Mexico Family Travel

The 12 Best Puerto Escondido Activities to Book For Your Next Mexico Family Vacation

July 14, 2021
Astrid Vinje

One of the best kept secrets of Mexico is the city of Puerto Escondido. The typical tourist to Mexico may flock to cities like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta. But nothing beats the beauty and fun of experiencing Puerto Escondido activities. 

From amazing surfing to exquisite nature, there’s so much for families to love about Puerto Escondido. It truly is a hidden gem!

This guide to Puerto Escondido has everything you need to know in order to book the best Puerto Escondido activities for your next family trip to Mexico.


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Baby sea turtle, one of the Puerto Escondido activities visitors can do
Baby sea turtle

Table of Contents

Your guide to Puerto Escondido with kids

Puerto Escondido is a small coastal town in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. While the area has been inhabited by indigenous people for centuries, the city of Puerto Escondido, itself, was not established as a port until around the 1930’s. Today, the population stands at around 45,000 people. 

The main industry in Puerto Escondido is tourism. Tourists come to this city for the beaches, surfing, and other Puerto Escondido activities. The temperature in Puerto Escondido stays about the same, all year round. It ranges between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So essentially, any time is the best time to visit Puerto Escondido.

Continue reading this guide to Puerto Escondido with kids to learn more about how to get to Puerto Escondido, where to stay in Puerto Escondido, how to get to your Puerto Escondido activities, restaurants to eat while you're there, and other important travel details.

See how you can include a visit to Puerto Escondido into a 10 day Mexico itinerary.

A sign at Zicatela, Puerto Escondido

Tips for getting to Puerto Escondido

Most tourists to Puerto Escondido arrive by plane. You can find non-stop flights from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido through VivaAerobus and Aeromar. Volaris also has flights to Puerto Escondido from cities like Guadalajara. 

If you’re planning on getting to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City, however, your options are limited. You can take a small prop plane with Aerotucan, but seats are few. We recommend booking well in advance. Also keep in mind that the plane is very small. 

Other modes of getting to Puerto Escondido include taking the bus. Going from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido by bus takes over 11 hours via the bus company, OCC. And getting to Puerto Escondido from Mexico City by bus takes around 12 hours via ETN Turistar. You can also travel to Puerto Escondido by car.

Because there are only domestic flights that come into Puerto Escondido, and getting to Puerto Escondido by bus takes a long time, tourism to the city is somewhat limited. 

Fortunately, what this means for families is that you won’t have to fight through crowds to enjoy the Puerto Escondido activities, beaches, and sites!

Explore the other destinations in the Pacific Coast region here.

The bus station in Puerto Escondido

Ideas for places to stay in Puerto Escondido

When looking for places to stay in Puerto Escondido, consider staying at one of the many independently owned hotels available for families throughout the city. The neighborhoods around Zicatela and Carizalillo beaches are popular. There are also some resorts in Puerto Escondido around Bacocho beach.

Each family has their own idea of what the best hotel in Puerto Escondido is. However, some things to look for include a swimming pool, proximity to the beach, and reliable internet. 

Book one of these places to stay in Puerto Escondido for your next vacation:

Hotel Paraiso

Hotel Aldea del Bazar

Hotel Careyes Puerto Escondido

Also take a look through some of the lodging options offered for Puerto Escondido in the Lonely Planet Mexico guide book.

Buy the guide book here.

Read more ideas of how to plan for your Mexico family vacation here.

A Puerto Escondido beach

Taxis and car rental in Puerto Escondido

The best way to get around Puerto Escondido is by taxi. From the airport, a taxi will cost around 40-50 pesos. A ride within the city center costs roughly 35-50 pesos. If the distance is farther, you may have to pay extra. 

Public buses, known as collectivos, are also available to take families around the city. They cost around 8 pesos per person.

As for your car rental Puerto Escondido options, both Hertz and Europcar have car rental desks at the airport. Rental cars are generally $40-$90 USD per day. Insurance is required to rent a car in Mexico.

American citizens do not need an international driving permit (IDP) for the car rental in Puerto Escondido. However, nationals of other countries may require an IDP to rent a car.

A car in Mexico

Money and costs

Mexico uses the peso for their currency. At the time of this writing, 20 pesos is roughly the equivalent of $1 USD. Many larger businesses will accept credit card, but Mexico is still primarily a cash economy. 

Many of the banks found throughout Mexico are also available in Puerto Escondido. These include BBVA, Banorte, Santander, and HSBC. These banks have ATMs to allow you to withdraw money. However, there may be varying amounts of fees for withdrawals.

