A guide on how and where to find the best spots


Mexico has undoubtedly attracted many tourists from all over the world for good reason, and many have even made it their first international vacation. Places like Cancun and Tulum are Mexican hotspots for tourists looking for typical vacations, beaches and cocktails. Others prefer to indulge in non-touristy activities such as exploring the most spectacular parks like Nevado de Toluca National Park, home to stunning volcanoes. While Puerto Escondido, on the other hand, is the epicenter of professional surfers from all over the world looking to chase gigantic waves to trigger an adrenaline rush. The resort town has been famous since the 1950s and eventually got a lot of attention, especially with the advent of cannon surfboards, which are used to ride monstrous waves.

With its convenient location on the main Mex 200 highway, the resort offers easy access to places like Salina Cruz and Oaxaca City which can take a six-hour drive through the mountains to the north. Besides being a surfing hotspot, Puerto Escondido is known for its palm-studded beaches, taco stands, and thatched-roof bars. Those planning to surf here will have plenty of surf spots to chase the waves. Read on to learn more about surfing in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Is Puerto Escondido worth the detour?

When it comes to surfing, Puerto Escondido is known for its expert level surf spots. The laid-back coastal community is a legendary spot, where surfers come to explore its much-loved Mexican Pipeline, which is a stretch of sea nestled along Playa Zicatela. Many come here for its giant waves which can reach up to 12 meters (40 feet), especially in late summer. Professional surfers looking to ride giant tube waves might consider coming here for the ultimate surfing experience.

Although Puerto Escondido is a place for professional surfers, that shouldn’t deter them from visiting. Find inspiration to learn to surf by watching professional surfers chase the huge waves. One of the best ways to watch surfers from around the world is to attend the annual surf tournaments, especially the Puerto Escondido Cup Surf Open which attracts elite surfers from around the world to compete in November.

Related: 8 beaches to catch the world’s biggest surfing waves

Best surf spots in Puerto Escondido

Zicatela Beach

Playa Zicatela is undoubtedly the place to be for epic swell surfing. Most surfers who come here aim to get out of an overhead triple barrel, which can be a rare feat. Those looking for round cuts or airy movements can take advantage of the ramps that form on the shoulder of a tube wave. The best swell direction is definitely from the south-southwest, and the surf spot normally receives distant ground swells.

The beach breaks here offer left-handed and right-handed. Swell lines that reach the shore are met by a deep water trench offshore which tends to increase wave height. Besides getting excited about big swells, you have to be aware of the enormous force of the waves, which are notorious for breaking surfboards. That’s why it’s important to bring three or four boards when visiting Playa Zicatela. The favorable time to surf here is early in the morning when the offshore winds are blowing.

  • Height: Can reach up to 40 feet (12 meters)
  • Point: Bring a long surfboard for more paddling power
  • Best time to surf: The best time to surf in Zicatela is in winter and November.
  • How to find: The beach is a 20 minute walk from El Adoquin
  • To note: Beware of sharks. And bring a first aid kit, including a helmet and an inflatable life jacket.

La Punta

On the southern promontory of Playa Zicatela is La Punta, an alternative surf spot for beginners and intermediate surfers. The waves here are less powerful and more manageable than those at Playa Zicatela. We can expect point breaks on the left. And waves can reach up to nine feet (three meters) during swell season. It is important to note that the level of difficulty depends on the size and orientation of the swell.

  • How to find La Punta beach: It takes about 20 minutes by car to get to the beach from Puerto Escondido airport or a 40 minute walk from Zicatela beach.

Carrizalillo Beach

Nestled on a horseshoe bay west of Zicatela Beach, Playa Carrizalillo is a great spot for beginner surfers. The sublime golden beach has rustling palm trees and is adorned with towering cliffs. Beachgoers will have to descend a rocky cliff with approximately 167 steps to access the beach. The waves here are calmer. There are breaks at two points that move towards the center of the bay. Beginner surfers will find a wide range of surf schools. There are also surfboards for rent. Others can find deckchairs to simply relax and enjoy the warmth of the sun.

  • Rental of a deckchair: $15 per day
  • Rent for a surfboard: $25
  • How to find Playa Carrizalillo: The beach is located in the heart of Puerto Escondido. One can either choose a taxi from the main beach or walk down the stairs.

Related: Catch A Wave: 10 Best Places To Surf In Costa Rica

Best time to surf in Puerto Escondido

Those looking for huge consistent waves can choose to visit Puerto Escondido from April to September. This is the busiest time, so expect to find lots of surfers. Puerto Escondido is visited by many surfers all year round, but October can sometimes be less crowded.


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