Strung with gorgeous beaches, the coast of Oaxaca is a popular destination with travelers who prefer low-key beach towns to the booming mega resorts of Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya. Puerto Escondido was the original tourist destination on the Oaxaca coast, and the town embodies both the drawbacks and the benefits of such a distinction. Thirty years ago, Escondido was an enclave of fishermen and elite surfers, but it now has an international airport, boutique hotels, Italian restaurants, sushi joints, and what feels like a million Internet cafes.
That said, the area is still a popular surf destination and thus retains a certain casual charm that distinguishes it from some of Mexico’s more well-known vacation destinations. Cabanas and palapa (thatched) restaurants abound, and the beaches are justifiably famous. The town beach can be crowded, but several other options are within walking distance: Playa Marinero, Zicatela, which is known as the “Mexican Pipeline” for its tubular wave formations, and La Punta, a haven for longboarders.