20 Things to do in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca: Free, Cheap, & $

20 Things to do in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca: Free, Cheap, & $

Table of Contents

Updated February 2023

We initially wrote this “Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca” blog post back in 2019. We had every intention of immediately returning after our border run, but our plans don’t usually work out like that. After sitting in the cool mountain town of Valle de Bravo for the past few months, though, we decided we needed to warm up on some Puerto Escondido beaches.

So, in January 2023, we headed back to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca for a few weeks to see how things have changed and to update this “Things to do in Puerto Escondido” blog. We revisited all of our old restaurant suggestions to see if they were still open, and we’ve added some new suggestions for places to eat and things to do. 

We’ve also added some updates to the “getting to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca” section, as well as updated the pricing in the “Puerto Escondido hotels” section.

Firstly, Is Puerto Escondido Safe?

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Before we get to our list of things to do in Puerto Escondido, let’s get this out of the way. Puerto Escondido isn’t any more dangerous than anywhere else we’ve traveled. We’ve been in Mexico for a few years now, and we have never had a problem. The same goes for Puerto Escondido. We’ve walked the streets in the early morning, throughout the day, and also in the evenings. We have never once felt unsafe.

If you’re looking for trouble, though, which you obviously shouldn’t be, there are ways to find it:

  • Getting Shit-Faced in Public – There are all sorts of stories about tourists getting robbed in Mexico. They usually start like this, “so, I was leaving the bar shit-faced at 3am, and…”. Just don’t do that. No matter what country you’re in, stumbling through the streets a 3am drunk is a great way to invite trouble.
  • Walking the Beaches at Night – Again, no matter what country you’re in, this should be avoided. Thieves and prostitutes, usually working together, love leading unsuspecting tourists onto the dark beaches at night. Stick to the streets, and you should be fine.
  • Buying Drugs in Public – Another no-no for many different reasons. As is the case in any tourist town, you may be offered drugs on the beach. Buying them is a great way to either get robbed or arrested. Please do not add this to your list of things to do in Puerto Escondido.

Again, we have never had a problem with safety in Puerto Escondido. We drink in local bars, and we walk the streets at every hour of the day and night. Just use some common sense, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

is it safe in Mexico
It’s just as safe in Mexico as it is in the States.

20 Fun Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

We’ve broken down this list into a few different sections:

  • Free Things to do in Puerto Escondido – We get it; not everyone has the money to be going on excursions every day If you’re a perpetual traveler and/or on a budget, there are still options in this beach town.
  • Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido – Again, those of us who live on the road don’t really have the funds to be living it up every day. We’re always on the look out for fun things to do, but we’re not trying to break the bank doing them. For this section, we tried to keep the price down to under $50usd per person.
  • Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido – This is for anyone who has a couple of weeks away from work and really wants to make the most out of their trip. We’ve included all of the tours and activities we checked out that cost more than $50usd per person.

With that out of the way, let’s check out 20 of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

Free Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Just because we’re on a budget doesn’t mean we have to sit around the hotel room all day. For the budget-minded perpetual tourist, there are a few things do to in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca without spending any money.

#1 Visit the Puerto Escondido Beaches

Puerto Escondido has a beach for nearly every activity. Whether you’re looking to swim, surf, chill out, or party down, Playa Escondido, Oaxaca has a beach for that. And, the best part is, Puerto Escondido beaches are all free to use (as are all of the beaches in Mexico). Let’s check out some of the most popular Puerto Escondido beaches.

Playa Principal
Playa Principal Puerto Escondido Mexico.jpg
Playa Principal Puerto Escondido Mexico

Playa Principal is smack-dab in the middle of town and a favorite of the locals. There are not a lot of waves on this beach, which makes it a great beach for swimming with the family. We hang out at this beach quite often as the restaurants seem to be more authentic and less expensive than at Playa Zicatela.

This is also the beach you are going to leave from if you’re going on boat tours or fishing expeditions listed below.

Playa Marinero
Natasha on Playa Marinero

I’ve walked this stretch of beach numerous times and had no idea it had its own name. Playa Marinero is just a short walk up the beach from Playa Principal, just before you get to Playa Zicatela. The waves here start to pick up a little, which makes it a great beach for body surfing and stronger swimmers. 

Playa Zicatela

Playa Zicatela is a long stretch of beach with huge waves (sometimes reaching up to 30 feet in height). The beach is about 2.5 miles long and can be up to 300 feet wide. While this is a very popular beach for surfers, we don’t recommend swimming here. The undertow is just too powerful, even for the best of swimmers.

