What to Do in Puerto Escondido, Mexico

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Beaches for all travellers

Hippy Playa Zicatela ranks among the world’s best surf spots, where boarders come to cruise 20ft waves and take part in the World Surfing League’s Puerto Escondido Challenge. Strong currents mean swimming is a no, but the buzzy nightlife gets a big thumbs up. Less confident on the boards? Learn from the pros at Zicazteca Surf School or Oasis (which throws Spanish-language classes into the mix), or head to La Punta for more mellow waters. Of course, Puerto’s shores aren’t just for surfers. On Playa Bacocho, visit the Vive Mar conservation project as it releases baby turtles into the ocean at sunset. The smaller coves of Puerto Angelito and Manzanillo are great for snorkelling, and sheltered Playa Carrizalillo is prime territory for sundowners. We recommend tracing the mile-long Andador Escénico, a cliff-hugging walkway that links Playa Principal with mirador Sueño Posible (‘Possible Dream’). From here, you’re a pebble’s toss from the Adoquín’s pedestrian-only night market and many mezcalerias.


Laguna de Manialtepec

It’s the kind of sight that makes your breath catch in your throat. A bioluminescent lagoon lit up by phosphorescent plankton activated by movement in the water. The phenomenon happens just a handful of times each year – generally, the tail end of summer and start of winter. But Manialtepec’s a solid day-trip destination year-round. Drive 20 minutes from Puerto Escondido (some guided tours offer hotel pick-up) to hop in a kayak and gawp at 300 species of exotic birds flitting between mangrove and jungle. Like this? Carry on west to wildlife-rich Chacahua Lagoon National Park.


Fundación Casa Wabi

Northwest of Puerto – a short walk along the coast from Casona Sforza – this artists’ retreat is a must for architecture buffs and those seeking creative inspiration. Design credentials are starry: Mexican artist Bosco Sodi at the helm; a soft-brutalist blueprint by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando; direction from the curator of Colección Júmex, Latin America’s largest art collection. The principle: wabi-sabi, the acceptance of the imperfect. The purpose? To promote community engagement through art, workshops and exhibitions. Visit to see cutting-edge culture intermingling with local life. Think concrete walls topped by thatch roofs; an underground sculpture park buried by sun-baked cacti. Highlights include Kengo Kuma’s Chicken Coop, the Clay Pavilion by Álvaro Siza and neighbour Alberto Kalach’s botanical gardens preserving endemic species. Ticket proceeds go towards community programs.


Carretera Federal Salina Cruz - Santiago, 71983 Puerto Escondido