Skip to Content

What’s It Really Like Living In Puerto Escondido, Mexico As An Expat

Do you love surfing, beautiful beaches and prefer a simpler life? If yes, Puerto Escondido is a perfect location for you.

Puerto Escondido is situated on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca.

Famous for its spectacular backdrop of the Sierra Madre mountains, and ‘Mexican pipeline’ surfing beaches with thunderous waves and a laid-back vibe, the town exudes traditional Mexican authenticity and a casual vibe.

Is Puerto Escondido a good place to live?

Puerto Escondido is definitely a great place to live thanks to its bohemian free-spirited vibes. It offers a great lifestyle for those looking for something off the beaten track. 

Living in Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido in January

Amenities and transport links are good, there’s an airport and a bus station with links to Mexico City and long-distance buses serving Mexico and other parts of Latin America to Panama.

There are plenty of markets with local products such as fresh fish, artisanal products, and locally sourced items.

The weather is tropical with a hot and humid season between June and November, and a dry season, which is cooler and less humid, between November and May.

When the tourist and surfing crowds leave Puerto, the dry season can be good for expats to enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings.

There are many expat hubs in the area, such as Bacocho, La Punta, Brisas de Zicatela, La Barra. If you would like to embrace the traditional way of Mexican life and have the amenities of a world-class surfing beach nearby, this is the place for you.

You’ll find artisan markets in El Adoquin, and the catch of the day on Playa Principal.

The main market in town – Mercado ‘Benito Juarez’ – is great for produce, from locally made hammocks to fresh fish and small pop-up restaurants with daily local dishes.

The infrastructure of Puerto Escondido is under development, and the Oaxaca-Puerto Escondido highway is due to be finished in 2022, making most journeys much quicker.

Puerto Escondido is family-friendly, safe, spacious, lush, and tropical. Better yet, it has a low cost of living being one of the best value-for-money beach destinations in Mexico.

You could either live on your own plot of land with plenty of garden and space or in a built-up area such as Los Tamarindos that still retains its village vibe.

The town attracts expats and Mexicans alike. There are Argentineans, Mexicans (especially from Mexico City), Canadians, and Americans living in Puerto Escondido.

Cafecito on Playa Zicatela that faces the beach, is a great place for expats and Mexicans alike to meet, network and share experiences. It is a simple café with a palapa style roof – great for simple food options such as pancakes or coffee, as well as red snapper and rice.

There is a thriving expat community that hosts events from bingo nights to live jazz, blues music, and cooking classes.

Is Puerto Escondido safe?

Puerto Escondido is safe if one takes the usual precautions, such as not wearing flashy jewellery or having a mobile phone and wallet on display.

Living in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Surfing in the pipeline of Playa Zicatela in Puerto Escondido

There have been incidents of motorcycle drive-by robberies, whereby they will pass close by to you on a motorbike and take your bag if they think there is something of value in it. 

Such incidents occur especially on the Andador Escenico, a scenic walkway that runs from Playa Principal to the lighthouse, as it can be quiet.

In terms of the beaches, Zicatela is known for its sharp undercurrent, so there are plenty of lifeguards on hand who can help and give advice.

If you’re not a professional swimmer or surfer, it is important to be cautious especially in La Punta and Zicatela.

The more sheltered bay, Playa Carrizalillo, is better for less experienced swimmers. It’s set at the bottom of a series of steep steps in the Rinconada area.

Walking alone at night on the beaches in Puerto Escondido is not recommended, as there are stretches of the beach with no street lighting.

A good measure to avoid the risk of dengue or Zika virus is to wear long clothing in the rainy season and use insect repellent with DEET.

Beware of crocodiles in the lagoons, rivers, and estuaries around Puerto Escondido. Swimming is not recommended on the coast of the Oaxaca river unless supervised.

How much does it cost to live in Puerto Escondido?

It depends on location, and sometimes is a matter of negotiating a price when renting or buying a property.

Rental properties can vary in price from $500 to $800 USD per month, and by season. In the low season, between November and May, you can negotiate a lower rate for a yearly or 6-month rental.

Living in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Puerto Escondido street market.

However, in the high season, where there is more demand than supply, a rental contract could cost almost double and can be harder to negotiate or you could be charged a daily rate during the peak weeks of the season.