There isn’t much shade on Playa Zicatela, so our recommendation is to grab a couple of beach chairs with umbrellas at one of the numerous restaurants that line the beach. You can sit here all day sipping $2 beers and watching the surfers get pummeled.

Playa Punta Zicatela (La Punta)
Things to do in puerto escondido - la punta
One of our favorite things to do in Puerto Escondido – Chillin’ with a Coco on La Punta

Continue walking from Playa Zicatela toward the southeast, and you’ll find yourself on Playa Punta Zicatela (AKA la punta). The waves at La Punta are far less intense than at Playa Zicatela. They’re still surfable, though, so you’ll find a lot of beginners and surf classes here. This is also a much safer beach to swim on than Playa Zicatela.

Playa Carrizalillo

Playa Carrizalillo (“Playa Carri” to the locals) is one of our favorite beaches to go to in Puerto Escondido, and we think you should definitely add it to your “things to do in Puerto Escondido” list. It’s a fairly small beach, but the water is perfect for both swimming and surfing. There are 4-5 small restaurants on the beach serving up beers and pretty decent food. These restaurants charge a $10usd service fee to use their tables, but they deduct that cost from your tab.

The beach does have a couple of drawbacks we should mention:

  • Bathrooms – there really aren’t any. There are three porta-potties near the beach that will cost you 5 pesos to use. Make sure you have the exact change, or you may be using the bushes.
  • Accessibility – there are 186 steps down to the beach. That may not sound too bad, but after a day of sun, swimming, and beers, those 186 steps up in the blazing hot sun really suck. Be prepared.

If you’re looking for laid-back, this is the beach. While Playa Zicatela mainly caters to wealthy tourists, this stretch of beach is where the broke backpackers hang out. As a result, the crowd is younger, the prices are lower, and the restaurants are more “westernized”. It’s a great spot to chill for the day.

Playa Puerto Angelito & Playa Manzanillo
things to do in puerto escondido - Playa Angelito

We’re just going to mention these two Puerto Escondido beaches together. They are in the same bay, and they’re connected to each other (aside from some rocks), so I’m not really sure why they have two different names. These beaches sit in a little cove, which means there are very few waves, so it’s a pretty popular beach for swimmers.

There are numerous restaurants on and near the beach. They’re all pretty similar and serve up your typical Mexican beach fare along with ice-cold beers and mixed drinks. 

Playa Bacocho
Things to do in puerto escondido - Playa Bocacho and Turtle Sanctuary
Plenty of Free Things to do on Playa Bocacho

Playa Bacocho is a massive beach stretching 12 miles off into the distance. And there’s almost nothing on it. If you’re looking for a quiet beach all to yourself, this is it. The only problem is, there’s no shade, and there’s no reason at all to get into the water. The waves are huge but not surfable, and the undertow is so dangerous it’s just not worth the risk to get in.

It is a beautiful beach to look at, though, which is why on the eastern tip of the beach, a few high-end resorts have popped up. Each of these resorts has a pool and offers day passes to anyone not staying at the resort. The day passes range in price between $15-$20usd which is applied to your food and drink tab.

#2 Catch one of the Best Sunsets in Mexico

things to do in Puerto Escondido - Sunset
Free Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Catch a Sunset in Playa Escondido

Well, you’re already at the beach. You might as well stick around for one of the best sunsets you’ll ever see in your life. That’s not much of an exaggeration, either. We’ve traveled all over the world, and there’s not much better than a Pacific Ocean sunset.

We spent nearly every afternoon of our most recent trip to Puerto Escondido, watching the sunset from the beach. And we definitely weren’t alone. Starting about 30 minutes before sunset, the beaches fill up with people carrying bottles of wine, six packs of beer, and all sorts of snacks.

While there are many beaches in Puerto Escondido, not all of them are great for seeing the sunset. Our favorite beaches for seeing the sunset, any time of the year, are Playa Zicatela and Punta Zicatela.

#3 Catch a Free Movie on the Beach

Free Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Catch a Movie

In the States, taking a family of four to the movies might require taking out a second mortgage. In Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca…it’s absolutely free. And best yet, it’s right on the beach. This is a great way to combine our first three things to do in Puerto Escondido into an absolutely free afternoon and evening.

  • 2:30pm-6:30pm – Hang out at Playa Bacocho all day … for free.
  • 6:30pm-7:30pm – Wind up the afternoon with a beautiful sunset … for free.
  • 7:30pm-9:30pm – Stroll up the beach at Hotel Villasol for a feature film … for free.