Read the 8 Easy Mexico Travel Budget Tips For Families post to learn more about travel costs in Mexico.

Currencies of the world

The best places to eat in Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is a small town, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good dining options there. Some of the best places to eat in Puerto Escondido are along Avenida Del Morro on Playa Zicatela. The Rinconada neighborhood is also another good area to find some of the best places to eat in Puerto Escondido.

Try these family-friendly restaurants below:

El Cafecito 

El Costa Ceviche and Grill

Non Solo Pizza

If you’re truly looking to find the absolute best places to eat in Puerto Escondido, you can’t go wrong with asking a local. Made in Oaxaca offers food tours to help you and your family learn about the local cuisine.

Book a Made in Oaxaca food tour to discover the best places to eat in Puerto Escondido. 

Tacos in Puerto Escondido

The top Puerto Escondido activities to book for families

Once you arrive in town, you might be wondering what Puerto Escondido activities there are to do for families. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun things to do in Puerto Escondido. Besides exploring the beaches, some of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido include snorkeling, fishing, dolphin watching, bird watching, bioluminescence tours, and even horseback riding. The possibilities for Puerto Escondido activities are endless!

Dozens of tour companies exist to help you take advantage of all the Puerto Escondido activities for you and your kids. The companies highlighted in this post are Made in Oaxaca, Puerto Surf, Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido, Pacific Surf Academy, and Robert's Ecotours. However, you're more than welcome to seek out other companies for your Puerto Escondido activities with kids.

Here are the top 15 activities in Puerto Escondido that  you need to book now  for your Puerto Escondido vacation.

Surfers enjoying Puerto Escondido activities at Playa Punta Zicatela

1. Enjoy the Zicatela surf activities at Zicatela beach and La Punta Zicatela

Surfing in Puerto Escondido is a popular activity. And each year, surfers flock to Playa Zicatela to enjoy the Zicatela surf. 

It’s important to note that Playa Zicatela is not ideal for beginner surfers. In fact, the Zicatela surf can get as high as 25 feet! Fortunately, families can still enjoy Puerto Escondido activities at Playa Zicatela by visiting the many restaurants that line the beach. 

Another popular surfing beach is La Punta Zicatela, also known as Playa Punta. It’s located in the southeast end of the city. Like Zicatela beach, La Punta Zicatela is not recommended for young kids due to the strong waves. 

Playa Punta is a popular place for surfing lessons, although it’s still not ideal for truly beginner surfers. Companies like Puerto Surf offer surfing lessons à la carte or as part of a package. Some packages include lodging, while others include Spanish lessons to help you learn some basic Spanish phrases for travel.

The Puerto Escondido surf season begins around the end of April or early May and lasts until around September or October. Plan to book your lessons during that time to take advantage of the best Puerto Escondido surf experience.

For families interested in surf lessons at Playa Punta, take a look at the surfing packages offered by Puerto Surf. 

Puerto Surf - Surf, Sleep, and More

The Zicatela surf in Puerto Escondido

2. Experience the best surf school in Puerto Escondido at Carrizalillo Beach

If you’re in the mood for more beginner surfing lessons in Puerto Escondido, head to Carrizalillo Beach, also known as Playa Carrizalillo. This beach is located northwest of Playa Zicatela. 

Getting to Playa Carrizalillo is a bit of a walk downhill from the main road. There are steps with railings, so you won’t have to worry about falling. But if you have difficulty with stairs, you may want to consider a different beach. 

Once at Playa Carrizalillo, you’ll see why it’s considered one of Puerto Escondido’s best beaches. The waves aren’t super powerful, so it’s a nice beach for boogie boarding and body surfing. However, the water does get deep pretty quickly, so make sure that young kids are supervised when they’re playing in the water.

Carrizalillo Beach also has the best surf school in Puerto Escondido, according to travelers. The lessons are offered by Pacific Surf Academy. 

You can book surf lessons using the link below.

Surf Classes in Puerto Escondido

If surfing is not your thing, you can still enjoy Carrizalillo Beach with some shoreline splash time and beach play. Bring along beach toys and some snacks, and you’ll have a perfect beach day. There is one restaurant at Playa Carrizalillo, in case you get hungry after doing all these beach-based Puerto Escondido activities.

The beach at Playa Carizalillo

3. Go paddleboarding in Puerto Escondido

For families looking for other water-based Puerto Escondido activities, they can try their hand at stand up paddleboarding. Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido offers paddleboarding lessons and tours for visitors to Puerto Escondido.

The experience includes a quick lesson, and then an hour long Manieltepec Lagoon Puerto Escondido tour. You’ll have a chance to swim in the lagoon as well.

