Your guide to La Punta Puerto Escondido, with maps and vegan options!
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Overview of La Punta Puerto Escondido
I’ve spent over four months exploring towns across nine Mexican states, and Puerto Escondido is by far my favorite. My husband and I first visited in spring 2022 after working remotely from Mexico City. That trip sealed the deal on our future as digital nomads. A few months later, we started traveling through Latin America full-time while working remotely.
During our research leading up to our Puerto Escondido trip, one area kept coming up—La Punta. If you’re here, I’m guessing the same thing happened to you. And I can personally attest that La Punta does indeed live up to the hype, particularly if you’re a backpacker, vegan, surfer, eco-conscious traveler, or simply someone who wants to enjoy one of Mexico’s best beach towns.
Essential Mexico Travel Resources
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Why Puerto Escondido is an incredible Mexican beach town
I love this Oaxacan town because it is so easy to get around. Whether you want to visit a chill tropical cove like Playa Carrizalillo, watch pros surf barrels at Playa Zicatela, or enjoy a diversity of delicious (in my case, vegan) food.
I also love that it doesn’t feel entirely overrun by tourists. It’s getting busier as time passes, but it still maintains its Mexican charm.
Oh, and did I mention that you can release baby sea turtles and swim with a pod of thousands of spinner dolphins in the open ocean?
Because Puerto Escondido is home to so many gorgeous beaches—including the two-mile-long stretch that reaches from El Centro to La Punta—the beaches don’t feel cramped or crowded.
Sure, the shore will fill up if you head to one of the town’s most popular spots (Playa Carrizalillo) on the weekend. But there is always a lonely, quiet spot somewhere in the two miles of Playa Zicatela.
Is La Punta the place for you in Puerto Escondido?
La Punta is the place to stay in Puerto Escondido if you’re interested in:
- Meeting a diverse group of travelers in their 20s and 30s, from broke backpackers to digital nomads
- Staying in a walkable area with everything in a few block radius (dozens of delicious restaurants, coffee shops, fresh fruit stands, natural markets, clubs, and of course, the beach)
- Joining the rest of the town to watch the sunset on the beach each evening
- Enjoying significantly lower prices as compared to other popular Mexican beach towns (like Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and so on)
But there are a few things to be aware of, namely:
- You’ll find dogs, cats, and chickens wandering through dusty roads in La Punta. In many ways, it feels very undeveloped.
- Yet, if you’re like me, you’ll be woken up each morning to construction workers drilling and blasting music across the street. New places are popping up left and right to meet the demand, which means it’s not always quiet and peaceful.
- You’ll likely run into a few topless women throughout Puerto Escondido’s beaches. I hadn’t encountered this in other Mexican beach towns and certainly wasn’t expecting it.
- You (likely) won’t find reliable wifi or working ATMs in La Punta. While there is an ATM in La Punta, it was out of order almost every time we visited (head to ATMs in El Centro when you need to get cash). With the expansion of Starlink internet, wifi in this area is improving, but high-speed internet is not guaranteed.
If you’re still excited about the idea of La Punta, read on!
La Punta & Puerto Escondido Map
La Punta simply means “the point” in Spanish. It refers to Punta Zicatela, the point south of the neighborhood we’re discussing in this article. Over time, foreigners and locals alike have started to refer to the small community near the point as “La Punta.” However, the area is technically called Brisas de Zicatela (Zicatela breezes in English).
La Punta is about a 17-minute drive from Puerto Escondido International Airport and around 12 minutes from El Centro (the center of town or downtown area).
How to get around Puerto Escondido.
Where to stay in La Punta
Beachfront hotels near La Punta
You only have a few options for beachfront hotels within La Punta but don’t worry; most other hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels are only a few blocks from the beach.
Starting at $287 USD per night
Eight ocean-view suites with modern boho design, AC, kitchenettes, and terraces
Amenities: swimming pool, hammock, and beach bar
Hotel Punta Zicatela
Starting at $220 USD per night
Clean and bright rooms with AC, flat screen TVs, and balconies
Amenities: rooftop bar, pool, yoga classes, and in-room massages
Other top-rated hotels
Casa de Olas Beach House
Starting at $167 USD per night
Boho boutique hotel within a five-minute walk to the beach
Amenities: free bikes, yoga studio, tennis court, fitness center, and pool
Starting at $89 USD per night
A social hotel located a 15-minute walk away from the beach
Amenities: barbecue, shared kitchen, swimming pool, bar, and activities
Real Juquilita La Punta
Starting at $79 USD per night
Technically a hostel, but they only have private rooms, and its located just a few steps from the beach
Amenities: garden, swimming pool, shared kitchen, barbecue, rooftop, hammocks
Top-rated La Punta hostel
Starting at $24 USD per night per person
Stay in a “capsule,” dorm bed, or private room at this highly-rated hostel
Amenities: garden, AC at night in all accommodations
Other accommodations in La Punta
You’ll find many great places on Airbnb, Booking, and VRBO. If you’re staying for a month or more, you can find places to rent for significantly less from locals on Facebook Marketplace or local Facebook groups.