Movie season is from December to March, and movies are shown every Wednesday. Food and drink can be purchased, or you can bring your own. How better to end an absolutely free day of activities?

#4 Wander Around Mercado Benito Juarez

Natasha Shopping in Mercado Benito Juarez
Natasha Shopping in Mercado Benito Juarez

We are huge fans of Mexican markets. You can find:

  • fresh flowers
  • crafts
  • hand-made clothing
  • souvenirs
  • seafood, and 
  • veggies…

…as far as the eye can see. These Mexican markets are also filled with some of the best shopping and restaurants in Mexico. This is definitely the case with Mercado Benito Juarez in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

I have no idea how many shops and restaurants are in Mercado Benito Juarez; 20? 30? Who knows? The market is so large and crazy that I’m not even sure I’ve seen all of it yet. And I’ve been there numerous times. 

There isn’t one particular area in Mercado Benito Juarez I would recommend. My suggestion is to pop in one of the many entrances and get lost walking the aisles. This is a great way to get away from the over-priced touristy area and to get a look at what the real Mexico is like.

Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Everyone’s budget is different. If you only get two weeks a year away from work, you may be ready to spend a good bit of money on a Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca activity. Those of us who live on the road may not have the funds to spend a bunch of money on numerous excursions.

I had to draw the line somewhere, though. So for our list of “cheap” things to do in Puerto Escondido, we picked all of the activities that ranged from a few dollars up to $50usd per person. Let’s check out some cheap things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

#5 Surf Lessons

things to do in playa escondido - surf
Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Take a Surf Lesson

If you’re a seasoned surfer with your own board and no need for lessons, surfing can go under the “Free Things to do in Puerto Escondido” heading. If you’re just starting out, though, you can still get in some surfing, with board and lessons included, for under $50. 

There are a ton of surf shops in town, and prices for lessons vary. If you’d rather have everything planned and know what you’re paying before you get to Puerto Escondido, you can schedule your surf lessons ahead of time.

#6 Release Some Baby Sea Turtles

things to do in playa escondido - baby turtles
Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Release some Baby Turtles

On the eastern end of Playa Bacocho, near the resorts, is the Vive Mar turtle egg sanctuary. Turtle eggs that are laid on this vast stretch of beach are relocated to this sanctuary to protect them from predators. 

For a small fee of $7usd, you can help the baby turtles once they hatch by carrying them (protected in half of a coconut shell) from the sanctuary to the water’s edge. Four species of turtles are released from this location:

  • Olive Ridley Turtles – Available for release all year long.
  • Leatherback Turtles – Available for release from October to March.
  • Black Turtles – Available for release from October to March.
  • Hawksbill Turtles – Available for release from October to March.

Baby turtles are released daily from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. No appointments are necessary. Just show up, pay the fee, and get started. This is a great addition to the free beach, sunset, and movie nights, as all of these activities are only about a 5-minute walk from each other.

#7 Practice some Yoga

things to do in playa escondido - beach yoga
Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Practice is Little Yoga

This could have also gone under the “Free Things to do in Puerto Escondido” header. If you’d like to do a solo yoga session on the beach at sunset for free, just grab your mat and go. If you’re a beginner, or more into group activities, you can easily find a yoga class in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. 

Some of the most popular yoga studios in town, include:

  • Sweet Retreats – This studio combines yoga with aerial acrobatics and circus arts.
  • Paradise Gym – In addition to yoga this traditional gym offers classes in boxing, self-defense, pole dancing, and aerial fitness.
  • Go With The Flow – Offering traditional yoga, sound therapy, and cocoa ceremonies.

No matter if you’re looking for a quick sunset yoga class or an all-inclusive week-long wellness retreat, you’re sure to find it in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

#8 Do Some Surf Fishing

things to do in playa escondido - beach fishing
Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Do Some Surf Fishing

Looking to just sit back, throw a line in the water, and relax? You can do that for next to nothing in Puerto Escondido. Expenses can range from just a couple of dollars for a handline setup, like a lot of the locals use, or you can splurge and spend a few bucks on a cheap rod and reel.

While fishing in the swimming areas is frowned upon, there are still plenty of places to fish for free. One of the most popular is on the coastal path that goes from the southern end of Playa Principal to Playa Manzanillo.

This is a fairly easy walk carved into the rocks along the ocean. From here, you can catch:

  • red snapper
  • roosterfish, and 
  • snook 

And, if you get lucky, one of the beach-side restaurants will cook up your catch for you for a nominal price.

