Living In Puerto Escondido, Mexico: The Expat’s Guide

Discover what it's like living in Puerto Escondido as an expat: where to live, what to do, the lifestyle and how much it costs.

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.

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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.

Puerto Escondido: highlights

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, and La Barra. If you would like to embrace the traditional way of Mexican life and have the amenities of a nearby world-class surfing beach, 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 soon-to-be-completed Oaxaca-Puerto Escondido highway will make 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, which 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.

Safety and crime in Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is safe if one takes the usual precautions, such as not wearing flashy jewelry 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.

The cost of living in Puerto Escondido

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

Housing costs

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 less expensive than Mexico City or Baja California.

A one-bedroom apartment rents for around $400 per month, and houses can be around $800 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 USD 5,000 and may have basic amenities, while a fixer-upper with a large plot of land may start at around $425,000.

Property on a secluded strip of the beach can cost around  $825,000 USD.

There are gated communities that attract a higher price. 

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

Monthly expenses

Eating out is around $140 a month, and food shopping is roughly $330.

If you take public transport, expect to pay $71 every month.

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 centered on 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, such as Los Tamarindos, Bacocho, and La Barra, offer a much quieter vibe.

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 specialized 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 must go to Oaxaca City or Salina Cruz.

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 Carrizalillo and the surrounding urbanizations are quite 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 center of Puerto Escondido, 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 urbanizations 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 from 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:

Jasmina Nevada
Jasmina Nevada

A self-published author of the Mexican Duena, content planner and content writer for various publications, Jasmina is a passionate traveller and has lived as an expat in several locations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and the USA. She is planning to relocate back to a tropical location in Latin America again as an expat very soon.

You can contact Jasmina on Muckrack: Jasmina Nevada


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  1. I have been spending my winters in Acapulco, usually 5 to 6 months.
    My flight was canceled and so I am in Puerto Escondido and want to find reasonable accommodations .
    Looking at 6000 to 8000 pesos per month, is this possible?

    • Hey Sonia,

      Sorry to hear about your Acapulco situation! The hurricane damage looked severe, we hope you’re all right!

      6000-8000 pesos should be able to get you a 1 bedroom apartment, according to numbeo, a crowdsourced cost of living estimator:

      Average rent in PE is about 7800 pesos so you should be able to find something for your 8K, and since this is an average, there are places available for less than that, as well. Hopefully these prices don’t get inflated due to others fleeing the hurricanes as well, you’ll have to shop around but for that price, there are normally places available in that range.

      Good luck on your apartment search!

  2. […] This town offers a family-friendly environment with a low cost of living. The upcoming completion of the Oaxaca-Puerto Escondido highway in 2022 will further improve accessibility and infrastructure, making it an even more attractive destination for expats and visitors alike. You can check more details about living in Puerto Escondido in this guide. […]

  3. 1. Does a surfer need a car to surf the main areas close/in town?
    2. Does one need a car to really explore the area?
    3. If a car is required, how does one rent one and how much and what are the issues to know about?

  4. Hello Jasmina, thank you very much for all your informative and useful info, a great help. I am a London UK snowbird and considering coming out to Mexico for 3-6 months end of this year/early next year.
    Peurto Escondido sounds like my kind of place, somewhat bohemian, little lively, strong presence of locals, and cheapish rentals. I’m coming out by myself, so although the expat community will be very useful I would like to connect with locals and like minded people. I’ve lived in many places around the world and enjoy immersing myself in the local culture…..based on what I’ve described would you recommend any other areas ? beach side would be great.
    I’m also a Life Coach and an Aromatherapist (Massage therapist)and although I hadn’t initially intended to play/work, it might be a good way to embed in the community. I’m considering the ‘Digital Nomad’ lifestyle too.
    I would love to hear back from you.
    Kindest regards
    Jilly x

  5. Hi Jasmina, your article has come across my searches a couple of times and I thought I would write you a quick comment that I think you may find helpful. Or you may feel free to disregard. Firstly, you have painted a glorious picture of Puerto but it’s not very balanced disregarding issues of overpopulation, over tourism and underdevelopment of infrastructure around rampant development by foreigners, waste management and water shortages to name a few. And many other challenges and downsides that might make more people come live here. Secondly, the term expat is very elitist. Someone is either an extended tourist or an immigrant. An expat sounds like a special immigrant that left a 1st world country to go be a noble person in 3rd world country. Only senior citizens who never learn the language or make any local friends still use this term. Finally, I guess this is 3 things… Being here a long time and being stuck in traffic, having overcrowded surf line ups and being injured by tourists who can’t surf, not having water for a week and the internet going out every day at 3pm and the prices of everything tripling in 3 years… it’s pretty frustrating that bloggers and vloggers are sharing all the beautiful secrets and contributing to more overpopulation and land price gouging. I know it’s not your fault exclusively, but if your not part of the solution….. I hope you are having a good day and can see another point of view.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

    • 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

    • @John Guy,

      Hola John.

