13 of the Best Beaches in Oaxaca, Mexico (You Need to Visit)
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You must visit these beautiful beaches in Oaxaca. From Chacahua National Park and Puerto Escondido to Mazunte and Huatulco, you’ll want to relax on these spectacular Oaxaca beaches ASAP!
CONTENTS: BEST OAXACA BEACHES
Many parts of Mexico’s coast of Oaxaca can be referred to as an undiscovered paradise. This stretch of spectacular coastline that runs along the Pacific Ocean is not only lined with sandy beaches and gorgeous bays, but the surf in Oaxaca is some of the best in the country (and perhaps the world). If you’re after Mexican beaches with the best surf or just looking for the best swimming beaches in Oaxaca, you’ve come to the right place.
Excitingly, whales, dolphins and whale sharks can be spotted off the Oaxaca coast (or Costa Oaxaca) at the right time of year. The best time to see these amazing animals would be from December through to April. You can grab tours from local fishermen in Puerto Angel or Puerto Escondido. Be sure to haggle as prices can vary dramatically.
Below, we have listed these amazing Oaxaca beaches from west to east, rather than in order of preference.
Chacahua National Park (Parque Nacional de Chacahua)
Take a boat tour through mangrove lagoons to access this beach
Also known as the Lagoons of Chacahua, the beaches in Chacahua National Park can only be accessed by boat (or boat and truck) through the mangroves and lagoons. It’s definitely an adventure getting there, but once you arrive it will all be worth it. I promise.
Chacahua National Park encompasses over 132 square kilometers and includes several lagoons, in which you can swim with bioluminescence and dolphins! But we aren’t here to talk about the lagoons, let’s talk about the beaches! Beautiful, soft, caramel sand as far as the eyes can see and just enough beach restaurants and waterfront shack hotels to cater to the small number of tourists here.
Chacahua’s inhabitants also have an interesting history. Many locals are African-Mexican, a mix not often seen in Mexico. It is said that these African-Mexicans are descendants of African slaves who were brought to the region hundreds of years ago on a slave ship headed for the Americas. A ship ran aground in Chacahua, and that is where the people stayed.
I highly suggest making the trip for at least a night or two, but a day-trip from Puerto Escondido will also suffice (if you HAVE to). Park only at the public pier in Zapotalito and take the shared taxi boat (and then shared colectivo truck) rather than using the touts selling tours. These touts are known to rip tourists off heavily. Pay no more than $300 MXN pesos for the trip each way if you do take the private tour.
Where to Stay on Chacahua Beach
There’s no need to pre-book a hotel in Chacahua, most places aren’t listed online. We found one place on Booking.com but it doesn’t have any reviews yet. I do remember walking past it and it looked quite clean.
- Terra Tipi Hotel | Located in Chamuscadero. Features clean accommodations with a
White Rock Beach (Playa Roca Blanca)
Palapas, hammocks and birdwatching on this secluded beach
This is an absolute hidden gem on the Oaxacan coast! Located about a 50-minute drive outside of Puerto Escondido, Playa Roca Blanca makes a great day trip. This 6 km long beach can sometimes get rough, but the protected area where the lagoon meets the sea creates a much calmer refuge from the waves. A smattering of palapa restaurants is located here, all offering fresh seafood on the menu for a good price. Use their hammocks to relax with a beer in the shade.
The name “White Rock” comes from the small rock island located about 300 meters from the shore. Hundreds of sea birds use the rock for breeding and as a sanctuary, and the white coloring comes from their droppings – Ewww!
PUERTO ESCONDIDO BEACHES (PLAYAS DE PUERTO ESCONDIDO)
The Puerto Escondido (or ‘Hidden Port’) township has seven beaches. All of these beaches are good in their own way, but we are only going to talk about the best beaches. The main beach of Puerto Escondido (Playa Zicatela) is one of the most famous surfing beaches in the world.
Puerto Escondido is also home to the closest beach to Oaxaca City, and many Mexican tourists travel here. Read on to find out more about beaches and surfing in Puerto Escondido.
Bacocho Beach (Playa Bacocho)
Release baby turtles on quiet Bacocho Beach
This secluded beach is near Puerto Escondido, but it isn’t a surfing beach. Instead, I have put Playa Bacocho on this list for an even better reason. You can release baby turtles on it!