#9 Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

things to do in playa escondido - sup
Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Rent a SUP

Most of the beaches in the Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca area are a little too rough to safely SUP. You do have a couple of options, though. There are a couple of surfboard and SUP rentals right at Playa Carrizalillo. For just a few bucks, you can rent a SUP for an hour and chill in the calm waters of the bay.

For a little more money, $50usd, you can go to Laguna de Manialtepec on a group tour. They offer both sunrise and sunset tours on the lagoon. Tours last for approximately 2 hours, and all transportation is included.

#10 Take a Tour of the Bioluminescent Laguna

things to do in playa escondido - bioluminescence
Cheap Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Swim in the Bioluminescent Laguna

The lagoon in Puerto Escondido is full of plankton, which turns bioluminescent when disturbed. There are tons of boat tours that will take you to the lagoon for some nighttime swimming with this bioluminescent plankton.

Once you’re in the water, the plankton will light up as you swim, surrounding you in a soft glow. This is one of the must-see attractions in Puerto Escondido, and we loved the tour we took. It lasted a couple of hours, and our guide was super knowledgable, and spoke both English and Spanish.

Kind of Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

If you’ve got some money to spend, say between $50-$250usd per person, there are some really cool things to do in Puerto Escondido. Let’s check out just a few of them.

#11 Oaxacan Food Tour

Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Take a Food Tour

There is no doubt about it; Oaxacan food is some of the best food in all of Mexico. From tlayudas to moles to pozole, Oaxaca food might just be some of the best in the world. The problem is most tourists will never experience this. 

There are very few authentic Oaxacan restaurants in the tourist areas, so finding good food means venturing out a bit. This might be intimidating for some tourists, especially if they don’t speak Spanish. Not to worry, though; there are Oaxacan food tours in Puerto Escondido that have English-speaking guides.

These guides will take you through the market, the taco stands, and out-of-the-way restaurants, where you’ll feast on some of the best food you’ll ever eat. These tours usually cost from $50usd to $70usd. Well worth it if you’ve never experienced how good the food in Mexico can be.

If you’re more of an adventurous traveler, keep reading below for some of our recommendations for authentic Oaxacan and Mexican foods you can try in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

#12 Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour

Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Go on a Dolphin Tour

This was one of the coolest things we did on our most recent trip to Puerto Escondido. These dolphin and whale watching tours leave Playa Principal at 7am, and tour the surrounding waters for 3 hours.

On our trip, we saw humpback whales, TONS of dolphins, numerous giant sea turtles, and many eagle rays. We also took a tour up the coast, and our guide pointed out all of the little-known beaches in the area and how to access them.

If you only have one day to splurge on a semi-expensive outing ($50-$75), I suggest making it this dolphin and whale watching tour. Keep in mind, though, whales are only in the area from November through March. Outside of these months, it’s unlikely you’ll see any whales. You’ll still see lots of other marine life, though.

#13 Deep Sea Fishing

things to do in playa escondido - deep sea fishing
Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Do Some Deep Sea Fishing

This isn’t actually something we bothered with on our trip. The prices are pretty high, and, quite frankly, sitting on the beach with a beer is a bit more our style. If you’re looking to get out and catch some monster fish, though, Puerto Escondido won’t disappoint.

Our hotel on the second part of our most recent trip was on the beach, right where the fishing charters pulled in. I don’t remember ever seeing anyone come back empty-handed. Among the hauls we would regularly see being brought in were:

  • Dorado (mahi-mahi)
  • Marlin
  • Sailfish, and
  • Yellowfin Tuna

The cost for a half-day fishing tour usually starts at around $300usd, and a full day goes for around $450usd. You can book your tour ahead of time with one of the many tour guides that offer online booking. Or, you could just stroll around the beach area, and 40 different people will ask if you’re interested in going fishing on their boat.

#14 Mezcal Tour

Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Go on a Mezcal Tour

If you enjoy a drink or two every now and again, I strongly suggest trying some of the local mezcal while you’re in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. If you’re not familiar with mezcal, you’re really missing out.

After living in Oaxaca for many months, we decided that the local mezcal was one of our favorite alcoholic drinks of all time. We’ve tried hundreds of mezcals and been on more than a couple of mezcal tours. This is something we really recommend.

Different tours have different prices and amenities. Most cost between $50usd-$75usd. Cost includes transportation, a tour of the distillery, and info on how the product is made. Numerous samples of mezcal are also available for you to try at no additional cost.

#15 Horseback Riding

things to do in playa escondido - horseback riding
Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Go Horseback Riding

There are so many different horseback riding tours in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, that it might be hard to decide which one to take. There are tours of the hillside outside of town, sunset horseback riding tours on the beach, or riding tours through the estuaries.

