Best beaches in Oaxaca

10 Best Beaches in Oaxaca

Home to many traditions, world-class food, and a vibrant art scene, the state of Oaxaca is a mecca of culture in Mexico. However, it’s not just foodies and history buffs who come here. Nature lovers, surfers, and those looking for a quiet getaway along with Mexico’s Pacific Coast flock to the golden beaches in Oaxaca where crowds are few and the space is aplenty.

There’s a chance you already heard about some Oaxaca beaches such as Zipolite or Mazunte – small and unpretentious towns where you can chill all day before watching the colorful sunset. 

While these destinations might not be as popular as Tulum and Sayulita, Oaxaca beaches have all the stunning scenery – and none of the crowds of the most famous beach towns in Mexico.

Where is Oaxaca located?

Oaxaca is a state in Southern Mexico. It borders the state of Chiapas to the south, Veracruz to the east, and the states of Puebla and Guerrero to the north. Don’t confuse the state of Oaxaca with Oaxaca De Juarez, the capital of the state which is called shortly Oaxaca.

PRO TIP: If you want to get a glimpse in the culture of the state before hitting Oaxaca beaches, start your trip in Oaxaca De Juarez (aka Oaxaca City) where you can take a free guided tour, taste Mezcal, shop at local artisan markets and try mole – a signature Oaxaca sauce.

How to navigate Oaxaca beaches?

If you are serious about exploring some of the best beaches in Oaxaca, you should know that most of them are clustered around several coastal towns. For example, Puerto Escondido, a small beachside community of about 40,000 people is home to many beaches in Oaxaca, while a popular resort town Huatulco boasts 9 stunning bays with 36 beaches!

GOOD TO KNOW: Stay safe in Mexico with my tips for traveling this country. I spent a while in Mexico and have first-hand advice on how to stay safe and avoid tourist traps.

Puerto Escondido beaches

One of the most popular destinations along the Oaxaca coast, Puerto Escondido is a small town that boasts some of the best surfing in Mexico, with Playa Zicatela having waves up to 10 feet and higher!

But surfing is not the only game in Puerto Escondido. Many travelers come here for its authentic vibes, unspoiled nature, and local turtle conservation programs (more about it below). The town has no high-rises or mega-resorts and you can take in scenic views all day long in your shorts and a t-shirt.

Best beaches in Oaxaca

Playa Carrizalillo

Where to stay: Posada Real Puerto Escondido

One of the best beaches in Oaxaca and my favorite beach in Puerto Escondido, Playa Carrizalillo is a small but cozy hangout with small waves which are great for beginner surfers. 

Framed by the lush hills, this beach has restaurants, sun loungers, and umbrellas – everything you need for a lazy beach day. You can also hire a surfing instructor who will go with you in the open water and give you a quick lesson.

To reach Playa Carrirzalillo, you need to go down steep stone stairs, which is easy on the way to the beach but makes for quite the workout on the way back. Since Carrizalilo is one of the most popular beaches in Oaxaca, it’s better to come early morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Best beaches in Oaxaca

Playa De Zicatela

Where to stay: Selina Puerto Escondido

If you are an experienced surfer, grab your board and head to Playa de Zicatela, one of the best beaches in Oaxaca for surfing. This is a wide sandy beach with plenty of space for everyone. Many people also come here to run, walk their dogs and just enjoy the sound of the crashing waves.

If you are a newbie surfer, you are better off heading to other beaches in Puerto Escondido such as Carrizalillo and La Punta to learn the ropes of this popular water sport. Consider taking a lesson at some of the best surf schools in Puerto Escondido such as Pacific Surf Academy or Oasis Surf School.

Along Playa Zicatela you will find many restaurants, cafes, and shops catering to tourists. Zicatela is considered not safe for swimming due to big waves, so there’s not a lot of people here, compared to Playa Carrizalillo. Bring an umbrella or at least a hat and some sunscreen because this beach has no shade.

