Surf Puerto Escondido: A Guide On How & Where To Find The Best Spots

Mexico has undoubtedly attracted many tourists around the world for some good reasons, and many have even made it their first international vacation. Places like Cancun and Tulum are the Mexican hotspots for tourists looking for typical vacations, think beaches, and cocktails. Others prefer to indulge in non-touristy activities such as exploring the most spectacular parks like the Nevado de Toluca National Park, which features stunning volcanoes. While Puerto Escondido on the other hand is the epicenter for pro surfers around the world looking to chase gigantic waves to kick an adrenaline rush. The coastal resort has been famous since the 1950s and eventually has attracted much attention, especially with the coming of gun surfboards, which are used to ride monstrous waves.

With its convenient location at the main Mex Highway 200, the resort town has easy access to places such as Salina Cruz, and the 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 beaches dotted with palm trees, tacos stands, and thatch-roofed bars. Those planning to surf here will have plenty of surfing spots to chase the waves. Read on to find out more about surfing in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Is Puerto Escondido Worth Visiting?

When it comes to surfing Puerto Escondido is known for its expert-level surfing spots. The laid-back coastal community is a legendary place, where surfers come to explore its very much praised Mexican pipeline, which is a stretch of the sea tucked along the Playa Zicatela. Many come here for its behemoth waves that can reach up to 12 meters (40 feet), especially in late summer. Pro surfers looking to ride for giant tubular waves might just consider coming here for an ultimate surfing experience.

Though Puerto Escondido is a place for pro surfers, that should not dissuade one from visiting it. Find inspiration to learn surfing by watching pro surfers chasing the huge waves. One of the best ways to watch surfers around the world is by attending the annual surfing tournaments, especially the Puerto Escondido Cup Surf Open which attracts elite surfers around the world to participate in November.

Related: 8 Beaches to Catch the Biggest Surfing Waves in the World

Best Surfing Spots in Puerto Escondido

Playa Zicatela

Playa Zicatela is undoubtedly the spot to surf the epic swells. Most of the surfers who come here aim to exit a triple overhead barrel, which can be a rare feat. Those looking for roundhouse cutbacks, or aerial moves can take advantage of the ramps that form on the shoulder of a tubular wave. The best swell direction is definitely from the south-southwest, and the surfing spot normally receives distant groundswells.

The beach breaks here offer left and right-handers. Swell lines that reach the shore are welcomed by an offshore deep water trench which tends to increase wave height. Besides being enthusiastic about the big swells one should be aware of the tremendous force of the waves, which are notorious for breaking surfboards. This is why it is important to bring along three or four boards when visiting Playa Zicatela. The favorable time to surf here is in the early morning when the offshore winds are blowing.

  • Height: Can reach up to 40 feet (12 meters)
  • Tip: Bring a long surfboard for extra paddle power
  • Best Time To Surf: The best time to surf at Zicatela is in winter and in the month of November.
  • How to Find: The beach is a 20- minute walk from El Adoquin
  • Note: Beware of sharks. And do bring a first-aid kit, including a helmet and an inflatable life vest.

La Punta

At the south headland of Playa Zicatela lies La Punta, an alternate surfing spot for beginners and intermediate surfers. The waves here are less powerful and are more maneuverable compared to that of Playa Zicatela. One can expect the left-hand point breaks. And the waves can reach up to nine feet (three meters) during the swell season. It is important to note that the difficulty level depends on the swell size and orientation.

  • How To Find La Punta Beach: It takes about 20 minutes to drive to the beach from Puerto Escondido Airport or a 40-minute walk from Zicatela beach.

Playa Carrizalillo

Nestled on a horseshoe bay to the west of Zicatela beach, Playa Carrizalillo makes for an ideal location for beginner surfers. The sublime golden beach has swishy palm trees and is decked out by towering cliffs. Beach goers will have to descend a rocky cliff face with about 167 steps to access the beach. The waves here are calmer. There are two-point breaks that move inwards to the center of the bay. Beginner surfers will find a wide range of surf schools. There are also surfboards to rent. Others can find sunbeds to simply unwind and enjoy the warmth of the sun.

  • Rent for a sunlounger: $15 per day
  • Rent for a surfboard: $25
  • How To Find Playa Carrizalillo: The beach is situated 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 consistent huge waves can opt to visit Puerto Escondido from April till September. These are the busiest period, so expect to find many surfers. Puerto Escondido is visited by many surfers all year round, but October can be less crowded at times.

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