Regardless of which tour you take, expect to spend anywhere between $50usd-$75usd for a guided, 3-hour tour. No horseback riding experience is necessary, and this is a fun few hours for individuals or families to enjoy.

#16 Kayaking

things to do in playa escondido - kayaking
Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Go Kayaking

Like horseback riding, there are numerous different kayaking tours available in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. You can rent kayaks for just a few bucks in places like Playa Carrizalillo, or you can pay for a 3-hour guided tour through the mangroves just outside of town.

Can’t decide where you want to kayak? No problem. There are kayak tours available in Manialtepec. Here you’ll kayak in the ocean, the lagoon, and the river. This is the perfect tour for bird lovers, as you’re likely to see:

  • herons
  • pelicans
  • rosetta spoonbills
  • hawks
  • parrots
  • kingfishers, and 
  • storks

Kayaking tours generally range from $40usd-$100usd, depending on length, location, and amenities offered.

#17 Snorkeling

things to do in playa escondido - snorkeling
Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Go Snorkeling

This could have also gone under the free or cheap “things to do in Puerto Escondido” headings. You can buy cheap snorkeling gear just about anywhere in Puerto Escondido, or you can bring your own. 

Most of the beaches in Puerto Escondido have huge waves and dangerous undertows, so snorkeling from somewhere like Playa Zicatela probably isn’t going to work out too well. Some of the more snorkel-friendly beaches in the area are:

  • Playa Manzanillo
  • Puerto Angelito
  • Playa Carrizalillo, or
  • Coral Beach

If you’re more interested in some open-water snorkeling, you have numerous options. Almost all of the boat tours I’ve mentioned can incorporate snorkeling into the tour. There are also snorkeling-specific tours that range from half to full day, and can cost anywhere from $40usd-$100usd.

#18 Zip Lining

Pricey Things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Go Zip Lining

If adventure sports are your thing, the zip lining, hiking, and waterfall tour that Guía de Turismo y Transportador Turístico offers may be just what you’re looking for. While this tour isn’t actually in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, they will pick you up in town (or at your hotel) for the trip.

Highlights of the Guía de Turismo y Transportador Turístico include:

  • Best vistas in South Sierra Madre
  • Cool-down swim at the base of a waterfall
  • Enjoy a bite to eat and shopping in town
  • Have a coffee at a coffee plantation
  • 5 breathtaking zipline routes

This full-day tour lasts approximately 7 hours and ends with 2,500 stunning meters of zip lines spanning over 5 progressive routes. Definitely, a one-of-a-kind experience that lets you connect with nature in unique ways you won’t want to miss.

#19 Sky Diving

This is one of the most expensive things to do in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. The price for a tandem drop runs about $230usd per person. However, if you’re looking for a pure adrenaline rush, there’s absolutely no better experience. Puerto Escondido is the perfect spot for skydiving.

You’ll jump over the Pacific coastline and land on the stunning Playa Zicatela, where you can catch your breath, grab a bite to eat, and watch other jumpers soar through the sky all day long.

You can opt to jump tandem-style, or if you’re feeling extra brave (and certified), you can jump alone. We will say that skydiving in Puerto Escondido can be pretty addicting. If you think you may want more than a single jump, you can save a bit of pocket change with package deals.

The Final Entry in our List of Things to do in Puerto Escondido

This kind of falls outside of the “free, cheap, and pricey” list of things to do in Puerto Escondido. That’s because you can find this activity in any of the three price ranges. And it’s absolutely one of my favorite things to do while in Oaxaca…

#20 Eat Traditional Mexican Food in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

If you’re a first-time visitor to Mexico, you’re in for a real treat. The state of Oaxaca, where Puerto Escondido is located, is the culinary capital of Mexico and has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life.

While you may be tempted to take all of your meals at one of the restaurants on the beach, you’ll be much happier trying some authentic Mexican food, away from the touristy areas. One way to do that is with one of the Oaxacan food tours I mentioned above.

If you’re not willing or able to pay for the food tour, I’ve listed some of our favorite Puerto Escondido restaurants below. These are all authentic restaurants that the locals and tourists in-the-know like to go to.

Concluding the Things to do in Puerto Escondido Part of this Blog

No need to run off, though. If you’re serious about planning a trip to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca we’ve got even more information for you below, such as:

  • Traveling to\from Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca – Getting to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca and Mexico City by bus, plane, or private transfer.
  • The Puerto Escondido Airport – What to expect when you get there, including getting to and from the airport to town.
  • Puerto Escondido Hotels – All of these are places we’ve either stayed in or visited. It’ll give you a good idea of the prices for the different areas of town.
  • Puerto Escondido Restaurants – These aren’t going to be your normal “touristy” restaurants. These are places that locals go to, and the food is amazingly good.

