Playa Carrizalillo is a beach you cannot miss on your next trip to the Oaxacan coast. Nestled in a picturesque cove surrounded by tropical foliage, Playa Carrizalillo is a stunning small beach with calm, yet surfable waves, a few beachfront bars, soft sand, and turquoise blue water.
If you’re wondering whether Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca is still worth visiting in 2023, here’s your answer: YES! With its growing popularity, Carrizalillo Beach can get a little crowded, but it’s still one of my absolute favorite beaches in all of Mexico—even after visiting some of the country’s most iconic beach destinations like Tulum and Playa Balandra.
The moment you step onto the sand at Playa Carrizalillo, it feels like you’re on a secluded island somewhere far from the bustling city of Puerto Escondido. Yet downtown Puerto Escondido is only a 15-minute walk away.
The steep sets of stairs leading down to Playa Carrizalillo and the cliffs surrounding the half-moon-shaped cove add to the secludedness of the beach. Most people can easily walk down and back up the steep stairs (with a few breather stops), but the stairs do deter a few visitors and keep the beach from getting too busy.
Playa Carrizalillo is the beach to visit if you’re looking for:
★ Golden sand and beautiful blue water
★ Beginner-friendly waves for surfing
★ On-beach surfboard rentals
★ Sun loungers (for an extra cost)
★ Beachfront bars & restaurants
★ Calm water for swimming and snorkeling
View of Playa Carrizalillo from above
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How to get to Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca
Playa Carrizalillo is located close to the center of Puerto Escondido, Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca. View the exact location on Google Maps.
★ 15-minute drive or 1-hour walk from La Punta Zicatela
★ 5-minute drive or 15-minute walk from El Centro de Puerto Escondido
Directions to Playa Carrizalillo from La Punta & Zicatela
Via car, scooter, or taxi: Drive north on Puerto Escondido’s main highway (200) toward El Centro (downtown Puerto Escondido). At the intersection of Highway 200 and Av. Hidalgo, turn left. Follow Av. Hidalgo for a few blocks, then turn left on Cam. Carrizalillo at the roundabout. Park in the parking lot and walk past the hostel to the top of the stairs to the beach.
Via public transportation & walking: Catch a colectivo along the main highway (200) toward El Centro. Once the colectivo reaches El Centro, jump off and walk down Av. Hidalgo toward the beach.
Directions to Playa Carrizalillo from Puerto Escondido Centro
Via car, scooter, or taxi: Follow Google Maps directions to the Rinconada neighborhood, just a few minutes away. Park in the parking lot in front of Mondala Hostal Carrizalillo. After parking, walk past the hostel toward the top of the stairs to Carrizalillo Beach.
Via walking: Follow Google Maps directions to the Rinconada neighborhood. Walk along Benito Juarez Road toward Cafe Choc and El Cafecito. Turn left between these two restaurants and follow the path to the top of the stairs.
The Oaxacan kissing the horizon above Playa Carrizalillo
General transportation tips in Puerto Escondido
★ Always ask for the price of a taxi before getting in (say, “cuanto por Playa Carrizalillo?”). You should expect to pay about 100 pesos for a drive from La Punta to Carrizalillo.
★ Don’t be afraid to take colectivos! They only cost a few pesos and can quickly get you from La Punta to El Centro.
★ Get travel insurance. Whether you drive a scooter or ride in a taxi, there is always a risk of an accident. Make sure you have a reliable travel insurance plan. My favorite is SafteyWing.
A note for travelers with mobility issues
Carrizalillo is a stunning beach, but unfortunately, a steep set of 160 steps is the only way to reach the calm waves and golden sands. With that in mind, it is difficult for travelers with mobility issues to visit the beach. However, it’s still worth visiting the viewpoint above the stairs to look down at one of the most beautiful beaches in Puerto Escondido. The view from the top of the cliff is almost better than the view from the beach itself.
