This Oaxacan town is known for its excellent surfing waves and laid-back vibe. But other than that, are there are lot of things to do in Puerto Escondido? I spend my time once a year in Oaxaca and here are my best recommendations.
📬 Reader Mail: Trisha, I really appreciate your blogs about Mexico travel. I know you said you do not encourage us to visit Mexico because of COVID but I still appreciate all the stories you share with us about your life. It’s very refreshing!
I plan to go there for a long vacation this year and I really am looking at Puerto Escondido based on your blogs. Do you already have things to do in Puerto Escondido list?
If not, what are the most local things to do you can recommend? I would also appreciate it if you can connect me to some people there if that’s not too much to ask! Thank you and more power to your blog!
– Laverne Hoehne, USA
Glad you found me! Thank you so much for reaching out! I only blog about things that readers ask me so it’s really great to hear from you!
I know I said I do not encourage you to travel to Mexico but please make sure you get a COVID test upon arrival. You also need it when you travel back to the USA anyway!
I feel that it’s essential to take care of the Mexicans who still work in tourism here. Some of them may not be able to provide for their families even just for one day of being sick. I appreciate your participation in taking care of our locals!
Below are my recommended things to do in Puerto Escondido and most of the tours here are supporting individual businesses.
I hope you can support them, too! If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via Instagram. Good luck and safe travels to Mexico!
I’ve been living in Mexico for the last three years and I am really surprised how I was able to make instant local friends in Puerto Escondido.
As a surf town, the people of Puerto Escondido are very warm and welcoming. Everyone’s living the chill and slow vibe. Everyone says hi to everyone. It’s so easy to be here, especially when you are traveling alone. People in Puerto Escondido are so kind and loving!
The bulk of my travels are about local family stay. I did it in most of South America and Southeast Asia. I just prefer to stay with local families because I feel like this is where I learned a lot, especially when it comes to cooking local dishes. This is my favorite part!!!
I did a lot of tours while I was in PE but in these things to do in Puerto Escondido list, I would love to highlight the individual businesses of the local people I met there, hoping you can support them too!
Is Puerto Escondido open for tourism?
Mexico accepts tourists all over the world and there is no requirement for a COVID test upon entry (for now). Mexico measures the COVID situation in every state and assigns a color according to the number of COVID cases and their intensity. Green (safe), yellow (moderate), orange (limited), and red (total lockdown).
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Puerto Escondido is open and is accepting tourists. Unfortunately, in Mexico, we don’t really have grave lockdowns but sometimes, the state of Oaxaca have their own rules regarding the opening of beaches and tourist spots.
If you want to know more about my experience traveling in Puerto Escondido during COVID, click here.
Is Puerto Escondido worth visiting?
ABSOLUTELY! I go to Puerto Escondido once a year and mix it with my trip to one of my favorite Mexican cities, Oaxaca. If it wasn’t for the bad Internet, I’d definitely be a digital nomad in Puerto Escondido!
Puerto Escondido is one of the best places to visit in Mexico because it still has a very Mexican feel. If you’re not a fan of tourist places, PE is definitely way local (and cheaper) than Tulum or Cancun.
Try to visit Puerto Escondido and you won’t leave, I swear! This place can cater to all ages including families traveling with kids but most of the people who go here are young expats, backpackers, and digital nomads.
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The best things to do in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
#1: Rent a motorbike
I rented a car for my Oaxaca road trip but within Puerto Escondido, it’s still best to rent a motorbike if you are traveling Puerto Escondido solo.
Motorbikes here are actually scooters. They are automatic and are very easy to drive. In the beginning, I was adamant about driving the highways on a motorbike but this city is a bike city.
Just follow everyone on the main road and you’re good to go! You will find yourself driving with big trucks and lots of cars so I don’t really recommend this if you are not confident enough to drive in Mexico.
During COVID, motorbike rental companies in Zicatela are closed. They did not have a fixed opening/closing time so it was really hard for me to find one. When I did, they charged me $400 MXN ($25 USD per day) but I was able to haggle for a local price.
We then agreed to $250 MXN ($12 USD) per day without the gas. They will only need a copy of your driver’s license and passport in order for you to rent a motorbike.
You also don’t have to deposit. I saved have all the phone numbers of the motorbike guys in PE so get in touch if you’d like their contacts!
#2: 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.
But wow, Puerto Escondido beaches are beautiful! I think what I like the most about these beaches is the adventurous hikes that go with them.
Especially Carrizalillo beach which was a downhill hike (stairs/flat, so don’t worry). I visited when Puerto Escondido opened in August (from a very long lockdown) and I couldn’t believe how crowded the beaches were.
Puerto Escondido has a semi-strict COVID rule so outdoor activities are allowed. Visiting all the beaches here is probably the bulk of the things to do in Puerto Escondido but they’re all worth it, I promise!
#3: Participate in a turtle release
Job, a Puerto Escondido local is one of the people who first started this turtle release activity. He founded the Manglar Tourist Cooperative, an organization working with native people in the area where this tour takes place.
