Things To Do in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Here are the top things you should do during your visit to Puerto Escondido.

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico beach photo

By now, you probably already know that Puerto Escondido is one of Mexico’s top surfing destinations. But did you know that there are a lot more fun activities to do here aside from surfing? 

We gathered the best of what this small piece of paradise on Mexico’s Pacific coast can offer. In this article, we will give you a rundown of the most exciting things to do in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. If you haven’t booked a place already, be sure to check out our rundown of the Best Hotels in Puerto Escondido.

Things To Do in Puerto Escondido

1. (Learn To) Surf the Waves on La Punta, Carrizalillo Beach, or Zicatela Beach

Big Waves at La Punta, Carrizalillo Beach

Surfing, of course, tops our list. As we established earlier, surfers of all levels from all over the world flock to Puerto Escondido for its ideal surfing conditions since the 1960s. Because of its large swells and powerful barreling beach breaks, Playa Zicatela (Zicatela Beach) is called the “Mexican Pipeline” after the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. The months between April and October see the biggest waves as the swells come to this part of the ocean from the South and East Pacific. 

For non-pro and beginner surfers, you may take lessons at Playa Carrizalillo. The waves and undertow are gentler compared to Playa Zicatela.

If you want to experience the Zicatela Beach atmosphere without its relentless waves and breaks, you can also surf on La Punta. 

2. Hit the Pristine Beaches of Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Pristine Beach of Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Did you know that the Pacific waters in Puerto Escondido are warmer than those in Hawaii? So if you’re looking to escape the harsh cold winter or simply want to take a dip in tropical waters, Puerto Escondido is the place to be. With a long stretch of gorgeous glistening coastline, there’s surely a beach for every type of tourist. 

Puerto Escondido has some of the best beaches, not just in Oaxaca but in all of Mexico. So if you don’t hit the beach while you’re here, it’s like you’ve never even been to this tropical paradise at all!

Some of Puerto Escondido’s many beaches are Playa Puerto Angelito, Playa Manzanillo, Playa Principal, Playa Bacocho, and a lot more to mention. Don’t know which beach to go to? We also wrote a guide on the best beaches in Puerto Escondido.

3. Try Snorkeling

Snorkeling in Puerto Escondido, Mexico featured photo

Feeling a bit more adventurous? The temperate seas, reefs of volcanic rock, and abundant marine life of Puerto Escondido make this area of ​​Oaxaca a perfect place not only to swim and surf but also to snorkel. Grab your goggles, snorkels, and swim fins and witness Puerto Escondido’s vibrant marine life right before your eyes.

Aside from different tropical fish, one creature that you can easily see when snorkeling here are sea turtles. They are abundant in the area and occasionally come to the surface to breathe. Other aquatic creatures you may see include manta rays, swordfish, and pufferfish. Keep in mind, though, that you need to maintain a healthy distance when observing the animals. We don’t want to invade them in their natural habitat.

Read our more detailed guide for more information on snorkeling (and scuba diving) in Puerto Escondido

4. Release Baby Sea Turtles Into the Ocean

Sea Turtle in Puerto Escondido Mexico

Speaking of aquatic creatures, you can also take part in a turtle release activity every 5:00 PM at Bacocho Beach. A local conservation organization lets you release a baby turtle in a coconut shell onto the beach. To take part, you will need to pay 100 Mexican Pesos.

Since the activity is open to everyone, we suggest you come before 5:00 PM to learn a few facts about turtles. Before the actual turtle release, the organizers will teach you how important this project is. You will also get very detailed instructions on how to correctly release the baby turtles.  

5. Visit the Bioluminescent Manialtepec Lagoon

Bioluminescent Manialtepec Lagoon

Can’t get enough of the interesting aquatic life of Puerto Escondido? Well, we’ve got another activity for you. Just a few minutes from downtown Puerto Escondido is a lush lagoon called Laguna de Manialtepec (Manialtepec Lagoon). It is one of the five major lagoons along Mexico’s Pacific Coast. The Manialtepec Lagoon is home to a natural phenomenon called bioluminescence, something only a very few places in the world have.

This phenomenon that lets living organisms emit light allows you to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience of witnessing glowing planktons and swimming in illuminated waters. The effect makes it seem like you’re swimming in glitter! Visiting the lagoon at night for a thrilling boat cruise is one of the most popular tourist activities here, and you definitely shouldn’t miss it.

6. Go Horseback Riding

The good news is that the fun things in Puerto Escondido do not stop with marine creatures. 

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of things to do in a beachside town, but horseback riding is also quite popular among tourists; as it offers a different perspective of Puerto Escondido. There are several horse riding tour options you can choose from: along the beach, to lagoons, or to thermal hot springs.

7. Eat to Your Heart’s Content

traditional Mexican food photo

Home to some of the best cuisine in Mexico, the state of Oaxaca is famous for its unparalleled traditional Mexican food. Having said that, you can’t leave this place without trying its dishes. And what better place to do so than right on the beachfront.

Puerto Escondido’s restaurants range from casual taco kiosks to upscale restaurants serving gourmet international food. Those in Playa Zicatela and Playa Carrizalillo tend to be on the pricier side since these beaches are two of the most crowded in Puerto Escondido.

If you’re looking for more relaxed places with reasonably priced menus, head to Playa Angelito. Take note, though, that most restaurants here close by 6:00 PM. Another good choice is La Punta, especially if you’re looking for casual international cuisine. The area has restaurants that serve Thai, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Argentine, and Chinese food. 

If you’re craving for more, you may also join the Oaxaca Food Tour that will bring you to local hidden spots and famous chic restaurants. Talk about the best of both worlds! You will also get to taste the famous Oaxacan cheese and chocolate. 

Check out our complete list of the best restaurants in Puerto Escondido.

8. Shop Like a Local

Mercado Benito Juarez in Centro

If you want to buy the best Oaxacan chocolates, pressed juices, and the catch of the day, shop at Mercado Benito Juarez in Centro. The area is filled with shops that sell a variety of different food and goods, including spices, meat, fruits, clothes, and a whole lot more!

If you want to bring home souvenirs, head to El Adoquin. It’s a lively pedestrian zone on Playa Principal that’s lined with different souvenir shops, beachside bars, and restaurants.

9. Watch the Sunset

After all the surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and shopping, you deserve to relax and unwind with magnificent views of the Pacific Coast Sunset. The best areas to witness the sunset are Playa Zicatela, La Punta, and Playa Carrizalillo.

Mexico Pacific Coast Sunset

Spend your late afternoons sipping margaritas on the Ben Zaa Hotel rooftop or any of the beach bars along Zicatela or La Punta while you enjoy the gorgeous sunset. You can also feast on quality comfort food at Restaurante Espadín inside the luxurious Villas Carrizalillo to enjoy the fantastic views of the ocean and the sunset.