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Best beaches in Oaxaca | Puerto Escondido vs Huatulco

Huatulco or Puerto Escondido? Choosing between two destinations in the same state is quite difficult, but the characteristics of the destination will play an important role in your decision, be it your personal tastes or the experience you want to live on the beach. Check out more here.

Discover Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, two charming locations of the Pacific Coast of Mexico. They offer tourists a unique experience.

There are many beaches in Oaxaca that are known for their natural, dreamy landscapes. However, if you need help deciding which one is best for you, here are some guides to help you decide.

There are several reasons why Oaxaca is one of the best states to spend a vacation. Whether you are looking to deepen your cultural understanding of Mexico or want to explore the wonders of the mountains and the sea.

Without a doubt, the beaches of Oaxaca are among the most popular in the country. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to that area, taking advantage of your visit to visit these beaches is one of the best ideas. If you can only visit one of them, we’ve put together some helpful tips.

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.

The sections of Oaxaca that you cannot miss when visiting this entity are Huatulco and Puerto Escondido, two of the most beautiful places in the state. Despite being so different, both have gained reputations across the country. But which one can be called better? We will learn more about its characteristics below.

The town of Huatulco is one of the three most popular tourist destinations in Oaxaca. In addition to the beach, there are several bays to explore in the area. There is no doubt that Huatulco is an ideal vacation destination since it offers great recreation and great infrastructure in both lodging sites and tourist services.

Puerto Escondido, with all its style, is one of the newest and most fashionable destinations on the planet, and you will also find that here you will not only enjoy a truly luxurious getaway to nature, but you will also be able to enjoy focused services in much more modern concepts and trends, and even global competition.

Choosing between two destinations in the same state is quite difficult, but the characteristics of the destination will play an important role in your decision, be it your tastes or the experience you want to live.

There are many types of services available in Huatulco, as well as lush landscaping that can appeal to the whole family. In contrast, Puerto Escondido, in addition to this beautiful landscape, offers services more focused on trends and a younger audience, so if you are looking for something unique, this could be the place for you.

See Huatulco for yourself

The full name of this resort is Las Bahías de Huatulco, which has nine bays in total and thirty-six beach spots on the Pacific coast in Oaxaca. They are characterized by having soft sands, crystal clear waters, and abundant sun, shade, and entertainment.

Huatulco is located about 430 kilometers from Acapulco on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is a relatively new tourist area with well-preserved natural beauty, well-equipped eco-centers and hotels, and high-quality services that make it an excellent place for recreation at night.

You can’t stay here if you’re on a tight budget, but it won’t cost as much as the exclusive coastal resorts in Costa Alegre.

There is nothing quite like the high-rise commercial beach resorts of Huatulco.

Instead, the city has done so by leaving space between construction projects, and planning is being done carefully to minimize their impact on the environment. For example, hotels and other buildings cannot exceed six floors.

Huatulco has nine bays in total, and each bay has its particular personality. Crucecita, Santa Cruz, and Tangolunda are three of those distinct areas in Huatulco.

The coastline of some of these bays is too rugged and the undertow is too strong along some of the beaches for these bays to be suitable for development.

beach with nature

Tangolunda Bay is the most developed on the island. It has well-established resorts and a highly regarded 18-hole golf course.

Huatulco has been wisely managed by the local government to cater to those seeking a higher quality resort experience, without the manufacturing feel and without taking clients to the more exclusive end of the market, such as those in Costa Alegre and Punta de Mita…

It is more common for vacationers to spend their time in Huatulco relaxing, enjoying ecotourism, and participating in water activities, such as snorkeling and boating. Huatulco has some nightlife, but it is not designed as a nightlife mecca.

If your body and soul are crying out for beach therapy, consider relaxing on the shores of the Huatulco bays, which offer a more relaxed and tranquil environment than the most popular resorts in Mexico.

What you should see

Beautiful beaches

Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, playa

On the beaches of Huatulco, you can enjoy the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean and soft sands. There is also no shortage of bars and restaurants, so you can enjoy a day of fun, sunbathe and swim while being a stone’s throw from another delicious meal or a soda to quench your thirst.

Water sports

Among the attractions of Huatulco is snorkeling. Snorkeling equipment can be rented locally. In this region of Mexico, river rafting is also a popular sport.

Highly recommended local cruises

Take a cruise along the Huatulco coast to see the bays and beaches, the main attraction in the area. There are opportunities for swimming and snorkeling on the tours, with some stopping at local beaches for lunch of fresh, local fish and seafood.

In addition to requesting information about cruises from the hotel, you can also ask at your local port in La Crucecita or Santa Cruz.

Private boats and boatmen are available by the day or by the hour so you can go anywhere at your own pace. You can take a commercial tour (on a large boat) or hire a small boat and boatman privately by the day or by the hour.

