#ThisIsLiving Guide to Puerto Escondido, Mexico

On Oaxaca’s Emerald Coast, this laid-back beach town is a surfer’s nirvana. But beyond the Mexican pipeline, Puerto Escondido is a cocktail of contemporary art, sustainable, barefoot-luxe hotels and a healthy shot of mescal and, of course, a bottle of Corona enjoyed in its homeland. In partnership with Corona, our #ThisisLiving guide takes you from bioluminescent lagoons to cutting-edge social projects. Plus, the best fish tacos on Playa Zicatela.

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Puerto Escondido isn't Mexico's best-kept secret. Surfers have washed up on Zicatela Beach for years, drawn by the barreling Mexican pipeline. And yet it's far enough off the beaten track - accessible only by domestic flights or a six-hour drive from Oaxaca City - that crowds are few and travellers, often from within Mexico, come with the intention of getting away from it all.

The town of Puerto (as the locals say) was only established in the 30s. At the turn of the 20th century, it was just a small village intermittently used to ship coffee. And it would be six decades before Highway 200 joined the dots between Oaxaca's coastal towns, causing the population to creep above a few hundred.

Today, free-spirited types are drawn by bohemian vibes and unspoiled bays lined with palapas serving cool Corona with crunchy chapulines. But there's also a flourishing creative scene and socially conscious, eco-friendly hotels that are making waves far bigger than those Pacific breaks.

Set off on day trips to coffee plantations and chi-chi Huatulco. Visit Manialtepec for horseback rides through the jungle or easy-going Mazunte - all yoga retreats, whitewater rafting and stripping off at Playa Zipolite, Mexico's most famous nudist beach. Return for impromptu beach parties and night markets fuelled by mole, mezcal and fish tacos dripping with salsa. This is living.


Casona Sforza

Mexican architect Alberto Kalach designs buildings in harmony with their surrounds. Take Biblioteca Vasconcelos in CDMX. But here, on a stretch of coast stripped by aggressive farming, considered design is married with second-to-none green credentials. Carved by time-honoured local building techniques, its eleven eco villas are crammed with handicrafts: Oaxaca Valley textiles, palm-leaf lamps from Veracruz, homewares from social project Pueblo del Sol. Pale-yellow brick keeps rooms cool without air con. Outside, a reforestation programme is rehabilitating the land. And beyond that: a farm-to-fork restaurant, private yoga sessions, surfing lessons and whale-watching excursions. Or simply gaze over the Pacific. This is a place designed for contemplation, both of the self and of the environment. Fan of considered design? You’ll no doubt like Kalach’s nearby Punta Pájaros, another regenerative development with eight independent villas and a 200m stretch of beach.


La Barra Santa María Colotepec, 70934 Puerto Escondido


Hotel Escondido

Waves and cacti are your only neighbours at this adults-only hotel, where 16, thatch-roofed, private cabanas, are all raw woods, concrete bathrooms and private pools. Leave your shoes at the door; this is barefoot luxury. Days are spent dipping between the Olympic-size pool running parallel to the sea, the feel-good Mexican-fusion restaurant and a spa where treatments are inspired by native rituals. Doze on the sundeck after a mezcal too many. Wake for a barbecue on the beach and raising toasts in the underground bar.


Carretera Federal Km. 113, Puerto, Salina Cruz - Santiago Pinotepa Nacional, 71983 Puerto Escondido



On Playa Zicatela, bohemian Selina turns the tide on traditional hostels. Yes, there are shared rooms and bunks. But there are also private teepees, high-end lofts for spreading out with friends and palapa-style suites with sea-facing terraces. Communal areas and activities are fuel to free-spirited folk. Think morning yoga and an in-house surf club, a movie room and rooftop bar perfect for cold beers serenaded by live music. Join kayaking trips or take part in volunteer activities with Selina Gives Back. And though Puerto really is a place to unplug – “max your chillax,” says Selina – there’s a bright, coffee-pumped co-working space just in case chasing waves sparks your next big idea. Or you need to clear the inbox. Stick around for networking events and workshops.


Av. Del Morro 4, Playa Zicatela, 70934 Brisas de Zicatela