8 Beautiful Beaches in Oaxaca, Mexico

Posted 12/03/2024 | 12th March, 2024

Oaxaca has some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. From tranquil coves to long sandy stretches, this article will give you an overview of eight of the most stunning beaches in Oaxaca

🏊 A note on swimming: The waves on this coastline are extremely strong. Although this makes for excellent surfing conditions, they are not the best for swimming. If you do decide to take a dip, please exercise caution and don’t get out of your depth! 

What blew me away about the beaches in Oaxaca was their sheer size. You won’t find shoulder-to-shoulder sunbeds here. In fact, if you head to the sands early enough, it can feel like you have the whole place to yourself.

I really enjoyed exploring these beaches early in the morning and late in the afternoon. The weather is slightly cooler, making basking on the sands much more bearable. Also, the sunsets along this coast are incredible and should not be missed. 

This is by no means designed to be an extensive list of every beach in the area. You would need months (if not years!) to explore every cove this stunning coastline has to offer. Instead, this is a collation of 8 beautiful beaches in Oaxaca I loved and would 100% recommend.

Getting to The Beaches in Oaxaca

If you’re flying directly to the beautiful beaches in Oaxaca, you will more than likely fly into Bahias De Huatulco International Airport or Puerto Escondido Aiport.

The first is more relevant for those heading to the higher-end resorts and the latter for backpackers or those searching for a budget escape. 

Alternatively, the journey is very quick and easy via bus if you’re travelling from Oaxaca City. The ADO bus takes just over three hours, departing from the central bus station in Oaxaca City and arriving in Puerto Escondido (the station is right by the beach).

From here, you can arrange further travel to your specific coastal area. However, if you’re new to this region, I would recommend spending at least a couple of days in the Puerto Escondido area. There is so much coastline to enjoy, and the beaches are truly magical. 

If you’re travelling via Oaxaca City, then lucky you! It’s one of my favourite cities in Mexico (if not the world!). Check out my guide, 21 Unmissable Things to Do in Oaxaca City, to ensure you don’t miss any highlights.

8 Beautiful Beaches in Oaxaca

Playa Bacocho

Bacocho Beach
Bacocho Beach feels like a desert island

Playa Bacocho is a gorgeous and very quiet beach in Puerto Escondido, best known for being the home to a daily turtle release. Whilst I didn’t partake, this beach is well worth a visit

In fact, this was perhaps the most tranquil beach I visited in the whole of Oaxaca. The water is crystal clear, and although too violent to swim, it was perfect for a paddle to cool off from the heat.

There are a couple of hotels on the beach and a small car park, but during whole morning, I saw perhaps ten other people… bliss! There aren’t beach shops or bars at Playa Bacocho, so be sure to bring some snacks and plenty of water. 

If you’re visiting Playa Bacocho, the chances are you’re staying in central Puerto Escondido. I was too, and Playa Boacocho was a pretty long walk (around 45 minutes in total). In the heat, this was challenging, so I would recommend grabbing a taxi or renting a scooter if you are planning a visit. 

Bacocho Beach Oaxaca
Palm Trees on Bacocho Beach
Bacocho Beach Oaxaca
Blue Skies on Bacocho Beach

Bahai Principal 

Bahai Principal Oaxaca
Gorgeous sunset at Bahai Principal Beach

This was my favourite beach in Oaxaca to watch the sunset. It’s truly a mesmerising spot to watch the sun melt into the horizon. 

One end of the beach joins the main, long stretch of sand on Playa Zicatela. This area is quiet, with a few sunbeds for rent and plenty of space to pop down your towel and relax in the sunshine. The waters here are cool, but certainly not calm.

It is very nice to dip your feet to cool off from the heat, but the waves were undoubtedly too strong to swim. I did enjoy watching the surfers and skimboarders in the area, though. 

On the other end of the beach is home to a couple of bars and the space where the fisherman docks their boats. You simply have to take a boat tour whilst in Puerto Escondido. It was honestly one of the best things I did during my trip to Mexico. 

For $500 MXN per person, we were taken out on a small boat (12 of us plus the captain). After around an hour, I felt slightly disappointed as we had seen very little wildlife. But wow, did things change! We saw huge pods of dolphins – literally hundreds of them swimming around our boat. As well as a handful of turtles. 

But the icing on the cake was seeing two humpback whales as we were heading back to shore. Absolutely mesmerising. 

Bahai Principal Sunset
Sunset at Bahai Principal beach
Bahai Principal Beer
I even found a gluten free beer!

Playa Carrizalillo 

Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca
Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca
Playa Carrizalillo Oaxaca
Beautiful View of Playa Carrizalillo

Playa Carrizalillo is easily my favourite beach in Puerto Escondido if not one of the best I have ever visited. It is truly stunning. 

