Put together some incredible sun, great fishing, a knock out villa, plenty of ice cold cerveza and mezcal and you have the makings of a great vacation on the coast of Oaxaca. Or more accurately, Puerto Escondido, the surfing capital of Mexico.
Puerto Escondido, located about 2 hours north of its big sister Huatulco, is a vastly under visited vacation spot for the American tourist market. Straight up, that should change. Because simply put, if you want to unwind and hang out on the beach, I am not sure there is a better value in all of Mexico.
Consider the lodging. And there’s lots of it, at all levels. From inexpensive, clean and safe hotels in the city, to right on the beach villas, this area has it all. Here’s a few pics of the place we just rented. I’ve been all over Mexico and let me just say it, this is one of the best places I have ever rented.
From the layout of the house, to its location right on the beach, to the incredible staff, this is the kind of place you want to relax. And with five bedrooms and five baths, it is perfectly designed for a group experience.
But maybe you are on a tight budget. Fear not because smaller places are available within walking distance, or a short cab ride to the beach. Whether it is Zicatela Beach, the point or even downtown, you can get a clean room with air conditioning and usually with a pool for about $35.00 a night. How’s that for saving you money?
Now if you eat seafood, you’re gonna be in heaven. And you have a couple of options.
You can eat out, catch your own, or buy it pretty inexpensively at the local market in downtown Puerto. If you choose to catch your own, you’ve got to do a little work to find a guide, or just follow my advice and go with Omar’s Sportfishing.
Omar has been on the water a long time, has lots of experience with traveling gabachos and if he’s not available, will make sure you are well taken care of with one of his buddies. In short, he knows his stuff, his clients and most importantly, fish. Which is pretty big if that’s why you’re on the water.
When we got there, Omar had his partner Marcos ready and waiting on the beach for us. We jumped in and within minutes, we were heading out for a day on the water. Our hope was a nice sailfish, but weather kept us a little bit closer to shore, but that did not spoil our day.
As we cruised we saw sea turtles everywhere, dolphins all day and the biggest surprise, a whale or two, just a few meters from our little boat. Even if we had not caught a single fish, we had already decided the day was a success. Seriously, how often are you going to see whales somewhere other than Sea World? And that option is going away soon!
But we were not to be denied and soon found ourselves back on shore eating the days catch and sharing it with the entire restaurant staff that preparing it for us.
For your beach day, you’ve got lots of options, depending on what you want to do. If surfing is your thing, check your calendar and head to either Zicatela Beach or The Point, two of the top local destinations.
If you’re swimming, or just want a relaxing day sipping margaritas and eating lunch under a beachside palapa, you’ve got to visit Playa Carrizalillo, the best beach in the area according to locals.
While it’s in a semi protected bay, there are still some waves and it’s a great spot for long board surfing and paddle boarding. But there is a catch… depending on who you listen to, from the street to the beach, it is either 157 or 167 steps down, and of course, back up! But, as we say in Mexico, “Vale la pena!”
Pack up your beach gear, sunscreen and a good book. Grab a taxi and head to Carrizalillo. And when you get down those steps grab a palapa and order an ice cold cerveza or margarita and settle in. Because it’s gonna be a great day. I had a group of 6 folks with me and they all had lunch and multiple drinks in the warm sun. Our total food cost was under 50 bucks!
Now one day you might want a change of pace or perhaps just want to see the beach from another angle. For that, grab the bus and head north about 45 minutes to Mazunte. When you’re here, you can spend some time at essentially a zoo for turtles and learn all about the work to protect this important citizen of the ocean.
Then you can either head to the beach or get a 3 hour tour of the mangroves complete with crocodiles for about $5.00 USD. After that do a little shopping on the street and if you’re adventurous, grab lunch from one of the local families serving up some wonderful Oaxacan food before returning to your home base.
Finally, no trip to Puerto Escondido is going to be complete without a stroll on the boardwalk. Right at sands edge, this place reminds me of Huntington Beach, California… about 50 years ago! It’s got lots of funky stores, places where you can rent boogie or surfboards and of course, even a few hamburger vendors.
You can even, if you want, get one of those cool linen covered cabanas close to the water and just chill, a perfect way to relax and watch the incredible sunsets that are all yours to enjoy, just because you’re there!
I’ve been to Huatulco many times and while you will never go wrong going there, Puerto Escondido, in my opinion, is a hands down better option for your hard earned vacation dollars.
So get your tickets, find your lodging and get prepared to experience one of the best all around vacations that you’re ever going to experience in all of My Mexico!
Getting there… There are no direct flights in Puerto Escondido [PXM] from the US. All flights come from either Oaxaca or Mexico City and depending on when you buy, range from $50.00 to $150.00 each way. It’s an hour and a half flight.
You can travel by shuttle bus from Oaxaca City for about $30.00. It’s a 6 hour ride on a pretty winding road so make sure you take your Dramamine.
A final note… If you want the name of the owner of the house where I stayed, and believe me, it’s a find, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you just want to arrive to a turnkey vacation for you, your family and/or a group, let me know and I can help make that happen too.