Despite being a lovely sandy beach and a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of central Puerto Escondido beaches, Bacocho Beach mostly comes alive in the afternoon. At 5 pm each day, volunteers open a small sanctuary and allow baby turtle releases. The turtle nests are protected 24 hours a day and the young turtles are released the same day they hatch. The price to free one turtle is $100 MXN pesos. Read my full guide on turtle releases in Mexico for more information.
Where to Stay near Bacocho Beach
- $ | Bonobo Surf House | Great vibe, tasty breakfast, fast wifi, super clean and amazing staff
- $$ | Villa Maria Bed and Breakfast | Delicious breakfasts, great hosts, clean and highly-rated
- $$$ | Posada Real Puerto Escondido | Comfortable room in a simple but modern hotel. Some profits help local communities
Carrizalillo Beach (Playa Carrizalillo)
Learn how to surf on this spectacular beach!
Hard to say, difficult to get to (167 stone steps down a cliff, WHAT?) but Carrizalillo a small beach that makes it all worth it! The soft golden sands, bright turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs that surround it, makes for one of the prettiest beaches in the area (and it feels so exclusive!). The beach is only 300 meters long, in a bay protected from the strong waves that the other beaches in Puerto Escondido get pounded with. This makes Playa Carrizalillo one of my favorites and also one of the best swimming beaches in Puerto Escondido.
On the beach, there are usually two surfboard-hiring points – both competing for your business. If you feel like haggling, this is where you can bust out those skills. Three of us hired boards for 2 hours, including the use of a rash shirt (trust me you’ll want this), for $50 MXN pesos each person. Playa Carrizalillo surf is much smaller than the surf at Zicatela Beach and La Punta Beach. I call them “baby waves”. Strong enough to carry you back to the beach but they don’t smash you and try to kill you. It’s the perfect beach to learn to surf!
Where to Stay near Carrizalillo Beach
Zicatela Beach (Playa Zicatela)
The surf is crazy good, and the nightlife too!
Imagine four kilometers of white sand; a couple of beach restaurants to eat at and some spectacular surf breaks running up Playa Zicatela. It’s universally known as a seriously gnarly surf spot that surfers either love or never want to try out again. Only surf here if you know what you’re doing. The undertow is far too strong for swimmers, and bodysurfing would be done at your own risk.
If you don’t surf, there is plenty of room to relax on a sun bed or on the soft sand. You can even hire surfboards to learn (although we would recommend learning on a quieter beach like Playa Carizalillo). The best way to enjoy Playa Zicatela is to bring everything you need for a whole day at the beach and don’t leave until the sun goes down.
Where to Stay on Zicatela Beach
- $ | Selina Puerto Escondido | Beautifully designed hostel with cool rooftop, fun and sociable pool and bar and fast wifi
- $$ | Hotelito Swiss Oasis | Adults-only quiet, peaceful hotel away from the main street with pool
- $$$ | Hotel Santa Fe | Watch the sunset from your terrace in this spacious garden hotel
The Point (La Punta de Zicatela)
Surf, swim and bodyboard at The Point
Walk East along the water’s edge from Zicatela Beach and you’ll find yourself in La Punta. This beach has a much more relaxed and close-knit feel than Zicatela. Here, you can find budget hotels and backpacker vibes. There are many cute shacks both on and behind the beach on the sandy roads where you can find well-priced tacos and hamburgers and even a Thai food shack!
At La Punta, there’s a small shack on the beach that rents surfboards and offers surf-lessons. The surf at La Punta is good, but not as gnarly as Zicatela, making it a great place to learn to surf. It is also one of the best swimming beaches in Puerto Escondido.
Where to Stay near La Punta Beach
La Punta is top of my recommendations of where to stay in Puerto Escondido. It’s only a 3 km short taxi drive to the nightlife of Puerto Escondido, meaning it’s quiet but close enough to party when you feel like it!
PORT ANGEL BEACHES (PLAYAS DE PUERTO ANGEL)
Going further along the Oaxaca ocean and we get far away from the city life to beaches that are lesser-known. But equally as beautiful, I promise! These are the best beaches in Puerto Ángel.
