Surfing at Puerto Escondido, Mexico

I Wish I Was There Instead... Puerto Escondido, Mexico

We chat to travel writer Ben Taub about his favourite holiday in the sun - to Puerto Escondido in Mexico.

So where would you rather be?
Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico

What’s all the fuss about?
Travelling around Mexico, just about everyone I met told me I had to go to Puerto Escondido, and once I arrived it was pretty easy to see why. The surf break at Playa Zicatella - sometimes referred to as the Mexican Pipeline - is generally considered to be the best in the country, so the town has become a magnet for surfers who have brought their laid back vibe with them. Aside from that, the place hasn’t really developed much and is still a relatively small fishing community, so it’s far more idyllic than some of the other beaches along Mexico’s Pacific coast, like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta.

Playa Angelito and Playa Manzanillo are small, secluded and flanked by rows of coconut palms and other tropical vegetation, with the latter inaccessible by car. Add to this the fact that the area is also a nesting site for sea turtles and hummingbirds and it’s hard to imagine a more perfect beach setting.

Nightlife is another thing that Puerto Escondido does particularly well, with beachfront bars lining the promenade in Playa Zicatella. I remember spending one evening in a karaoke bar with a metre of beer and having the time of my life - even though I normally hate karaoke. It’s just that kind of place I suppose.

Keep talking...
Most people who come to Puerto Escondido do so to surf and party. Experienced surfers will want to tackle the Pipeline, although the waves at Playa Zicatella can be terrifying powerful, so it’s not suitable for beginners. Anyone looking for a slightly calmer introduction to the sport can take a lesson at Playa Manzanillo, which can also get some pretty big swells, but there’s no undertow here.

Another unforgettable experience from my time in Puerto Escondido was watching baby turtles hatch as the sun went down over the Ventanilla Nature Reserve. Most hotels and hostels offer transport to the turtle beach, which is only a 15 minute drive from the town itself.

If you could describe the place in three words, what would they be?
Unspoilt, Exhilarating, Exquisite

If there’s only one thing I should do while I’m there, what would it be?
Take a surf lesson on one of the smaller beaches, or if you’re feeling confident enough have a go at the Mexican Pipeline.

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