Paddleboards are included, as well as life jackets. However, when booking these types of Puerto Escondido activities, it's always helpful to let them know that you’ll need kid-sized life jackets.

Book this paddleboarding Puerto Escondido tour for your next trip:

Stand Up Paddleboarding Tour

The ocean at Puerto Escondido

4. Take part in turtle release Puerto Escondido activities

Thousands of baby sea turtles hatch on the Puerto Escondido beaches each year. But sadly, only about 1% make it to adulthood. Fortunately, communities in Puerto Escondido have stepped up to create turtle sanctuaries, where the baby turtles can hatch safely during the turtle hatching season in Mexico.

Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido offers turtle release Puerto Escondido activities for families who are interested in helping to conserve the sea turtles of Puerto Escondido. Families can visit a turtle sanctuary in Puerto Escondido to learn about the baby sea turtles of Mexico. They then have a chance to release the baby sea turtles into the sea.

If you’re looking for unique Puerto Escondido activities that also have a positive impact, definitely book this releasing turtles Puerto Escondido tour today:

Sea Turtle Release in Puerto Escondido

Want more unique creature experiences in Mexico? Click here to learn about how you can witness the Monarch butterfly migration in Mexico!

Baby turtles ready for a turtle release, Puerto Escondido

5. Take a bioluminescent Puerto Escondido tour

If your family is interested in a unique eco tour Puerto Escondido activity, then you’ll definitely need to book a bioluminescent Puerto Escondido tour, also offered by Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido. Their Puerto Escondido bioluminescence experience is truly a sight to see! 

Bioluminescent organisms are creatures that have chemicals in their bodies that cause them to glow. On land, you can find bioluminescence in bugs like glow worms and lightning bugs. But at Manialtepec Lagoon, located west of Puerto Escondido, it’s microscopic plankton that are the stars of the Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tour.

The bioluminescent lagoon Puerto Escondido tour happens in the evening, so be sure that your kids are able to handle night time Puerto Escondido activities. Also, it will be dark out in the lagoon, so make sure that your children can handle being in the dark for an extended period of time.

The tour will take you out into the lagoon by boat, and you’ll have a chance to swim in the waters with the bioluminescent creatures. Bring along a swimsuit and towel if you plan to swim.

Book this bioluminescent Puerto Escondido tour for your Puerto Escondido vacation:

Puerto Escondido Bioluminescent Lagoon Boat Ride

Boats ready for Puerto Escondido activities

6. Take a horseback riding Puerto Escondido tour

The area around Puerto Escondido is full of experiences you can add to your Puerto Escondido activities list! One excursion idea is a horseback riding Puerto Escondido tour with Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido.

This guided tour takes you through the natural thermal pools of Manialtepec Lagoon on horseback. Even beginners can enjoy the tour. You’ll have a chance to swim as well, so bring a swimsuit.

Book this horseback riding Puerto Escondido tour for you and your family:

Hot Springs Horseback Riding Adventure

A family on the beach after taking part in Puerto Escondido activities

7. Go on a bird-watching and lagoon Puerto Escondido excursion

For a more peaceful Manialtepec Lagoon excursion, why not take a bird-watching tour with Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido?

This guided tour takes you through the lagoon by boat. You’ll be able to see a variety of birds such as ibis, spoonbills, and herons. And you’ll also have a chance to swim, so bring along a swimsuit.

This tour is a great option for families interested in laid back and relaxing Puerto Escondido activities. It's also great for families looking for an educational or worldschooling based travel experience.

Click the link below to book your bird-watching excursion at Manialtepec Lagoon:

Birdwatching Near Puerto Escondido

A white ibis

8. Book a tour to see Puerto Escondido dolphins and whales

Besides sea turtles, bioluminescent creatures, and birds, Puerto Escondido is also a great place to see dolphins and whales in Mexico. Puerto Escondido sits along one of the “whale highways” in the Pacific Ocean. It’s part of the migration routes for humpback whales and blue whales.

Seeing the Puerto Escondido dolphins and whales should be on everyone’s bucket list for Puerto Escondido activities. Companies like Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido offer Puerto Escondido dolphins tours for families interested in sea-based Puerto Escondido activities.

This three hour guided cruise takes you out into the open water to find dolphins in the wild. You’ll have a chance to see the different types of dolphins native to Puerto Escondido, including spotted dolphins, spinners dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins.

Life vests and snorkeling equipment are also included in the tour, so you’ll have a chance to swim while you’re out searching for Puerto Escondido dolphins. Be sure to bring your swimsuit.

