Puerto Escondido is quickly becoming one of Mexico’s most desirable vacation destinations. It is by far the most popular beach getaway in the state of Oaxaca, a region that boasts miles and miles of rugged Pacific coastline. Once you set foot in Puerto Escondido, you’ll quickly wonder why you haven’t been coming here your entire life. I first visited Puerto Escondido in 2018, when the “Escondido” (hidden) in its name still kind of meant something. I visited again in 2021, and despite being a little sad to see its rapid development, still absolutely loved my time there.
The nice part about Puerto Escondido is that there are various neighborhoods. If you want to party, there’s a neighborhood for you. If you want to avoid people altogether, that’s still very possible, too. I’ve stayed at a number of different neighborhoods in Puerto, and loved each one for different reasons. Here’s what you need to know before picking a place to stay in Puerto Escondido.
The Neighborhoods of Puerto Escondido
Rinconada is the neighborhood closest to Puerto Escondido’s paradise beach of Playa Carrizalillo. When I first visited Puerto Escondido back in 2018, this was my favorite neighborhood. It is a little quieter, but puts you right at the doorstep of Playa Carrizalillo. Rinconada is also within walking distance of many other beaches, including Playa Bacocho and Playa Coral.
The streets here are as sleepy as it gets, making it a perfect neighborhood to laze the days away. The white stone buildings, palm trees, and mostly car-less streets give it that perfect laid-back beach town vibe. There is a strip of businesses where you’ll find a few restaurants, cafes, and mini super markets, but aside from that, Rinconada is mostly residential. The nightlife here is almost nonexistent.
There are a number of good hostels in the area for my fellow backpackers, and these might be your best bet to have some drinks and meet cool people. Vivo Escondido is one of my favorite hostels in Puerto Escondido. It is a beautiful property with a laid-back vibe. A pool, rooftop hammocks with a view, dope art, and air-conditioned dorms for as low as $10 a night make it a great option.
Where To Stay: Vivo Escondido
La Punta is Puerto Escondido’s answer to Tulum, but arguably, does it better. As of right now, Puerto Escondido has not reached the level of popularity that Tulum has exploded to. It is still relatively low-key, laid back, and affordable. The type of traveler that Puerto Escondido attracts is on average, not the douchey American tourist on a weekend getaway looking to get irresponsibly wasted. I’ll admit, it definitely gets that way sometimes, but at least it’s not all the time… yet.
Okay okay, I see that I haven’t really sold it yet. La Punta is where you’ll find a good crowd of people looking to have fun and treat themselves. If you’re in Puerto Escondido for a short time and don’t mind spending money on a good time, La Punta is for you. The best restaurants in Puerto Escondido can all be found here. The cuisine is widely international, ranging from Mexican to Peruvian to Thai to Japanese, and more. Food is the key to my happiness, so I basically came to La Punta every night for dinner. All things considered, it’s still quite affordable to stay in La Punta, especially considering just how quickly my money disappeared in a place like Tulum, which I enjoyed less than La Punta.
La Punta is also right on the beach, close to the cliffs that jut out from the mainland, hence the name La Punta. It’s a great spot for surfing, and usually the most crowded beach on any given day. Of course, crowds of people also means the best nightlife. La Punta is the place to be for the party, at least for pre-gaming. Most people will move to the big clubs and underground raves later at night, but the boujee bars of La Punta will be the poppin’ spot pre-midnight.
It’s pretty wild how different the various beachside neighborhoods of Puerto Escondido are. Zicatela is where the nightlife is centered, making it a great place to stay if you’re looking to party. This neighborhood is a huge part in why Puerto Escondido is one of the best party destinations in Mexico. It’s the safe bet for travelers that need a good home base that offers everything you need, while still being by the beach. It isn’t particularly unique or charming, but it gets the job done.
It isn’t as trendy as La Punta, and isn’t as local as Centro or Rinconada. Zicatela is literally the perfect medium, or in other words, quite average. I stayed here for a week, mostly to get settled after traveling at a fast pace the prior few weeks. It was great to use as a home base. Long sunrise runs along the boardwalk balanced out the crazy parties at the go-to clubs of Xcandaa and Isha.
Where To Stay: Hotel Las Olas, Selina
For travelers looking for a beach getaway, Centro might not be the top choice. However, there are a lot of benefits to staying in Centro. You’re close to shops, supermarkets, ATMs, and the colectivo vans that take you anywhere from Zipolite to Oaxaca to Chacahua. The places to stay here will be cheaper, which can make up for having to pay the 40-50 peso taxis to anywhere within town.
You’re never too far from a beach while in Puerto Escondido, but admittedly, it’s more of a trek from Centro. This could be a good thing, though, since it allows you to explore some of the more local beaches. Carrizalillo, Zicatela, and La Punta are very popular tourist beaches, but Playa Manzanilla and Puerto Angelito are two local beaches that are close to Centro. They’ve got beautiful turquoise waters and white sands. It’s honestly a surprise to me why they aren’t more popular among tourists.
Where To Stay: Hostel Paziflora
Not too many travelers stay around this part of town, but it is close to the long, less crowded Playa Bacocho. This beach is famous for being home to the turtle release that you can partake in. Bacocho is the farthest neighborhood from the sizzling nightlife of La Punta. If you’re looking for a wholesome time, Bacocho is the quiet, laid-back neighborhood for you. You’ll be close to the beaches of Bacocho, Playa Coral, and Playa Carrizalillo. It’s not a far walk to the main road, so everything you need is still within walking distance.
Where To Stay: Tower Bridge Hostel