Tours in Huatulco for adventure and ecotourism

If you prefer an authentic adventure tour, Huatulco is the perfect destination. With its topography, natural beauty, landscapes, and accommodation, the region offers a stunning setting for an adventure vacation. Huatulco is a great place for ecological excursions in the area due to the surrounding mountains and jungle.

What to do and where to go

There are few ways to travel to Huatulco by air, which may be one of the reasons why it is not as well known as other coastal areas in Mexico. Europe and the United States can reach Huatulco by connecting through Mexico City. Some local airlines offer flights to Oaxaca during the summer (see local listings).

From the northwest side of the airport, you can take a private taxi to Huatulco. Crucecita, Santa Cruz, and Tangolunda are the three main towns that surround Huatulco. Tangolunda is the furthest and closest to Cruzcita. Your hotel can arrange return transportation.

Taking the bus: Buses from Mexico City can take you to Huatulco. In addition, there are bus services available from Oaxaca, Acapulco and Puerto Escondido. Crucecita is a nearby town where you will be dropped off on the bus. Taxis and ground transportation are available to take you to your hotel in Huatulco.

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. Beach

Image by Anna Bertho

Traveling by car: Along the coast of Acapulco, Highway 200 runs south. This hilly and winding road is well maintained. You should drive the 200 only during daylight hours as there is no lighting either.

On this remote highway, there have been reports of vehicle thefts. However, due to the importance of tourism, the authorities increased the number of police and military patrols, which drastically reduced the incidents reported.

To drive from Oaxaca City to Huatulco, you will have to drive Highway 175 for four hours: it is a mountainous highway and, although the scenery is spectacular, it is a tough and exhausting journey. Travel along this road by car or bus should only be done during the day for safety reasons.

Renting a Car: Renting a car is a great way to see Mexico’s provincial towns and cities, as well as nearby beaches and attractions. Having your car will give you more flexibility than using public transportation options and can sometimes access places that would otherwise be difficult to get to.

Taking a Taxi: The distance between the three main cities is too great to walk, but taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced. It is economical to travel by taxi in Mexico, compared to countries in the United States, Canada, and Europe, making it a viable mode of public transportation in Mexico.

Taxi hotels generally charge a higher rate than street taxis. Some post their rates in the lobby. You will have a clear advantage if you speak Spanish and can negotiate a fair price with the driver.

Buses that operate in the local area: There are local minibusses that travel between the three cities, and if you are not overloaded with the items you are carrying and you are not in a hurry, they are higher value compared to a taxi.

Public transportation is limited: If you plan to explore the nearby bays and spectacular scenery, a rental car maybe your best option.

The Essentials of Huatulco

Phone: stay in touch and have access to the latest table of national dialing codes.

Currency exchange: You will find two banks (one on the south side of the square and one on the north side) with ATMs in Crucecita. You can also buy traveler’s checks and cash from them and Casas de Cambio during business hours.

If you are visiting Mexico, you must be adequately covered with travel medical insurance and/or travel assistance insurance.

Connecting the Mexican cities of Oaxaca City and Huatulco is Highway 175, which is very mountainous, remote, and rugged.

To guarantee your safety, we recommend that you travel only during daylight hours if you are traveling on this highway by car or bus.

A toll road is being built that will connect the city of Oaxaca and Huatulco, providing an alternative route to the Pacific. This highway will transform travel in this region from Oaxaca to the Pacific coast when it is open.

Internet access is becoming common in towns and cities in Mexico, with internet cafes and WiFi available in cafes, shops, hotels, and some cities offer free access points in some designated public areas.

Shopping in Huatulco

Santa Cruz and Crucecita offer a variety of local shops and outdoor markets for Christmas shoppers hoping to bring back a bit of Mexico.

A visit to the Huatulco markets will allow you to buy some locally made arts and crafts, such as black clay pottery and traditional clothing from Oaxaca.

The climate of the area

In Huatulco, there is a lot of humidity and heat throughout the year. Rain usually begins in May and ends in October, but like most monsoon areas, the rain tends to be heavy and brief in the late afternoon, leaving the nights dry and cool.

Humidity levels are higher and the rains are heaviest in September.

Distance between Huatulco and Oaxaca

From Ciudad Oaxaca to Santa María Huatulco there is a distance of 237 km. The tour can be done in a time of 6 hours or a little more. The complicated thing is that the trip circulates through the Sierra de Oaxaca, with closed curves. The landscapes are beautiful but it is a very heavy trip, so it is recommended to go with enough time to move or in a third party transport.

The beaches of Puerto Escondido

Among the many activities, you can enjoy in Puerto Escondido are surfing, sunbathing, having a cocktail, watching the sunset, and having a beer at a beach bar.

The coast of Oaxaca, Mexico, is home to Porto Escondido, a small coastal town. There are big waves at Playa Zicatela, which makes it known as the surf capital of Mexico. Originally, Puerto Escondido was a remote coastal town with the name of Puerto Escondido. There has been a huge increase in tourism in recent years, which has also caused prices to go up.