Many of the locals that Job’s tours support are fishermen who are very knowledgeable about Puerto Escondido’s waters. Job has years of experience living in PE – he’s been swimming the famous waters of Manialtepec Lagoon ever since he was a child!
See also: How to get to Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Job trained himself how to be a boat captain in order to do his own tours in Puerto Escondido. He will also provide pick-up and drop-off at your hotel when you book this tour.
This turtle release activity with Job also includes a bioluminescence tour in the Manialtepec Lagoon for only $35 USD! I hope you enjoy this day with Job. He really is a great guide!
#4: Drinks and fun at The Boneyard
The Boneyard is a new hang-out spot for the cool kids of Puerto Escondido. If you are doing solo travel in Puerto Escondido, this is the best place to hang out and meet people. It’s always best to come here at 10:00 pm when people arrive for pre-drinks.
The Boneyard has a very interesting concept of a bar because there’s a skating rink inside! Chat away with people while watching locals skate in the park. Beers start at $2 USD and cocktails from $1 USD. You shouldn’t miss this spot in Puerto!
#5: Try all the International cuisines at La Punta Zicatela
La Punta Zicatela is such an amazing spot, especially for young people. But what’s super interesting about this area is the selection of food. There is a newly opened food park that has a coffee shop, sushi place, and vegan food.
What’s also very interesting is that they have all the International cuisines in the world! Thai, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Argentine, Chinese – I don’t remember seeing a lot of Mexican restaurants in La Punta. This is definitely the place for International cuisine in Puerto Escondido. Try them all!
#6: Go on Jungle parties
There are lots of secret Jungle parties in Puerto Escondido that are announced last minute. If you are a very social person and are always hanging out with locals in Puerto Escondido, news about secret parties always spreads so fast.
They usually happen from Thursday to Sunday. The map of the exact location of the secret parties will be sent to you via Whatsapp.
People usually just send it to everybody so technically, it is not a secret party anymore. What makes it super secret is that you’ll get to know there’s a party only a few hours before!
#7: Eat fish tacos at The Fish Shack
Fish Shack La Punta is one of the coolest seafood restaurants in Puerto Escondido. It’s a small place that only serves seafood.
My favorite here is the fish tacos and the ceviche. For the fish tacos, they will ask if you want to be grilled or friend but I encourage you to try both!
The fish shack’s location (see photo in #5) is a great place at any time of the day. Despite the few tables and chairs, people still come here in big groups so don’t always expect to have a table. The servers here are super friendly and will help you with ordering.
P.S. Try their camaron de coco (coconut shrimp), too!
#8: 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!
There are many surf instructors in Puerto Escondido but I recommend Pablo, a 20-year old who’s been surfing the waves of PE ever since he was a young boy.
Sure, he’s only 20 but he knows these waters in and out. For his age, he’s really professional and very clear with instructions. He can teach beginner surfers how to catch the first wave and can also bring pro surfers to spots that are not very well-known.
#9: Take a paddleboard yoga class
Surf and yoga go hand in hand and there are many yoga classes in Puerto Escondido. I particularly like the yoga on a paddleboard because it’s something that I always found a challenging activity.
Imagine doing yoga on a board! How do you even concentrate on your breathing if you’re worried about falling off the board?!?!
It was only until I tried it that I realize that you need to have the right teacher/instructor when doing this. It’s really not that hard!
See also: The best Mazunte hotels
Originally from Canada, Kelly-Anne moved to Puerto Escondido and never looked back. She loves how she can do her own business in PE while enjoying the thing that she loves – yoga on a paddleboard!
She is a certified yoga instructor, a flatwater SUP instructor, and a hobbyist surfer. Kelly-Anne’s close friends call her a mermaid as she can also swim for hours on open water and spends most of her time in the ocean.
#10: Oaxaca food tour: a must!
Oaxaca prides itself as the best culinary destination in Mexico and they really are! Oaxacan food is very iconic to this country and you should get to know it.
I am still doing a lot of research and participating in food tours all over the state because this cuisine is really interesting.
Alex and Ricardo have been doing Oaxacan food tours in Puerto Escondido for years and I really love their routes! I don’t think I will be able to find these food places in PE if I am doing it by myself (even if I am fluent in Spanish).
Oaxacan cuisine is known for its cheese and chocolate, believe me, I ask my friends in Puerto Escondido to send it to me here in Nayarit every month! I really love it! When people come to Mexico, they always think that food tours are only about tacos but this one isn’t.
This walking tour takes 3 hours but I would really recommend you to come on an empty stomach. Seriously. Don’t eat at all before coming to this tour.
#11: Professional travel photos with local photographers
As a solo traveler, it’s always hard for me to take pictures by myself though I’ve gotten used to it from years of traveling alone. The first time I did a photo session was in London and the only reason I did that is that it was cold. I couldn’t be bothered to move around with my camera gear!
In Puerto Escondido, local photographers Laura and Luis not only take professional photos for their clients/guests but will also show you around the beautiful photo spots in PE!
They are both very casual so you don’t need to be conscious about posing. Laura and Luis can guide you and you can really learn from them about your photo angles.
