Swoon-worthy beaches abound at Puerto Escondido, a popular gem for backpackers and adventurers perched on Oaxaca’s southern coast.

I know what you’re thinking: another generic Mexican beach town? Well, not exactly amigues. This is one pueblito that’s shaking things up, with its own unique vibes and a vast array of cool people to meet.

Whether you’re into surfing, partying, or simply want to lounge in the sun with your toes buried in fluffy marshmallow sand, Puerto Escondido’s got you covered. More importantly, you’ll find heaps of great places to stay in Puerto Escondido based on your needs and budget.

So, grab a margarita, and let’s take a look at ‘em!

Women laying on a hammock and a man standing on a beach with a surfboard on his head,
Ahorita.
Photo: Ana Pereira

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Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido

Is there anything better than returning to air-conditioned comfort after a full day of sightseeing under the sun? I think not!

Whether you’re backpacking in Mexico or planning a quick getaway in Puerto Escondido, these 3 areas are bound to provide an epic experience on the island!

Casa Joseph Zicatela | Best Hotel in Puerto Escondido

Casa Joseph Zicatela

A decadent adults-only hotel located just a few steps from the beach, Casa Joseph Zicatela offers both luxury suites and private villas.

You’ll find heaps to do onsite, with an onsite spa and wellness center, as well as a shared outdoor pool in the garden. In the mornings, you can always kickstart your day with a complimentary breakfast before heading out for a day on the beach!

Colorada House | Best Hostel in Puerto Escondido

Colorada House pool area featuring a small garden and a seating area

If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in Puerto Escondido, I can totally recommend Colorada House near Playa Principal.

This Mexican hostel offers comfortable yet super affordable dorm rooms. Plenty of amenities await, including a tour desk, a bar, a shared kitchen, and concierge services. Private rooms are also available.

Luxury Oceanfront Villa With Private Pool | Best Airbnb in Puerto Escondido

Queen room in an Airbnb in Puerto Escondido

Set within walking distance of the Playa Principal beach, this oceanfront villa is my favourite Airbnb in Puerto Escondido.

With three bedrooms to accommodate groups of up to seven guests, this villa has a shared garden with two swimming pools.

Guests can take advantage of cozy home comfort such as a modern kitchen with everything you’ll need to put an easy meal together.

Puerto Escondido Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Puerto Escondido

FIRST TIME IN PUERTO ESCONDIDO
Playa Principal Puerto Escondido
FIRST TIME IN PUERTO ESCONDIDO

The Playa Principal District

If you’ve never visited Puerto Escondido before, trust me when I say you really want to drop anchor in the Playa Principal area! Not only does this neighborhood come with everything you need to experience the city for the first time, but it’s also famous for its absolutely glorious beach.

NIGHTLIFE
Why Stay in an Airbnb Puerto Escondido
NIGHTLIFE

Playa Zicatela

The city is a pretty bustling place but, in my opinion, the absolute best Puerto Escondido neighborhood for the nightlife is Playa Zicatela. Incidentally, this area is also known for its excellent surfing conditions.

FOR FAMILIES
Rinconada Puerto Escondido
FOR FAMILIES

Rinconada

Traveling with the kids and wondering where to stay in Puerto Escondido for families? Well, if you ask me, there’s no better destination than Rinconada, located in northern Puerto Escondido!

Puerto Escondido’s Top 3 Neighborhoods to Stay in

Before you can book a flight to the land of Mayan temples, tacos, and tequila, you need to consider where you want to stay in Mexico. Puerto Escondido may be on the smaller side, but I promise it packs a punch – especially if you know where to stay!

For instance, there’s no better Puerto Escondido neighborhood for first-time visitors than the Playa Principal District. Home to a gorgeous beach, this area also offers heaps of accommodation options, making it easy for you to find something that suits your expectations.

It’s no secret that Mexico has a pretty buzzing nightlife, but some neighborhoods are definitely more happening than others. If you’d like to be close to the best clubs and restaurants, you can always consider staying in Playa Zicatela.

Puerto Escondido’s party zone by excellence, this area is home to the Zicatela Strip, which is brimming with an eclectic assortment of restaurants, bars, and clubs with live entertainment.

Parents traveling with children can consider dropping anchor in Rinconada, one of the first touristy areas in Puerto Escondido. The best thing about staying in Rinconada is that you’ll kick back in a quiet and laid-back environment, while still being close to more energetic neighborhoods like Zicatela. Parents will be glad to learn that Rinconada is home to Carizalillo Beach, known for its calm lagoon.

1. The Playa Principal District – Best Place to Stay in Puerto Escondido for your First Time

Playa Principal Puerto Escondido
Photo: Adam Jones (Flickr)

Why don’t we start off our list of places to stay in Puerto Escondido with my absolute favorite spot in the city?