To see dolphins and whales in Mexico, book this cruise with Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido:

Puerto Escondido Dolphin Watching Cruise

Dolphins in water during Puerto Escondido activities

9. Book a snorkeling Puerto Escondido experience

Other fun things to do in Puerto Escondido include exploring the underwater world of the Pacific Ocean. Several companies offer snorkeling and diving in Puerto Escondido experiences for families.

Robert’s Ecotours, for example, offers snorkeling Puerto Escondido tours around Huatulco, near Puerto Escondido. Fins and snorkeling equipment are included in the guided tour.

Book your snorkeling Puerto Escondido tour here:

Snorkelling Experience Puerto Escondido

Snorkeling in Mexico

10. Enjoy the other beaches of Playa Bacocho and Playa Coral, Puerto Escondido

If you’re looking for a beach getaway, head over to Playa Bacocho in Puerto Escondido. Playa Bacocho, is the furthest northwest of the city’s beaches. It’s pretty secluded, so you’ll need to have some form of transportation to get there. 

Playa Bacocho is also one of the locations where you can find turtle sanctuaries. ViveMar, a local nonprofit organization, coordinates Playa Bacocho turtle release activities in the evenings every day. 

Visit their Facebook page below for more information:

ViveMar Tortugas Marinas

Nearby to Playa Bacocho is Playa Coral. It’s also a secluded beach set in a slight bay. From the road, it’s about a five or ten minute walk down a sandy trail to get to the beach. 

The beach itself is gorgeous. However, it’s not ideal for really young kids. The waves at Playa Coral can get pretty strong, and the water gets deep really quickly. This beach is better suited for families with older kids who are stronger swimmers.

The beach in Playa Coral

11. Visit local favorites for Puerto Escondido beaches, Playa Angelito and Playa Manzanillo

Among the Puerto Escondido beaches, Playa Angelito is very popular among the locals and Mexican tourists. This is where many of the tour boats dock for sea-based Puerto Escondido activities, so you’ll see a few boats going in and out of the beach. 

The water is very shallow. And because it’s set in a bay, you won’t find any strong waves. There are also a lot of restaurants located right on the beach, so you won’t have to search far for food after a long afternoon of beach play.

Directly across from Playa Angelito, on the other side of the bay, is Playa Manzanillo. Like Playa Angelito, the water in this Puerto Escondido beach is very shallow, so it’s ideal for families with young kids. 

The waves are gentle, but still fun for boogie boarding. It’s not as crowded as Playa Angelito, although it’s still considered one of the best beaches in Puerto Escondido, according to locals and Mexican tourists. The water is pretty clear on this beach, so you’ll be able to see where you’re stepping and swimming.

Buy any the following swimming gear to bring along on your Puerto Escondido trip:

OMERIL Kids Swim Goggles

CAPAS Snorkel Fins

U.S. Divers Mask, Fins and Snorkel Set

Enjoying Puerto Escondido activities at Playa Manzanillo

12. Enjoy a Puerto Escondido beach day at Playa Principal, Puerto Escondido

One of the original main beaches of Puerto Escondido is Playa Principal. This beach sits on the main bay of Puerto Escondido and is surrounded by restaurants and hotels.

Many fishing boats dock at Playa Principal, Puerto Escondido. But families will still be able to swim on the beach and play in the water close to the shore. 

The water is fairly shallow, and the waves are gentle because of the bay. Young kids can swim in the water just fine and enjoy beach-based Puerto Escondido activities. Or they can enjoy playing in the sand with some beach toys.

Take a look at these travel-friendly beach toys to buy and bring for your Puerto Escondido vacation:

RACPNEL Beach Toys Sand Toys Set for Kids

Dejaroo Beach Toys and Sand Toys Set for Kids

A beach at Playa Principal

Including Puerto Escondido activities into your Mexican family vacation

Taking time to experience all the Puerto Escondido activities during your vacation is an absolute must. There is just so much to see and do in Puerto Escondido.

But if you have a limited amount of time to spend in Puerto Escondido, it’s okay to pick just a few. Feel free to book the Puerto Escondido activities that fit your family’s interests and needs the most. You can always come back later and book more Puerto Escondido activities.

With its beautiful beaches, diverse land and sea creatures, and relaxing vibe, Puerto Escondido is truly a destination for everyone. You won’t want to miss a visit to Puerto Escondido on your next Mexico family vacation.

Have you visited Puerto Escondido with your family? Are there any Puerto Escondido activities that we missed? Hop on our Facebook page and let us know!

12 Best Puerto Escondido Activities To Book For Your Next Mexico Family Vacation | Mexico Family Travel

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Enjoy this post? Why not explore these other beach destinations in Mexico:

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