PUERTO ESCONDIDO, MEXICO
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WELCOME TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO
If you are a traveler who likes the idea of visiting a Mexican destination that has not been master planned as a tourist destination, Puerto Escondido just might be your style. This funky coastal town has grown up a lot since the days when it's only visitors were surfers looking for hot waves and cold beers, but it still holds a charm hard to find in the larger Mexican Pacific Coast destinations like Cancun or Ixtapa. Yes, Puerto has grown up, but it's still not ready for prime time. And that's a good thing.
Puerto Escondido is located on Mexico's southern Pacific Coast, an hour or so up the coast from the new resort of Huatulco. This southern stretch of coast is the last decent coastal destination before the Guatemalan border. This area is, more than anywhere else in Mexico, the tropics.
The name Puerto Escondido means "hidden port" and it was an active port from the late 1920's. Coffee grown in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains was shipped to various parts of the world through this quiet coastal village. The secret of Puerto Escondido's beautiful beaches got out when Mexico Highway 200 snaked through town in the 1960's. At first the town was a secret destination for California surfers who enjoyed the great waves and year round warm water. Then the word spread to other travelers looking for a piece of paradise to lay down their beach towels and the next thing you know Puerto became a popular destination known to many.
Mexico Highway 200 still delivers visitors to Puerto Escondido, although an increasing number of visitors are now flying down. In addition to providing a transportation link to the world, the highway also acts as a physical barrier dividing the town into a coastal section and the upper inland section. For the most part the tourists facilities and activities take place on the coastal side of the highway, and the 40,000 residents live and work on the uphill inland side. Most of the tourist activities take place between a one mile stretch of golden beach and Puerto's main coastal drive Avenida Perez Gasga. Hotels, restaurants, and shops provide an active scene which disipates as one gets closer to the sand.
Unlike many Mexican resorts Puerto Escondido is an easy place to relax. As a matter of fact relaxing is somewhat of an art in Puerto. Relaxing while laying on the beach, relaxing while enjoying an ocean view meal, and relaxing poolside with a cold one. It takes a special breed to be able to handle life at this slower pace ...type 'A' personalities may take a while to adjust. Please, no cell phones.
Two fun places to enjoy a meal include the restaurant at the Hotel Santa Fe (at the east end of the beach) and the restaurant at Harry's Surf Inn at the south end of Zicatela beach. They both offer killer views of the beach action, and are fun to visit at for beautiful sunsets. Playa Zicatela is the main surf beach in the area, and south summer swells light up the beaches from July through November. The surf tournament held here each November brings surfers, hodads and beach chicks from all around the world.
Other (more relaxing) beaches in the area include Playa Principal (downtown), Playa Marineros (on the east end) and Playa Bacocho (west of town) where the more expensive hotels are located. Snorkelers and divers enjoy the clear and calm waters of Puerto Angelito and Playa Carrizalillo, also located on the west end of town.
For those with the energy for an excursion Puerto Angel is a good day trip to the south. This quaint fishing village is a good place to spend a half day shopping, taking in a beachside lunch, and strolling through the village.
And if you really miss that 'large resort' feeling, you can drive 2 hours south of Puerto Escondido to Mexico's newest resort at Huatulco. The nine remote bays of Huatulco are mostly empty, except 2 that have been developed for tourism. The hotels here range from moderate to ultra-nice and the beaches are truly world class. For more information drop by the HUATULCO section of Mexico Expo.
The airport is located about 2 miles west of town, just off of Highway 200 near the newer coastal area of Playa Bacocho. Flights from Mexico City and Oaxaca service the airport from Mexicana Airlines and Aero Mexico. Rental cars, taxis and collectivos are all available at the airport.
The Tourist Information Office can be reached at 011-52 (958) 2-0175. It is located near the airport on Highway 200 and is open every day except Sunday.
PUERTO ESCONDIDO HOTELS