Puerto Escondido Surf: What You Need To Know

Posted: June 3, 2019

Author: Sam Murray

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The Puerto Escondido surf scene is best known for its mountainous, rolling waves. The beautiful tubes attract pro riders from all over the world looking to pit themselves against these unruly barrels. If you’re a beginner, we don’t blame you for being a little put-off.

But, the truth is, there’s no need to be. Puerto Escondido is for everyone. You don’t need to risk death on the 40 foot-high monsters, smaller waves can be found just along the coast.

To help you nail your surf trip to Puerto Escondido, here’s the information you need to know.

Can I surf in Puerto Escondido?

Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, is the spiritual home of surfing in Mexico, and everyone is welcome. Some of the world’s best surfers go there to test themselves against the famous barrel waves. But don’t panic if you don’t know your ‘backsides’ from your ‘breaks’, there’s plenty of surf schools and smaller waves to get you started.

When’s the best time to surf in Puerto Escondido?

Peak surf season in Puerto Escondido runs from the end of April until September. This is when the seas are at their busiest and the waves at their most consistent. If you want some quieter surf time, there are plenty of decent waves up until November.

Where to surf

Playa Zicatela

Choosing where to surf very much depends on how good you are. If you’re sponsored-by-an-energy-drink good, then head to Playa Zicatela. This golden 3km-long beach offers the Mexican Pipeline, epic barrel waves which have reached 40-feet high. Obviously, you should tackle this if you’re a great surfer. There’s a strong undertow and the lifeguards will not thank you for having to go on a rescue mission. If you’re confident you’ve got the skills, the best waves come in the morning before 11am and in the evening.

Playa Carrizalillo

Baby waves can be found at Playa Carrizalillo, just to the north of Playa Zicatela. Be warned, you will need to trudge down 167 steps to reach it, but the effort is well worth it. The golden sands of Playa Carrizalillo are hugged by steep but beautiful cliffs. The waters are beautifully blue and perfect for new surfers and swimmers alike.

Playa La Punta

An alternative for beginner surfers is Playa La Punta, to the southeast of Playa Zicatela. Here, gentle waves offer the chance to get some practice in before you tackle its bigger sibling, Zicatela (although it might take you some years to get there).

Where’s the best place to watch surfers?

Obviously, no one’s forced to surf. You might be just as happy watching the professionals at work. Fairly obviously, the best place to do this is Playa Zicatela. If you’re clever about it, you can time your holiday to coincide with one of the major surfing tournaments that take place on an annual basis. Surf Open Escondido is the top competition with 24 of the world’s best tube riders coming to Zicatela around June to tackle the monstrous rolling waves.

How do I get to Puerto Escondido?

Puerto Escondido has its own airport with flights arriving from Oaxaca city, Guadalajara, and Mexico City. If you’d prefer, you can also drive from Oaxaca city airport.

JM TIP: American Airlines has just announced it will no longer charge extra for oversize sports and music equipment. Surfers could save up to $120 to check their boards.

Where are the other surfing destinations in Mexico?  

Puerto Escondido is not your only surf option in Mexico. You could head to the dreamy surfer town of Sayulita, its neighbor San Pancho, or even Cuyutlan in Colima. Los Cabos and Sinaloa also have healthy surf scenes.

If you’re looking for a helping hand in booking your surf vacation, why not check out Journey Mexico’s customizable Mexico Surf Tour, which takes in Zihuatanejo, Michoacán, and Huatulco?

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