My answer to your burning questions about solo travel safety in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido solo travel: how do I do this? I know Mexico gets a lot of bad press but here’s my personal story about feeling safe in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico!
Reader Mail: Awesome blog, Trish! And thank you for all the Mexico updates. It’s really hard to see the current situation in Mexico and yours provide great insight!
I am an Australian currently in the United States since my country is closed and I cannot go back. I am thinking to go to Mexico, particularly in the Oaxaca state.
Do you have a Puerto Escondido solo travel guide? I will really appreciate it and if you can tell me what the COVID precautions are. Do you think Mexico will allow me to enter? Thanks a lot for your help!
– Mikayla Yelverton, Australia
Thank you for reaching out. And welcome to my blog! I heard that Australia is closed, in fact, I have a friend who’s trapped there for almost a year. They can’t even go back home to the Philippines. The flights keep getting canceled!
I have been to Puerto Escondido last September 2020 (for my birthday) but I have lots of friends who are there. They keep me updated on what’s happening in terms of COVID so, in this Puerto Escondido solo travel guide, I will share with you what I currently know!
If you ever make it to Mexico, please don’t forget to get in touch! Would love to meet you!
Unfortunately, when I came there in September 2020, there was a hurricane (Laura) so my days were limited to staying in. I was able to hang out with locals and get to know the local life but still, the hurricane was so bad that made me cancel all my travel plans there.
As a long-term traveler, I spent a few weeks in Puerto Escondido just to understand the layout of the place and to get to know it through my local friends.
As someone who lives here, most places in Mexico do not scare me anymore. I feel very confident when traveling around the country.
I understand that as a visitor, you will have many questions regarding safety in Puerto Escondido, especially that Mexico is a country that gets a lot of bad publicity when it comes to safety.
In this blog post, I will try my best to share my personal experiences with you and I hope you’ll see that Puerto Escondido is safe!
Is Puerto Escondido safe?
Personally, I felt very safe when I was traveling in Puerto Escondido alone. It was during COVID time so I think the level of friendliness of people has toned down a little but the owner of the hostel I stayed in is super nice!
There was even one night that he invited me over to hang out with his friends who were visiting from Mexico City.
But of course, let’s look at the facts: things that are not tangible when you are traveling in Puerto Escondido solo. According to research, the level of crime in Puerto Escondido is 59.33 and is labeled moderate.
In the last 3 years, the crime rate in Puerto Escondido has increased to 84.38% which, we could say is very high.
Some petty crimes include worries of the home break-in (moderate), being mugged or robbed (moderate), cars stolen (moderate). As an Asian, I also check if there will be discrimination because of my skin color but Mexicans are very friendly.
They don’t really care about this! I do, however, speak fluent Spanish so if you are traveling solo in Puerto Escondido, this is really important.
Everyone speaks English in most touristic beach towns in Mexico but still, if you really want to feel safe, I find that speaking Spanish fluently always gives me that confidence and security.
You just need to be comfortable being in the country and speaking Spanish really helps bring that level of comfort.
On my blog, I always make sure I speak from experience although I do believe safety is subjective. Again, I am already comfortable being in Mexico so I am sharing with you my personal experience traveling Puerto Escondido solo.
It might look like everything’s very perfect but for me, if you do not know how to move or travel solo, then you will always have that fear in most places.
But fear is great. Fear makes you think. Fear makes you stronger. Can you imagine if you are not afraid anymore? You’ll cross the roads without looking.
You’ll probably hop on cars with strangers (although in my experiences, this has been always fun!). Go with your fear but please don’t ruin your Puerto Escondido vacation just because you are scared.
Walking alone in Puerto Escondido at night: is it an issue?
I stayed in the Zicatela area (actually the best area to stay in Puerto Escondido) and I really loved the neighborhood. Zicatela’s layout is so easy to memorize. The streets are well-lit – take note that this is sometimes an issue in Mexico as there are lots of small towns here that are really dark at night! So I give this as a plus for Puerto Escondido.
I remember one night I went to a bar alone. I made friends with the server there and left a bag with her full of my camera gear while I was drinking by their beach bar. It was a rainy season when I came so I did not want my bag to be wet, especially it has 2 cameras in it!
