My answer to your burning questions about solo travel safety in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
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!
I’ve been living in Mexico for the past 2 years and Puerto Escondido is one of my most favorite destinations. Honestly, if I am not living in Sayulita, I will choose Puerto Escondido. It has a very great culture and vibe that blended well with the type of ex-pat/traveler that I am.
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 at 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!
You might also like: The Digital Nomad Guide to Guanajuato, Mexico
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 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.
Rent a motorbike or a car
I did a road trip to 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!
See also: Mexico City late-night eats guide
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.
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.