However, Puerto Escondido remains a backpacker’s paradise because it is relatively affordable. My favorite place in all of Mexico has been Puerto Escondido, which I have been visiting for almost a year. It is the place where everyone can feel at home in Mexico.

Location of Puerto Escondido

The city center is only a 10-minute drive from the Puerto Escondido airport. You can take a bus for a relatively low price if you arrive from nearby places such as Oaxaca City, Mazunte, or San José del Pacífico.

If you are coming from a place further from the coast, keep in mind that the roads are steep and windy.

Several routes can be found on the Mexico bus network.

How to go from Puerto Escondido to Huatulco?

If you want to move from one beach to another, the trip can take up to two hours, with a distance of 90 – 100 km through Acapulco, Salina Cruz, Santiago Pinotepa Nacional and Salina Cruz/Mexico 200.

It is recommended to make this journey by car and have a pleasant tour of the paradisiacal coast of the state.

How far is it from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

If you want to move from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, you can follow Federal Highway 175 to San Bartolo Coyotepec. Then at kilometer 15, you have to turn onto Federal Highway 131 towards Sola de Vega.

You continue until you reach Puerto Escondido. The route is approximately 254 km with an estimated time of 5:30 or 6 hours.

There is little traffic in Puerto Escondido, making it easy to get around. You can get to the beach on both sides of Playa Zicatela in 30 minutes if you stay near Playa Zicatela.

Other than that, you can take the bus from one side of the city to the other for less than a dollar. There are no hidden fees and you can hop on and off wherever you want.

There are many taxis available and they are quite cheap. Taxis are available on the streets. There is some distance between the beaches of Puerto Escondido, so you may need a taxi if you want to visit them all.

If you take a taxi or a bus, you will save a lot of money.

Puerto Escondido’s beaches are located outside of the city, so you may need a car to get to them. You can rent a car both at the airport and in the city.

Staying in Puerto Escondido: a lot of things to do in Puerto Escondido

Staying in Puerto Escondido: a lot of things to do in Puerto Escondido

There are plenty of things to do in Puerto Escondido. You can enjoy the beautiful beaches, take part in water sports activities, and explore the local culture.

There are several neighborhoods in Puerto Escondido. Among the most popular tourist destinations are Zicatela, La Punta, Carrizalillo, and Centro (the city center). You can choose to stay in a different area of Puerto Escondido depending on your plans.


The waves in Zaicatela are the biggest, and there are many bars and clubs in this nightlife district.

La Punta

One of one’s favorite spots is La Punta. During the day, it is quieter and has a surfer vibe. As the nighttime crowd heads to the Zicatela clubs, several bars and restaurants can get crowded in the evenings. Vegan and vegetarian restaurants abound here.

Carrizalillo / Rinconada

Located in a quieter region, Carrizalillo / Rinconada is a nice place to live. Unlike Playa Zicatela, it is further from everything that can be done. It has no nightlife and there are fewer shops and restaurants.

Downtown Puerto Escondido

It is not a good idea to stay in Centro. You can enjoy visiting the local market from time to time, but maybe you don’t like spending a lot of time there. It is a bit off the beaten track and is also a neighborhood with many locals.

You should stay near Zicatela Beach if you visit Puerto Escondido for the first time.

Oaxacan rain

Visit Puerto Escondido at the best time of the year

A little bit of everything happens in Puerto Escondido during the dry season and the rainy season. It’s hot and tropical all year round, but December to April is a good time to visit the coastal city.

There is a lot of rain and extreme humidity from May to November.

February, March, and January are the most pleasant months to visit Puerto Escondido. It is hot during the day but cool at night and there is less humidity than in the following months.

What is the security situation in Puerto Escondido?

There is no other place in Mexico that is safer than Puerto Escondido. You probably won’t be able to see a single crime for months. Tourists and locals live peacefully next to each other in Puerto Escondido, a quiet coastal town.

However, you should not walk from one side of the city to the other at night and you should also avoid going to the beach at night. They could rob you there. Just be smart. Even though you think Puerto Escondido is very safe, it is still Mexico.

If you get robbed in Puerto Escondido, you also have to have a lot of bad luck. However, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Which is better, Huatulco or Puerto Escondido?

If you are looking for Mexican culture or exotic mountain and coastal landscapes, Oaxaca is the perfect state for a good vacation. Visiting the beaches of Oaxaca is one of the best ways to take advantage of a trip, but if you only have a short time, here you can choose among its best beaches.

There are two beach destinations in Oaxaca that you cannot miss when you visit this entity: Huatulco and Puerto Escondido. Despite their differences, both are highly regarded. Which is the best?

Huatulco is a great destination for the whole family because it offers various services and beautiful landscapes. However, for those looking for something different, Puerto Escondido has services focused on trends and the younger public.

Puerto Escondido is a small place in Oaxaca, it has been attracting visitors for over 100 years. It is known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people, and delicious food.

If you want to see some amazing sights, then you should visit Huatulco and Puerto Escondido. These places are known as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico.

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