Playa Bacocho

Where to stay: Shavanna Hotel Boutique 

Turtle conservation is a big deal in Puerto Escondido with multiple volunteer organizations monitoring local beaches to prevent poaching, and theft of turtles’ eggs, as some people unfortunately still eat them.

During my trip to Playa Bacocho, I had a chance to participate in the event organized by Vive Mar, a local volunteer group, where dozens of newly hatched baby turtles are released into the ocean around the sunset. Local volunteers run egg hatcheries to help protect the eggs and make sure the newly born turtles are released in the water safely.

To be able to release your baby turtle into the ocean from a coconut bowl (you can’t touch them with your hands), participants are required to pay a fee of 300 pesos. This daily event starts around 5 p.m. When you arrive at Playa Bacocho, look for a small hut where you can sign up for the event and pay your fee.

Before the event, a volunteer gives a briefing to the group about local conservation efforts and provides detailed instructions on how to release baby turtles into the ocean properly without harming them. Since turtle conservation is taken very seriously here, you will have a chance to learn about the project and talk to many volunteers who work here.

PRO TIP: You can also participate in a bigger tour that includes a visit to several turtle hatching sites. This is an excellent way to support local turtle conservation efforts, as most of these organizations run on donations.

Playa Puerto Angelito

Where to stay: Hotel Villas Xaiba

A popular local beach, Playa Puerto Angelito looks more like half-bay with dozens of small boats anchored in the area. The beach sits in a small cove and also has excellent conditions for snorkeling thanks to a small reef not far from the shore. If you want to go on a whale watching tour, where you can also swim with turtles and dolphins, keep this place in mind because many boat tours depart from here.

There are also many stores and restaurants nearby where you can grab some food and drink if you decide to spend here all day.

Playa Manzanillo

Where to stay: Casa Losodeli

Right in the same bay, you will also find Playa Manzanillo (you can walk there from Puerto Angelito), another family-friendly beach that is sheltered from big waves and is slightly less crowded than Playa Puerto Angelito.

Cool things to do in Puerto Escondido

Go on a dolphin watching tour

The coast of Oaxaca has so much wildlife! Here you can easily spot turtles, dolphins, and if you get lucky – even whales! And the good news is you can do all of it with an organized tour right from Puerto Escondido! Go on a dolphin watching tour during the sunrise – because it’s the best time to spot them!

Take a boat trip to Bioluminescent Bays

Many tour companies around Puerto Escondido offer boat tours to Laguna Manialtepec that light up with the bioluminescent type of plankton. This wonderful natural phenomenon can be seen every night although the degree of brightness can vary depending on the amount of moonlight.

Visit Lagunas De Chacahua

Lagunas de Chacahua National Park is a beautiful area about one hour away from Puerto Escondido where you can see cool reptiles, surf, and just relax on the beach. While it’s possible to get there by car, you can also take a guided tour from Puerto Escondido, especially if the time is short.

If you decide to drive to Lagunas De Chacahua, first, you need to get to Zapotalito, a small town about one hour away from Puerto Escondido that can be reached by taxi or collective. From there, you will need to hire a boat to Chachua, a small island where you can relax, chill in the hammock and take in scenic views.

Where to stay in Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is a small unpretentious town with a low-key vibe, and yet, there are plenty of accommodations here for all types of travelers. Here’s a quick overview of different hotels in Puerto Escondido that will fit any budget and style of travel 

Luxury hotels in Puerto Escondido

If you are a luxury traveler wanting to visit Puerto Escondido, check out Casa UMI, a gorgeous villa with cool minimalistic designs within walking distance to many hotels and restaurants. Another popular luxury hotel in Puerto Escondido is Hotel Escondido that has its own private beach, restaurant and spa.

Mid-range hotels in Puerto Escondido

Eco Lodge Pueblo Del Sol is one of the best new hotels in Puerto Escondido that provides a perfect atmosphere to relax and disconnect. Located 5 minutes away from Playa Zicatela, offers close proximity to many restaurants and bars. Another mid-range hotel is Rincon Del Pacifico a quick walk away from the beach and less than 2 miles away from the Puerto Escondido Airport.