Mazunte Beach (Playa Mazunte)
Mazunte is where the turtles come en masse
This gorgeous beach is covered in golden sands, restaurant palapas and at certain times of the year – thousands of turtles! Mazunte Beach in Mexico is one of the last remaining beaches where “arribada” occurs. This is a phenomenon in the Olive Ridley turtle species where between September and December thousands of turtles exit the water at the same time to lay eggs on the beach together. The baby turtles will also all hatch together and run to the water in large groups. If you want to know more about turtle hatchings in Mexico; read my guide.
Aside from this special occurrence, Playa Mazunte is a spectacular beach. The water is deep and clear, and although there are waves, they aren’t too powerful. There aren’t usually bad riptides like there are at its counterpart, Playa Zipolite. Although the beach is small (about 500 meters long) you can always find a little spot of your own.
Mazunte Beach township is a small sandy motley of tattoo parlors, restaurants and yoga studios. There are good places where you can do yoga by donation. In my opinion, Mazunte is one of the best beach towns in Oaxaca and you should definitely visit!
Where to Stay near Mazunte Beach
- $ | La Luciernaga Hostal | Lots of space, serenity, calm and feels like home with a great vibe and hammocks!
- $$ | Villa Luna de Miel | Beautiful open and clean bungalows with a sensational view
- $$$ | Zoa Hotel | Ocean views from your terrace on a cliff top. The p
ropertyhas a vegetable orchard and makes their toiletries on site
Comet Point (Punta Cometa)
Watch the sunset from the edge of a cliff
Punta Cometa is the southernmost tip of Mexico. Here you can see more of the Pacific Ocean than anywhere else in Mexico! The dramatic cliff edges, sunset and a rock formation called ‘Ventanilla’ (or ‘The Window’) make for some amazing photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera.
You can easily walk to La Punta from Mazunte Beach, and it’s a fun and adventurous afternoon. Walk along the beach, through the western part of Mazunte town, along with some cliff edges and then winding through some forest trails. This short trek is the perfect afternoon activity. If you want to make a whole day of it, Playa Mermejita is right next to La Punta and is a great place to swim!
Zipolte Beach (Playa Zipolite)
Do nothing on the most chilled out beach ever
Playa Zipolite is easily one of the best beaches Oaxaca has to offer. This two-kilometer-long, sandy, ‘clothing-optional’ beach is what dreams are made of. Zipolite became a popular tourist destination in the ’
Many people come to Zipolite just for the day, to eat dinner while watching the sun slowly dip behind the ocean. But if you have the opportunity, why not stay a few days in one of the run-down beach shack hotels? Here you will find a slower pace of life and maybe even meet some of the friendly unpretentious locals and long-staying tourists who get caught up in Zipolite’s charm.
SurOn Zipolite there is powerful riptides that make swimming dangerous. Flags are put up daily, or you can walk to Lover’s Beach or one of the other calmer beaches nearby. Bodyboards are a hit; the smaller waves coupled with how powerful they are, make it the perfect place to bodyboard.
Zipolite Beach is a short 17-minute drive from Mazunte Beach. There are also taxi colectivos you can easily catch between the two beaches for a few pesos.
Where to Stay on Zipolite Beach
Zipolite and Mazunte are some of the best beach towns in Oaxaca, especially for backpackers and travelers who enjoy a more authentic holiday. The accommodation in Zipolite is rustic but highly functional, and super cheap!
- $ | La Loma Linda | Views to die for and yoga each day in these quiet (and cheap) bungalows
- $$ | Posada Mexico | Simple, bright and clean rooms set amongst a cactus garden on the beach! Perfect
- $$$ | Hotel Descalzo | Get serious Tulum vibes in these aesthetically beautiful, clean and modern garden bungalows
Lover’s Beach (Playa del Amor)
Hang out with your wang out on Lover’s Beach
Nude beach alert! Playa del Amor is a small beach nestled on the eastern end of Zipolite. Sectioned off from the rest of the world by dramatic cliff edges, this is a serious nudist beach. Everyone here is naked, so wearing clothes might make you feel a little uncomfortable. Nevertheless, Playa del Amor is a beautiful beach and the water here is calm, making it a popular beach for fishermen to dock their boats sometimes as well.
