Ah, Puerto Escondido! This hidden gem on Mexico’s Pacific coast is the perfect destination for digital nomads looking for a mix of sandy streets, delicious food, and strong internet (thanks Starlink). With its stunning beaches, lively surf culture, and unparalleled food scene, it’s no wonder why this town has become a hot spot for those seeking a balance of work and play. In this article, we’ll dive into the best spots for accommodation, food, activities, and more – giving you all the insider tips to make the most of your time in this tropical paradise.
Where to Stay
Puerto Escondido has three main areas: Riconada/Center (red), Zicatela (purple), and La Punta (yellow). Here is a rough map of where each of the regions are:
Puerto Escondido is a town with three distinct areas, each offering a unique experience for visitors.
- Puerto Escondido Center: This is the town’s main hub and offers a more traditional Mexican experience with markets, shops, and local restaurants.
- Zicatela: Known as the “Mexican Pipeline,” Zicatela is a surfers’ paradise, offering some of the best surf spots in the world and a laid-back beach culture.
- La Punta: This is the upscale area of Puerto Escondido, with luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, and a more tranquil environment. It’s a great option for those looking for a more relaxed and peaceful stay.
Each area has its own character and attractions, making it a matter of personal preference for travelers to choose where to stay and explore.
Best Coworking Hostels
Located in the center, Casa Losodelli is perfect for those who want a laid-back hostel vibe, strong internet, an onsite cafe, and a fun/friendly atmosphere. They offer dorm-style and private rooms. When I was here in January, most of the people who stayed here were between 25-40 and most people were working during the day.
They offer daily activities including yoga, games night, and salsa classes. There were paid activities including workout sessions, skimboarding lessons, and longer excursions along the Mexican coast.
Selina is a well-known backpacking hostel chain that offers dorm-style and private rooms across most of central and south America. The Selina in Puerto Escondido is located in Zicatela, in between the Center and La Punta. Selina’s have a mixed reputation of being both coworking and party hostels and the location in Zicatela has a little mix of both.
My personal experience with Selina’s is that they are okay. They offer the basics but they also advertise themselves as party hostels so you may be met with 18-25 year olds who want to party and aren’t working, which makes for a mixed environment.
Various Hostels and Boutique Hotels in La Punta
Many of the hostels and hotels in La Punta had terrible wifi connectivity until the development of Starlink. Now, many of the hostels, Airbnb’s, and hotels in the area have or are on the waitlist for Starlink, which is the type of strong internet required for your video conferencing calls.
I stayed at Raiz Boutique Hotel, which recently opened in 2023, and they have strong wifi and working areas on the roof that were great for coworking.
Where You Can Work (if you don’t stay at a coworking hotel)
Puerto also has places you can work during the day if you opt to stay in a place that doesn’t offer strong internet.
Cafe Losodeli (Center): The cafe/restaurant attached to Casa Losodeli, this restaurant has great food and strong internet where you’ll find many people working from each day. Casa Losodeli also offers a coworking pass if you’re not staying there.
Selina (Zicatela): Similar to Casa Losodeli, Selina offers a coworking pass that you can use if you’re not staying at the hostel.
Sabina (La Punta): Enabled with Starlink, this cafe/restaurant offers coworking to those in la punta that need to work. I worked here and used the connection for multiple Zoom calls without any latency issues.
Where to Eat
The province of Oaxaca is known for its cuisine and Puerto Escondido is not excluded from that statement. Puerto Escondido’s restaurant scene ranges from typical Mexican food, Peruvian, & Thai restaurants. I was able to quite a few restaurants and the ones I mentioned below I went back to multiple times because of how delicious each meal was!
Pitaya Smoothie Bowls
The best matcha in town, hands down. Order any of the smoothie bowls! My favorite was the Cacoa and Peanut Butter base with almond butter, chia seed pudding and cacao nibs.
Pepe’s Fish Tacos
This popular, no-frills taco hot spot does not disappoint. You’ll sit amongst the chickens and the dogs, enjoy huge tacos with margaritas, and leave feeling satisfied.
Arguably the best restaurant in Puerto Escondido, you really can’t go wrong with any menu option. The music and the fun, vibrant personalities of the staff make this place a must-visit, if not a regular spot, while you’re enjoying La Punta.