Budget hotels in Puerto Escondido

Rincon Del Pacifico is one of the best budget hotels in Puerto Escondido that offers central location and great value. Another hotel that gets great reviews for its combination of location, friendly staff and great prices is Hotel Blater near Zicatela Beach.

Huatulco

If you are looking for the more resort-y type of place, check out Bahias de Huatulco, a beachside town about 2 hours down the coast from Puerto Escondido. The word Bahias means bays in Spanish, and this area is home to nine bays and 36(!) beaches.

Pronounced (“Wah-tool-Koh”), this area has 26 kilometers of coastline. Some of the bays have been protected as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the entire area doesn’t smack you in the face with its sort vibe like some other parts of Mexico.

Huatulco, managed to strike the balance, as most resorts keep a low profile. The area is great for adventure lovers as it offers opportunities for hiking, snorkeling, zip-lining, and chilling on the beach. I recommend taking a boat tour to visit the Bays of Huatulco. 

Best things to do in Huatulco

As one of the most popular beaches along the Oaxaca Coast, Huatulco has plenty of activities. Whether you want to relax on one of Huatulco’s beaches, go for some snorkeling or watch whales during the migration season, you will not get bored here!

Hop around Bahias de Huatulco

With 36 beaches tucked into 9 stunning bays, Huatulco is home to some of the best Oaxaca beaches! I recommend checking Bahia Santa Cruz, Bahia San Agustin, Playa Entrega, and Bahia de Cacluta. The best way to see them is with a rental car, because local transportation is not always reliable.

However, you can also join a guided tour that will take you around many bays near Huatulco.

Take a trip to Copalita Eco Park

If you want to get away from the beach, take a tour to the nearby Parque Eco-Arqueologico de Bocana Copalia for a day. This location boasts a small ruin site, several hiking trails, and designated routes for ATVs.

Jump in the Cascadas Magicas de Copalitilla, a beautiful area with stunning waterfalls and natural pools.

Visit La Crucecita

For the curious traveler, I recommend taking a trip to the nearby town of La Crucecita where you can find many budget accommodations, low-key restaurants, and budget shopping. This town is home to many people who work in the Huatulco tourism industry, so you will find more local prices here, as opposed to tourist-oriented ones.

Where to stay in Huatulco

Since Huatulco has more resorts than any other part of Oaxaca Coast, it could be tough to narrow down your options. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to stay here, because there are enough hotels in Huatulco for all budgets. Here are a couple of options

Luxury hotels in Huatulco

If you are looking for a luxury stay in Huatulco, check out Villa Tortuga, a beautiful place that boasts a private pool, sea view and a balcony. Another option is Villa Rebecca that boasts sea views and is located only 650 feet away from Playa Arena.

Mid-range hotels in Huatulco

One of the best mid-range accommodations in Huatulco is La Bocana Beach House. This beautiful property is located in Santa Maria Huatulco, 1 mile from Playa Arena. It has a patio, darts, free private parking and free WiFi. Another option is Hotel Hills Huatulco located 0.6 miles from Huatulco Beach that offers free parking and Wi-Fi.

Budget hotels in Huatulco

Located only 1.2 miles from Santa Cruz Beach, Casa Palmera is a great budget accommodation that offers affordable rates and convenient location. Another option for budget travelers is OYO Hotel Posada San Vicente located in Santa Maria Huatulco.

Puerto Angel beaches

Collectively known as “The Riviera Oaxaquena,” the beaches of Mazunte, Zipolite, and San Agustinillo offer rustic vibes and are particularly popular for yoga retreats. This group of beaches sits along the coast right between Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, making it a perfect alternative to these popular tourist destinations.

Zipolite

The wide sandy Ziplote is easily one of the best beaches in Oaxaca. It is also home to the only legal nude beach in Mexico outside of the Naked Hotel Zipolite, so make sure to keep your clothes on while walking around town.

