Is Puerto Escondido Safe to Travel Right Now? (2024)

If you're wondering where to stay in Puerto Escondido, this overall, wide shot of people walking on the beach, palm trees, and the city in the background should give you a good idea.

If you’re traveling to this surfer beach destination, you’ve probably wondered, is Puerto Escondido safe?

The short answer is yes, Puerto Escondido is relatively safe. The long answer is Puerto Escondido safety depends on your activities, how you handle yourself, and how alert you are to your surroundings.

I live in Oaxaca City and travel to the coast regularly. In addition, I keep myself updated on safety throughout the state of Oaxaca, particularly in the city and beaches. There’s also a surge in dengue to be aware of, a new safety issue in Puerto Escondido I’ll address.

I wrote this article to inform travelers that are questioning, how safe is Puerto Escondido? Below I’ll cover topics such as, is Puerto Escondido safe at night, for tourists, and solo female travelers.

I’ll also answer other questions you may have including, is it safe to surf in Puerto Escondido, or to swim at the beaches, and is the drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido safe?

This peaceful beach scene with palm trees and city in the background not invoke the question, Is Puerto Escondido safe. However, it's important to take precautions.

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Is Puerto Escondido Safe For Tourists

Puerto Escondido is generally safe for tourists. As a coastal tourist destination, Puerto Escondido needs to keep its reputation as a safe place to travel. And I would argue that the community does a good job of controlling crime.

As you should no matter where you travel in the world, it’s important to keep a few precautions in mind. My biggest tip for staying safe in Puerto Escondido is to watch your alcohol intake. As a beach party destination, it can be easy to get carried away and forget that the local liquor of mezcal is quite strong.

In the Puerto Escondido neighborhood of Rinconada, a yellow VW bug and an older white car are parked on the street. Behind them is a white house.

Is Puerto Escondido Safe at Night?

Puerto Escondido is generally safe at night. However, just as you would when at home or traveling to other places in the world, you should exercise more caution at night.

My second safety tip is to taxi home at night, even if it’s not incredibly late. While Puerto Escondido hasn’t seen the rise in muggings that have threatened the safety in Oaxaca, walking around at night should be avoided when possible to minimize risk.

When I first traveled here, there was one specific warning I was repeatedly informed about safety at night in Puerto Escondido. I was told not to walk on the beaches at night because there was an issue with police accusing travelers of carrying illicit materials on their person and essentially requesting a bribe. While I never experienced this personally, I took their advice seriously to keep myself safe in Puerto Escondido at night.

A street view of a Puerto Escondido neighborhood show a building with street art. It depicts a half whale, half plastic bottle with the words Mares Limpios which means Clean Oceans.

Is Puerto Escondido Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

On my first visit, Puerto Escondido safety was at the top of my mind as a solo female traveler. In general, Puerto Escondido is safe for solo female travelers just as it is for other tourists.

I have stayed in a variety of Puerto Escondido hostels and typically ask the front desk staff about safety upon arrival. Most have assured me that Puerto Escondido is safe as a solo female traveler if you take many of the normal precautions I’ve already mentioned.

Visiting this beach destination as a solo female traveler? Read my post about the best places for coliving in Puerto Escondido.

Beach Safety Puerto Escondido

Along the coast of Oaxaca, the Sierra Sur mountains meet the Pacific Ocean creating cliffs that dramatically drop into the sea below. As a result, some of the best beaches in Oaxaca are small coves with mostly calm water.

They are breathtakingly beautiful and while many are safe for swimming, conditions can change throughout the day. And naturally, the same is true for Puerto Escondido beaches.

Is Puerto Escondido safe to swim?

Golden sand and turquoise waters sweep along the bay at Playa Carrizalillo, the most beautiful beach in Puerto Escondido. People lounge in the sand in front of the palapa shaded restaurants while others swim in the ocean.

It is safe to swim in Puerto Escondido at many but not all of the beaches. Keep in mind, swimming conditions can change hourly. For your safety, it’s important to assess the ocean before jumping in, even if you swam there recently.

In my opinion, the best beach in Puerto Escondido for swimming is Playa Carrizalillo because the ocean is mostly calm with small, fun waves that break close to the shore. Families with young kids may prefer Playa Manzanillo which is more shallow. Although you should watch out for boats in this area.

