walk too far to ride the waves.
It’s an ideal place for surfers of all levels; this pet-friendly property appeals to beginners and intermediates hoping to get surf lessons in Puerto Escondido. The professional instructors at Selina Surf Club are also available for experienced surfers who want to improve their speed, control and flow of turns.
When the waves go flat, we know the right spots for snorkeling and dolphin and whale-watching. Or you can just chill at the rooftop bar or get some work done at our coworking space.
Puerto Escondido Top 5 Surfing Spots
Playa Zicatela – Best Puerto Escondido Surfing Spot for Advanced Surfers
Level: Advanced | Crowds: Medium | Break: Beach
Often considered the granddaddy of all Mexican surf spots, Playa Zicatela is every world-class surfer’s paradise. But be warned- Playa Zicatela is not a surf spot for beginners or the faint-hearted. Its lethal undertow and bone-breaking barrels also make it a no-go zone for the boardless.
This legendary 3.5-kilometer long beach with golden sand is nicknamed the Mexican Pipeline due to its powerful barrelling beach breaks and extremely large and hollow waves that can reach heights of up to 20 ft.
Playa Zicatela tends to receive distant southwest groundswells and westerly hurricane swells before transforming into the powerful, board-breaking right hander waves that it’s known for.
The best time for surfing Zicatela Pipeline is in the morning between sunrise and 10 AM, when the waves are consistent, and the beach is less crowded. The locals here are super-friendly. But like any other tourist hotspot, the locals will be cool with you if you’re cool.
La Punta – Best Puerto Escondido Surf for Pros and Intermediates
Level: Beginner to Advanced | Crowds: High | Break: Point
When the surging walls of the Mexican Pipeline at Playa Zicatela exceed your limits, you may find La Punta more forgiving and much more maneuverable. La Punta (or The Point) is the southernmost section of Playa Zicatela that resembles a hook on the Puerto Escondido surf map.
The best surf at Puerto Escondido’s La Punta occurs when a south-southwest groundswell combines with a north-northeast offshore wind; keep an eye out for these conditions when checking the surf report. This results in a left-hand point break with mellower waves that make up for a great surfing spot for confident beginners and intermediates. When the swells decide to go nuts, La Punta will also produce awesome swells for advanced surfers.
To surf La Punta, you’ll want to stay right where the wave breaks, so the ability to take off from a tight spot is crucial. Also, thanks to its rideable swells, La Punta is very popular with beginners and surf schools. You might want to arrive as early as possible to grab a left before the surf lessons start pouring in.
Playa Carrizalillo – Best Puerto Escondido Surf for Beginners
Level: Beginner to Intermediate | Crowds: High | Break: Beach
Playa Carrizalillo is more suited for beginner surfers, although everybody, including non-boarders are welcome to enjoy its crystal blue shallow waters.
The second most popular beach in Puerto Escondido after Zicatela, Playa Carrizalillo, is a beautiful beach located just a short ride out of town. As soon as you descend the 160 concrete steps that make up its entrance, you’ll be greeted by a 300-meter postcard-worthy stretch of golden sand bathed by gently rolling waves and protected by lush greenery.
Playa Carrizalillo surf is usually made of groundswells, with the best swells coming from the southwest. Offshore wind from the northeast is common too. These two combine resulting in beach breaks with right-handed and left-handed waves. Owing to its position, the headlands absorb most of the power, so the swells tend to be small enough to interest first-time surfers.
Playa Carrizalillo’s shallow blue waters and mellow swells make it a haven for Puerto Escondido surf schools. Its stunning natural scenery, soft soil and plenty of places to eat and drink make it perfect for beach bumming, swimming and snorkeling. The best time to surf Playa Carrizalillo is in the morning and evening when most people have left.
Playa La Barra Colotepec – Decent Puerto Escondido Surf Spot for Thin Crowds
Level: Intermediate | Crowds: Low | Break: Beach
Playa La Barra is among the least known surfing spots in Puerto Escondido, partly because of its challenging accessibility. And that’s not bad if you’re looking to go off the beaten path and enjoy some tranquility away from the overcrowded Puerto Escondido surfing spots like Carrazalillo and La Punta.
The fact that most people don’t come here doesn’t mean that Playa La Barra isn’t ideal for surfing. It is. Playa La Barra is characterized by a beach break heavy enough to deliver up to two meters tall barrels. These swells attract adventurous intermediates and confident beginners looking to progress their skills.
Considering its seclusion from other Oaxaca surf spots in Puerto Escondido, we recommend coming with your instructor. Don’t forget to bring enough drinking water and an umbrella because there are no shades. Located around six kilometers from Puerto Escondido, Playa La Barra also boasts some of the best panoramic and sunset views of all Puerto Escondido surf spots.
Punta Colorada – Top Puerto Escondido Surf for Bodyboarding
Level: Intermediate to Advanced | Crowds: Moderate | Break: Beach
Puerto Escondido may be famous for its surfing scene, but it also has a spot for bodyboarders at Punta Colorada. This beach joins the list of other lesser-known beaches in Puerto Escondido, including La Playa Barra Colotepec above. Nonetheless, it ticks off most of the optimum conditions necessary for a great beach for bodyboarding.
Punta Colorada is an exposed point/river mouth break located north of Puerto Escondido near the airport. This beach gets a reliable surf when distant south-southwest groundswells combine with northeast offshore winds. This results in a left-hand point break that often leads to short, hollow and pretty intense waves that are sometimes too quick for surfers.
The best time to surf Punta Colorada is between December and February when there are clean surfable swells that hold up consistently well for longer rides.
Whether you’re a beginner learning to pop up or a professional surfer looking for the ultimate testing ground, Puerto Escondido has a surfing spot just right for you. Home to one of the world’s most intimidating swells, Puerto Escondido also has some of the best surf spots for beginners and intermediate surfers in the country. This charming resort town is also dotted with schools that offer Puerto Escondido surf lessons, including Selina.
Otherwise, Mexico has other remarkable surfing destinations, including Cancun, where you can learn how to surf. If you want to know how to get to and where to stay in Cancun, this Puerto Escondido to Cancun guide has the answers you’re looking for!
Puerto Escondido Surf FAQs
Is Puerto Escondido good for surfing?
Puerto Escondido waves provide the best Oaxaca surf spots for surfers of all levels, thanks to its warm seawater and consistent surfs.
Where can I surf as a beginner in Puerto Escondido?
Playa Carrizalillo, with its nicely sheltered bay and soft-rolling waves, is the best surfing spot for beginners and intermediates.
When can you surf in Puerto Escondido?
The best time to surf in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, is in April and September. If you’d like to beat the crowds, late September to November is the ticket.
Do I need a wetsuit in Puerto Escondido?
With steady sea temperature ranging between 22.3 °C (72.2 °F) and 29.1 °C (84.4 °F), a wetsuit won’t be necessary when surfing in Puerto Escondido. Nevertheless, a 1-2mm summer wetsuit top or a rash vest may be necessary for wind and UVA/UVB protection.