At the of the end of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range that snakes through Oaxaca, Mexico, and down to the Pacific Ocean, lies the coastal resort of Puerto Escondido, 180 miles from the state capital.
The town is built around a picturesque bay dotted with gigantic rock formations. On the northwestern end, Bacocho Beach has the most variety of hotels and the atmosphere is decidedly laid-back. Playa Principal in the middle of town has a nice beach for families and several boats you can hire for fishing or sightseeing. On the southeastern end you’ll find Zicatela, a vibrant action-packed beach with a cosmopolitan atmosphere that attracts surfers and other tourists from around the world, especially Europe. Many come to conquer the resort's famous waves.
A stroll along Zicatela provides the chance to enjoy the spectacular performances of surfers skimming atop the crests of colossal waves. According to experts, Puerto Escondido is among the ten best surfing sites on the planet.
Come nightfall, it’s party time in Puerto Escondido, especially along the pedestrian main street known as El Adoquin where nighthawks party from bar to club until dawn.
But there’s more to Puerto Escondido than its awesome waves and vibrant nightlife. The area surrounding the bay has a wealth of natural wonders. Just 20 minutes north of Puerto Escondido, birders can rent kayaks or motorboats to view the pelicans, hawks, hummingbirds, spoonbills and more that inhabit the mangrove forests of the Manialtepec Lagoon.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for an authentic ethnic experience, visit the communities nearby and learn a little of their customs. Mazunte, for example, is a small village whose inhabitants have dedicated themselves to protecting the natural environment. They invite visitors on eco-tours on foot, on horseback or by rowboat. Mazunte is also home to the Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga, a turtle sanctuary that shelters specimens of every marine and land turtle species found in Mexico.
Closer to Puerto Escondido, just 15 minutes away, Ventanilla is an ecological reserve for families wanting to explore the imposing rock formations that dominate the beach, spend time getting to know the indigenous community and maybe even watch baby turtles hatch in the moonlight. The longer you stay here, the harder it is to leave this tranquil and unspoiled paradise.