Playa Carrizalillo has golden sands, warm turquoise waters, and delicate waves. Unlike many beaches in this area, it is perfect for swimming. You can take surf lessons here, but the surfers are catching the waves much further out, and the area closest to the sands is ideal for swimming. 

There are two main things to note about this beach. The first is the staggering 150 steps to get down to it (of course, you have these to look forward to on the way back up, too!).

The second thing to be aware of; is this is a relatively small but extremely popular beach, so it does get very busy. I recommend getting down there early and enjoying the morning sunshine. 

There are sun loungers for rent and some beach bars where you can buy drinks and snacks, and use the bathroom. If you only had the time to visit one beach in Puerto Escondido, make it Playa Carrizalillo – you will not regret it.

Zicatela 

Zicatela is the main beach in Puerto Escondido. It boasts of 3km of golden sands and clear waters. 

As you might have guessed from this article, Zicatela Beach is not the best for swimming. The waves are very strong, and there are pretty much constant red flags down the coast. 

Nevertheless, Zicatela is an excellent day out, which offers it all. You can easily find a secluded spot to relax and enjoy your very own slice of paradise. Alternatively, there are busier areas with lively bars and beach clubs if you want to mix with other travellers. 

The road behind the beach has a great range of bars and restaurants if you want to refuel and snatch some all-important shade.

If you want to try your hand at surfing in Puerto Escondido, then this is the place to do it! You don’t need to pre-book anything – there are tonnes of places along this beach that will help you organise lessons.

Puerto Angelito & Playa Manzanillo

Playa Angelito
Enjoying the waters at Playa Angelito
Playa Angelito
Playa Angelito footpath

These are two separate and beautiful beaches in Puerto Escondido connected by a lookout point (or mirador). They have a very similar vibe, so I have grouped them together and recommend visiting on the same day. 

What I love about these beaches was their strong local and family feel. International and domestic tourists enjoy the waters alongside those living in the area, especially as the temperature cools slightly in the late afternoon. 

You won’t struggle to find somewhere to eat and drink around this area. The beach bars serve surprisingly high-quality food, and I enjoyed some delicious fresh prawns with a spectacular ocean view.

As with most beaches in the area, the bars are happy for you to use the chairs and umbrellas, providing you purchase food or drinks.

Mazunte

Sunset on Mazunte Beach
Sunset on Mazunte Beach

Mazunte is a sleepy, hippy beach town that attracts people from all over the world who want to enjoy a more relaxed pace of life. This area has just one main street with a handful of restaurants and bars, a few small hotels, and a large, stunning beach

Mazunte Beach is very easily accessible from Puerto Escondido. The journey takes around 90 minutes and costs less than $90 MXN per person. For more information on this, I have a complete guide on how to get from Puerto Escondido to Mazunte

Although it is a relatively short and easy journey from Puerto Escondido, I recommend spending a couple of nights here to soak up the laid-back, magical atmosphere.

The beach is large and sandy, with sunbeds and parasols for rent. However, there is ample empty space to sit your towel down and enjoy the shore for free. At the far end of the beach, there is a large rock formation, which provides a fantastic amount of shade. This is very much appreciated in the harsh Oaxacan heat. 

I thoroughly recommend visiting Mazunte and doing it soon. As the area’s popularity grows, large hotels and restaurants will undoubtedly pop up, stealing some of the area’s charm. 

🐠Eating in Mazunte: I have to admit, I found many of the food offerings in Mazunte to be a little underwhelming. However, I thoroughly recommend checking out The Fish Burrito. It’s very reasonably priced, and the service is friendly.

Zipolite 

If you’re travelling around this area, Zipolite will almost certainly be on your radar. It is Mexico’s first and only legal nudist beach

I was a little apprehensive about visiting Zipolite, to say the least. First, I think it’s worth mentioning that you do not need to be nude on this beach. I was super worried that I would be ‘judged’ or that I would be the only one wearing any clothes!

But this is not the case at all. There were plenty of women wearing swimming costumes, lots topless, and a handful fully nude. 

One thing I did note was that there were significantly more nude men than women at Zipolite. And when I say significantly, I mean a ratio of 50-1. Maybe just the day I visited? Or maybe men enjoy baring all more than women do? Who knows?! 

The Zipolite area has an excellent vibe. Along the main street, there are a few cafes, restaurants, and bars. Additionally, there are some great chilled-out beachfront bars and beach clubs where you can relax while taking advantage of the all-important shade. 

Note: it is very easy to travel between Mazunte and Zipolite via collectivo. The journey takes just 15 minutes and costs $15 MXN.

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Oaxaca Beaches
Oaxaca Beaches
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