The Puerto Escondido surf is famous among surfers all over the world for having some of the best beach breaks in the world. And of course, for the spectacularly big, barreling waves at Playa Zicatela.
Besides Playa Zicatela, there are also many beginner and intermediate spots with smaller waves, where you can take surf lessons or surf the more friendly waves, like at La Punta. And if the waves are really pumping at Zicatela beach you can check out the pro’s which is a real spectacle to watch!
This town just breathes surf and surf culture and Puerto Escondido surf is fun for all levels of surfers. In this Puerto Escondido Surf Guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know for planning a surf trip to this town.
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Are you planning a last minute surf trip to Puerto Escondido?
If you’re planning a last minute surf trip to Puerto Escondido, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best surf hotels, surf camps, and more!
Best surf hotels in Puerto Escondido
Best surf camps in Puerto Escondido
- Oasis Surf Camp (Everything you need to surf, located steps away from Playa Carrizalillo)
The best things to do while you’re not surfing
Puerto Escondido Overview
Puerto Escondido is an amazing Mexican surf town where you will find surf all year round. Average water temps hover in the 80s, so there is no need for a wetsuit.
You can also take full advantage and enjoy the local Mexican cuisine as there are so many restaurants around.
Getting to Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is pretty remote- but that is part of its allure! This Mexican surf town is located in the state of Oaxaca, on the west coast. You can get to Puerto Escondido by flying, taking a bus, or driving/ taking private transportation.
Driving to Puerto Escondido
It’s pretty affordable to rent a car and drive from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. Discover Cars has the best rental car rates around.
Getting to Puerto Escondido by plane
You can fly directly to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City vía AeroTucan and AeroVega.
Getting to Puerto Escondido by bus
If you’re traveling solo and on a budget, you might want to book an overnight ADO bus from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. The bus takes 10-11 hours, and costs about $50/person.
The government is working on a new highway between Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido which will make the bus ride a lot shorter. Once you are in Puerto Escondido you can take a taxi to your destination for around $ 80 MXN (~ $ 4 USD) or hop on the collectivo for around $ 12 MXN (~ $ 0.60 USD). It only goes on the main road so if you arrive with a lot of baggage and boards it is best to take a taxi.
Getting to Puerto Escondido with a private shuttle
A more comfortable option to get from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido is to book a private shuttle. It’s not cheap for one person, but if you’re traveling in a group, this is a good way to go.
The Different Puerto Escondido Surf Breaks
If you’ve heard of Mexpipe, you probably already know about Playa Zicatela.
Playa Zicatela can hold a massive swell and has very fast barreling waves, which makes it a world famous surf spot. It is definitely only a wave for the expert surfer. It is also the home break of some of the professionals and if they paddle out, the whole town comes to watch the surfers take on 20 foot waves.
If you are planning to surf here, it is advised to wear a body protector and a helmet. Because of the shallow section (shore break) where the waves break, it can be extremely dangerous.
If you plan to paddle out at Zicatela, you might want to bring along an extra board if you can. There are lots of broken leashes, boards and egos at Zicatela.
The best time of day to surf at Playa Zicatela is early in the morning when there is almost no wind or offshore winds. You’ll want to go at low to mid tide to catch the best waves. At high tide the waves tend to close out more. It can be a struggle to paddle out, but once you are in the line-up get ready for some once in a lifetime waves and barrels.
La Punta has a mellow left point break for intermediate and expert surfers, and a beach break for beginners.
It can get a bit crowded but overall there is a good vibe in the water. Like everywhere, you’ll want to be aware of surfers around you. Knowing the basic rules of surfing is important here.
It is easy to paddle out here at La Punta, and lots of big sets come through so it’s fun enough for everybody. The best time of day is early in the morning when there is almost no wind or offshore winds, or around 5 pm when the wind lays down.
La Punta is great because you can get a sunrise, and a sunset session in. While in the line-up you can see jumping stingrays, sea turtles and sometimes even whales and dolphins.
In the heart of the Puerto Escondido surf area, you can find Playa Carrizalillo. It is situated in a beautiful bay and you need to do a little walk down some steps to get there.
Playa Carrizalillo is truly an idyllic beach, with clear blue water and friendly waves for beginners and intermediates. The best time to surf here is from mid to low tide. You can rent boards here, and it’s also a wonderful place to book a surf lesson. Playa Carrizalillo is by far one of the best beginner surf beaches in Puerto Escondido.
Best swells and conditions for Puerto Escondido surf:
You can find the best Puerto Escondido surf in the mornings or late afternoons. The wind offshore most of the time, or no wind at all. From May till November there is a consistent SW swell that provides good quality waves. The surf breaks around Puerto Esondido do best with a S/SW swell direction.