If you’ve never visited this Mexican beach town before, trust me when I say you really want to drop anchor in the Playa Principal area! Not only does this neighborhood come with everything you need to experience the city for the first time, but it’s also famous for its absolutely glorious beach.

Nothing beats the location as well: Playa Principal is just a half hour’s walk from Playa Zicatela (more on that later!) and 20 minutes from Playa Carrizalillo, another scenic spot known for its gorgeous lagoon.

As far as accommodation is concerned, Playa Principal easily lends itself to various budgets, so it’s not difficult to find a great place to crash without going over your budget.

Casona Sforza | Best Hotel in the Playa Principal District

Pool area in Casona Sforza, Puerto Escondido

Get ready to be awed by an absolutely glorious haven located just a 15-minute drive from Playa Principal!

This 4-star hotel boasts various unit configurations, including the Beachfront Junior Suite, which just so happens to be my favorite room! With a garden and an outdoor swimming pool, the hotel can also arrange for tours.

You’ll find heaps to do nearby since the hotel lies just a short distance from Zicatela Beach, Principal Beach, and the Parque el Idilio.

Colorada House | Best Hostel in the Playa Principal District

Colorada House pool area featuring a small garden and a seating area

Wondering where to stay in Puerto Escondido without breaking the bank? How about Colorada House, located within walking distance of Playa Principal?

With dorms starting as low as $12 per night, this pet-friendly hostel’s got quite a bit going on. There’s a shared kitchen, concierge services, a tour desk, and a bar where you can socialize with fellow travelers.

If you’d rather have your own personal space, you can always opt for a private room with a balcony.

Luxury Oceanfront Villa With Private Pool | Best Airbnb in the Playa Principal District

Queen room in an Airbnb in Puerto Escondido

Perfect for digital nomads in Mexico, this luxury oceanfront villa commands an excellent location just 10 minutes from the Playa Principal beach.

With 3 bedrooms to comfortably accommodate up to seven guests, this villa boasts two swimming pools in the shared garden.

It also comes with a fully equipped kitchen. Then again, you’ll find some of Puerto Escondido’s best eateries practically on your doorstep, so why bother cooking, right?

Things to See and Do in the Playa Principal District:

Playa Principal Beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido’s beach scene.
  1. Enjoy a coastal walk up to the Mirador Un Sueno Posible Lookout, one of the most scenic spots in the area. Be sure to wear sturdy travel shoes since some spots can be slippery.
  2. Spend a day on the Playa Principal Beach, known for its crystalline waters, calm lagoons, and large population of pelicans.
  3. Stroll through the Adoquin night market, located right behind the Playa Principal.
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2. Playa Zicatela- Best Place to Stay in Puerto Escondido for the Nightlife

A man surfing in Puerto Escondido
Surfs up!

It won’t take you long to realize that Mexicans sure as heck know how to party!

The city is a pretty bustling place but, in my opinion, the absolute best Puerto Escondido neighborhood for nightlife is Playa Zicatela. Incidentally, this area is also known for its excellent surfing conditions.

While daytime sees throngs of local and international surfers gathering on the beach, nighttime is a whole other setting entirely: the Zicatela Strip, which runs opposite the beach, absolutely comes alive after sunset with a large variety of bars, restaurants, and clubs.

Most establishments offer live entertainment – perfect for partying until the early hours of the morning! Of course, the weekend is the best time to party on the Strip, but rest assured that several clubs have something special on weekdays as well.

Casa Joseph Zicatela | Best Hotel in Playa Zicatela

Casa Joseph Zicatela

Wake up to a free breakfast every day with a stay at the adults-only Casa Joseph Zicatela hotel!

An absolutely decadent hotel offering luxury suites and private villas, Casa Joseph Zicatela lies just a few steps from the beach.

And if you’re hungover from checking out the (many) clubs in the vicinity, you can always unwind with a soothing body treatment at the onsite spa and wellness center. There’s also a shared swimming pool in the garden.

Secret Beach Hostel | Best Hostel in Playa Zicatela

Dorm room Secret Beach Hostel

Commanding an excellent location just a 15-minute’ walk from Zicatela Beach, this hostel in Puerto Escondido offers mixed and female-only dormitories with 6 beds each.

One of the best places to stay in Puerto Escondido, this hostel has some pretty chill vibes, with onsite salsa and yoga classes. There’s also a bar and a restaurant where you can sample local delicacies while networking with fellow travelers.

In addition to Zicatela Beach, you’ll also be close to Carrizalillo, Principal, and Marinero beaches.

Luxurious Avant-Garde Space for 4 | Best Airbnb in Playa Zicatela

Luxurious Avant-Garde Space in an Airbnb in Puerto Escondido

For something that’s truly spectacular, I can absolutely recommend this glorious house with eye-catching, Avant Garde architecture!

