13 of the Best Beaches in Oaxaca, Mexico (You Need to Visit)
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You must visit these beautiful beaches in Oaxaca, Mexico. 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 the coast of Oaxaca in Mexico can be referred to as an undiscovered paradise. This stretch of spectacular Oaxaca coast, Mexico, 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 coastline (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 or pre-book on Viator.
With regard to finding accommodation, we found ourselves using a mixture of booking.com and Airbnb. You will be spoilt for choice and will definitely find something within your price range.
Short on time? ▸ Watch this video of sexy drone footage of the 5 best Oaxaca, Mexico beaches! It’s smooth as silky sand.
BEST 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. If you are looking for an Oaxaca beaches airport, Puerto Escondido is one place you can catch a flight to and from. Read on to find out more about beaches and surfing in Puerto Escondido.
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 is a small beach that makes it all worth it! The soft golden sands, bright turquoise waters, and dramatic cliffs that surround it, make 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 beaches in Puerto Escondido for swimming.
Learn to Surf on Carrizalillo
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.
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!
Take Suft Lessons in Playa Carrizalillo
If you visit Puerto Escondido without surfing, you haven’t really been at all. Playa Carrizalillo is the best place to learn. Taking a surf lesson means you’ll start off on the right foot in the best surf town in Mexico!
Where to Stay near Carrizalillo Beach
- $ | Quinta Carrizalillo | Brilliant value for money with a pool, views, cool rooms and only a 5 minute walk from Carizalillo Beach!
- $$ | Hotel Villa Mozart y Macondo | High-demand garden bungalows for a phenomenal price!
- $$$ | Villas Carrizalillo | Fantastic views in garden villas and terrace rooms. Best cocktails in Puerto Escondido
Zicatela Beach (Playa Zicatela)
The surf is crazy good, and the nightlife too!
Whilst on your best beaches of Oaxaca mission, imagine four kilometers of white sand; a couple of beach restaurants to eat at and some spectacular surf breaks running up the one and only, Playa Zicatela.
It’s universally known as a seriously gnarly surf spot that surfers either love or never want to try out again.
If you don’t surf, there is plenty of room to relax on a sunbed or on the soft sand. You can even hire surfboards to learn (although we would recommend learning on a quieter beach like Playa Carrizalillo).
The best way to enjoy Playa Zicatela as a non-surfer is to bring everything you need for a whole day at the beach and don’t leave until the sun goes down.
Dangers of Playa Zicatela
Only surf here if you know what you’re doing. The waves are always huge, and the undertow is far too strong for swimmers. Bodysurfing would also be done at your own risk.
We were in the area when two teenage siblings went missing while swimming off Zicatela. There is also a nearby tribute to all the people who have lost their lives in the dangerous surf on this beach.
Things to do in Playa Zicatela
Whether it’s surf lessons, ecotours or taking a boat out to see the ocean life, there are loads of things to do on Zicatela Beach.
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.
At La Punta, you’ll find budget hotels and backpacker vibes. There are many cute palapas, both on and behind, the beach on the sandy roads where you can find well-priced tacos and hamburgers and even a Thai food eatery!
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 on the 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!
- $ | Villa Bonobo | Perfect location with an outdoor pool and cozy outdoor lounging areas. Free breakfast included
- $$ | Casa de Olas Boutique Hotel | Stylish, clean and quaint with air conditioning and helpful staff
- $$$ | Hotel Casamar Suites | Entire apartments with Mexican-style interior for a really good price
Bacocho Beach (Playa Bacocho)
Release baby turtles on the 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. Read my full guide on turtle releases in Mexico for more information.
How to get to Playa Bacocho
Being a little away from the main strip, Bacocho Beach can be hard to get to without your own transport.
Grab a taxi (no need to have them wait) or, if you’re headed there for the turtle liberation, take a tour and have them drive you to and from the beach.
Turtle Liberation Tours on Playa Bacocho
I did the turtle release with Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido (the first option on the list below) and I can definitely vouch for the professional tour and friendly guides.