Swimmers enjoying the calm waves at Carrizalillo beach
Related: Browse my other Oaxaca Travel Guides
Spending the Day at Playa Carrizalillo
While Playa Carrizalillo is worth a quick visit, I highly recommend carving out a good amount of time to enjoy this idyllic beach. You can rent beach loungers and umbrellas for the day or lay on a towel on the golden sand. Either way, once you snag the perfect spot on the beach, you won’t want to leave!
No matter where you sit on the beach, there’ll be tasty cocktails, fresh food, and ice-cold cervezas just a few steps away at one of the beach bars that line the shore.
Renting a sun lounger or umbrella at Carrizalillo Playa
Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to rent for around $300 pesos ($16 USD) a day for two people from any of the beachfront bars. All of the bars at Playa Carrizalillo close at 5pm, so make sure you arrive early to get the most out of your rental!
You aren’t obligated to buy anything from the bar if you rent a lounger, but they will serve you if you’re interested in something on their menu. Prices are fair, and quality is decent, though I can really only comment on the french fries because they don’t have many other vegan options!
Surfers catching a wave at Playa Carrizalillo in Puerto Escondido
Surfing at Playa Carrizalillo
Puerto Escondido is known as one of the best surf towns in Mexico, with powerful barrel waves at Playa Zicatela and reliable breaks at La Punta. Meanwhile, Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca is a popular spot for beginner surfers hoping to catch their first few waves.
I’ve surfed at several beginner-friendly surf spots in Hawaii and Mexico, and Playa Carrizalillo is one of the best. Surf shacks located on the beach offer surf lessons and surfboard rentals daily. Prices are decent at $200 pesos per hour for rentals or $800 pesos for lessons.
Before heading to the beach, check the Playa Carrizalillo surf report online to understand the day’s conditions.
Ordering drinks and food on the beach
You can order (and enjoy) food and drinks anywhere on the beach. If you want a cocktail, cold beer, or lunch from one of the beachside bars, you can eat at the bar tables or on the beach for free.
If you want to sit in a sun lounger, you’ll need to pay an extra fee (about $300 pesos for the day). Keep in mind that all the restaurants and bars on the beach close at 5pm.
Independent vendors will also walk along the beach selling snacks like fresh mango, nuts, and fried seafood. Remember to be careful when eating street food in Mexico to avoid food poisoning.
Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca Packing List
Before you visit Puerto Escondido, make sure you have everything you need to enjoy all that Playa Carrizalillo offers. My recommended packing list for a blissful day at Carrizalillo includes the following:
★ Reef-safe sunscreen: The Oaxacan sun is HOT! Make sure to protect your skin with reef-safe sunscreen.
★ Towel: A towel is essential for a visit to Carrizalillo, whether you want to rent a beach lounger or sit on the towel. I’m a big fan of Nomadix sand-resistant travel towels.
★ Goggles or snorkel gear: Carrizalillo is one of the best places for snorkeling in Puerto Escondido. I bring a pair of Speedo goggles with me everywhere I travel. I honestly prefer regular goggles over a full snorkel set (probably because I used to swim competitively). No matter your preference for snorkeling gear, don’t miss swimming with tropical fish!
★ GoPro: I always bring a GoPro when snorkeling. I recently upgraded to the GoPro Hero11, which takes incredible photos and has a screen on both sides (my old GoPro didn’t have a single screen!)
★ Water and snacks: While you can buy water and snacks on the beach, you’ll save money by bringing your own!
Best Time to Visit Playa Carrizalillo
Playa Carrizalillo is beautiful year-round. If you’re wondering about the best time of day to head to Playa Carrizalillo, I recommend arriving in the morning and staying until the early afternoon. The beach is less busy, and the sun is less powerful in the morning. It’s also worth visiting at sunset, but remember that all the beach bars close at 5pm.
A view of Villas Carrizalillo (one of the best hotels near Playa Carrizalillo) from the beach
Hotels Near Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca
Although La Punta, Zicatela, and El Centro are the most popular areas to stay in Puerto Escondido, the Rinconada neighborhood near Playa Carrizalillo is my personal recommendation. If you’re like me, you’ll want to go to Playa Carrizalillo every single day during your Puerto Escondido vacation, so it makes sense to stay close by.
