on the Coast of Oaxaca
Golfing at Campo Tangolunda (very beautiful views of the bay).
Fishing along the Oaxacan Coast
: The most popular fish are the
guachinango (sea bream) and the pargo (snapper) but in the deep
waters it is easy to find, all year long, other fish such as the
candle-fish, the marlin, the barrilete (crab) and the rooster-fish.
The cold waters in winter give more opportunities for real fish
trophies with plentiful yellowfins. The lagoon of Chacahuá
and the lagoon of Manialtepec are good spots for fishing the mojarra
(small fish with white meat and many bones) or the robalo (bass).
Riding horses along Copalita River.
Snorkeling in the reef of La Entrega Beach, Santa Cruz Bay, Riscalillo
Beach and San Agustin Beach as well as the reef islands of Cacaluta
and Montosa. You can also snorkel in the Lagoon of Chacahuá,
sanctuary of turtles.
Mountain biking on the dirt trails linking small villages in the
mountains surrounding the coast.
Kayaking in Manialtepec, an excellent option to enjoy nature.
Visit the Mexican center of the Turtle where many diverse sea turtles
are displayed. Every aquarium is set with the flora and fauna essential
to the specie that it contains.
Visit the coffee plantations and enjoy nature with wonderful mountain
Abseiling in Punta Celeste, Piedra de Moros and Copalitilla Falls.
Rafting in Copalita and Zimatan Rivers that offer nice tropical
sceneries. There are kayak or canoe trips offering class 1 to 4
Driving ATV on dozen miles long beaches or in the jungle.
Visit the Lagoon of Chacahuá, a National Park that houses
136 species of birds, 23 of reptiles, 4 of amphibians and 20 of
mammals. The sea turtles come lay on the beaches of the park. There
is also a crocodile hatchery.
Visit the Lagoon of Manialtepec with its luxurious vegetation of
mangrove, home of thousands birds. You can rent a motor boat and
kayaks and follow tourist paths.
Abseiling in Cascada Reforma (about 60 m or 180 feet high) : It
compounds a natural rock wall as well as several ponds.
Bird watching in the Lagoon of Chacahuá.
Visit the archaeological site of Nopala (52 km or 35 miles from
Puerto Escondido) : it houses an ensemble of objects sculpted by
Chatina Indigenious. You can also visit the site of Tutupec (81
km or 50 miles from Puerto Escondido), a Mixteca lordship displaying
some remarkably well finished Pre-Hispanic sculptures.
Surfing in Puerto Escondido : it is one of the 10 best spots in
the world for surfing. From November to April, the swell goes from
weak to moderate and from May to October, the swell goes from moderate
to strong. The beaches have a sand bottom with breaking waves all
year long. One of the best spots is Zicatela.
This is a picturesque town with many bays lined
with high mountain ranges covered with a dense tropical vegetation.
It is known under the name of Costa Esmeralda (Emerald
coast) because of the colors of the crystal waters contrasting with
the fine white sand beaches.
One of the first names given to Puerto Escondido was "Zicatela",
name of one of the main beach of the harbor, which means, in Náhuatl:
"Place where there are big thorns".
During the thirties, the harbor started to change into a real village
but it nevertheless remained an almost virgin place with quiet and
fine white sand beaches, crystal emerald waters and luxurious vegetation
housing an abundant fauna. This is why, in the seventies, some brave
tourists ended up there in search of freedom, adventure and beautiful
In 1982, the federal government and the government
of Oaxaca State supported Puerto
Escondido, the Hidden Port, to make it one of the new tourist paradises
of the Pacific Coast.
This sea resort, with a promising future, has an international fame
: it is one of the rare places in America where one can surf at
a professional level thanks to huge waves on some beaches. Zicatela
Beach (with a 3km2 or 1.2 mi2 surface) is one of the famous beaches
for huge waves, ideal for surfing. The fauna is abundant: you can
see migrating birds, crocodiles, iguanas, sea turtles and armadillos
in their natural environment. The inhabitants of Puerto Escondido
promised to conserve the ecosystem and to preserve it with the creation
of an ecological reserve.