Where to Stay near Bacocho Beach
- $ | Hotel Aldea del Bazar & Spa | A spacious hotel with beautiful architecture and a huge pool for a good price
- $$ | Villa Maria Bed and Breakfast | Delicious breakfasts, great hosts, clean and highly-rated
- $$$ | Posada Real Puerto Escondido | Comfortable room in a simple but modern hotel. Some profits help local communities
Other Water-y Things to do in Puerto Escondido
BEST HUATULCO BAYS AND BEACHES (BAHIAS DE HUATULCO)
This best beach list is nothing without the amazing Oaxaca beaches Huatulco has on display!
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, which can put a dampen on your visit.
Get your bearings and check out our Huatulco beaches map!
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.
Because it is so long (1.5 kilometers, actually) 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. It’s the perfect place to visit on your Oaxaca beach vacation!
How to Get to Bahía San Agustín
Because Playa San Agustin is so remote, it is difficult to get to without your own car. If you prefer to drive yourself, you can rent a car with Hertz Car Rental at Huatulco Airport.
Or, you can also take a taxi. If you choose to hire a taxi, we recommend paying the driver to wait for you near the beach for the time you are there. You will find it difficult to get back to your accommodation if you don’t do this.
Snorkel, Dive, or Swim at San Agustín Bay
The deep, clear water with a distinct lack of murderous waves also makes it one of the best Oaxacan beaches for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving!
If you don’t have your own snorkeling gear, there are boat tours that can be booked from Huatulco or Puerto Escondido to San Agustin beach. Scuba diving is also a highly-recommended activity if you have your open water certificate.
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!
For me, this was the best beach in Oaxaca and possibly the whole of Mexico! The crystal blue waters also make this one of the best Oaxaca beaches for swimming.
Bahia Cacaluta in Zapotec language means, “black bird”, and there are many that can be seen from this gorgeous beach.
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 provide for some really great snorkeling (just BYO snorkel mask since there are no rentals here).
How to Get to Playa Cacaluta
It will take some effort to get to Cacaluta Bay because even if you have a car, it is still a 30-minute hike to the beach from the car park.
Bring your lunch because there are no restaurants or shops nearby.
Alternatively, you can get a boat tour that takes you to Playa Cacaluta on the tour.
Visit Cacaluta Bay on a Tour
It’s much easier to visit Playa Cacaluta by boat tour from neighboring Santa Cruz in Huatulco. Here are some of your best options!
Where to Stay in Huatulco
Huatulco 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 in Huatulco with numerous 5-star resorts and all-inclusive hotels.
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.
How to get to Tangolunda Beach
If you aren’t staying at a resort, you can easily grab a taxi to Tangolunda beach. There are a few public access areas next to the resorts to get onto the sand.
Tours to do around Playa Tangolunda
There are numerous beachy-themed tours you can do around Tangalunda Bay and greater Huatulco.
Tangolunda Bay also has some great dive sites, notably La Montosa, which can be booked online or in the nearby town.
Where to Stay on Tangolunda Beach
Other Things to do in Huatulco
BEST PORT ANGEL BEACHES (PLAYAS DE PUERTO ANGEL)
Along the Oaxaca ocean between Puerto Escondido and Huatulco we get 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
Mazunte Beach in Mexico is covered in golden sands, restaurant palapas and – at certain times of the year – thousands of turtles!
This gorgeous beach is also 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 turtle guide.
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 Oaxaca beach towns and you should definitely visit!
Mazunte is One of the Best Beaches to Swim in Oaxaca
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. You’ll find yourself floating away the hours in the gorgeous, tepid water, only exiting for a delicious seafood lunch right on the sand.
Although the beach is small (about 500 meters long) you can always find a little spot of your own.
There aren’t usually bad riptides like there are at its nearby counterpart, Playa Zipolite, making it the best place to swim in Playa Angel.
