Puerto Escondido is one of the best travel destinations in Oaxaca, Mexico. This Mexican beach town is not as popular as Tulum or Sayulita yet and it is quite famous for its impressive surfing waves. It is a sleepy town that has a magical energy that draws adventurers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The only downside is that it does not have fiber optic Internet yet so digital nomads are still not enticed to make this their temporary base.
There are many things to do in Puerto Escondido Mexico and it fits all types of travelers. Within close distance, there are over 12 beaches you can visit. The best way to visit Puerto Escondido is by doing a Oaxaca road trip that covers Oaxaca City, San Jose del Pacifico, Huatulco, Mazunte, and Zipolite.
We visit Puerto Escondido every May and in this travel guide, we will share with you everything we know about this up-and-coming travel hotspot in Mexico.
???? Puerto Escondido quick info
???????? State: Oaxaca
???? Currency: The currency in Mexico is called Mexican pesos (MXN). Mexico also uses the $ sign so don’t be confused if you see this all over town – it’s not in USD so don’t be fooled!
???? Power plug: Mexico uses a type A socket (US, Canada). For more information about power plugs in Mexico, see this link (with photos)
???? Visa: In November 2021, Mexico stopped granting visitors a 180-day visa. It really depends on the immigration officer how many days he/she will give you but just show proof of accommodations (with dates) and it should be fine.
???? Language: People in the service industry can speak a decent amount of English but not all of them. Remember that most of these people are from other smaller towns nearby who just came to PE for jobs.
???? Culture: Puerto Escondido has a laid-back culture. Everyone moves super slow and schedules are not followed diligently. By sunset, locals and tourists flock to the beach for a great view and sunset drinks.
???? Wifi: No matter how beautiful Puerto Escondido is, it has a big problem with wifi so I never recommend it to digital nomads. ???? You can get a Mexican sim card that will work but remote workers will have a hard time here.
???? Puerto Escondido trip planning
If you’re coming during the high season (November to June), the first thing you need to book is your accommodations. It is so hard to secure a good one during this season. The flights are way easier to book last minute. Should you cancel your trip, Booking.com, VRBO, and Hostelworld have flexible cancelations or you can do what I do: I sell my accommodations to Facebook groups or my Instagram page. It’s not so hard to sell during the high season.
Many of you write to me and worry about your trip to Puerto Escondido while you are still back home but I am telling you that you don’t have to meticulously plan it.
Once you are already in Puerto Escondido, you will be surprised that everything is so easy to arrange and that maybe you’ll discover better tips than this blog!
I am always happy to answer questions, however, I just want to assure you that you have nothing to worry about. All will fall into place (except your accommodations. I can’t do magic with that).
Best time to visit Puerto Escondido Mexico
The best time to visit Puerto Escondido is from November to early June. Hurricane season in Oaxaca starts as early as July. I visited in August 2020 and it was a bad idea because I ended up staying in all the time. It was raining every day in Puerto Escondido!
Of course, visiting during the season absolutely means that there will be larger crowds and fewer accommodations available. Americans and Canadians leave their homes in the US/Canada during this season so expect to have more competition with hotels. As for the Mexicans, they travel during holidays like summer vacation for children (July), day of the dead (October), Holy Week (April), Christmas, and New Year’s. These are the busiest months in Puerto Escondido so make sure to plan your trip accordingly.
Puerto Escondido travel costs
???? Accommodation costs: Now this depends on the accommodation type you want to stay in. There are barely any resorts in Puerto Escondido so you may encounter Airbnbs, hotels, and villas when searching for a place to stay. You can easily find under US$50 hotels in Puerto Escondido and there are also hostels for US$15 per night.
???? Food costs: Food in Puerto Escondido is still affordable compared to Tulum or Sayulita. You can have a nice meal in a good restaurant for US$10. A beer in a beach bar is about US$2. There isn’t a big street food culture in Puerto Escondido yet but you’ll find small carts that sell snacks (not big meals).
????????♀️ Activities costs: I don’t remember spending more than US$75 on tours in Puerto Escondido because there are many free things to do! The only tour that I did was the bioluminescence which cost less than US$50 because I signed up with a local.
???? How to get to Puerto Escondido
The airport that serves this town is Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM). There are no direct flights to Puerto Escondido from the US or Canada. You have to stop in Mexico City and from there, take another one-hour flight.Those who are traveling from Oaxaca City take the bus to PE which is around 4-6 hours and starts from US$10 – US$40 depending on the bus type. These are comfortable and safe so don’t worry!
Renting a car in Mexico is also pretty common, especially for those who are going on surf trips. Car rental prices start for as low as $25 USD per day but remember you need a credit card for a security deposit.
Uber is not widely used in Puerto Escondido but you can download the Didi app. Personally, I just hailed taxis on the street and haggled the price. However, I speak Spanish so I can get better prices. The taxi rates are not that expensive. For example, from Punta Zicatela to Playa Carizarillo, I pay about US$4 (one-way) and it’s not that bad especially if you have a group to share it with.
For those who are feeling extra adventurous, you can rent a motorbike as this is the most popular mode of transportation here. A motorbike rental starts at US$25 per day. I have a few local contacts who can give you a discount. You can book with my local contact (link above) and it will be an instant confirmation. His name is Octavio and I am vouching for him.