If you’re planning a trip to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, the below info will be very helpful.

How to Get to Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, is what we would call “off the beaten path”. It’s not nearly as easy to get to as Cancun or Playa del Carmen. This is what we like about it, though. It’s a tourist beach town that has retained its small-town charm.

Getting to Puerto Escondido can be a bit of a chore. We think it’s worth it once you’re here.

Getting from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

There are a few different ways to get to Puerto Escondido, Mexico from Oaxaca City. We took the ADO (pronounced ah-day-oh) and we only recommend it if you’re cool with being on a bus for a really, really long time (see our video below then imagine that for 11 hours).

ADO First Class Bus From Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido

Normally a drive from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido can be done in 6-7 hours. The ADO bus takes every bit of 11 hours. The seats are comfortable and there are bathrooms. That was just too long on a bus for us though. The prices for the ADO bus range from $13usd-$25usd depending on the day and time you travel.

ADO bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Public Shuttles from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

There are many small shuttle services located in both Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido that make the trip between the two cities. They’re all small businesses with no internet presence. You’re going to have to ask at a hotel or tourist center where to find them.

These shuttles seat around 16 and take 6-7 hours to make the trip. From what I hear it’s a miserable trip for some; up and down through winding mountain roads. The cost varies but shouldn’t be more than $15usd.

Shuttle from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido
Shuttle from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Fly from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido 

This is the easiest, and most expensive, method of getting from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. You have a couple of choices when flying:

  • Fly Commercial – There are no direct commercial flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. You will need to layover in Mexico City for a couple of hours. Flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, through Mexico City, will take around five hours. We found these flights on Kiwi.com and they’re less than $100usd one-way.
  • Fly Direct – There are two small passenger airlines that go between Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido. The first is Aerotucan which costs around $160usd one-way. The second is AeroVega (no phone number or email address was answered when contacting AeroVega). If anyone has used AeroVega recently we’d love to hear about it.
Fly from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Getting from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido

There is an ADO bus from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido. We don’t recommend it, though. It takes almost 20 hours and can cost up to $50usd. You can find numerous flights from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido on Kiwi.com for around the same price that only take an hour or so.

fly from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido

What to Expect at the Puerto Escondido Airport

The Puerto Escondido airport is small. Like, really small. I’ve never flown in or out of Puerto Escondido on an international flight, so I don’t know how that goes. Flying in and out of Puerto Escondido on a domestic flight, though, couldn’t be easier.

Arriving at the Puerto Escondido Airport

There will be no sky bridge to greet you. You’ll disembark right on the tarmac, and there’s only one door to go in from there, and it’s right into the baggage claim area. Either collect your bags or proceed to the exit.

Once out of the baggage claim area, there’s a small area before you exit the building where you can either rent a car, take a shuttle into town, or grab a taxi from the kiosk. The taxis from the kiosks are a total rip-off, but we went with it. We ended up paying around $220 pesos ($11usd) for a 5-minute ride to town. Around four times the cost of a regular taxi.

Leaving from the Puerto Escondido Airport

Since there are no Ubers yet in Puerto Escondido, you’ll have to grab a taxi from town to the airport. We scheduled one from our hotel for 7am and it cost us $100 pesos ($5). Still pricey, but whatever. It’s a 10-minute ride or less from most of Puerto Escondido.

Once at the airport, there is only one entrance. There are no terminals to worry about. Once you’re in the airport, the gate agents are right in front of you. If you need to check your bag or get a boarding pass, do it with them.

If you already have a boarding pass, and don’t need to check bagage, head in the direction of the gate agents and take a right turn into the security area. It’s literally just a door with a person standing outside of it. Once past security, you’re in the terminal, which only has 8 (i think) gates. Easiest airport ever.

Puerto Escondido Hotels & Airbnbs

So, now you know how to get to Puerto Escondido. Now you need to figure out where to stay. Luckily for you, unless you really want to lay down some cash, lodging in Puerto Escondido is pretty affordable. Especially for a beach town.

Cheap Places to Stay in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Since we’re cheap-asses we opted to stay in some of the more affordable Airbnbs for our first couple of weeks. The first place we booked was Casa Solteca. At $35 a night, it was a steal.

