Puerto Escondido means hidden port in Spanish – a popular joke amongst the grizzled old gringos knocking back cervezas at the Split Coconut is to say “It’s not very well hidden at all.”
And sure, to those who have been coming here since the 70′s, today’s Puerto is undoubtedly a much different place, with a lot more tourists. The road is paved along Zicatela Beach, more people are arriving by plane rather than on rickety old buses through the mountains, and the crowd in general is less wandering bohemians or surfers and more just a smattering of everybody.
It’s changed a lot. Hell, it’s changed a lot during the four years I’ve lived here.
But the fact still remains that the coast of Oaxaca still offers something you’re simply not going to find anywhere else in Mexico.
Come check it out now before Puerto Escondido is the next big thing. Secrets this good can’t stay secret forever, just ask the gray haired snowbirds having one too many at “The Split.”
1. Can I get fries with that?
Puerto Escondido remains untouched by American fast-food chains. You won’t find a McDonald’s, nor a KFC or Burger King anywhere. In fact, aside from OXXO convenience stores you won’t find Mexican franchises either.
Pretty much every single restaurant is a solo operation, family owned and operated. Puerto still very much maintains an authentic small town feel.
The same goes for soul-crushing tourist traps like the Hard Rock Café or Señor Frog’s.
We’ve got none of that garbage here. Zero. Zip. Nada.
2. It doesn’t matter where you go in life, as long as you go to the beach
This sleepy little fishing town has a beach for everyone. From world class waves for big wave surfers to calm waters teeming with sea life for snorkeling, and everything in between. It’s all here.
Compared to the crowded beaches of Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos, every beach in Puerto Escondido is going to feel like a tranquil getaway. But there are still plenty of hidden beaches not far from town where you’ll have miles of sand all to yourself!
If you’ve ever dreamed of standing on the beach without another soul around, the Oaxacan coast is where you need to be.
3. Almost no hawkers and it’s incredibly safe
There’s nothing worse than trying to relax on the beach and being hassled every 2 minutes by someone trying to sell you a necklace, t-shirt, hat or trinket.
Sure, there are a few wandering salesman offering their wares up Zicatela or Playa Principal, but it’s nothing like you find in the major tourist hubs. Plus, all you’ve got to do is stray just a wee bit from the center of the action and the hawkers disappear completely.
Visitors to this area also quickly note how ridiculously safe it is here.
4. The perfect blend of holiday and culture
Oaxaca state is one of the most interesting regions of Mexico culturally. From its unique cuisine to traditional dress and fascinating or downright wacky customs, it’s a neat part of the world.
So vacationing on the Oaxacan coast presents an awesome opportunity to both relax and sip margaritas by the pool, but to also get out there and learn something about the people who live here, too.
There are countless opportunities for grabbing lifelong memories, from horseback rides along the river to mangrove laguna tours and mountain bike adventures.
But try to get here before it’s too late. Puerto will always be magical but it’s just a matter of time before Ronald McDonald moves in next door.
Author: Araluen Centre
Araluen Centre are a high-quality art and travel blog with creative contributors from all over the world.