La Punta Restaurants: my favorite spots
I’m vegan, but I’m also into bold, delicious food. My recommendations may lean toward the veggie side, but meat eaters and veggie lovers alike will find something mouthwatering at each spot.
No Mames has our favorite food in all of Puerto Escondido. Their menu includes four unique tacos that are truly out-of-this-world. Our favorite is the USA taco, filled with life-changing buffalo cauliflower, cilantro-lime mayo, lettuce, and cabbage. They also serve deliciously spiced fries with a garlic aioli dipping sauce.
No Mames is fully vegan, but it’s located inside a food court with various other spots where you can get non-vegan options and drinks. The atmosphere is perfect, and No Mames’ food is some of the best we’ve had in Mexico.
A vibrant cafe that is open from 8am to midnight every day. If you’re lucky, they may have live music! It’s a great brunch spot in the morning and an excellent place for a breezy dinner or drink in the evening.
Vegan and gluten-free options are clearly labeled. They have an extensive menu with fresh juices, breakfast bowls, toast, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and more. Our favorites included the lentil quinoa burger and the vegan brownie.
Another great brunch spot in a beautiful garden setting. In addition to avocado toast and smoothie bowls, Barrio serves bagels, paninis, omelets, granola, and fruit bowls. You can even order a papaya filled with yogurt, granola, and fruit.
Many menu items are vegan, and most can be made gluten-free. Barrio tends to feel more relaxed than other brunch spots in the area, so it’s a perfect spot to sip a smoothie and read, journal, or have a drawn-out conversation with friends.
Full transparency, this is not a restaurant. It is a tiny organic foods store, but hear me out—it’s totally worth visiting for their to-go food! You can grab some specialty groceries, such as fresh bread, unique spice blends, local kombucha, bulk goods, or a to-go lunch on your way to the beach.
Moringa is located right at the southern tip of La Punta, where you’ll walk if you want to go surfing. I was very impressed with their vegan empanadas, which made an easy and cheap lunch for a beach day.
A darling smoothie bar down an alleyway right in the heart of La Punta. Karma is a great spot to grab breakfast on the way to the beach or get something wholesome and refreshing after a morning swim.
They serve smoothie bowls, smoothies, as well as savory buddha bowls. Most dishes are vegan, with the option to add chicken, salmon, tuna, shrimp, or tofu to savory bowls.
Other top spots that I haven’t been to
YAAB: Highly rated vegan spot with smoothie bowls, toasts, and juices. Bonus: they have Starlink internet, so this is potentially a good spot to get some work done if needed!
Fish Shack La Punta: A favorite seafood spot tucked in an alleyway by the beach
Chicama: Peruvian fusion spot with tapas, ceviches, and more
To do in and around Puerto Escondido (within 15 minutes of La Punta)
- Watch the sunset in La Punta
The whole town mozzies to the beach each evening to watch the sun go down. It’s simple, but it truly is one of the best things to do while visiting Puerto Escondido.
- Watch surfers at Playa Zicatela
Playa Zicatela (or Zicatela Beach) is the long stretch of beach that runs from the edge of El Centro all the way to La Punta.
World-class barrel waves crash along the northern part of Zicatela, and they’ve attracted surfers from around the world for years. The waves are so strong that they often break surfboards and sometimes surfer’s limbs.
Most days, this part of the beach is relatively empty, making it the perfect spot to relax and watch. I could (and do) spend hours watching surfers, and the barrels make Zicatela one of the best spots in the world to do it!
- Visit my favorite beach, Playa Carrizalillo
Playa Carrizalillo is a 15-minute drive from La Punta but is completely worth the journey. Although you can swim at La Punta, the waves are often a bit rough. Playa Carrizalillo, on the other hand, is a calm, small bay that is much better for swimming.
To reach Carrizalillo, you’ll need to take a taxi from La Punta and walk down a long set of stairs. Alternatively, you can take a colectivo to El Centro and then walk to Carrizalillo (this is what I typically do).