Puerto Escondido is a less expensive destination compared to Mexico City or Baja California.

A one-bed apartment is around 400USD per month and houses can be around 800USD per month.

House prices can vary depending on the plot of land and location.

A small lot of land or a rustic casita (a small house) can start at around 5,000USD and may have basic amenities, while a fixer-upper with a large plot of land may start at around $425,000 USD.

Properties located on a secluded strip of the beach can be around  $825,000 USD.

There are gated communities that attract a higher price. 

Plots of land in new urbanisations, such as the Chakoo development of La Barra, are priced at 300USD per square metre. 

Daily expenses

Eating out is around $137a month, and food shopping is roughly $326. If you take public transport, expect to pay $71 on a monthly basis. Internet is priced at around $30 depending on the provider.

Is Puerto Escondido a party town?

Puerto Escondido is well known for its laid-back vibe. It gets lively during the surfing season, but this kind of activity is centred in Zicatela beach, where there are a few nightclubs and restaurants. 

During Mexican festivals, such as Semana Santa, the place can feel quite busy and lively, as one should expect during the season.

However, many places offer a much quieter vibe, such as Los Tamarindos, Bacocho, La Barra.

Hospitals and healthcare

On the whole, if you need extensive healthcare, you will find Puerto Escondido somewhat wanting in this regard.

There’s a private hospital in the town, The Ángel del Mar Medical Clinic where you can go for some specialised treatment or emergencies. It’s however quite a small hospital and not all the services can be found there.

There is also a public hospital, The Hospital General de Puerto Escondido, which offers more services than The Ángel del Mar.

To find a well funded private hospital with a wide range of facilities and treatments you will need to go to Oaxaca City or Salina Cruz.

The private healthcare costs are higher than in a public hospital but less expensive than in the US or Canada. Many expats take international health insurance plans to cover them both in Mexico and in their home country.

The best areas to live in Puerto Escondido

Playa Carrizaillo and the surrounding urbanisations are quiet, relaxed and have a thriving expat community. There is a sheltered cove beach, which is accessed by a steep stairway of 157 steps. It is a safe residential area with local amenities.

Living in Puerto Escondido
Playa Carrizalillo

Brisas de Zicatela and Los Tamarindos are within walking distance of the main vibrant Zicatela beach, but are quieter and more residential, great for long walks, or to access the main Zicatela beach.

La Barra is a developing area around 10km from the centre of Puerto Escondido, set facing the open sea with access to the beach and with views of the Sierra Madre mountains.

It is a desirable location for expats and is currently expanding rapidly with numerous plots of land or new urbanisations taking place.

La Punta attracts a lot of Canadian and American expats who enjoy surfing. They surf in the morning at la Punta or walk down to Zicatela to catch the surf there.

This area features traditional palapa roofs and has a very laid back, rustic and more natural style of living.

Living in Puerto Escondido – summary

Puerto Escondido offers something different to the norm in comparison to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, or Mexico City.

If you are moving to Mexico and looking for a more traditional Mexican lifestyle, you should consider Puerto. It has more of a Mexican feel to it, and the products are local to the state of Oaxaca.

The hidden port is becoming a more popular destination for tourists and expats alike and may turn into a Playa del Carmen or Tulum in years to come.

You should enjoy your lifestyle here thanks to the beaches and good vistas; it’s possible to have both whether you live in a more remote location or in the town itself.

You might find useful:

Peter Evert

Saturday 3rd of December 2022

Please help with realtors for long term Rentals 2/12 years

Ola Degteva (Editor)

Monday 5th of December 2022

Hi Peter, did you try local FB groups? Casas en Renta Puerto Escondido is one of them, and there are quite a few of others that might be helpful.

mary pool

Saturday 12th of November 2022

Hello Jasmina,

Thank you for your wonderful article about Puerto Escondito. My husband and I will be going to Vivo in January and are wondering if there is a good dentist in the town. Also, is there bus service from Vivo to Puerto Escondito or are we required to rent a car? Thanks for your assistance! Mary

John Guy

Friday 8th of April 2022

Hi Jasmina, great article. Have you been to Vivo resort community? What are your thoughts? I know it's very gringo but it's quiet and the beach is great. Would need a car. My wife and I have retirement narrowed to Troncones (near Ixtapa), Huatulco and PE. We both speak Spanish. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Jasmina

Saturday 9th of April 2022

Hi John and wife,

Your comments are very much appreciated, thank you :)

The Vivo community from a visual point of view is well located with beautiful backdrops and miles of Pacific ocean, with peace and serenity abound. However, is located somewhat remotely which adds to its allure for privacy. A car is essential to connect to the well-maintained highway.

