Zicatela Beach and La Punta in Puerto Escondido

The largest and most visited beach by tourists at Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca Mexico is Zicatela beach. This white sand beach has countless beach bars, restaurants and hotels along it. The beach simultaneously is where the action is and the action isn’t. My first and lasting impression is of a place that has been so built up and readied for tourists that it has diluted itself to the point of seeming empty, even when there are plenty of people. I was told the few exceptions to this are during Easter and New Years. I was there for Easter, or Semana Santa, it was packed and wonderful to see the place so lively.

Beach Fun in Mexico

Beach goers having fun during Semana Santa at Zicatela beach in Puerto Escondido.









The surfing and body boarding at Zicatela beach is world class. The real surfers are out early in the morning to catch the larger waves that tend to come at that time.

A surfer shredding it at Puerto Escondido.

This guy made surfing look easy.












La Punta is at the very end of Zicatela beach. You will find the true surf fanatics out there mornings and afternoons trying to catch the big waves that start breaking near the rocks. This end of town is really surf city. The odds of meeting surfers who have traveled from around the globe to try the waves are 100%. Most of Puerto Escondido is full of Canadian snow birds during the winter months, at La Punta you are bound to meet Australians whose mission in life is surfing and having a blast. This is by far my favorite part of town.

Surfer in Puerto Escondido

Braving the rocks at La Punta











Even though Zicatela beach seems generally empty most of the time, late at night, several nights a week, the place is on fire. Though the fire is generally only at 1 place each night. Some nights it’s Casa Babylon, others Barfly and Sundays it’s at GuaDua. There are other places that get hopping, when you’re here ask around, if you like fun after 11pm, you’ll find it somewhere most nights.

Oaxaca beach at Puerto Escondido

View from La Punta down to the end of Zicatela beach in Puerto Escondido.

Puerto Escondido a Mayan Side Trip

A few weeks ago I took a bus from San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas to Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca to see an old friend and check out the beach life. I had a blast!

Sol Beer at Puerto Escondido

A cold Sol with plenty of lime and hot everything else.










There isn’t much to tell about the bus ride. My OCC Bus left San Cristobal at about 7:30pm and arrived in Puerto Escondido about 8:15 in the morning. It was a 13 hour night trip with 6 or 8 stops and lots of windy highway on the last several hours of the trip. The ticket was just under 500 pesos. The Mexican bus line OCC has good buses, good terminals and is a generally comfy ride, I’ve never had a problem with them.

I spent the first three nights at Tower Bridge Hostel in Puerto Escondido. It’s not too far from Carrizalillo beach. My friend helps out at the hostel and suggested it would be fun for a few nights. The place was fun, crazy and international beach party in feel. I was the oldest customer by far. Once everyone realized their parents hadn’t sent me to spy on them, it was great. If you consider yourself all grown up, I don’t really recommend this place. If you like being with a crowd that knows where all the best 3am parties are, this place is for you. I had 3 fun nights and spent the next three days recovering at my friend’s house.

Playa Bacocho and PlayaCoral

Puerto Escondido is really a series of beaches, each with different characteristics. Playa Coral is north west of the center of Puerto Escondido. It’s a less used beach with a couple of beach clubs. I’m told it’s not the best for swimming or surfing, but it sure is beautiful.

The next beach heading towards the center of Puerto Escondido is Carrizalillo. It is accessed by a long set of stairs. This is a great beach. There are about 6 or 8 different food and beverage booths with umbrellas and plastic chairs and a well rounded group of surfers, expats, vacationers and locals.

Playa Carrazilillo in Oaxaca

Playa Carrazilillo in Puerto Escondido Oaxaca

The next beach is at Puerto Angelito and Playa Manzanillo, two different names that feel like the same beach. Though amazingly beautiful, I didn’t care for this beach. The people who have food stands and the people trying to get you to charter boats seemed aggressive and unrelenting. At this beach you are walking dollar/euro sign. I didn’t feel this way at any of the other playas near Puerto Escondido.

Puerto Angelito and Playa Mazanillo











The next beaches heading in to Puerto Escondido are the Playa Principal (the main beach) and Playa Marinero. They connect as one and are the original center of the Puerto Escondido beach scene. There are some nice restaurants on the beach. Each night Puerto Escondido blocks off a section of the street near Playa Principal and it becomes a walking street, very nice for dining, shopping and people watching.

Playa Marinero and Playa Principal











The last major beach is Zicatela, famous for surfing and beach parties. I will save that for my next post.

The Mayan Ruins of Tenam Puente in Chiapas Mexico

Just a few minutes south of the city of Comitan in southern Chiapas there is a great little Mayan ruins called Tenam Puente. This site isn’t very large, but it is in a beautiful setting and it makes a nice one or two hour side trip in combination with going to Chinkultic or the Lagos Montebello.







Our friend Doug from Wanderism.



The right turn off as you come from Comitan puts you on a road in some disrepair that leads through a small community and to a parking lot on the right. The fee is moderate, about 35 pesos, and there are bathrooms at the small ticket center.

The odds are good that you will have the place to yourself if you go on a weekday. The whole site is essentially a series of terraced plateaus with ruins on each as you climb to the top.

We went with our friend Doug from Wanderism.com, on a day trip from San Cristobal de las Casas.

Tenam Puente seems like a great place to bring a picnic.









Mayan ball court on an upper level of Teman Puente in Chiapas.








From one of the upper levels there is a great view out over the Valley of Balun Canan, (Maya for nine hills) where Comitan is located. The site has a commanding view over the valley which was an important trade route from the Highlands of Chiapas down into Guatemala.

View from an upper level of Tenam Puente

View from an upper level of Tenam Puente.









From excavations at the site, archaeologists believe Tenam Puente was occupied from around 300 to 600 CE and the again from 900 to 1200 CE.

The very top level of Tenam Puente



















My mother always used to take a lot of pictures of flowers every where we went. She called these her “nature studies.” Here’s some of the flowers that were in bloom that day in September.

Nature study of wild flowers at the Mayan ruins of Tenam Puente.