Stretching for two kilometers, Ziploite still reserves its rustic vibe, as it has been largely spared from commercial development and only has some casual restaurants and cafes. If you plan to spend some time in Rivera Oaxaquena, make sure to visit Zipolite for a day or two to enjoy its relaxing atmosphere and slower pace of life.

Swimming in Zipolite

Zipolite Beach is undoubtedly gorgeous, however, it’s not safe for swimming because of the dangerous currents. If you stay here for a couple of days, you might even see the flags in the sand to warn visitors of potential danger. If you plan to spend a night in Zipolite, make sure to enjoy the beautiful sunset from this beach.

Where to stay in Zipolite

El Alquimista Hotel on Zipolite Beach has a spa, and offers daily yoga classes, and an adult-only swimming pool. Another great place to stay in Zipolite is Hotel Descalzo just over 0.5 miles from Camaron Beach. This hotel has a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a bar.

Mazunte

A popular hangout for hippies and yoga lovers, Mazunte is a rustic destination along Oaxaca Coast famous for its unspoiled views of the Pacififc Coastline and some of the best beaches in Oaxaca.

GOOD TO KNOW: Did you know that Mazunte was designated as Pueblo Magico in 2020? Mazunte is indeed a very small town and the ONLY Pueblo Magico along the Oaxaca Coast

Pueblos Magicos is a uniquely Mexican concept. 

In 2021, the government of the country decided to bring more tourists to less-known, rural destinations around the country to boost their economy. The program has proved successful and and now there are 132 Pueblos Magicos in Mexico.

Surfing in Mazunte

The waves in Mazunte can be pretty high, so if you came here with the coal to catch some waves, I recommend heading to the nearby San Agustinillo, which has better surfing conditions.

Best things to do in Mazunte

Mazunte might seem like a sleepy town, but it has plenty of things to keep you busy for at least a couple of days. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most popular activities in Mazunte.

Visit Centro Mexicano De La Tortuga

With turtle conservation playing such a big role in beach communities of Oaxaca, it’s a good idea to learn about local efforts to preserve the species. Centro Mexicano De La Tortuga is a conservation center in Mazunte where you can learn about turtles, as well as other marine species native to this part of Mexico.

Participate in a yoga retreat

Mazunte is a popular destination for yogis and spiritual types, many of whom come to Hridaya Mazunte, a local yoga center, that offers classes and retreats at a reasonable price. Make sure to check them out, if you plan to spend at least a few days in Mazunte.

Relax on the beach

Mazunte is known for its untouched beaches that are often frequented by sea turtles during a certain time of the year. You too should take an opportunity to appreciate this beautiful part of the Oaxaca Coast. Playa Mazunte is the main beach in town where you can find many cafes and restaurants, while Playa Mermejita is considered one of the most beautiful Oaxaca beaches.

Check out Mazunte restaurants

With only one main road running through town, Mazunte’s food options are somewhat limited, but make no mistake, for the small size of this town, you will plenty to choose from. I recommend Los Marcianos and Huitzili, best vegan restaurants that offers delicious food and great atmosphere.

Hike to Punta Cometa

A short hike from Playa Mazunte, Punta Cometa is the southernmost point of the state of Oaxaca. It is particularly popular for sunset watching, however, it’s just as gorgeous at any time of the day. Perched above Playa Mermejita, Punta Cometa provides an excellent overlook of the entire area, so make sure to bring your camera when you come here.

Consider renting a car

Since Mazunte, San Agustinillo, and Puerto Angel are all located within 30 minutes from one another, consider renting a car to visit some of the best beaches in Oaxaca. If a car rental is not in your budget, head to the main road and wait until Pasajero, a big taxi truck where you can hop in the back for about 20 pesos and take a ride to the next Oaxaca beach.

Where to stay in Mazunte

For a small town where most restaurants are located along one street, Mazunte offers plenty of accommodations. Some of the best hotels in Mazunte are Casa Lu Boutique Hotel located 0.6 miles from Mermejita Beach and Guest House Casa Balu with beautiful minimalistic design. 