The beach can get a little crowded on the weekends, but even then, it’s so worth visiting. I typically set up a spot on the sand with a towel, but you can also rent a chair from one of the beach bars for a few hundred pesos.
Besides swimming or enjoying a piña colada, one of the best things to do at Carrizalillo is learn to surf! The waves here are perfect for beginners. You can rent surfboards or take surf lessons right on the beach.
- Swim with dolphins
Imagine jumping into the ocean surrounded by hundreds—maybe thousands—of dolphins. Well, you can do that in Puerto Escondido!
For around $50 USD, a tour guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you out on a boat to a spot where there are hundreds of spinner dolphins. The dolphins are friendly and playful and will swim alongside the boat. Then, you can jump in and observe from the water. The dolphins aren’t afraid of humans but will stay a few meters away. When you’re in the water, they’ll swim under you and around you, and you’ll hear them communicating.
Photos and videos really don’t compare to the experience. It’s something you have to experience!
As a bonus, you’ll likely see other marine wildlife, like whales, sea turtles, and manta rays.
Book your dolphin tour ahead of time to ensure you get a spot!
- Take surfing lessons
From the barrel at Zicatela to the gentle waves at Playa Carrizalillo, Puerto Escondido has a surf for anyone.
You can learn to surf at Playa Carrizalillo or La Punta. I recommend Playa Carrizalillo because the waves are smaller, but La Punta also works.
You can expect to pay a minimum of 500 pesos, depending on the time of year, location, and lesson length.
- Release baby turtles
Another incredible thing you can do in Puerto Escondido is release baby sea turtles.
Why do tourists release sea turtles? Turtle eggs are collected by wildlife conservation organizations to protect them from poachers and predators. Each evening, volunteers and tourists can help release recently hatched baby turtles on the beach, ensuring they each safely make it to the ocean. It’s a special experience knowing that you helped one of these beautiful animals make a big step in their life.
In Puerto Escondido, you can release sea turtles with Vive Mar at Playa Bacocho around 5pm. You can get there by taxi or by signing up for a tour. If you go without a tour, you can expect to pay a donation of around 100 pesos, but if you go on a tour, you’ll pay a couple hundred pesos more.
- Hike and explore hidden beaches around La Punta
Remember that La Punta actually refers to the point south of the “La Punta” neighborhood? Well, one more thing you can do is explore the point and the hidden beaches beyond it.
While there are trails around this area, they are not well maintained. It’s easy to slip and fall, so bring the right shoes and be careful.
Also, beware that some small coves and beaches beyond the point will fill up with water when the tide comes in. Always know how to get back to where you came from.
In the Google Images photo above, the tide is out. Those little hidden beaches and coves will disappear when the tide comes in. Make sure you’re not there when that happens!
Getting around La Punta & Puerto Escondido: taxis, colectivos, and more
There are many different ways to get around, but my top choices are walking and colectivos. They’re also the cheapest options.
You can walk around La Punta easily, but if you want to go anywhere else in Puerto Escondido, you’ll likely need to figure out another form of transportation since La Punta is far away from the rest of the town.
Bike or Scooter
It’s fairly easy to rent a bike or scooter in Puerto Escondido. In El Centro, you’ll find rental shops every few blocks. If you’re staying in town for a month or longer, you can buy a bike or scooter and resell it before leaving. The best way to do this is to browse Puerto Escondido’s Facebook Marketplace.
This is the way locals get around. It’s cheap, efficient, and surprisingly reliable. Along Puerto Escondido’s main road (Costera), you’ll see pickup trucks with seats in the back. Wave one down, jump in the back and then pay a few pesos to the drive once you get to your destination.
I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds! My husband and I took colectivos all the time from La Punta (specifically on the opposite side of the road from 7+1 Mini Super) to El Centro. This ride gets you a few miles for a dollar or so. It gets you there just as quickly as a taxi for a fraction of the price.
We most often took a colectivo if we wanted to do something in El Centro or go to Playa Carrizalillo. After getting off in El Centro, Playa Carrizalillo is about a 15-minute walk.
Taxis are much cheaper in Puerto Escondido than in other countries like the U.S. and Mexican towns like Tulum, but they can still add up. You can expect to pay between 60 and 80 pesos for a taxi around town and 200 pesos or more for taxis from the airport to La Punta.
Renting a Car
Renting a car is always an option, but with how easy and cheap it is to get around without one, I’d avoid it. However, if you want to go on day trips to nearby towns, like Mazunte and Zipolite, having your own car might come in handy!