I ate here 4 times in two weeks, so I can tell you it was absolutely delicious! My recommendation is to order the grilled white fish sandwich, any of the tacos, and share the grilled calamari along with the ceviche.
La casa del surfer
I came for the Acai bowl, and stayed for the fish tacos. The service is attentive and always with a smile. No wifi here so just come and hang out during a hot day to enjoy the shade and delicious food.
What to Do
Whale & Dolphin Watching Tour
This was the most magical morning I may have had in my life! I booked a tour through Losodelli to watch the whales and dolphins. The tour starts at 6:30am with a pickup from the hotel and then they took us to the boats where we all separated into one of 15 boat tours that take us out on the water in search of seeing humpback whales, sea turtles, dolphins, and sometimes rays.
Within 20 minutes of being on the boat, we found a mom and baby humpback whale swimming alongside the boat. They swam up and down and we saw how powerful and big these glorious animals are. After about 30 minutes of watching the whales, we boated for another 15 minutes, saw some sea turtles swimming along, and then got to see the dolphins. All of a sudden, there were approximately 3 different pods of dolphins all swimming around us, playing in the wakes, and enjoying the water. I have never seen so many dolphins together before.
We stopped for a short swim break in the clearest water and then headed back to shore. The tour ended around 10am and allowed us to enjoy the rest of the day. In my opinion, it’s a must-do activity while in Puerto Escondido.
Cost: 700 pesos
Zicatela is known as a world-class surf spot, which means that the current is strong and the waves are huge. If you’re a beginner surfer like me, you’ll find yourself at Carrazillo beach or maybe La Punta on a smaller day. I organized a lesson with Blue Beach Surf School, located right beside Pitaya Smoothie Bowls, and had a great session with them. I haven’t been surfing in a while, but challenged myself on a 7.5 board (which happened to be pink, win-win) and was able to catch a few waves by the end of the session.
It does get super busy at the la punta point and when I was watching the surfers all week, there seemed to be a lack of surf etiquette there so be careful when surfing in that area without an instructor to help you stay clear of other surfers.
Cost: 800 pesos for a private 2 hour session with board & rash guard all included
I tried my first Acroyoga class and it was so fun! Acrophonics hosts classes across different Puerto Escondido locations each day and supports all levels. They focus on safety and start each session with a solid warmup. They teach the foundations and then lead us in some medium-level positions. I will definitely be trying Acroyoga again in the future.
Follow them on Instagram for their schedule: @acrophonics
Cost: 250 pesos per class
Thursday Night Open Mic
Every Thursday evening at Punta Origen, there is an open mic night that invites anyone to add themselves to the list and perform for the crowds. The event starts around 8 until 11, however I’d get there slightly earlier if you want a seat and to order food and drinks before the masses arrive. The event brings the entire town together so you’ll probably bump into friends you’ve made on your trip here.
Transportation: Many people decide to rent scooters while they are here. They are approximately 80 pesos per day to rent. Since I am unfamiliar with driving a scooter, I opted into the two other forms of transportation: collectivos and taxis.
Collectivos are the OG uber pools and allow you to get around inexpensively. To catch a collectivo, there are various waiting places that the collectivo will pick you up from. Once inside, there is a little buzzer that you can press when you are ready to get off. They will pull over to the side of the road and you can then jump out and pay the driver. Going from the Center to La Punta or vice versa is 10 pesos. Collectivos finish service around 9pm.
Taxis are another form of transportation that is easily accessible. You can have the hostels call one for you or hail one down yourself. Going from the Center to La Punta or vice versa is approximately 100 pesos. They may try to charge more at night so have more pesos available if you are a single woman with no other alternative to getting home. The most I paid was 150 pesos.
Safety: While the Oaxaca province is known to be one of the safer areas of Mexico, it’s always good to keep tabs on the news to know about any political conflict that may be going on in the area. I didn’t go out to party that much, but there is a cartel presence in Puerto so it’s good to be aware.
Money: I use Wise to manage all the different currencies I need while traveling and then use the wise debit card to withdraw funds from local ATMs. Most of the ATMs are in the center of town, so travel there first to ensure you have enough cash to enjoy Zicatela and La Punta.