San Agustinillo

A close neighbor of Mazunte, San Agustinillo is another cute town along Oaxaca Coast that is often praised by travelers for its remarkable beaches.

Since Mazunte is more popular with younger foreign travelers, it has a bit more of a social scene. And the best part is you can easily walk from Mazunte to San Agustinillo!

If you are looking to explore some of the best Oaxaca beaches you can stay in Mazunte during the daytime and head back to San Agustinillo for the night to catch some sleep. Win-win!

Best things to do in San Agustinillo

Since most things in San Agustinillo revolve around the beach, you shouldn’t plan on much more if you want to spend a couple of days in this town. You can also take an inexpensive tour with one of the local guides to see dolphins and sea turtles just off the coast of San Agustinillo.

Where to stay in San Agustinillo

One of the most beautiful hotels in San Agustinillo is Casa Cometa that is popular with travelers because of its setting near the beach and ocean views. Hotel Sal De Mar is a beautiful boutique hotel with great atmosphere, spacious patio and pool.

Puerto Angel

Located about 30 minutes to the west of San Agustinillo, Puerto Angel is the last town in Rivera Oaxaquena. It’s the least visited of all Oaxaca beaches, and hardly sees any foreign tourists.

While Puerto Angel remains a quiet fishing village, the town now has several hotels, as tourism is becoming a dominant part of the local economy. Still, it’s mostly a non-touristy town which is great to visit because it offers a glimpse into the life of the traditional Oaxacan coastal community.

Best things to do in Puerto Angel

Aside from learning the traditional way of living on the Oaxaca Coast, you can enjoy swimming on Playa Panteon, and take in the quiet atmosphere before heading to your next destination.

Where to stay in Puerto Angel

If you decide to spend a night or two in Puerto Angel, there are a couple of options. For example, Monte Uzulu Boutique Hotel offers a combination of beautiful interior and affordable prices, and Zazil Retreat is a beautiful property popular for yoga retreats 1 mile from San Agustinillo Beach that offers on-site dining and free WiFi.

How to get to Oaxaca beaches?

There are several ways to make it to Oaxaca beaches, depending on your travel plans and budget. Whether you are traveling around Mexico, or just taking a quick getaway, you can arrive at Oaxaca beaches by plane or by bus from several destinations in Mexico.

Getting to Oaxaca beaches by plane

Although there are no international flights to Oaxaca Coast, there are daily flights from Mexico City, Oaxaca de Juarez (Aka Oaxaca City), and Guadalajara to Puerto Escondido and Huatulco.

What airport do I use to visit Oaxaca beaches?

To visit Oaxaca beaches, you can catch a flight to one of the airports along the coast (if you are traveling from a destination within Mexico), or fly into Oaxaca International Airport that has flights from the United States. When you arrive at the Oaxaca airport, you can optionally rent a car, if you don’t plan to taking a flight to one of Oaxaca beach towns.

Check the information on Oaxaca beaches airports below.

Puerto Escondido Airport

If you want to stay in Puerto Escondido, you should fly to Puerto Escondido Airport (Code PXM). The airport has no direct flights from the United States, so you will have to catch a connecting flight from Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Guadalajara.

Bahias De Huatulco International Airport

Bahias De Huatulco International Airport (HUX) is more suitable for travelers who want to visit Mazunte, Huatulco, San Agustinillo and Puerto Angel. Just like Puerto Escondido Airport, Bahias De Huatulco Airport is served mostly by domestic flights from Mexico City, Oaxaca De Juarez, and Tijuana.

Getting to Oaxaca beaches by bus

There are several buses per day to Oaxaca’s beach towns from the main bus station in Oaxaca de Juarez. They typically depart late in the evening and arrive early morning, so you can sleep on a bus, and still have the entire next day to explore and have fun.