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As soon as it started raining, I panicked and ran to my hostel only to find out that I forgot the bag with her! It was already past midnight and the bar was closing but when I went back the next day, the server, Barbara had all my stuff intact!
I was really worried and couldn’t sleep at night because I did not have contact with them. But I know that most servers in Mexico are very honest people and they will always take care of your stuff if you ask nicely.
I also went to a secret party by the river. At 10:00 pm, I received a text from my friend whom I have not seen for years (she used to live in Sayulita but moved to Puerto Escondido). She said there’s a “secret party” somewhere and she sent me the location.
Without completely knowing the Puerto Escondido layout, I just followed the maps (it was kind of hard since it was a secret location) and arrived at the party where all the locals were.
I remember heading out of my hostel at midnight and I walked alone without knowing where to go.
Puerto Escondido solo travel safety guide: things to do, where to stay, and safety tips!
Best things to do in Puerto Escondido for solo travelers
Stay in La Punta Zicatela
La Punta Zicatela has a younger vibe and it’s so easy to meet people there. All the backpackers and top party hostels are in La Punta so if you’re traveling alone, there will be a lot of opportunities to tag along with people.
La Punta has everything you need: surf, beach, restaurants, shopping, etc so guaranteed you’ll have a great time here!
Visit all Puerto Escondido beaches on a motorbike
Puerto Escondido has lots of beaches (within a 20-30 minutes drive) and you can definitely visit them all. I think I did 8 of them in one day!
Being from the Philippines, I am not easily impressed with beaches and I also live on the Pacific coast of Mexico (where PE is) so I felt like it will not be that impressive.
Take surfing lessons
Surfers from all over the world flock to Puerto Escondido for its waves. Even my friends from Sayulita spend half the year here as the best time to surf in Sayulita and Puerto Escondido are in different seasons.
It’s a win-win for every avid surfer! I do feel like PE’s waves are bigger than Sayulita’s and I see a lot of pro surfers go to Mexico just to do this trip. Puerto Escondido is a surfer’s dream place!
Experience ancient mezcal in a factory
Like tequila, mezcal also came from the agave plant. The word is from the Nahuatl language which means”oven-cooked agave.” It is one of Mexico’s most typical alcoholic beverages and this is something you shouldn’t miss when you are in the country.
Puerto Escondido accommodation for solo travelers
Bonita Escondida: dorms from $25 USD
I always stay in Bonita Escondida because of the very lively vibe! They have a space for parties so non-guests are also welcome to come when there’s an event. I’ve stayed here a couple of times because I prefer to stay in La Punta than Zicatela (main).
There are parties in Bonita all the time but when the dorm room doors are closed, you won’t hear anything!
Vivo Escondido Hostel: dorms from $10 USD
I only stayed 2 nights here and ended up staying for 10! Vivo Escondido has a super-friendly staff that was always ready to mingle with the guests. Having friendly hostel staff always gives me the assurance that it’s a safe hostel to stay in. You’ll experience that at Vivo!
Puerto Dreams Hostel: dorms from $12 USD
I love their common space as it is also good for Puerto Escondido digital nomads. It’s a smaller hostel and it’s quieter than the first two suggestions but it’s still a good place to meet people. It’s also one of the hostels in Puerto Escondido that has great location!
➢ Looking for more options? Check out the Puerto Escondido hostels that I love!
Puerto Escondido solo travel and safety tips
Again, safety is very subjective but I always have lots of ‘juju’ that I practice whenever I am traveling, not just in Mexico but all over the world. After all, it’s really hard to measure which is the safest country. I feel like everything’s just the same.
Remember that crimes happen everywhere whether you are a woman or a man. It can happen to anyone, especially if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Well, that is also not that easy to measure but here are my safety tips when traveling to Puerto Escondido.
Stay in a hostel, not in an Airbnb
Well, hello, honey! You are traveling alone. You can’t possibly rent an Airbnb and stay there by yourself the whole trip?! Stay in a hostel!
If you are not comfortable with dorm beds (yeah, I get it. COVID), hostels have private rooms, too! In fact, hostels in Puerto Escondido are super boutique-ish and not sketchy so don’t worry about it!
People who stay in hostels are probably traveling by themselves so you’ll have more opportunities to mingle. Hostel guests also do things together like cooking dinners, drinking, and going out so you’ll never walk alone!