Things to do in Mazunte
Where to Stay near Mazunte Beach
- $ | Mexhica-nito Hostel | Clean basic rooms with a cozy vibe located less than 5 mins from the beach
- $$ | Villa Luna de Miel | Beautiful open and clean bungalows with a sensational view
- $$$ | 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 Oaxaca State. 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.
How to Get to Comet Point
You can easily walk to Punta Cometa 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 Punta Cometa and is a great place to swim!
Tours to Punta Cometa and Ventanilla
Zipolite 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 ’
Watch the Sunset on Playa Zipolite
Many people come to Zipolite from nearby Mazunte just for the day, to eat dinner while watching the sun slowly dip behind the ocean. This is an incredible experience and I definitely recommend it.
But if you have the opportunity, why not stay a day or two in one of the run-down beach 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’ve been caught up in Zipolite’s charm.
Zipolite is a Beautiful Beach, But Not for Swimming
On Zipolite Beach, there are powerful riptides that make swimming dangerous. Flags are put up daily to remind visitors of this.
If you want to swim, walk East to Lover’s Beach or one of the other calmer sections of the beach on the West end.
Bodyboards are a hit on Zipolite; the smaller waves coupled with how powerful they are, make it the perfect place to bodyboard.
How to get to Playa Zipolite
Zipolite Beach is a short 17-minute drive from Mazunte Beach. Catch a taxi colectivo 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 incredibly 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 with tepid, calm water, making it a popular beach for fishermen to dock their boats as well. It’s also great for swimming… albeit, nude.
How to Get to Playa del Amor
Lover’s Beach is on the Eastern end of Playa Zipolite. Walk to the end of the beach and look for the spray-painted signs that say Playa Amor. Follow the signs up and over the cliff. It’s a beautiful, short, but difficult trek using pathways and stairs with great viewpoints along the way.
Atop the cliff is a restaurant (now closed) that offers beautiful scenery of both Zipolite and Playa del Amor.
BEST BEACHES NORTHWEST OF PUERTO ESCONDIDO
Don’t forget that Oaxaca doesn’t end at Puerto Escondido. There are some incredible hidden gems northwest of the Mexican surf-mecca – and they are absolutely spectacular!
Chacahua National Park (Parque Nacional de Chacahua)
Parque Chacahua is an absolute hidden gem of the Oaxacan coastline.
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. This adventure makes it one of the Oaxaca best beaches to visit.
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.
The History of Chacahua
Chacahua’s inhabitants have an interesting history. Many locals are African-Mexican, a mix not often seen in Mexico.
It is said that they are descendants of African slaves who were brought to the region hundreds of years ago on a slave ship headed for the Americas. One ship ran aground in Chacahua, and that is where the people stayed.
How to get to Playa Chacahua
I highly suggest making the trip for at least a night or two, but a day trip or tour from Puerto Escondido will also suffice (if you HAVE to).
If driving, park only at the public pier in Zapotalito. If traveling by bus, you’ll be dropped off near this highway and you’ll need to walk.
Next, take the shared taxi boat (and then a shared colectivo truck) rather than using the touts selling tours. These touts are known to rip tourists off heavily.
If you decide to take a private boat, pay no more than $300 MXN pesos for the boat trip each way.
Tours to Chacahua National Park from Puerto Escondido
If the colectivos and touts aren’t your thing, but still want to visit Parque Chacahua, here are some fantastic tour options leaving from Puerto Escondido.
We have worked with the company that offers the first tour on this list (Eco Adventures Puerto Escondido) and know they are doing great work around the region. We highly recommend them.
Where to Stay on Chacahua Beach
You don’t need to pre-book a hotel in Chacahua as most places aren’t listed online.
But if you’re like us, and like to book everything, there is one on Booking.com that is super clean and probably the most luxurious cabañas in Chacahua.
