Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

Population: 50,000

Time Zone: Central Standard Time

Airport: Puerto Escondido International ( PXM)

Elevation: Sea Level

Long-known by adventurous surfers attracted by some of the best waves in the world, Puerto Escondido defines the term “laid-back”. The town’s main beach is sheltered from the wild surf, nestled into a cove behind Punta Escondida. It is here that the local fishermen dock their pangas, the palapa restaurants serve the local catch, and the families come to play in the always warm water. As you walk southeast along the water’s edge you will start to see the swells forming, and when you get to Playa Zicatela you’d better be a very strong swimmer, as the waves and the rip current are anything but laid-back.

There are no large resort complexes here, but there are a lot of nice, inexpensive accommodations that attract long-term visitors who are not interested in late-night discos and fancy meals. And although tourism is now a major factor in the local economy, it remains unknown to most Mexico travelers.

Although a seemingly idyllic town in many ways—not over-built with condo-hawkers on every corner—the area has a history and reputation of not being a very safe place. Law enforcement is scarce and thefts and robberies have been a problem from time to time, mostly along the beach at night. Some of these accounts have been over-blown, and we all know crime can happen anywhere, but it is always a good idea to be cautious. Within the town itself, however, crime is rare and the people are friendly and helpful.