Troncones is a well-known surfing location, known for beautiful scenery, less commercial development, lots of 'ejido' or farming land, a bohemian vibe and of course those surfing waves. Most certainly is an idyllic paradise to retire in as does not possess the hustle and bustle of more developed areas in Mexico. Superb that you both speak Spanish, this is an additional asset and you will be able to adapt and be part of the community very quickly and feel very much at home.

I have not been to Troncones yet, but I think you have uncovered one of Mexico's hidden jewels! Added to my list now, is a good expat location for me to retire early, and build the dream hacienda!

I am adding more articles to the Mexico section soon and will look further into this area, as seems off the beaten track and an up and coming destination for those wishing to relocate to Mexico seeking a different life to their home country. So hope you will keep an eye on the Mexico country section, as well as a wealth of different country profiles here at Expatra.

Do keep me posted on your relocating to Mexico, I would love to hear of your progress in your relocation. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you need further relocation assistance.

Best wishes Jasmina

Gladys

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Hi Jasmina, Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I are planning to have a baby in Puerto Escondido. Do you have any recommendations on best clinics or hospitals for us to check out or any support groups for expecting moms? Thanks.

Jasmina

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Hi Gladys and hubby,

The private hospital 'Clinica Hospital Angel del Mar ' on Sexta Norte - prices are reasonable with a range of specialities. Renowned for a high degree of excellence. If you can email them they may have a range of pre and postnatal support groups.

Link https://hospitalangeldelmar.com.mx/ Tel no +52 954 104 2270

Also, there is an ex-pat group on Facebook for 'Puerto' where you can get ideas and information:-

https://en-gb.facebook.com/groups/1331026543703309/about/

There are a wealth of local doctors and pharmacies also in town. Dr Simi pharmacy has a doctor on-site that you can see mainly without an appointment too!

For a doctor that speaks fluent English Dr Omar Lopez Perez tel no - 954 -582-3634 has a practice on Oaxaca Ave, and a few of his fellow colleagues also speak English.

Happy planning in motion and best of luck. I am certain the little one will love playing in the sand and dipping feet in the Pacific ocean :)

Thank you for taking the time to stop by this site :)

Best wishes Jasmina

M. Fernandez

Monday 14th of February 2022

Fishermen, locals, complain about increasing hot weather in January etc:" it is too hot! Jan is winter for us " Climate change. Then there is noise, that horrible , all night, blasting loud music from the pubs. And most of those Mexican tourists are the worse. Zica...whatever beach is a nightmarish noise as well. And there are those deadly mosquitoes that might send you to the hospital, forever and ever. Sorry. Some nice people everywhere but I would never ever live there, nor in Mexico. Mexico of the the past isn't Mexico of the ( cartels, corruption galore) of the present. Ditto.

Jasmina

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Hi M.Fernandez,

Thank you for your commentary and for taking the time to read this article.

The warm weather is one of the reasons that snowbirds choose Mexico for relocation. Like everywhere in the world there are quieter neighbourhoods versus noisy ones. In 'Puerto' areas such as Zicatela are considered lively as attract tourist clientele due to the many restaurants, bars and hotels facing the ocean - so is known to be busy during holiday and festive seasons. There are however a variety of neighbourhoods such as Los Tamarindos, La Barra where a quieter environment can be found for residing or staying.

In terms of protection against mosquito bites, there are a variety of measures such as using repellent containing DEET and using citronella candles/coils in the house as well as mosquito nets placed around the beds in the bedroom. Ceiling fans are also great at repelling mosquitos as they cannot settle in one place due to the airflow.

Mexico is a wonderful country with lots of culture, gastronomy and varied history. Also with lots to do and is relatively safe. I say this from personal experience living there. Like anywhere in the world there will be elements of crime, so taking the correct sensible precautions are advisable.

I certainly hope you do get the opportunity to re-visit Mexico in the near future and am reassured that you will find some great guidance from this website.

Best wishes Jasmina