- Cabañas La Isla Chacahua | Cute, clean and close to the water. Some rooms overlook the beach, and others the lake. Wifi and aircon included are a big plus
White Rock Beach (Playa Roca Blanca)
Palapas, hammocks and birdwatching on this secluded beach
This is an absolute hidden gem on the Oaxacan coast! If you’re looking for a completely secluded spot with no tourists but basic amenities, this is the place for you. There was not one other tourist on this beach when we arrived at Roca Blanca.
The name “White Rock” comes from a 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!
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.
How to get to Roca Blanca Beach
Located about a 50-minute drive outside of Puerto Escondido, Playa Roca Blanca makes a great day trip if you have your own vehicle.
Because Playa San Agustin is so remote, it is difficult to get to without your own car. You can rent a car with Hertz Car Rental at Purto Escondido Airport if you like to drive yourself around.
Another option is to hire a driver for the day to take you to Playa Roca Blanca, wait for you at the beach, and then return at an agreed time. You can organize this with your accommodation.
PLAYAS DE OAXACA (BEACHES IN OAXACA) MEXICO MAP
It’s so easy to download this best beaches Oaxaca coast map to your phone! To open this Oaxaca beaches 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 use, 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 are during spring and fall when there are fewer tourists and much more moderate temperatures.
The 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.
OAXACA BEACHES (OAXACA PLAYAS) FAQS
The Oaxacan coast is filled with an endless number of beaches, there are bound to be some Oaxaca beaches we aren’t able to cover. Two other beaches worth checking out in Oaxaca are Puerto Angelito and Playa San Agustinillo.
Puerto Angelito is small beach located in the town of Puerto Escondido. The waves are a lot calmer than the more popular alternative in town – Playa Carrizalillo. This makes it the ideal place to go snorkeling and paddleboarding!
Playa San Agustinillo is a beach between Mazunte and Puerto Angel, but visitors will have an easier time getting there from Mazunte. Compared to the other beaches in the area, Playa San Agustinillo is usually less crowded. Swimming there is usually not recommended because the waves are quite violent. However, Playa San Agustinillo is an excellent place to go surfing. This soft-sand beach has a few eateries where you can get some delicious local Mexican food!
While Mexico generally gets a terrible reputation for safety, Oaxaca is one of the safest states in Mexico. Crime is relatively low, partly due to the above-average standard of living. But with all things travel, it is recommended to take safety precautions when visiting Oaxaca.
While there are no beaches in Oaxaca City, there are plenty of beaches in the state of Oaxaca. In fact, Oaxaca state is home to 533 km (331 mi) of coastline and some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.
From Oaxaca City to the nearest beach, it is about 250 kilometers and usually takes about 7 to 8 hours of driving. It is not possible to do a day trip to the beach from Oaxaca City.
Huatulco and Puerto Escondido are both nice places in Oaxaca to experience the beautiful waters of the Oaxaca coast. However, there are clear distinctions between the two places.
The beaches in Huatulco are generally better than the ones in Purto Escondido, but there isn’t much to do in town. Visitors typically just stay in luxurious resorts and enjoy complete relaxation.
On the other hand, Puerto Escondido is a lot more lively. Though the town isn’t beautiful on its own, it has plenty of restaurants, bars, and vibrant nightlife to keep travelers entertained.
For surfing, beaches in Puerto Escondido are much better than the beaches in Huatulco.
There is no single best beach town in Oaxaca because they all offer something different. The most popular beach town is Puerto Escondido. There you will find beautiful beaches, a big expat scene, and vibrant nightlife. For quieter beach towns in Oaxaca, we recommend beaches near Puerto Angel.
Mazunte is a charming sleepy beach town that is perfect for anyone looking for a more serene beach getaway.
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We hope we’ve listed all the best beaches near Oaxaca and that you can find a beach close to you.
Which is your favorite Oaxaca beach, Mexico?
If you have questions about any of the Oaxaca Mexico beaches or want to put in your two cents on the best beach Oaxaca has on offer? just ask them in the comments section below!
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Originally Posted: March 2018. Frequently Updated.
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