Final thoughts on visiting Oaxaca beaches

I visited Oaxaca a few months ago and had the best time of my life. After visiting more popular beach destinations in Mexico, Oaxaca beaches struck me as more authentic and more genuine with their slow pace of life, friendly locals, and lack of huge mega-resorts catering to millions of people from all over the world.

I encourage you to visit Oaxaca beaches sooner rather than later and spend time along the Oaxaca Coast – one of the most beautiful destinations in Mexico.

Frequently asked questions about Oaxaca beaches

If you still have questions about Oaxaca beaches, I prepared a shortlist that should help to clear any doubts you might have.

Why should I visit Oaxaca beaches?

Rugged and free from crowds, Oaxaca beaches cater to the type of traveler who is looking to discover authentic Mexican beach towns with friendly locals and eat in small local taquerias where you can feast on homemade food.

The remote location of Oaxaca beaches is part of the draw. Oaxaca beaches are not easily accessible and depending on where you travel from, it might take you two or three flights plus a bus ride to get here. 

But the journey is well worth it: Once you arrive, you will be treated to incredible scenery and will fall in love with the local culture that is incredibly welcoming and ready to help you with any questions.

What is the best time to visit Oaxaca beaches?

If you want the clear sunny weather with no rain, the best time to visit Oaxaca beaches is from late October through early June. This however, comes with a caveat, because the dry season is also the busiest time in Oaxaca.

If you are looking for a less busy time, consider the shoulder season which is from late October through early December before it gets too busy and from April through May before the rainy season begins. 

What’s the weather like along Oaxaca Coast?

The Oaxaca Coast has a tropical arid climate with little rain and plenty of sunshine. The hurricane season lasts from June through September and brings rainfall and cloudy days.

Winter is the dry season when most days are sunny and clear with temperatures ranging from the high 80’s to mid-’90s. However, it is also the busiest time along Oaxaca Coast when most travelers come here. 

I recommend visiting Oaxaca beaches during the shoulder season which lasts from late October through early December when it’s not too busy yet, and prices on accommodations are reasonable.

Are Oaxaca beaches safe to visit?

Oaxaca beaches are perfectly safe to visit. Oaxaca is considered one of the safest states in Mexico, so your biggest worry here is getting a sunburn. 

Pay close attention to conditions on Oaxaca beaches, because not all of them are safe for swimming. Some surfing beaches in Oaxaca are suitable only for experienced surfers, so if you are a newbie, it’s a good idea to take a lesson in one of the local schools.

Always be aware of your surroundings whether you are visiting Oaxaca beaches or any other destination in Mexico. Keep your belongings in a secure place and make sure to keep your friends and family back home posted about your whereabouts.

Getting insurance ahead of your trip is a good idea, as it will protect you from losing your money. I recommend World Nomads that will ensure you in the event of lost or stolen luggage, sickness, and other unforeseen circumstances that could occur during your trip.

What do I need to pack for Oaxaca beaches?

If you plan to visit Oaxaca beaches, make sure to pack some swimwear, shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, and sandals. And make sure to bring reef-safe sunscreen.

Although Oaxaca Coast doesn’t have a barrier reef, it has plenty of marine wildlife, and chemicals in regular sunscreen can be harmful to it. That’s why your sunscreen needs to be reef-safe and biodegradable.

Oaxaca beaches have an average temperature of 85-100 degrees during the daytime throughout the year, so you will need more beach clothes. Nights get slightly cooler with temperatures dropping to the high 70s and low 80’s degrees Fahrenheit, so bring a light jacket if you plan on going out.

Final thoughts on visiting beaches in Oaxaca

I visited Oaxaca a few months ago and had the best time of my life.

After visiting many popular beaches  in Mexico, Oaxaca beaches struck me as more authentic and more genuine with their slow pace of life, friendly locals, and lack of huge mega-resorts catering to millions of people from all over the world.

I encourage you to visit Oaxaca beaches sooner rather than later and spend time along the Oaxaca Coast – one of the most beautiful destinations in Mexico.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the links in this article.

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