City Girl Guide: Puerto Escondido

As its celebrity as a surf destination has grown, so have the crowds of Puerto Escondido, making it not so much the “Hidden Port” of years past. However, it’s still basically a small town when compared to many of Mexico’s beach destinations. It’s a bit of a Choose Your Adventure kind of town, with some luxury hotels beginning to pop up, but plenty of AirBnbs, decent cheap hotels, hostels, even tents on the beach available. Surf, snorkel, sunburn, yoga retreats, or hidden beach raves – Puerto Escondido has everything you could want out of a beach town. You can stay right in the thick of it or off on a quiet unpaved road.

WHERE TO SURF

Playa Zicatela 

The Mexican Pipeline. The best-known surf spot in Mexico and possibly the most famous beach break in the world. Zicatela Beach is a 3km stretch beginning south of the actual port, with the biggest break at the north end. The big surf starts in early May and goes until September, with primetime from June to August (also the most crowded and the hottest time of year). Good waves run 4’ – 6’, and can get super hairy at upwards of 10’. Zicatela is definitely for experienced surfers only – the break is absolutely pummeling, and the undertow can be dangerous, even in the offseason. Late September to early November is a bit mellower – still decent waves, with the “gring-bro” contingent having thinned out.

Playa Carrizalillo

With a small, consistent break and tiny surf school, Olas de Familia, just a few meters from the water, Carrizalillo is the ideal spot for the total beginner surfer. Take a taxi or short drive north from town (there’s a huge sand parking lot), then walk down the steep steps to this idyllic cove surrounded by cliffs. The snorkeling is great and the vibe is mellow – even in the busy seasons, it doesn’t feel over-crowded.

 

La Punta

At the far south end of the beach is Punta Zicatela, a smaller left point that’s good for the less experienced. The beach is much less crowded down here, and it’s a bit easier to blend into the line up if you’re not known with the locals. It’s packed with unpaved roads and yoga-loving backpackers.

 

 

Where to Shop 

 

via @bodgeguita.stuffstore

Bodeguita Stuff Store

La Punta

 

Stock up on all your surf gear at Bodeguita Stuff, a cute shop with helpful staff selling boards, swimwear, clothing, and all things Mexican and creative. They also host pop-ups and parties, bringing together the cool surf crowd hanging on the La Punta side of Puerto, so be sure to get the scoop from the staff to be a part of the in-crowd.

 

via @cevichesurfco

Ceviche Surf Co

Zicatela

 

If you’re in the market for a unique, handmade board to use while you're visiting and bring home to show off to friends back home, look no further than Ceviche Surf CO, a custom, all local-made board shop. From fun mini Fish boards, to custom made models decorated with Mexican-inspired artistry, to vibrant longboards, the crew will work with you to find your fit, or make you the board of your dreams.

 

Gota de Tierra

La Punta

 

Crossing by this small jewelry shop may make you feel like you’re back in Williamsburg, but the delicate craftsmanship and curation of Gota de Tierra is incredibly unique. The sea-inspired ceramic jewelry and dainty, but geometrically inclined earrings are a perfect clash between wearable and unconventional, and since everything is made in Mexico, you’ll be paying minimal prices to support awesome local artists.

 

WHERE TO EAT

via @lycheethaifood

Lychee Thai

La Punta

 

With a floor of sand, seating made of polished driftwood, and the warm glow of twinkle lights, Lychee Thai is a romanticly hip hangout that works like a machine, turning out classic Thai dishes at an impressive speed (for Mexico, at least) to the lounging gaggle of young, tan, and predominantly French visitors. The food isn’t exactly authentic, but it’s insanely fresh, and a much-needed boost of vegetables after a day of sun, surf, and beers. Go for the basil mojitos, papaya salad, and shrimp spring rolls, stay for the cute dogs looking for snacks.

 

via Smoked Fish Taco

Smoked Fish Taco

Puerto Angelito 

 

If you’re over by the port, don’t miss the Smoked Fish Taco shack slinging all types of tacos for lunch. It’s held in high regard as town’s go-to taco place (if you haven’t turned into a taco already), and as the name suggests, is known for its smoked fish. If you’re a rebel, the ceviche looks pretty good too.

 

Where to Drink

 

One Love Hostel

Brisas de Zicatela

 

Ok, we’re not really into the normal Bob Marley-themed, white-guy with dreadlocks, my-other-car-is-my-hackysack type of hostel vibe. But in this town hostels are everywhere, and One Love is actually a great place for a good drink and great people watching. They play surf themed documentaries and the bar is clean, nicely lit, and bustling with a wide variety of travelers from around the world that made us check our judgment at the door.