I recommend you read this post about Puerto Escondido beaches to learn more about each beach that you wish to visit and which beaches are best for swimming.

Is it safe to surf in Puerto Escondido?

A girl walks towards the ocean with a colorful striped surfboard under her arm. Surf lessons are one of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

It is safe to surf in Puerto Escondido at some of the beaches. Playa Carrizalillo is generally considered a beginner surfing beach. And most days, the beach at La Punta is also a beginner-intermediate surf break.

The most famous surfing beach, Playa Zicatela, is nicknamed the Mexican Pipeline. Surfing at this beach should be left to very experienced and professional surfers. And just like swimming at the beach, conditions can change throughout the day. It’s important to stay vigilant about the surf conditions and heed any warnings.

Looking for what to do in this beach destination? You’ll want to read my guide to the best things to do in Puerto Escondido.

Keeping Your Valuables Safe At the Beach

Deciding what to do with your valuables at the beach can be challenging. Generally, you shouldn’t have problems with theft at the beaches in Puerto Escondido. However, it absolutely does happen. In my opinion, it’s best not to bring valuables and only bring the cash you intend to spend.

If you want to take the most precautions, you can buy a waterproof cell phone case that you can keep around your neck or a larger waterproof pouch that will hold more things and snap around your waist.

A man walks towards the beach in front of a bright green Volkswagen bug car in La Punta a place where to stay in Puerto Escondido.

Safety of Traveling Within Puerto Escondido

Are taxis in Puerto Escondido safe?

Yellow taxis in Puerto Escondido are safe in general. Keep in mind, there is no Uber or Didi in Puerto Escondido as there is in Oaxaca City. As a result, likely one of the biggest risks of taking a taxi in Puerto Escondido is being overcharged. I recommend checking with your accommodation in Puerto Escondido about the typical price to get to your destination.

Is Public Transport Safe in Puerto Escondido?

I have always felt that public transport is safe in Puerto Escondido. One of my favorite things about staying in Puerto Escondido is the ease of using public transportation within the city.

The neighborhoods of Puerto Escondido are generally centered around the highway which runs like an artery through the town. During daylight hours, colectivo trucks (camionetas) take passengers to different destinations in Puerto Escondido. The route mostly follows the highway from roughly La Barra to the far end of Centro where it meets Rinconada.

The colectivos in Puerto Escondido are easy to spot. These large pickup trucks are outfitted with a metal structure and benches in the back. To catch a colectivo, stand on the side of the road with traffic driving in the direction you are going to flag them down.

Then, hop in the back and ring the bell when you’re ready to get off. Typically the bell is located on the bar in the back but often they have one in the front of the cab as well. The cost is about 10 pesos and payment happens when you get off.

These camionetas are used throughout the coast of Oaxaca, including in Mazunte and Zipolite. In addition, there are red taxi colectivos similar to those in Oaxaca City. Most depart from the center of town and I believe they expand the places you can travel by colectivo in Puerto Escondido, although I find the camionetas sufficient for where I typically want to go.

Is Puerto Escondido safe for scooters?

Renting a scooter when you travel is always a risky venture. Not only do you not know the roads well, but you may be given a scooter that is not well-maintained.

In my opinion, scooters should only be rented by experienced drivers. Even then, you should watch out for slippery conditions such as sand on the road and rain. I have two friends that rented a scooter in Puerto Escondido and had a scary accident due to these conditions.

Is it safe to travel to Puerto Escondido?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Puerto Escondido. Despite the US travel warnings (which are usually overblown), I consider Puerto Escondido to be a safe place to travel. As with any travel, it’s important to be vigilant and take precautions as I’ve already mentioned.

Is it safe to drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

Yes, it is safe to drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. There are three routes to consider when driving from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.

While it is the most direct route, highway 131 is known for causing the most motion sickness of the three. And during the rainy season, it may become nearly impassable due to landslides and washed-out roads.

Highway 175 is my preferred way to travel from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. And I highly recommend stopping for a night or two in San Jose del Pacifico if time allows. While this is also a windy mountain road, it’s a bit less so and more well-maintained.

If you want to avoid the extreme mountain curves, highway 190 is another option to drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. However, it is by far the longest route and takes you through the Istmo area where some towns have experienced insecurity lately. I would personally only take this route on the overnight ADO bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido for both reasons I mentioned.