Casa Solteca is located about a 3-4 minute walk from the ADO bus station, 10 minutes from Playa Principal, and 15 minutes to Playa Zicatela. There are also many great restaurants within a 2-3 minute walk.

Casa Solteca Puerto Escondido Mexico
Casa Solteca – Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

We tried to extend our stay in Casa Solteca, but all rooms were booked. We ended up finding a really cute studio on Airbnb nearly right on Playa Zicatela. The place was super clean and ridiculously affordable at $11 a night.

While we liked this place for a few days we had by this time decided we wanted to stay in Puerto Escondido long term. A week or so in a studio apartment for two people is plenty of time. It was time to upgrade.

Mid-Range Places to Stay in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

We had a really nice day at Casa Sofia’s. A couple we met invited us back to their Airbnb to have some beers by the pool. The apartment was huge with a nice kitchen, and best yet a pool to hang out at. Casa Sofia’s is within walking distance to a number of nice restaurants, as well as Playa Carrizalillo.

Casa Sofia - Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Casa Sofia – Puerto Escondido, Mexico

High-End Places to Stay in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Looking for something a little more high-end? Then you’ve got to check out Vivo Resorts. The property manager of the apartment we live in also happens to be the bartender at Vivo Resorts (say hi to Andreas if you see him there). He hooked us up with a couple of day passes and we couldn’t have been more impressed.

Rooms here start at $200 a night and go up from there. Amenities include:

  • On-site restaurant
  • On-site bar
  • Infinity pool
  • Swim-up bar
  • Spa
  • 12 miles of nearly un-touched coastline

Vivo Resorts is quite a ways out of town, but there are numerous shuttles a day between the resort and town. We had a great time here on our day-pass. I can only imagine how nice a week here would be.

Vivo Resorts - Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Vivo Resorts – Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Our Favorite Puerto Escondido Restaurants

When you’re researching restaurants in Playa Escondido, Mexico the same 5-6 restaurants always show up in the “Top 10” lists. I’m not going to bother listing them here because, quite frankly, they’re just not that great.

If you’re looking for mediocre and over-priced food, check out any other blog or TripAdvisor for their recommendation. If you’re like us and want authentic food at a reasonable price, check out some of our favorites below.

Las Cazuelas

Tostados and Pozole at Las Cazuelas
Tostados and Pozole at Las Cazuelas

Las Cazuelas was the first restaurant we visited in Puerto Escondido. We were hooked. We’re not even within walking distance to this restaurant anymore and we still find ourselves there once a week…at least.

The menu offers fairly typical Oaxacan fair; tacos, tlayudas, sopes, & tostadas. All come with a huge choice of fillings (chorizo, beef, pork, etc), and all are delicious.

Aside from the delicious Oaxacan food they also serve up amazing pozole. If you’re not familiar with pozole it’s a delicious soup made with shredded chicken or pork and hominy. It’s served with about 10 different toppings to add to the soup. So good.


Paul at Flori-Tao sipping a Michelada
Paul at Flori-Tao sipping a Michelada

On the far south-eastern end of Playa Zicatela, you’ll find our favorite beach restaurant; Flori-Tao. While most of the restaurants on Playa Zicatela are slightly pretentious and over-priced, Flori-Tao is the exact opposite.

Here you’ll find great seafood dishes on the menu, alongside hamburgers and hotdogs, all at a reasonable price. The service can be a little slow sometimes, but everything we’ve had has been worth the wait. Also, their made-to-order margaritas and micheladas are the best you’ll find in Playa Escondido.

La Juquilena

A Typical Day at La Juquilena
A Typical Day at La Juquilena

Here’s my rule of thumb in Mexico; if I see a lot of Mexicans standing out in the hot-ass sun waiting for a seat in a restaurantI must eat in that restaurant. This rule has not failed me yet. Especially when it comes to La Juquilena.

This massive restaurant seats over 250 people. On the weekends there are maybe 50 or more people outside waiting to get in. That’s how good the food is here. And it’s ridiculously inexpensive.

The menu is composed of typical Oaxacan food. So lots of tlayudas, sopes, & grilled meats. They also have a list of 20 or so daily specials such as roasted chicken, barbacoa de res, and seafood dishes.

If you’re looking for delicious and authentic food at a great price, I highly recommend La Juquilena’s. We eat here at least twice a week and never get tired of it.

El Pollo Gigante

el pollo gigante

As I said before; look for the line. The line outside of this popular chicken shack is always at least 5 deep. And for good reason. The chicken here is really, really good. Some of the best I’ve had in Mexico, and that’s saying a lot.

