Ultimate Guide to the Best Puerto Escondido Beaches

At one of the most beautiful Puerto Escondido beaches, turquoise waters, rocky cliffs, and tall palms create an inviting area to swim.

Would you believe me if I told you there is a Puerto Escondido beach for every day of the week? Well, it’s true and you’re about to discover them all. 

The beauty of visiting this long stretch of coastline is that there’s a wide range of beaches for every person and every mood. In fact, each day you could visit a different beach in Puerto Escondido and there would still be a couple extra to squeeze into your itinerary.

The diversity in both the neighborhoods and Puerto Escondido beaches is one of my favorite things about visiting this surfer town. I also find these beaches to be some of the most accessible along the coast of Oaxaca.

I’ve loosely organized this list to showcase my favorite beaches in Puerto Escondido first. But I also organized it by those that are geographically close to each other.

Keep in mind that swimming conditions vary day to day and by season. No matter where you are in the world, I always recommend that you observe the ocean and how the waves approach the shoreline before jumping in. For even more insight, pay attention to where other people are swimming and follow suit.

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Playa Carrizalillo – Most Beautiful Beach in Puerto Escondido

An overview shot of Playa Carrazalillo, one of several Puerto Escondido beaches. Golden sand, turquoise waters, tall palms, and a rocky cliff face make up the breathtaking scene.

Various hues of turquoise water edged by tall cliffs and palm trees form a breathtaking bay that is often regarded as the best beach in Puerto Escondido. It’s also one of the most crowded, but don’t let that stop you from visiting regularly.

Playa Carrizalillo is one of the best beaches for swimming. Typically the waves are relatively gentle with enough crest to still have fun. The waves in the center of the beach break close to the shoreline which means it’s just a short swim past the breaking point. 

This is also the best beach for beginner surfers. On the left, is a surf break where there are a handful of surfers from the early morning until the sunset. You can arrange surf lessons or rent a board directly on the beach. However, I’ve heard the prices here are higher than on other beaches.

Golden sand and turquoise waters sweep along the bay at Playa Carrizalillo, the most beautiful beach in Puerto Escondido. People lounge in the sand in front of the palapa shaded restaurants while others swim in the ocean.

Playa Carrizalillo (don’t forget to roll the double R and turn the double L into a Y sound!) is located in Rinconada, a residential neighborhood with a strip of restaurants. Other than the beachside restaurants, a tree produces some shade on the far right.

To get there you’ll need to descend the steps (over 150 of them!) to the soft golden sand below. This became my favorite beach in Puerto Escondido, so trust me when I say the rigorous climb back up at the end of your beach day will be totally worth it.

Playa Manzanillo and Puerto Angelito – Best Puerto Escondido Beaches for Families

Just beyond the view of the rocks, lots of people swim and walk along the beach at Playa Manzanillo in Puerto Escondido. Short palm trees line the back cliff in which a large hotel is situated.

Located in the same bay, these two Puerto Escondido beaches have some of the calmest waves which make them perfect for families. Located just south of Playa Carrizalillo, they’re also easier to access due to fewer steps.

As you descend towards the beach, Playa Manzanillo will be on your left and Puerto Angelito on your right. There is a walkway between the two so you can easily choose which beach to visit once you arrive.

With fewer boats anchored close to shore, Playa Manzanillo is a nicer beach for swimming. And on the left, near the rocks is an area to snorkel. Just be aware of potential currents and boats.

At one of the best Puerto Escondido beaches, a woman sits in the sand facing the ocean. Others also lounge and enjoy swimming in the water of this calm bay.

Both beaches are lined with seafood restaurants which will provide the shade of an umbrella with the purchase of food or drinks. La Palapa de Carrasco in Playa Manzanillo is highly rated. And I was surprised a minimum spend was not required when I was there.

Also, there is a decent amount of shade in the late afternoon along this beach. I found both rocks and trees provided small shaded pockets to lounge without necessarily needing to patronize a restaurant.

Puerto Angelito is where you will start if you book this dolphin and whale tour, which you absolutely should. 

Playa Zicatela – Puerto Escondido’s Surfing Beach

A high view of Zicatela Beach, Puerto Escondido. Tall palms and dense tropical plants surround the houses leading to Playa Zicatela, a long sandy beach in Puerto Escondido.

Playa Zicatela, Puerto Escondido’s most famous surfing beach, stretches 3.5 km south of the city. This is not a swimming beach. And surfing at Playa Zicatela should be left to the professionals.

Playa Zicatela has some of the largest waves in the world. The surf break is affectionately called the Mexican Pipeline. During the main surf season between April and October, international surf competitions are held here. 

Other than surfing, Playa Zicatela has many beach bars and restaurants as well as a co-working space at Selina Hostel. At night, Playa Zicatela is known for the best nightlife in Puerto Escondido.

While you’re planning your trip, check out my guide to the best hostels in Puerto Escondido.

La Punta Beach – Surfer, Backpacker, and Hippie Vibes

Fisherman stand on the rocks to cast their line as the setting sunlight streams across the shore and begins to set behind the cliff of La Punta.

At the south end of Zicatela is La Punta, an area known for fabulous sunsets and an intermediate surf break. In the day everyone heads to the beach or to surf. And after sunset, everyone floods the restaurants before going out for the night.

The unpaved, sandy streets have a laidback surfer/hippie/backpacker vibe. And the restaurants are largely weighted toward international cuisine. You can read about these and more in my guide to Puerto Escondido restaurants.

In La Punta, Puerto Escondido, two women walk along the beach as fisherman stand on the rocks behind. Meanwhile the sun is setting behind the cliff.