Recommended: How to properly navigate your Oaxaca road trip
Rent a motorbike or a car
I did a road trip from Puerto Escondido to San Jose del Pacifico so I rented a car. I think I am including this in the Puerto Escondido solo travel tips because of COVID: I really wasn’t in the mood to take public transport.
I paid $25 USD per day for the car. There is only one car rental company in Puerto Escondido and they are right outside the airport. I did not need to book in advance. I just showed up and did the transaction there.
While I was going around Puerto Escondido, I also figured it will be better to do a motorbike trip. The motorbike guys charged me $350 MXN ($17.50 USD) per day but I was able to get a discount because they already know me in the Zicatela area from seeing me every day. I think they assumed I lived there!
Do not leave your stuff unattended
From living in Sayulita where people don’t care about material things, I always forget that when I am in another area in Mexico, it’s a different story.
You already know my story about Barbara where I left my camera bag at the bar (overnight) but I guess I was just lucky because I was chatty with the locals.
I don’t think you can go have a dip on the beach while leaving your stuff unattended in Puerto Escondido. I still did not get that confidence so I always make sure that I pay attention to my stuff.
But believe me when I say that there are some areas in Mexico where you can leave your belongings unattended and nothing will happen!
Speak Spanish with the locals
I am really lucky that the owner of my hostel is super-friendly. I got to know his friends and family. He also took me to a bar he owns where I was able to hang out with most of his local friends.
Your Spanish-speaking skills will come in handy when traveling to Puerto Escondido not because no one speaks English but because I feel like you will have more genuine connections if you are able to speak Spanish.
Some locals can’t express themselves 100% in English but if you are looking for deep connections and long-lasting friendships, I really encourage you to learn Spanish before coming to Mexico!
You will see how many friends you will make here and it won’t be a shallow friendship.
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Consider your source
My family is still freaked that I lived in Mexico, most especially they have not been here! I understand that your friends will always tell you not to go to Mexico because it is dangerous but please, always consider your source.
Have they been to Puerto Escondido? How long did they stay in the area? Did they meet locals? Did they even try to speak Spanish?
If the answer is no to all these, then do not listen to these people. What I always do is to connect via CouchSurfing and ask the locals that are currently there.
I always get valuable insights from this community and I am happy to be part of it for more than 10 years!
Call the consulate of your country
If you are Canadian/American, almost all the cities in Mexico have a US or Canadian consulate. I always call any embassy of the Philippines in Mexico to inform them that I am in the area.
They always respond with tips and the current situation (especially COVID) so this is really the best resource you can have while traveling Mexico.
How to meet people in Puerto Escondido
Hang out or stay at Bonita Escondida Hostel
Bonita Escondida l is a great accommodation in Puerto Escondido but it’s also an amazing place to socialize! Everyone’s at the bar/pool area all day and you’ll never be alone if you stay here.
If you don’t want to stay here, you can always come to their events. They have Karaoke nights every Thursday!
Go to the Boneyard
The Boneyard is a skatepark slash bar – everyone comes here every night. It’s usually best to come from 10:00 pm. You don’t necessarily have to know how to skate.
Non-skaters hang out here for drinks. It gets really packed so there’s a lot of chance to meet and chat with people!
Go to secret jungle parties (after midnight)
This is not a regular thing but every weekend, there’s a last-minute party announcement in Puerto Escondido. News will spread fast about the location and you will definitely receive the location pin on your Whatsapp if you’re a social person.
These parties are set up in the jungles and secret locations in Puerto Escondido so you might need a ride. People usually organize ride-sharing to go there but the problem is if you leave the party at 5:00 AM, you might need to hitchhike or ride with people with cars.
Bumble or Tinder in Puerto Escondido
Bumble and Tinder are two dating apps widely used in Mexico but I used this a lot in Puerto Escondido just to meet people. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe! Just make sure you meet in a public and busy area like La Punta.
Use Couchsurfing hangouts
I only recommend Couchsurfing hangouts for big cities but I also tried using this in Puerto Escondido. Most people you will find here are solo travelers and backpackers.
The hangouts are real-time and you will get notified via the app when a hangout is happening. You can even set one yourself!
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