El Pollo Gigante is carry-out only. It’s one of our go-to restaurants if we want an easy meal at home or a picnic at the beach. They sell chicken three different ways; fried, grilled (asado), or rotisserie. All of it is delicious.

A whole chicken here, with sides and homemade salsas, will set you back $6-$7usd. You can also order halves or quarters of chicken. Eat this chicken. You will not regret it.

Tacos Paco

Soup and Shrimp Tacos at Tacos Paco
Soup and Shrimp Tacos at Tacos Paco

I’m a firm believer that the small, family-run restaurants put out the best food. Tacos Paco is no exception. This little family-run restaurant puts out some of the best tacos in Puerto Escondido.

You have exactly two choices when eating at Tacos Paco; fried fish tacos or fried shrimp tacos. Both are delicious. They’re also huge tacos so be prepared for that before ordering.

Each taco is served on a couple of corn tortillas and topped with a creamy red cabbage, cucumber, carrot slaw. They’re so tasty. While your tacos are being prepared you’ll be served a little bowl of spicy shrimp soup which is also very good.

Pepe’s Tacos

Natasha and I were a bit split on this place. I decided to add it because one of us loved it, and everyone in town recommends it. It’s a cool little place with a great vibe, where locals and tourists hang out, sipping bears, eating tacos, and enjoying the great view.

Be forewarned, though, the place is very rustic. There are dirt floors, communal seating, and chickens and stray dogs throughout the yard. Still, that just adds to the charm of the place. Pepe’s Fish Tacos is close to the main part of town, but still an easy walk, or short taxi ride, from the beach.

You have three options available at Pepe’s:

  • Fried Fish Tacos
  • Fried Shrimp Tacos
  • Fried Pumpkin Tacos

And while I did chow down two massive tacos, I have to say, it just wasn’t for me. Everything was prepared well, you got great value for the money, and it’s a cool place to hang. For me, though, the tacos were too sweet.

They batter the protein in a sweet, coconut tempura batter, then they add sweet pineapple salsa on top. For me, who isn’t a fan of anything sweet, it was just too much. Everyone else there seemed to love it. For me it was just personal preference. If you’re cool with the sweetness, I do suggest giving Pepe’s a shot.

Vitamina T

Tlayuda at Vitamina T
Tostadas at Vitamina T

We ate here once on a fluke, because at the time nothing else close by was open. I’m so glad we did. After our first meal here, we returned 3 more times in less than six days. That’s how good the food was. While this is in one of the touristy areas, the clientele was mostly locals.

We ate here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and ordered numerous options from the menu. All of it was delicious. Our two favorites, though, were the tlayudas and the tostadas. Both were so good and perfectly prepared. Even now, I would go back to Puerto Escondido just for one more tlayuda. 

If trying authentic Mexican food is on your list of things to do in Puerto Escondido, you can’t go wrong at Vitamina T.

Las Margaritas

This is another very authentic Mexican restaurant, full of happy locals. It’s a bit off of the beaten path, but it’s worth a special trip. On the menu is traditional Mexican food: tlayudas, sopes, quesadillas, enchiladas, etc. And all of it is so good.

We’ve eaten here twice on our trips and both times everything was perfect. My tlayuda was one of the best I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot. I strongly suggest getting out of the tourist areas, and sitting down at Las Margaritas. It might just be the best food you’ll have on your trip.

Getting Around Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Like in all of Mexico, taxis are plentiful and cheap in Playa Escondido. A ride pretty much anywhere in town is going to cost around $50 pesos ($2.50usd). We’ve been charged less for shorter rides but we’ve yet to be charged more than that. I imagine though a trip from the airport to some of the hostels on la Punta may be a bit more expensive.

Typical Taxi in Puerto Escondido
Typical Taxi in Puerto Escondido

Taxis in Playa Escondido are easy to hail; just step to the curb look for one of the brightly colored taxis, and wave him down. If he’s empty, and not heading out on a call, he’ll pull over. Easy.

We never really negotiate a price upfront like we do in other tourist towns. In places like Playa del Carmen or Tulum, overcharging gringos is fairly common, so negotiating a price upfront is necessary. Being overcharged for a taxi has never happened to us in Playa Escondido. And we’re in at least one taxi a day.

Concluding our Things to do in Puerto Escondido Blog

Welp, I’m finishing this blog back “home” in Valle de Bravo, and I’m already missing my beach time and tlayudas. I hope you learned a lot about things to do in Puerto Escondido, as well as the town itself. If you’re planning a trip here, feel free to comment below with any questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them for you.

Playa Escondido Sunset
Us in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca contemplating our next move.

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