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Puerto Escondido, on the Oaxacan coast, is the third Mexican beach town we’ve lived in. We loved Playa del Carmen and San Pancho and were tempted to return, but we decided to explore a new part of the coast.
Puerto Escondido is a relaxed, medium sized beach town with a population of around 45,000 known for its excellent surfing. It has grown in size over the years and is popular with expats and surfers, but has managed to avoid huge development and all-inclusive resorts.
Puerto Escondido is very spread out with a series of beaches stretched along the coastline. The surf beach Zicatela is the longest, and there are a number of smaller beaches closer to the centre of town.
The beaches are beautiful and we enjoyed our stay but it wasn’t our favourite Mexican beach town. Playa del Carmen was more walkable and had better infrastructure like faster WiFi and a cinema, and San Pancho is much smaller with a magical charm. Comparisons really affect your experience and the more we travel the more spoilt we become, so I’m sure we would have loved it if we hadn’t been comparing it to other towns.
We spent a month in Puerto Escondido from the end of January 2015. These were our monthly expenses in USD for two people:
|Monthly Expenses in Puerto Escondido|
|Total Monthly Expenses||$1518 (£1029) for 2 people|
As always we tracked our expenses in our travel budgeting app Trail Wallet (sadly, no longer available). Here are the total costs for the month in the three currencies we used: British pounds, US dollars, and Mexican pesos. Each currency is shown in a different Trail Wallet theme.
We budgeted £30 ($44) a day but, as often happens, we were over budget. For the daily average of each category see the Trail Wallet screenshots below.
Here’s what $759 (£515) per person a month got us in Puerto Escondido:
Accommodation was our biggest problem in Puerto Escondido. Apartment rentals in Mexico are cheaper if you turn up and look around rather than booking online. But we made the mistake of arriving in January which is peak season—everything was booked up and prices were much higher than we expected.
A few days before we arrived I contacted a number of Puerto Escondido real estate agents to see what was available and arranged viewings for our first day in town. In the meantime, we stayed at Hotel Las Olas, a simple but decent and central option on the main Zicatela strip.
Brett from Puerto Real Estate showed us a few villas but the best place was double our budget at US $1550 a month. Luckily our friends Tom and Jenny were also looking for a place so we were able to share the two bedroom house.
I’m sure if we were looking for a long term rental in Puerto Escondido we would have found a better deal. For short term rentals I recommend looking on Airbnb. This works best if you book in advance as in peak season all the reasonably priced options were booked up.
I would not recommend trying to find a rental in Mexican beach towns from December to February. It’s best to arrive before (or even better after) the peak season to find an affordable place, or book online but prices will be higher.
Despite the problems, we ended up with a lovely house in the Don Goyo complex with two shared pools, a comfortable rooftop palapa with sea views, a large living/dining area and a well-equipped kitchen. It was a very quiet area but felt a bit isolated as we were a 15-minute walk down a steep hill to La Punta beach and around an hour walk to the centre. We liked La Punta neighbourhood with its sandy streets and laid-back vibe, much quieter than the main Zicatela strip (La Punta is at the far end of Zicatela, furthest from the town centre).
The WiFi was only OK (around 1 Mbps download speeds) but this is fairly typical in Puerto Escondido.
All bills were included in our rent except the mandatory once a week cleaning fee which I’ve included in Miscellaneous.
We didn’t eat out often as we were far away from everything and the walk to La Punta was unpaved and dark at night. In total we ate out 11 times in the month, usually for lunch. Our meals ranged from 50 pesos ($3) for two quesadillas and a huge green juice at the market to 400 pesos ($26) for a meal for two at an Italian restaurant, with most costing around 150 pesos ($10).
We did most of our shopping at the excellent Benito Juarez market— it’s inexpensive, not too crowded, and has a good range of quality produce. We bought our fruit, vegetables, beans, spices, nuts, and seeds here.
There are a number of food shops near the market including tortillerias for freshly made corn tortillas, La Casita where freshly ground coffee costs 120 pesos ($7.75) a kilo, and Mayordomo chocolate shop where freshly ground pure cacao costs 67 pesos ($4.32) for half a kilo—it smells heavenly in there!
Occasionally we’d shop at the large supermarket Super Che for things like toilet paper and cheese. It’s a 15-minute walk from the market so it wasn’t convenient to combine the shopping trips.
We bought wholemeal bread, cheese, nuts, brown rice, and vegan bliss balls from Moringa, a surprisingly good health food shop attached to the Frutas y Verduras hostel in La Punta.
This category also includes drinking water—20 litre garrafones were delivered to our house and cost 12 pesos ($0.80).
As we were so far from the centre we had to use transport to get to most places. A colectivo (shared pickup truck) cost 8 pesos ($0.50) to the market or 5 pesos ($0.32) for shorter trips. We got a taxi back from the market with our shopping for 50 pesos ($3). Often we’d share taxi costs with our friends.
This category includes the cost of the 10 hour OCC bus trip to Oaxaca when we left Puerto Escondido—it was 652 pesos ($42) for us both. If you don’t fancy the long trip you can fly on a tiny plane instead which takes just 30 minutes.
Our main forms of entertainment were relaxing in our pool and watching the sunset from our roof, which cost nothing.
We did do a few activities:
- A yoga class at Casamar hotel cost just 40 pesos ($2.60) but it wasn’t very good so I only went once.