The climate is hot and humid, with summer rains and an average yearly
temperature of 28°C (82F). It is not yet “invaded”
by majestic "resorts"; there are many small scale hotels.
The city is parted in two : the old city, with
a walking street called El Adoquin and the street running alongside
Zicatela Beach, called Moro street. In the old city, you can find
many hotels, restaurants, boutiques, banks, ATM and the tourist
In Moro Street, there are many restaurants, bars, laundries, banks,
ATM and scooter rentals.
The most famous beaches are :
From West to East :
Bacocho Beach : This is a very long beach divided in three sections
among rocks, with many hotels and restaurants.
Carrizalillo Beach : nested in a cove, it is ideal for swimming,
snorkeling and surfing (lessons are available). There are many services
for RV and diving. It is accessible via many stairs down. There
are Palapas and bars if you need food or drinks. It is a nice paradise.
Manzanillo Beach : ideal for swimming and snorkeling, with nice
underwater landscape, warm and shallow water.
Port Angelito Beach : it is like a natural swimming pool! There
is a restaurant as well as a shop for renting diving equipment,
beach chairs and umbrellas.
These last two beaches are quieter because of a less easy access.
You can take a lancha at Principal Beach.
Principal Beach : You can rent motor boats to go high-sea fishing,
enjoy water sports or visit the different beaches. Hotels, restaurants
and bungalows are available. This is a quiet beach; the sea is calm
and the water color is a magnificent turquoise.
Marinero Beach : ideal for surfing, especially for beginners.
There are hotels and restaurants. You can ride horses and rent beach
chairs ($ 20).
Zicatela Beach : it is a very long beach with open sea. It is famous
for the waves that can reach 6m (20ft) high; it is ideal for expert
surfers. An international surf tournament is held every year, in
Be careful on Bacocho, Marinero and Zicatela Beaches because of
the strong swell....
Map of Puerto Escondido :
Places of interest :
Lagoons of Chacahuá (80 km or 50 miles west)
La Pastoria, Chacahuá and Las Salinas : On these three lagoons,
you can ride a lancha (boat) among islets lined with mangroves spreading
over 30 km (20 miles). This is the habitat of seabirds, perch-birds
and reptiles, including crocodiles. It is one of the last sanctuaries
in Mexico. During the trip, you will see two beaches where the lagoons
and the sea merge. Visit the Villa de Pescadores where you can taste
a huge variety of fresh fish and seafood and visit a crocodile hatchery.
A few cabins are available for lodging, far away from everything
and close to heaven! You can eat the specialties of the Pacific
Coast in a few palapas : shrimps, lobsters, giant oysters, huachinangos
and cierras. The swell is strong so this place is good for sunbathing
(hammock for rent) and beach games. Sometimes, from May to November,
turtles come to lay their eggs. The travel agencies of Puerto Escondido
offer a one day trip (quite expensive).
Lagoons of Manialtepec (16 km or 10 miles west)
This lagoon is located a few kilometers from Puerto Escondido; it
spreads over 15 km (9 miles). It is lined with mangroves, natural
habitat of seabirds and iguanas. You can see gorgeous sunsets in
Bocabarra, where the lagoon, the sea and the river merge. You can
swim in salt or fresh water. You can also rent canoe-kayaks to explore
the lagoon while paddling. The lagoon can be explored by lancha
from the restaurants in Alejandria and Las Negras
Ventanilla (3.5 km or 2 miles from El Mazunte) :
Concerned with environment, the community started a program to save
the ecosystem. This includes the reforestation of the mangroves
and the repopulation of the crocodiles. The tourists can watch the
babies born in the husbandry as well as the adults in their natural
habitat. They are either basking in the sun or stalking their prey.