Is it safe to drive from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido?

Yes, it is safe to drive from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido. The guidelines for driving in Mexico still apply to this route – it’s best not to drive at night and purchase full rental insurance when you rent a car in Oaxaca.

If you prefer not to hassle with renting a car and driving from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido, you can hire this private driver to take you from the Huatulco airport to your accommodation in Puerto Escondido.

The route from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido follows highway 200 along the coast, passing by the turnoff for Zipolite, Puerto Angel, and Mazunte. In fact, if you have the time you could easily spend a night or two in Mazunte before continuing to Puerto Escondido.

What is the Safest Way to Get from Puerto Escondido Airport to my accommodations?

The safest way to get from Puerto Escondido Airport to your accommodation is to take a taxi or hire a private car to pick you up.

The benefit when you book this Puerto Escondido airport transfer ahead of time is that the driver will be waiting on you after your flight arrives to take you in a private car to your accommodation. They have a fleet of vehicles ranging in size from sedan to minibus depending on your group size.

If you’re flying internationally, you may find more flights and better prices by flying into Huatulco, Oaxaca. If that’s the case, it’s best to book this private driver from Huatulco airport to Puerto Escondido.

Dengue: A New Safety Concern in Oaxaca

While the drier climate in Oaxaca City means there are less mosquitos, to my surprise, the city became inundated with dengue cases in the late summer of 2023. I personally know more than a dozen people who were infected.

This is a rising trend throughout other parts of Mexico and Latin America. Plus, the humidity in Puerto Escondido means there are more mosquitos.

The best precaution to take is to carry bug spray with you. You never know when the mosquitos will be bad. A simple change in the wind or setting sun can easily bring them out.

Staying Safe From Natural Disasters in Puerto Escondido

Short palm trees with coconuts line the sand at La Punta, one of the best places to stay in Puerto Escondido.

There are two types of natural disasters that Puerto Escondido is susceptible to – earthquakes and hurricanes. If you plan your travels during the best time to visit Oaxaca, you likely won’t be affected by hurricanes. And if you do visit during hurricane season, there is often plenty of warning for this incoming natural disaster.

And while you’re unlikely to experience an earthquake while in Puerto Escondido, they do occur throughout the state of Oaxaca. It’s important to review earthquake precautions ahead of time just in case.

Questions About Puerto Escondido Safety

Is Puerto Escondido safe to swim?

It is safe to swim at some of the beaches in Puerto Escondido. The safest beaches for swimming are Playa Carrizalillo and Playa Manzanillo. Since conditions can change quickly, it’s best to observe the ocean before getting in, watch where others are swimming, and pay attention to any red flags.

Is it safe to surf in Puerto Escondido?

In Puerto Escondido, it is safe to surf at some of the beaches. Most days, Playa Carrazalillo has a beginner surf break. The surf break at La Punta tends to be beginner to intermediate. And at Playa Zicatela, surfing is best left to professional surfers and those with a lot of experience. Keep in mind, surf conditions can change throughout the day and vary depending on the time of year.

Is the tap water safe to drink in Puerto Escondido?

No, the tap water in Puerto Escondido is not safe to drink. Most homes and businesses use refillable 5-gallon jugs called a garaffon for drinking water.

Is it safe to party in Puerto Escondido?

It is generally safe to party in Puerto Escondido as long as you take the necessary precautions. Be aware of your surroundings, stay in well-lit and populated areas, and avoid going out alone at night. And, just as you would anywhere in the world, don’t leave your drinks or valuables unattended. Also, it’s important to be mindful when consuming alcohol.

Is Puerto Escondido safe from natural disasters?

Two types of natural disasters can occur in Puerto Escondido. Hurricanes are limited to a particular season and often there is enough warning to seek shelter. Earthquakes are common throughout Oaxaca and while it’s unlikely you’ll feel an earthquake while traveling in Puerto Escondido, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what to do in an earthquake.

Is Puerto Escondido a safe place to live?

Similar to traveling, Puerto Escondido is a safe place to live. As a tourist destination, the community is active in keeping Puerto Escondido crime to a minimum. As always, it’s a good idea to take common precautions for your safety in Puerto Escondido.