      PE is delightful and charming. There are certain native title land rights issues which prevent it from being a target for greedy developers, thank goodness. This is how and why it keeps it charm, and with it, some of the challenges – which can easily be dealt with if one begins to think and live like a local.

      As far as Huatulco goes, we spent just one day there and not wait to get out. Because of the land rights issues in PE, developers created the artificial tourist town, complete with international airport, for mainly Americans and Canadians. There are now a mass of high-rise condos and some flashy homes. Most are used for a week at a time. Acapulco in the making?

      This means when they fly in they bring all their NoB (north of the border) stress and aggression with them. As we all know, it takes at least a month to begin to unwind and go with the flow of the energy of a place. Alas, those visiting Huatulco mostly depart after a week leaving their energy print of stress behind.

      THIS, in my view, is the greatest difference between PE and Huatulco. PE does not have the same residual energy print. It is far more relaxed and authentic as a Mexican settlement.

      I am not familiar with Troncones, and would thus love to hear your assessment of the place.

      Happy new-home hunting

  8. 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.

    • 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.

      Tel no +52 954 104 2270

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

      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

  9. 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.

    • 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

  10. Hi-I read the article as described as laid back, nurturing place.
    I’m a swimmer and looking (from afar) for similar type places-but also very swimmable water.
    From all the great surfing comments I can only assume high waves and rocky waters?

    • Hi Meg,
      As a fellow swimmer, I can certainly assure you that you will love Puerto Escondido! As no two days are the same on the beach! When the surfing waves are in, there is a lot of action from high waves and surfing and bodyboarding activities, with the choice, of course, to participate or watch the action from one of the palapa restaurants that line the beaches sipping coconut water or two! There are designated areas on Zicatela beach with lifeguards as the area is known for its strong currents, but safe for swimming under their watchful eye. Calmer beaches exist as pointed out by Ola in the commentary below. There are days that even the water is calm in the general surfing beaches also and long stretches of sand between La Punta and Zicatela for a daily walk.
      Thank you for reading my article
      Best wishes

  11. Hi Sherry!
    I am happy to know that my article has helped you in the search for your dream paradise in Mexico.
    Puerto has varied locations depending on the style of living you are seeking, all with outdoor space guaranteed! From Palapa style roofs, to terrazas and open lush gardens.
    Los Tamarindos is a superb area and faces the beach with the mountainous backdrop. Easily accessible, lots of local amenities and a stones throw from the beach and walk to either Zicatela, El Centro or La Punta. Many expats and locals all with casas with lots of outdoor space. Other areas to consider are La Barra which is under development at the moment and very similar to Los Tamarindos but a car is required.
    Most certainly I agree that it would be best to rent something first and discover the varied neighbourhoods to get a sense of your feeling and idea of home from ground level.
    I certainly hope this is helpful.
    Best wishes and keep me posted on your upcoming endeavours in Mexico!

  12. Hi Jasmina!
    My name is Sherry and I was just reading your article and have found it extremely helpful!!
    Thank you!
    My husband and I are planning to retire in Mexico next year and are looking for our new home. We have traveled quite a bit in Mexico and we feel that Escondido might be our final destination!!!
    We were wondering if you could guide us with property searches…. We would like a single family home with outdoor space as we are outdoors-ey people!!
    I love a busy and happening town but also LOVE the beach !!!!
    From reading your article I THIIK we might like the Tamarindos neighborhood!! Your thoughts???
    We would probably have to come and live for a while before we make a final decision I suppose.
    Hope you can send us some tips and information.
    Thank you and hope to hear from you soon. Our email address:

    • Hi Sherry,
      Los Tamarindos sounds great. It’s a small neighborhood so you can’t really go wrong with choosing a property anywhere there. it’s very lovely, close to Puerto Escondido city center and only a short walk to many of the popular beaches like La Punta or Zicatela Beach. There is access to everything that the Puerto area has to offer: shopping, fishing, swimming, dining, nightlife. I am sure you will love it! The idea to come and rent first is the most reasonable, this way you will be sure the area suits all your needs. Good luck with your relocation! Jasmina might want to add something later, but I think I have summed it up well enough.