It is also an excellent place for bird watching. On the road to
Ventanilla, you can visit the ranch El Potrero (the pen), that spreads
over 2 km2 (0.8 mi2). It is a private project destined for raising
and repopulating iguanas. There are daily lancha trips on the lagoon
for bird watching; the cooperative also organizes hiking and horse
Atotonilco/ thermal waters
This is an adventure since you start riding a horse up the banks
of Manialtepec River in the middle of the jungle and you end up
down to the sulfurous waters of a natural spring where you can enjoy
soaking –a truly medicinal and relaxing bath – Then,
you follow the riverside far away from civilization.
Culture and Traditions
Puerto Escondido is surrounded by many typical villages where you
can admire churches and noticeable old buildings. Also note the
great variety of local craft. The villages celebrate their own town
Patron Saint. Each village has its own believes and legends. Nopala,
Bajos de Chila, Santiago, Jamiltepec and Mixtepec have nice colorful
markets. They offer a large selection of ceramics, fabrics and leathers
Located 300 km (200 miles) south from Acapulco,
close to Puerto Angel and 113 km (70 miles) from Puerto Escondido,
this sea resort consists of nine bays with clear water as in the
Aegean Sea. The ocean bottom is beautiful. Twenty years ago, a tourist
infrastructure was created especially around Tangolunda Bay. Not
so long before, the fishermen picked up white corals and sometimes
they brought back lobsters and crawfish. This sea resort is located
where the Sierra Madre joins the Pacific Ocean, making nice bays
and strangely shaped rocks. The tourist development covers a huge
area including nine bays, each one more beautiful than the others.
The bays offer 36 beaches, most of them being deserted and with
a weak swell, ideal for water sports. The climate is hot and humid
with an average yearly temperature of 25°C (77F).
The origin of the city :
It goes back to the Pre-Hispanic
time. It was the center of the Zapotec culture. During the sixteenth
century, it was the center of operations of pirates and corsairs;
during the colonial time, it was a commercial port and a link with
the Orient. In 1849, Benito
Juárez, then President of Mexico, visited
this place and founded the "Villa del Crespo".
The nine bays :
From West to East :
San Agustin Bay : many rocks, reefs and small islands surround the
bay and make it a privileged place for snorkeling. The different
beaches are : San Agustin, excellent for snorkeling and Cacalutilla,
with warm crystal waters. This bay is located 13 km (8 miles) from
downtown and accessible via a bad dirt road. However, it is worth
the trip because of the paradise you will find at the end of the
road: palapas, beach chairs and parasols. You will also have the
opportunity to see many colorful fish.
Chachacual Bay : It is a very important ecological reserve. The
beaches are : Chachacual, with a weak spell; La India, a desert
beach accessible only by sea and Jicaral, with crystal waters ideal
for diving, fishing and swimming; it is also famous for its violet
ink snails which are used to dye t-shirts.
Cacalutá Bay : it is an important ecological space with mountainous
vegetation and a few swamps. The beaches are: Cacalutá, where
you can practice water sports with caution because of the strong
swell; Arroyo, with an abundant vegetation and sea birds; This one
kilometer long beach offers deep waters with strong swell that allow
surfing and windsurfing. This Bay is interesting because of its
wild side. It is part of the National Park; it is home to birds,
iguanas and turtles.
Organo and Maguey Bays : there are some swamps and many birds. The
beaches are Maguey, a popular beach because of weak swell (you can
practice water ski, jet-ski and diving) and Organo, a virgin beach
perfect for meditation.
