Puerto Escondido – Oaxaca, Mexico
Often known as the Mexican Pipeline, Puerto Escondido is probably one of the best surf spots in all of mainland Mexico and quite possibly the best beach break in the world. Puerto Escondido is a hollow wave that breaks both right and left with plenty of speed and power. With massive waves breaking on the sandy ocean bottom, it is not uncommon to see broken boards, and closeout waves are a lot more common as well. It’s said that the waves usually close out two out of three times, so you really have to look for the good ones, but when it’s good, it’s good. Waves in Puerto Escondido can get as big as 20 feet, and a 20-foot beach break packs a lot of punch. There are several rights and lefts that break along the coastline. Most spots are best from about 6 feet all the way to 20 feet plus. Some things to look out for would be the strong riptides and currents, heavy shore break, and some unwelcoming locals. Other than that, you are most likely looking at a great session on a beautiful beach.
Puerto Escondido is located on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, the second most southern state in mainland Mexico. This state is famous for its warm weather, its amazing cultural ruins, and of course its beautiful beaches. Oaxaca is south of Acapulco and north of Tuxla Gutierrez. Getting to the beach is fairly easy: once you make it to the town of Puerto Escondido, you just head west to the beach access.
Swell & Weather Conditions
Just as with every other surf spot in the world, there are certain conditions that provide the best waves along the Puerto Escondido coast. Most surf spots in the region will break best with a southwest swell. Offshore or no wind is ideal; early morning sessions are the best to avoid the wind, which will usually get on it in the early afternoon. Tides are not too big of a worry because it’s usually great at any tide, but sometimes you’ll get a little backwash with a higher tide. The best times to surf in Puerto Escondido are around spring and fall, and during those months, it’s not uncommon to see some 20-foot-plus waves. The weather is hot and great practically year-round, with most rainfall in the summer months.
Since Puerto Escondido is so hot, there really is no need for a wetsuit of any kind. In fact, the water is so warm that you might want to consider bringing a cold drink out to the line-up to cool yourself down. As far as boards go, you probably want to make sure you bring some step-up boards and/or some type of gun with you. The combination of the big waves and the rushing water makes for a much better ride on a nice big board. Another thing to remember is the fact that you break boards pretty easily in the pounding sandy surf. It’s probably best to bring more than one board down with you and to mentally prepare yourself to possibly come home with none. Tow-in surfing is also somewhat popular in Puerto Escondido, so if you’re thinking of that, make sure to bring your tow-in boards and a crew.
Surfing began in Puerto Escondido in the late 1960s. With the Vietnam War going on, many American hippies escaped to the southern states of Mexico to avoid being drafted, and they had heard of incredible white sand beaches on the Pacific coast known as Puerto Escondido. After the discovery of the amazing surf in the area and the construction of a new highway that made port access easier, surfers and vacationers began to make Puerto Escondido a more popular surfing destination.
There are a couple of surf contests that go on in Puerto Escondido, including the first ever Quiksilver Pro during the summer of 2009. Another popular one is the Mexpipe Challenge, which is a contest that takes place every year and easily the most popular surf contest held in all of Mexico.
Brief Travel Info
The best way to get to Puerto Escondido is to fly into Puerto Escondido International Airport. The airport is relatively small, but they do have a daily flight in from the Mexico City airport. Once you arrive, you can either rent a car or grab a taxi. Everything is pretty close, so a taxi is not a bad way to go. There are several hotels in the region as well as vacation rentals.