While the house’s design isn’t exactly kid-friendly, it’s bound to provide a memorable stay for adults looking for somewhere unique to lay their heads.

Despite the less-than-conventional design, rest assured that this 2-bedroom house does feature all the comforts of home, including a kitchen.

Things to See and Do in Playa Zicatela:

A man surfing in nusa lembongan
This surfer crushed that wave.
Photo: Roaming Ralph
  1. Sign up for a surfing lesson.
  2. Party the night away at Terraza Paraiso, one of the best nightclubs in Puerto Escondido.
  3. Treat yourself to a scrumptious Mexican feast at the Zolem Beach Club. I can recommend their marlin tacos!
  4. Dance under the stars at the after-hours Piedra de la Iguana club, which features an exterior dance floor.
  5. Hit the waves at Zicatela Beach, known for its massive swells and optimal surfing conditions.
  6. Visit Huatulco’s national park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Mexico.
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3. Rinconada- Best Area in Puerto Escondido for Families

a street lined with palm trees and white houses in Rinconada Puerto Escondido
Rinconada… my favorite.

Traveling with the kids and wondering where to stay in Puerto Escondido for families? Well, if you ask me, there’s no better destination than Rinconada.

Located in northern Puerto Escondido, this neighborhood was actually among the first touristic areas built in the city. As such, it has better infrastructure, especially in terms of internet, roads, water, and the like.

Despite its proximity to party areas, Rinconada is still relatively quiet, making it an excellent choice for families. This neighborhood also houses some of the calmest beaches in Puerto Escondido, such as Carizalillo Beach.

As awesome as this area is for families, I do need to point out that it’s relatively small. While this means that you can easily take in the best sights in just one day, accommodation options in and around Rinconada can be quite limited. It’s always a good idea to make your bookings in advance, especially if visiting in peak season.

Suites La Hacienda | Best Hotel in Rinconada

A queen room in Suites La Hacienda, Puerto Escondido

Perfect for parents traveling with children, Suites La Hacienda features comfortable junior suites to sleep the whole family!

With two beds in the bedroom and a sofa bed in the living room, this space can also provide a cot upon request.

Best of all, you’ll be within walking distance of local restaurants, shopping centers, and Carizalillo Beach. After exploring the area, you can always enjoy a refreshing dip in the hotel’s swimming pool.

Villa Casalet | Best Guesthouse in Rinconada

Pool area in Villa Casalet

Parents traveling with children may be more comfortable in a guesthouse than a traditional hostel. So be sure to check out Villa Casalet, located just 10 minutes from Rinconada.

Not only does this guest house command an excellent location in this calm Puerto Escondido neighborhood, but it also features an outdoor pool surrounded by tropical gardens. Perfect for the little ones, right?

Now, the guesthouse does feature brightly decorated units with two beds for up to three guests, but if you have a larger family, you can always rent a 3-bedroom house on the property.

The Rinconada | Best Airbnb in Rinconada

Queen room in The Rinconada

This Airbnb in Puerto Escondido stands out as my absolute favorite! Nestled just a few steps from the beach, this 2-bedroom condo offers irresistible views of the ocean and the bay of Playa Manzanillo and Angelito.

Offering two bedrooms to comfortably accommodate up to four guests, this space features a shared pool with ocean views. You’ll be just an easy stroll from Playa Coral, Playa Carizalillo, and The Rinconada.

At the end of the day, relax in the hammock or take advantage of the barbecue facilities to rustle up a grilled feast.

Things to See and Do in Rinconada:

Playa Carrizalillo Puerto Escondido surrounded by palm trees and a cliff.
Swaying palms and ocean breeze.
  1. See the incredible fauna of the Oaxacan coast.
  2. Relax on Marinero Beach, a picturesque beach nestled between Playa Principal and Playa Zicatela.
  3. Take the kids to the Parque El Idilio, home to a green space and children’s playground.
  4. Embark on a bird-watching experience at the Manialtepec Lagoon.
  5. Go snorkeling at Carizalillo Beach, known for its calm waters and excellent swimming conditions.
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What To Pack For Puerto Escondido

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Puerto Escondido

Before you set off, getting good travel insurance is essential. You hope you don’t need it, but it’s not worth the risk.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Puerto Escondido

By now, I sure hope I’ve convinced you that Puerto Escondido ain’t exactly your average resort town! Fusing authentic Oaxacan culture with gorgeous landscapes and amazing lagoons, this versatile place lends itself well to various types of travelers.

You’ll no doubt be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a great place to stay in Puerto Escondido, but my favorite is no doubt the Casa Joseph Zicatela hotel. If you’re after something budget-friendly, then you can always consider Colorada House near Playa Principal.

Cheerful girl in passenger seat with a Mexican truck driver on the road.
On my way!
Photo: @audyscala

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