Just relax, have fun, and make sure to bring lots of outfits! They also professionally edit the photos so you’ll have a great souvenir – print it, post it on your Instagram, or even make a Puerto Escondido postcard using your photos.
#12: 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.
Personally, I am not a tequila fan – I know it’s crazy since I’ve been living in Mexico for years. But give me a mezcal and I will drink them all!
The thing with mezcal, in my opinion, is that it will never give you a hangover. Oaxaca is also the popular state for mezcal so make sure to do it here!
What’s next after Puerto Escondido: Check out Mazunte, Pueblo Magico!
This mezcal distillery tour is hosted by Antoine, a French who fell in love with Mexico and has been living here for the last 5 years. He started his own business when COVID hit, leaving his private consulting office job along the process. In this tour, he will also show you the proper mezcal pairings (food) so make sure to come hungry!
#13: Learn how to make Macrame wall hanging
I’ve tried to do macrame myself (a lot) and always failed. It looks so easy but it really is challenging, especially if you’re just learning from Youtube videos.
I wanted to fill my house with it but they are so expensive on Amazon so I decided to just give up and take macrame wall hanging lessons in Puerto Escondido.
It’s a really fun activity and after this, I was able to do a lot by myself without ordering the expensive macrame online!
The host, Nikki, is a fashion designer from the Netherlands. She moved to Puerto Escondido to make her own fashion brand where she designs not only macrame but also bags, dresses, and accessories. Nikki has traveled all over the world but she somehow found a home in Puerto Escondido.
She really loves living here and it shows in the pieces of art she creates. PE is also home to many artists like Nikki so if you are one, check out Puerto Escondido. You’d be surprised at how you’re going to find your home here as Nikki did.
#14: Bioluminescence Night Spectacle in Manialtepec Lagoon
I’ve seen a lot of bioluminescence tours in my life (most recently in Costa Rica) and I did not know that Mexico is also big on this. I know that we have it in my area on the Pacific coast but I have not unfortunately seen it myself. This bioluminescence tour in Manialtepec Lagoon is a must-do when you are in Puerto Escondido!
The tour starts after sunset and the ride takes 45 minutes from Zicatela (where I stayed). The tour guide will pick you up in your own hotel so don’t worry. You just need to give them the address when you book.
Marvel at a spectacular natural show while crossing the lagoon in a boat with the help of a local guide. According to the guide I talked to, there are only 2 lagoons in Mexico that have this spectacular and beautiful phenomenon and I believe the other one is in the Bay of Banderas (where I live!).
I will investigate further and will let you know about it, soon! This tour ends past midnight so don’t forget to take a nap before the tour guide picks you up!
#15: Sunrise whale watching
This sunrise whale watching tour starts at 6:00 in the morning so make sure not to go out the night before (like I did. HAHAHA!).
The tour guide will pick you up at your hotel 30 minutes before the tour. This is a boat activity so most of the time, you will be on the boat.
You are not allowed to swim not go down the boat. This is a 3-hour tour and honestly, you might think why it will take that long if you’re just watching whales from a boat.
The whales are in the wild (they are not captured) so the boatman is just following the sounds that they make. This is not an animal show and you need to be quiet while the boat comes closer to these spectacular sea creatures. It looks scary, especially if the boat is too close to the whales.
I always felt like it can just flap its tail and our boat’s going to turn upside down but they are also pretty fast. They move a lot and our boat needed to keep up all the time.
Food and drink are not included so make sure to bring some light snacks. You can always have a big breakfast after the tour. Aside from whale watching, you will also witness the beautiful Puerto Escondido sunrise when you book this tour.
#16: See all 7 bays of Huatulco
Huatulco is one of the best places to visit in Mexico as it offers the perfect mix between a quiet, relaxing paradise and an outdoor adventure playground.
Since it’s located so far south, it’s a very hot and arid climate (perfect if you’re not into humidity). With no big cities nearby, it’s the perfect secluded escape with the Sierra Madre mountain range looming in the background.
Touring the 7 bays of Huatulco on a boat is one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido – you should really see Huatulco!
During the drive, it was nice to see the little small towns in between. I plan to drive that route in the future and visit these towns – I am really curious what they’re all about!
The bay of Santa Cruz in Huatulco is where you’ll board the cruise boat and from there, you will visit all the other bays like Chahue, La Entrega, El Oregano, Maguey, and Cacaluta.
You will also stop in Chachacual National Park where you can see wildlife depending on the season. After the cruise, the guide also took our group to local places on the mainland to try mezcal and chapulines.
#17: Go on a one-day retreat (women only)
As you all know, Puerto Escondido is a party town – you’ll definitely need to have a break from those. As a digital nomad, I always stay in Puerto Escondido for longer periods of time, and believe me – partying every night will wear you out!
When this happens to me, I always make sure to disconnect from the Puerto Escondido crowds (and totally avoid my friends in the process) to go on a one-day retreat for women. This only costs $60 USD and you’ll have a full day with fellow female travelers to nurture the goddess in you!