The Rinconada neighborhood is a safe area with cute cafes, delicious food, and a wide range of accommodations—from luxury hotels overlooking the ocean to social hostels. Read on for the best Rinconada and Playa Carrizalillo hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels.
★ 9.3/10 stars from 400+ reviews on Booking.com
Villas Carrizalillo is undoubtedly the best hotel near Carrizalillo Beach. As one of the only hotels overlooking Carrizalillo, this Villas Carrizalillo is difficult to beat. In addition to rooms with an ocean view, the hotel has a tranquil garden, an outdoor pool, and an onsite restaurant.
★ 9.1/10 stars from 600+ reviews on Booking.com
Casa Losodeli is the best hostel near Playa Carrizalillo. The hostel has a beautiful swimming pool, a rooftop with a view, a coworking space with some of the best internet in town, and daily events. If you’re looking for a social atmosphere with other backpackers and digital nomads, this is the place to go!
★ 5/5 stars from 37+ reviews on VRBO
This stunning 4-bedroom house is perfect for a group of friends or family looking for jawdropping views and a private pool near Playa Carrizalillo. The home features strong Starlink internet and can comfortably accomodate 10 or more guests.
Ocean Front Carrizalillo Penthouse with Starlink (Airbnb)
★ 4.98/5 stars from 100+ reviews on Airbnb
I’ll let you in on a secret: I’ve been planning to book a month in this Airbnb. Reliable internet is difficult to come by in Puerto Escondido, but this place has Starlink (the best of the best!) and overlooks Carrizalillo Beach. Please enjoy this highly-rated Playa Carrizalillo Airbnb for me until I can make it back to Puerto Escondido soon!
Also see: 102 Couple Travel Quotes for Instagram
Puerto Escondido dolphin tours
Other things to do in Puerto Escondido
I mentioned some of my favorite things to do in Puerto Escondido in my La Punta guide, but here is a summary of a few things you can’t miss during your visit:
Visit The Best Puerto Escondido Beaches
Carrizalillo Beach is undisputedly the best beach in Puerto Escondido, but several other beaches are visiting, including:
★ Playa Manzanillo
★ La Punta
★ Playa Zicatela
★ Playa Bacocho
★ Playa Coral
★ Playa Principal
Swim With Dolphins
Swimming with hundreds of dolphins off the coast of Oaxaca is undoubtedly one of the most magical things you can do in Puerto Escondido. Leave early in the morning from Playa Principal with a local tour guide. After cruising through the Pacific Ocean for about thirty minutes, you’ll spot a pod with hundreds of spinner dolphins cheerfully jumping around the boat. You’ll be able to jump in and swim with these majestic animals. You’ll also likely spot other marine wildlife, including turtles and whales.
Watch surfers at Playa Zicatela
Playa Zicatela has world-class barrel waves. Spend an afternoon watching advanced surfers take on the powerful waves while soaking in the sun. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up in Puerto Escondido during a surfing competition and watch pros compete.
Relaxing on the rocks along the northern shore of Carrizalillo cove
Stunning viewpoint at the top of the Playa Carrizalillo stairs
Final Thoughts: Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca
No matter how many breathtaking beaches I visit in Mexico, I can’t stop thinking about Playa Carrizalillo. Do yourself a favor and soak up the sun at this stunning beach during your Puerto Escondido vacation.
If you’re interested in some of my other favorite places to visit in Mexico, check out some of my other Mexico travel guides:
Floating Down a Mayan Canal on the Yucatan Peninsula
Visiting the Sleepy Surf Town of San Pancho
Finding Amazing Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Mexico
Exploring Tulum’s Secret Free Cenote
Driving a Scooter Around Mexico’s Most Magical Caribbean Island
Visiting Santiago Apoala, My Favorite Hidden Gem in Mexico
Visiting Jalatlaco, Oaxaca’s Most Darling Neighborhood
Essential Mexico Travel Resources
Have a Mexico trip coming up soon? There are a lot of travel companies out there, but some are better than others. After traveling to dozens of countries and living abroad on several continents, here are some of my favorite websites and resources for planning unforgettable trips.