As I was, you may be wondering where in the world is Puerto Escondido? It’s a small town on the Pacific coast of the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. You’ve probably heard of Puerto Vallarta—keep heading southeast along the coast. Eventually you’ll hit another city you’ve probably heard of—Acapulco. Keep going and just before you get to Guatemala you’ll happen upon Puerto Escondido. And once you discover it, you may not want to leave.
A lot of folks feel that way, which explains why about 40% of the population of 45,000, give or take, are expats—mostly American and Canadian. This town is easy like Sunday morning. One stroll down Avenida del Morro, the main drag along the beach, will have you humming Reggae wanting to feel the sand between your toes cool beverage in hand.
Playa Zicatela, the main beach, is known among surfers far and wide. Puerto hosts several annual competitions. If you’re looking for a beach that’s safe, friendly, relaxing and safe enough to bring the whole family without breaking the bank, Puerto is a great choice.
I happened to be there for a Global Village build for Habitat for Humanity, so I spent most of my time building a house, but thought I’d pass on a few tidbits I learned while I was there.
Our Habitat team stayed at the Bungalow Zicatela but I’d stay there again on my own or with my family. We took a walk one night in town and checked out the grounds of Hotel Santa Fe which looked terrific.
[PRO TIP: There is a medical clinic right next to Bungalow Zicatela, should you need a quick visit. Walk in hours, very affordable.]
We had a big group for dinner every night, so we ate most of our meals at two restaurants, where we could pre-order the meals so we wouldn’t be waiting for our food all night.
- Right on the beach and directly across from Bungalow Zicatela is Cañabrava. The food is nice, some veggie items and vegan too, and the view is pretty sweet.
- Further down Av. Del Morro is El Cafecito, also with some Mexican dishes, pasta, and smattering of Western dishes thrown in.
Playa Zicatela is to La Punta what Nice is to Eze in the French Riviera. Only 1.3 miles from Zicatela it’s the even smaller, charming, laid-back, blink-or-you’ll-miss-it beach town.
The town has some boutiques, selling mostly swimwear (think bikinis for tiny bodies) and some bars and restaurants. We had Thai food at Lychee and I highly recommend it. Atmosphere, food, service, all terrific!
The beach there is wonderful, deep, sheltered and swimable. Pick out a spot with a chaise and umbrella, buy a drink and watch the sunset.
[PRO TIP: On a busy weekend night we had trouble finding a taxi to take us back to Zicatela. If you are patient you’ll find one, but you can also try asking your hostess at the restaurant to call a cab, or plan to have a driver come back to get you when you get dropped off.]