I exclusively rent motorbikes with him when I am in town and he always gives discounts for repeat customers. Motorcycling in Puerto Escondido a safe as they are used to having motorbikes everywhere. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re not confident enough in driving but personally, I felt like the cars and trucks are very accommodating to motorcycle riders.
????♀️ Things to do in Puerto Escondido
We only included the highlights here but you can see our article on things to do in Puerto Escondido if you need more activities. Those activities are categorized depending on what kind of traveler you are such as families with kids, solo travelers, couples, etc. We promise you’ll love that list! Meanwhile, here are some of the things you shouldn’t miss:
Take surfing lessons in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is definitely a popular surfing destination in Mexico. There are waves all year round and it’s good for all levels! You don’t have to be a pro.
Participate in a turtle release
Puerto Escondido has a turtle sanctuary and hundreds of baby turtles are released every day. This is a great activity for families traveling with kids.
Bioluminescence tour at night
Hop on a boat and see the amazing bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido. It’s one of the few places in Mexico that has this phenomenon!
Oaxacan food tour (a must!)
The state of Oaxaca is known to have the best cuisine in Mexico. You’ll have a deeper understanding of Oaxacan food on this tour so don’t miss it!
Sunset horse riding in Puerto Escondido
An activity for the whole family, ride on professionally trained horses and watch spectacular sunsets on the beaches of Puerto Escondido.
Visit Chacahua National Park for a day
Take extensive boat rides for the marine life and then stay the whole afternoon on the island where you can snorkel, have great lunch, and enjoy the park.
????️ Where to stay in Puerto Escondido
There are many hotels in Puerto Escondido but first, let’s discuss the best areas to stay in: families and honeymooners prefer Carrizalillo beach accommodations because it’s a quieter neighborhood. Young people go to La Punta while digital nomads prefer the Zicatela area.
Puerto Escondido is big so you need to identify the activities you want to do before choosing where to stay. I honestly don’t think it matters where you stay as the maximum drive I did on a motorcycle was only 20 minutes. There are always taxis around so if you don’t want to stay in the center, the commute will not be that difficult. Note that I only stay in hotels/hostels if I am traveling on my own but if I am with a group, I always go for a vacation home rental in Puerto Escondido. It’s way more fun and cheap!
Below are some of my favorite hotels in Puerto Escondido.
???? Where to eat in Puerto Escondido
The best restaurants in Puerto Escondido are in the La Punta area. If you go to this street, you will find different cuisines from Latin America such as Peruvian and Venezuelan (which are very uncommon in Mexico). There are even Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines available. I stay in La Punta a lot and have not finished trying them all!
As for Zicatela, there are many seafood restaurants by the beach which are good for brunch or day drinking. If you go to the main avenue of Zicatela, you will find many Mexican restaurants and taco places. Here are my favorite restaurants in Puerto Escondido:
???? Puerto Escondido bars and nightlife
Puerto Escondido has a vibrant nightlife as most tourists who come to visit are millennials and young professionals. There are always secret jungle parties and last-minute rave announcements that you will only know of if you have local friends.
I don’t feel like it’s super upbeat every night but rest assured that the weekend will be super fun! Always do pre-drinks at La Punta as this is where everyone hangs out. By midnight, everyone goes to Zicatela where the big bars and clubs are. Seriously, just follow where the locals go and it will be a great experience!
A small skate park with a bar, The Boneyard is definitely Puerto Escondido’s best pre-game party place.
Probably the best bar when it comes to day drinking. This beach club is super cool I came here almost every day!
After sunset sessions at La Punta, head straight to Bikini Bar for 2 for 1 cocktails. Make sure to get mezcal margarita!
You won’t find anything to smoke here but this is a great place for bar food, cocktails, and small snacks.
???? Puerto Escondido ATMs, USD exchange, etc
???? US dollars: Puerto Escondido is still a cash society so make sure to take out cash at the airport. Suggested ATM takeout is MXN$9,000 (US$450). It is also the daily withdrawal limit in Mexico.
Establishments accept US dollars but their conversion rate is very low. It’s better to use Mexican pesos in Puerto Escondido.
???? ATMs: This was quite challenging as there weren’t many ATMs at the center of Puerto Escondido. There are small ATM machines in town but they always run out of money.
To guarantee cash withdrawal, go to bigger Mexican banks like BBVA, Santander, or Banorte. It’s best to take more cash but make sure your hotel has a safe box for you to keep your money and valuables.
???? Credit/debit cards: Surprisingly, only the big and foreign-owned establishments accept credit cards. Not everyone takes Amex so make sure you have Visa or Mastercard.
I’ve had very bad experiences with tapping (my card number was stolen and was used without asking for a passcode) so since then, I avoid using tap and asked my bank to deactivate it.
???? Tipping: f you didn’t like the service, 10% will do but if you liked the service, you can tip up to 20%. Do not expect high-class or luxury service from waiters or receptionists in Puerto Escondido because you won’t get it.
Regardless, tipping is recommended especially in restaurants as Mexico’s daily minimum wage is very low.