The primary reason for our visit to Puerto Escondido was to get onto the beach and just relax, and this town is great for it. However, there are many things to do and see in Puerto Escondido that we were also able to experience, and here is short list of our favourites:
This beach is what has put Puerto Escondido on the map, with its famous waves (and barrels) making it a hit with surfers from all over the world.
The beach itself stretches for many kilometres, making it easy to find a secluded spot for a swim or to take ‘long walks on the beach’ like true romantics.
We would also recommend splashing out slightly and getting a few drinks from one of the many beachfront bars in Zicatela. This gives you the chance to get in the shade (there’s not much of that here) and relax as you watch the waves pound into the sand (*bonus tip: buy your own drinks and have them next to the bars under the shade of the palm trees)
If shade is what you are after, as well a beautiful beach set within a small cove, then Carrizalillo is where you want to be. The beach itself is a short 20 minute walk from most accommodations of Puerto Escondido, with stairs leading down the cliffs taking you to the beach.
As this is slightly further away than other beaches, you will often find only yourself and a handful of others at this beach, making for a beautiful and secluded spot.
In addition to this, if you want to learn surfing there is a nice beginner break here and many locals who will offer to give you a lesson (at the right price). We do not recommend starting out surfing at Zicatela, which is a lot stronger with larger waves best left to the pros.
Lastly, there are many great little restaurants at the entrance to this beach (before going down the stairs), making it great for a snack or lunch after swimming.
Manzanillo is around a 10-15 minute walk from the town of Puerto Escondido, in a cove next to Carrizalillo. There are also less steps down to this beach, making access easier.
Because of these two facts, the beach tends to a bit more crowded in comparison to Carrizalillo. However, both beaches are fantastic (the scenery is special) and offer calm waters for everyone to swim in.
If heading to Manzanillo, we would recommend bringing a snorkel set with you to check out what’s under the water, especially near the rocks (watch that swell though).
La Punta (Punta Zicatella)
La Punta is both a town and a beach on the far end of town past Zicatela. This place is a lot less developed than Puerto Escondido itself, with quaint dirt roads leading up past restaurants and surf hostels towards the beach. If you don’t end up getting accommodation in Puerto Escondido or Zicatela, this is also a great bohemian and surf spot that feels a lot more secluded than the main parts of town.
Surfing here is also a possibility for beginners, with lessons taking place on the ‘point break’ where the waves are small enough for those just starting out but still good enough for all skill levels.
A final tip is to head to La Punta for the sunset. Grab a few beers from the local shop and walk along towards the cliffs for an awesome view of the surfers and the sun going down. If the tide is low enough, you can also make your way up the cliffs for an even better view.
Gringo Burger / Spirulina
If like us you are looking for something a little different from tacos and quesadillas when in Puerto Escondido, we would say that Gringo Burger in town is a must visit.
This place only serves beef burgers (sorry vegetarians) at prices ranging from 60 – 120 peso, alongside fries cooked in pork drippings (delicious). Open from 4pm until 12am, these were the best burgers we tried in all of Mexico, and gave us a good ‘western’ food fix after many nights of Mexican delights.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Spirulina, located in Zicatela. This organic café serves up wonderful food and drinks, including options such as acai bowls, omelettes, and delicious sandwiches filled with fresh salad. If you do end up going to Gringo Burger, maybe back it up with a meal at Spirulina for a healthy option!
Whilst we didn’t end up reaching Bacocho, we heard many great things about it. Firstly, it is a nice beach to go to for a swim despite its distance from town.
Beyond this, between the months of November and May, Bacocho plays host to a weekly movie night on the beach. Head down on a Wednesday night to check it out.
Of course there are many other things to do in Puerto Escondido that we didn’t have the time to do. Head on over to the Mercado Benito Juarez (the market) and get lost in amongst its vastness, go swimming with phosphorescent plankton at night at the Laguna de Manialtepec, or take a day trip on a boat for fishing, secret beach visits, and for viewing turtles, dolphins, crocodiles, and perhaps even whales (depending on the time of year).
Puerto Escondido is truly a wonderful little beach town, and whilst it may seem sleepy on the surface there are many hidden gems to be found underneath.