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Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

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Ever since some intrepid surfers stumbled upon the pipeline at Zicatela beach in the late 60s, their brethren have been making pilgrimages here to test their skill and mettle against one of the world's toughest breaks. Soon thereafter, budget travelers, looking for an inexpensive getaway from the cold of winter, discovered the warm winters and low-priced accommodations, and deep-sea sport fishermen, in search of sailfish, tuna, and mahi-mahi, began to trickle in as well.

Over the years, Puerto Escondido has grown into bustling seaside resort with its own airport, with several flights daily from Mexico City and Oaxaca City, and whatever pretensions it may once have had of being a quiet, remote fishing village have long since come to past. And yet, good deals can still be found here for the budget minded, and the beaches, set against the ten-thousand foot peaks of the Sierra Sur, are still as beautiful as ever.

Puerto Escondido has two distinct main beaches — Zicatela and Playa Principal — along with four others — Manzanilla, Carrizalillo, Bacacho, and Barra de Colotepec. Only the strongest swimmers should venture into the waters of Zicatela beach, and even for them the powerful undertow, on the even the calmest days, should not be taken lightly. Bahia Principal, protected by a man-made jetty, usually has calmer waters and is safe for most swimmers.

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