Santa Cruz Bay : one of the most beautiful bays with an excellent
tourist infrastructure. On the pier, locals sell handicraft from
Oaxaca. On the main plaza, a pleasant
kiosk is the meeting place for locals and visitors. There is an
open theater, two small plazas and many diverse restaurants. In
La Crucecita, a small village, there are pleasant open bars, restaurants,
a handicraft market, an ATM, a laundry, internet access and many
diverse shops. The beaches are : La Entrega, ideal for sunbathing
and snorkeling (very nice cove). There are palapas (bar-restaurant)
where you can have fresh fish and seafood; Yerbabuena, an excellent
place for relaxing; Santa Cruz, where you can rent snorkeling equipment
as well as Jet Ski and canoes. Many tourists are concentrated on
this beach which serves as the departing point, by boat, to the
Chahué Bay : A huge urbanized place with many condominiums,
hotels and restaurants. The beaches are : Chahué, with white
sand and moderate swell; Esperanza, with strong big waves; Tejon,
with warm waters and quiet swell.
These last two beaches are the busiest ones.
Tangolunda Bay : it offers luxurious hotels (resorts), modern malls,
a 18 holes golf course and residential zones. The beaches are: Ventura,
ideal for snorkeling, sailing and kayaking; Manzanillo, Tornillo
and Tangolunda, all excellent for water sports and sunbathing; Rincon
Sabroso, with a low swell. This Bay contains the most buildings
in the area
Conejos Bay : nice bay with luxurious residences.
The beaches are Tejoncito, very private and quiet;
Punta Arenas, surrounded with rocks (during the high season, there
are fresh fish and seafood booths);
Conejos, a small white sand beach with warm crystal waters. All
of them are perfect for swimming, snorkeling and fishing.
Map of Huatulco sea resort :
It is a quiet fishing village, an exceptional rustic
nice place with some hotels, restaurants, a bank, a pharmacy and
a fishing port. It is surrounded with high cliffs covered with luxurious
It offers simple tourist services. There are nice beaches with crystal
waters. The sea has an intense color with different shades of blue
and green; the swell is changing. On the main beach, there is room
for RV by the restaurants; there is always a local, a fisherman
for example, ready to serve you as a guide to visit the surroundings.
Some beaches are far away and accessible by taxi if you don’t
have a car (example of price : Puerto Angel to Zipolite : $35).
La Boquilla and la Mina beaches are excellent for swimming and snorkeling.
Panteón beach is ideal for swimming; it is famous for its
Zipolite Beach : it is an open sea with crystal waters.
There are restaurants. You can rent cabins and beach chairs. There
are several clothing optional camps at the west of the beach.
Zipolite is also a village with cheap hotels, stores, internet and
laundry. You can go on a boat tour with Azur Profundo ( 584 31 29).
Departures from 9 AM and 9:45. You first watch dolphins, whales,
killer whales and sperm whales, then you snorkel in Boquilla beach
among colorful fish and corals and then you reach Mina Beach where
you can dive from rocks. Finally, the boat stops at Estacaluite
for a good lunch on the beach before going back to Zipolite.
Beach of Love (del Amor) : it is secluded behind huge crag
rocks. There is a trailer park and a snorkeling equipment shop.
These two beaches are clothing optional beaches.
Mazunte Beach : it is ideal for swimming and enjoying the jungle
landscape. The museum of the turtle, "Centro Mexicano de la
Tortuga", is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM-4:30 PM except on
Saturdays (it is closed at 2:30 PM). Guided tours in Spanish and
La Escobilla Beach : it is a long beach with a strong swell. From
June to September, thousands turtles come to lay eggs on these beaches.
San Agustinillo Beach : it is a nice beach for swimming. It is surrounded
by family owned hotels and palapas. San Agustinillo is also a village
located 1 km (0.6 mile) from Mazunte which is also a cute small
Ventanilla Beach : it is located west from Mazunte; it is a long
beach with a lagoon. There are boat tours organized by a cooperative
on the premises, "Servicos Ecoturisticos de la Ventanilla".
They offer tours in the mangroves to admire crocodiles, turtles
and birds. Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel fight over the belonging
to the Mexican center of the Turtle and la Ventanilla !
website in English with precious information about the Pacific
Coast of Oaxaca (tours, transportation,
hotels, restaurants, beaches, etc...) :
See the pages about the sea resorts on the Pacific coast :
North part :
Puerto Vallarta & Costalegre
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