Puerto Escondido surf seasons
If you are an experienced surfer it is best to visit during the rainy season, which is between May and September. Around this time the swell is most consistent and pretty big.
If you are a beginner, we recommend going in the winter time between October and April. The weather is better and there are perfect conditions to start learning, the waves are more clean but have a little less size.
Where to stay for a Puerto Escondido Surf Trip
Oasis Surf House is located near the center of Puerto Escondido close to Playa Carrizalillo. They provide surf camps for both beginners and more experienced surfers.
The surf camps provide you with everything you need to enjoy the Puerto Escondido surf to the maximum.
Furthermore, Carrazalillo is perfect for both beginners and more experienced surfers. This surf spot is close to the surf house but they also provide transport to other surf spots around Puerto Escondido so you can experience different beaches.
If you’re keen on learning Spanish, you can also check out their immersive surf and spanish camp.
Casa de Olas is a lovely, boutique hotel in La Punta. This Puerto Escondido surf hotel is perfectly located close to the beach, but right outside the nightlife noise.
All their rooms have air-conditioning and they have a pool. They also have various sports lessons on the roof terrace, such as Vinyasa Yoga and boxing. Guests can also take advantage of their tennis court and salsa lessons on Saturdays.
Selina is a surf hostel located at Playa Zicatela. The hostel offers a variety of different rooms. You can choose between very luxurious private rooms ,a dorm, and everything in between. You can have homemade healthy breakfast in the morning and the restaurant offers great food and drinks. Selina also has a pool, a coworking space and offers yoga and fitness classes on the roof terrace.
🌊Check out our guide to the most amazing Puerto Escondido surf camps!
Where to eat
1. La Casa del Surfer
For the best fish taco in town you definitely need to visit La Casa del Surfer in La Punta. They offer great breakfast as well, but the fish taco is the best!
For breakfast lunch or dinner you should try Spirulina in Zicatela. They have an amazing kitchen and a variety of good healthy food. And the tacos are delicious.
3. Monte Alpan
The best bread in town can be found at Monte Alpan in La Punta. They make amazing sourdough bread and also offer a variety of other products such as baguette, croissants, chocolate buns and charcoal bread.
4. Ala Burger
If you like a good burger you can try the burgers from Ala Burger in La Punta. The burgers are really delicious but they also have good pizza and fish or shrimp tacos.
Puerto Escondido Surfing FAQ’s
Can beginners surf Puerto Escondido?
For sure! Puerto Escondido has lots of places where you can take surf lessons and try surfing for the first time.
Can you swim at Puerto Escondido?
Puerto Escondido has lots of beautiful quiet beaches like Playa Coral or Playa Bacocho where you can swim and snorkel. Swimming at Playa Zicatela is not advised because of the big shore break and also many times there is a lot of backwash and dangerous rip currents.
Why is the wave so big at Puerto Escondido?
Because the ocean floor abruptly deepens near the coastline, the incoming swells encounter a sudden change in water depth. This causes the waves to rise rapidly, leading to larger and more powerful waves.
Tips for your Puerto Escondido surf trip
Hang out at the Boneyard
If you are in La Punta you can get a beer and a pizza at the Boneyard. You can enjoy live music there and it has a skate pool where you can try skating yourself or watch the professionals.
Check out the surf break at Chacahua
If you want to get away from the crowded Puerto Escondido surf, you can find a mellow break at Chacahua just a little south of Puerto Escondido. It can be a little tricky to get to the beaches but it has less crowds and a consistent swell all year round. And if you go a bit more to the south there is a surf spot called San Agustin. This one does need a big swell to work but the beaches and the towns around it, like Mazunte and Zipolite are definitely worth a visit.
Things to do in Puerto Escondido besides surf
When you want to take a day off from surfing Puerto Escondido offers a lot of other fun things to do:
Bioluminescent waters is a phenomenon that occurs in a few special places in the world and Puerto Escondido and Chacahua, are two of them! If you have the chance, we highly recommend swimming and exploring the bioluminescence here at night.
Few things in life are as enchanting as watching the baby sea turtles in Puerto Escondido hatch and make their way towards the ocean!
Aside from hitting the Puerto Escondido surf, embarking on a dolphin watching adventure is one of the best things to do during your time in Puerto Escondido.
Wrapping up Puerto Escondido Surf Guide
Puerto Escondido has everything for an amazing surf experience. Whether you are an experienced surfer or keen to learn, Puerto Escondido should definitely be on your list of places to visit. There is beautiful nature, and tons of wildlife all around. Puerto Escondido also boasts many restaurants to taste the delicious Mexican cuisine. And perhaps most importantly- the Puerto Escondido surf scene holds lots of options to get away from the crowds.