To get there, look for the spray-painted signs on the eastern tip of Zipolite and follow the signs up and over the cliff. It’s a beautiful and short trek using pathways and stairs with great viewpoints along the way. Atop the cliff is a restaurant (that is now closed) that offers beautiful scenery of both Zipolite and Playa del Amor.
HUATULCO BAYS (BAHIAS DE HUATULCO)
Huatulco in Mexico is known for its nine beautiful bays and 36 pristine beaches. All with their own personalities and things to do and see. The best beaches in Huatulco are the ones with the right amount of sand, calm waters and not too many tourists. You see Huatulco can get really, really busy.
San Agustin Bay (Bahia San Agustin)
Swim in the calm waters on the most beautiful beach in Huatulco
San Agustin is considered the most beautiful beach in Huatulco and possibly Oaxaca. Endless white crisp sand and warm clear waters give this beach a great wrap. The deep water with a distinct lack of crazy waves also makes it one of the best Oaxacan beaches for swimming!
Because it is so long (1.5 kilometers) it’s easy to get away from the built-up areas and find your own patch of sand in the sun or at a quieter palapa. There is also snorkeling and boat tours that can all be booked from Huatulco to San Agustin beach. It’s the perfect place to visit on your Oaxaca beach vacation!
Cacaluta Bay (Bahia Cacaluta)
Caramel sand and bright blue water on this deserted jungle beach
Want a gorgeous long stretch of sand all to yourself with no resorts or anything built on it at all? Cacaluta Beach is where you can find this! It will take some effort to get there, though, because even if you have a car it is still a 30-minute hike to the beach from the carpark. You can also easily get to this beach by boat or boat tour from neighbouring Santa Cruz in Huatulco. Bring your lunch because there are no restaurants or shops nearby.
Cacaluta Bay is of great ecological and natural value, with forest and mangroves that reach all the way to the sand. The cliff edges on the Western end of the beach also provide for some really great snorkeling (just BYO snorkel mask since there are no rentals here). For me, this was the best beach in Oaxaca and possibly the whole of Mexico!
Bahia Cacaluta in Zapotec language means, “black bird”, and there are many that can be seen from this beach.
Where to Stay in Huatulco
Huatulco and surrounds is a resort area meaning it is hard to find cheap accommodation with character. But, here are some good options we’ve found.
- $ | Hostal Azul y Blanco | Clean and comfortable hostel close to La Crucecita
- $$ | Princess Mayev | Sparkling clean and intimate hotel in Santa Cruz. Some rooms have a private pool!
- $$$ | Agua Azul la Villa | Extremely popular exquisite bungalows right on a secret beach. Each room with balcony and sea views
Tangolunda Bay (Bahia Tangolunda)
Take part in some of the many water activities at Tangolunda Bay
Tangolunda is perhaps the most popular area with numerous 5-star resorts and all-inclusives. If you aren’t staying at a resort, there are a few public access areas to get down to the beach. Around Tangolunda Bay there are some great dive sites, notably Isla Motosa, which can be booked in the nearby town.
Jets skis can be rented from the beach, and drunken tourists zip around between the headlands. There are several areas cordoned off for swimmers and the snorkeling is pretty good on the easternmost end of the beach.
Where to Stay on Tangolunda Beach
BEACHES IN OAXACA MEXICO MAP
It’s so easy to download this Oaxaca coast map to your phone! To open this map in Google Maps simply tap the small square icon on the top right-hand side of the map. For more information on how to download maps for offline, click here.
BEST TIME TO VISIT OAXACA
The best time of year to go to Oaxaca is the months of April to May and September to October. The best seasons to go to Oaxaca is during spring and fall when there are fewer tourists and much more moderate temperatures. High season is between June and August and December to January. Hotel prices will rise and there will be an influx of tourists during this time.
We hope we’ve listed all the best beaches near Oaxaca and that you can find a beach close to you. If you have questions about any of the Oaxaca Mexico beaches, just ask them in the comments section below!
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Originally Posted: March 2018. Frequently Updated.
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