There are also a lot of beach clubs in La Punta. If your perfect day consists of lounging on the beach with a cocktail or beer, I recommend Punta Puerto. It’s one of the best beach clubs in La Punta.

This area has seen a lot of development as of late. While the bohemian style was sometimes refreshing, I hope it will retain some of its Mexican roots as it continues to grow.

Discover the Best Restaurants in Puerto Escondido

A Bonus Beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Perhaps you’ve already watched the sunset in La Punta, but have you ever wondered what is behind the large cliff that gives the area its name?

Well, the answer is, another beach! But this isn’t just a secluded beach. There are also impressive rock formations and a beautiful rock archway

I became so wrapped up in the stunning rocks that I didn’t have much time to check out the beach. However, its exposed location and sea turtle nesting lead me to believe it’s not a swimming beach. But, it’s fabulous for a walk in the morning or before sunset.

To get there, walk La Punta beach past the surfers and look for a path in the cliff on your left. It’s a short climb up and then down onto the beach. While I typically prefer sturdy shoes you can easily climb in flip flops if you find yourself there with nothing else as I did.

Playa Bacocho – Best for Long Walks, Turtle Release, and Sunset

A couple strolls the beach at Playa Bacocho where towering, dense palm trees can be seen in the background. Waves come to shore along the rocky curve of the beach.

It seems as though this long beach stretches to infinity without much shade in sight. And with a strong undercurrent, Playa Bacocho is a Puerto Escondido beach that’s best for a long walk before sunset

There are a couple of high-end beach clubs with swimming pools and towering palm trees. But unless you want to feel like you are at a resort, I think there are better options with more swimmable beaches.

Another highlight of Playa Bacocho is the turtle release at Vive Mar which made my list of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido. It happens every evening before sunset.

I think the perfect combination is a beach afternoon at Playa Coral (see next) followed by the turtle release and sunset at Playa Bacocho.

Seeking more beach days? Discover the best beaches in Huatulco, Oaxaca.

Playa Coral – A Hidden Beach in Puerto Escondido

This small, nearly hidden beach in Puerto Escondido is better for swimming than its neighbor, Bacocho. However, you should still use caution as there is a steep drop-off and possible undercurrents.

So while not as calm as other Puerto Escondido beaches, its relatively remote location means there are also fewer people.

The soft white sand and clear water that flows into the bay will make you feel like you’ve discovered a special cove. The beach lacks afternoon shade and there are no beach bars, so you will need to bring everything you need for the day.

Large rocks with deep crevices sit in the sandy area between Bacocho and Playa Coral. Two vultures are perched on the tallest cliff face as the water flows in from the ocean.

The best way to get to Playa Coral is to walk from Playa Bacocho. Just past the two resorts near the tall palms is a sandy pathway with large rocks. The beginning involves some maneuvering around the rocks, but it’s quite easy.

There is also a pathway at the top of the road, though I’ve heard it has become more precarious lately. You can also opt to get to Playa Coral through Villa Mexicana if you pay a fee. Even though it includes a free beer and a hamburger, I personally would rather not promote privatizing access to the beaches. 

So my solution was to taxi to Playa Bacocho in the afternoon heat. Then I enjoyed both beaches and the turtle release before walking back to town after the sunset. It was a lovely afternoon.

Bahia Principal – Central Puerto Escondido Beach

At Bahia Principal, the central beach in Puerto Escondido, a woman strolls along the shoreline with sandals in her hand. Several people including a couple and a man in a cowboy hat sit in the sand while others play in the ocean. Several boats are also anchored in the bay.

Like many Mexican beach towns, the central bay tends to be where most motorboats anchor. As a result, Bahía Principal is not my favorite beach in Puerto Escondido.

However, it is the beach to visit if you want to watch the fishermen come in with their catch of the day. You’ll also likely find a few Mexican families playing in the gentle waves. 

If you need to take refuge in the shade, there are a few beach bars here. In addition, this area is close to Artesanías El Adoquin if you want to buy some souvenirs. Though, you’re likely to find better prices at Mercado Benito Juarez, which you should plan to visit anyhow.

Playa Marinera

An overview of Playa Mainero, Puerto Escondido. Umbrellas and lounge chairs are lined up in the sand, a sailboat is anchored in the bay, and a few people walk around. In the background is low skyline of Puerto Escondido.

This beach could be considered an extension of the principal beach mentioned above. During the rainy season, a lagoon often forms between the two. If that’s the case, you can get to this beach via access north of Playa Zicatela, near the large hand sculpture.

The waves are smaller than nearby Playa Zicatela and known for body surfing, though I would still use caution. And if you prefer, the few restaurants have lounge chairs and umbrellas along the beach. 

I only explored this beach around sunset when I stopped by the restaurant, La Mariinera, for a margarita and plate of fresh sashimi. It’s located directly on the beach with a beautiful sunset view.

Have you visited any of these Puerto Escondido beaches? Perhaps you have a favorite. Let me know in the comments!

How many beaches are in Puerto Escondido?

There are eight main beaches in Puerto Escondido. They range in size from small bays to long stretches of sandy beach.

Can you swim in the ocean in Puerto Escondido?

You can swim in the ocean at most beaches in Puerto Escondido. However, some have a strong undercurrent. It’s always a good idea to observe the ocean and the waves before jumping in.

Does Puerto Escondido have clear water?

The water in Puerto Escondido is very clear. The smaller bays have hues of turquoise that will make your head spin. The larger beaches tend to have stronger waves that kick up the sand and obscure the water.

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