- A 1.5 hour rental of a stand-up paddleboard at Playa Carrizalillo cost 200 pesos ($13).
- A half day boat trip to see whales and dolphins (we ended up seeing flying manta rays instead) cost 450 pesos ($29) each.
- Releasing baby turtles into the sea cost 600 pesos ($39) for a group of four including taxi and tip to the turtle centre, of which we paid half.
There was a 150 peso ($10) minimum spend to use two sunbeds and an umbrella at a restaurant on our favourite beach Playa Carrizalillo, but this is included in our eating out budget.
- Telcel phone data—A 3GB data plan cost 399 pesos ($26) valid for 30 days. We had to buy two data plans during our stay as our internet went down for a few days and we used our phone as a wireless hotspot.
- A cleaner once a week who charged 200 pesos ($13), of which we paid half.
- A pair of sunglasses for 110 pesos ($7).
- Various toiletries, medications, and suncream.
Simon also has a category for apps and games that he buys online. He spent £24 ($36) on these and I added them to the Miscellaneous total.
- This Puerto Escondido travel guide has lots of useful tips.
- Heymondo – Don’t forget travel insurance in case anything goes wrong. Heymondo are a comprehensive travel insurance provider who we’ve used before.
Puerto Escondido was more expensive than Oaxaca, San Pancho or Playa del Carmen (for us at least), but it is still good value. We only managed to stick to this budget by sharing a house—on our own we would have struggled to find affordable accommodation. You could keep costs down by renting for a longer period of time and arriving early or late in the season to get the best deals.
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Last time I was in Puerto Angle & Escondido was 1974, the terrain was a lot less occupied. SO FOR NOW? how is the road to Oaxaca has the crime and drug traffic missed this beautiful area. Looking for spot to be in my 70s prefer the charm of a small town and clean beach’s
Does it work to brings pets, dogs, two cocker spaniels are there homes for rent, or older homes to buy and remodel. I spent the five years of my 20’s traveling P Vallarta Lake patzaro the town of Oaxaca, Mitla so many good memories. Will I be disappointed in the build up of these areas or can I find a peaceful spot on the Oaxacan coast.
We’re are currently looking for some places to retire.. we’re thinking to retire in the next 3 1/2 years but would like to experience places that we would want to retire.. can you tell me about Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico .. I’m not familiar about Mexico only been to puerto villarta, Mazatlan and cabu San lucas .
You might find this site useful: https://internationalliving.com/countries/mexico/
I’m in puerto escondido and found you app through this post. I really like it and want to continue using it but cant figure out how to put my spending in the different categories. Can you please explain? I’m 30 and very app literate – I can’t figure it out!
On the add amount screen you just tap the category (just above the numbers) and it will come up with a list of options. You can also change the categories in the settings. I hope that helps!
Hi everyone & the travelers who experienced Mexico,
I am Canadian, single, 73 years old, not in poor health & athlete! Retired with earning 1,200/m only!! I am wondering if I can survive & live in Mexico for at least 6 months/year or longer, because with such money no one can survive in Canada-Vancouver & that’s why chosen Mexico. If yes, please write back to my email and kindly advise in details where & how much it cost me approx. per month there. Thanks for your time and your advise, and your suggestions, God bless you all.
All the bests,
It’s definitely possible to live in Mexico on that. You might find this book interesting about a woman who retired in Mexico: https://amzn.to/39K9bgk – She was also interviewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XuGeyvQSWc
Thank you for this, made me dreamy. January 7 …Its kinda cold (!) right now. I miss my time in Zippolite.
Sounds like you had a great time.
Cheers from Montreal!
Mmm Puerto Escondido does have a movie theater. It’s called Cinema Zicatela.
Would you have any info on raising kids in this area? Perhaps could direct me to a site/blog that may be helpful?
I’m afraid I don’t know but you could try a Puerto Escondido Expat Facebook group like this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1147851538653543/
I live in a Mexican ‘beach town’ and rent out an apartment from time to time. A few facts. Playa del Carmen and the entire Cancun area is quite expensive. A surprising reason is that the extortion of businesses by criminal entities is quite commonplace and the practice is tolerated, ignored or even supported by law enforcement. It has been said it is impossible to be an honest cop in the Cancun-Playa del Carmen area. In effect there is a parallel criminal based government that operates just below the surface, and if anyone challenges this… This drives costs and prices up. In addition, hordes of party hearty US college kids and 20 somethings with money to burn flock to the area during the various holidays; simple supply and demand. Most reasonable priced accommodations are taken up by the thousands of hotel and tourism workers most of whom are poorly paid and struggle to make ends meet. Taxi rates are the highest in Mexico, and a trip from the airport to the hotel zone can cost upwards of US$70 dollars…not pesos. You will find few hotels for under US $100 per night. And taxes (extortion fees?) will add 16% to 20% more to the daily cost. If you want to live in Cancun or surrounding area best come with lots of money… Merida is a better bet, still reasonable, mostly safe, mostly honest (so far) and the city is so charming.
Wife and I considering a move to a relaxing Mexico beach town. Thanks for the info…great blog.
I am wanting to move to Puerto Escondido and I need a place to stay what will be the best resource for me to find a room to rent?
Any help here would be appreciated thanks for your time!
I wouldn’t consider spending one (or even three) months in a place as “living” there. That’s quite a conceit. And your information is not reliable, certainly not “local” quality information, as a real resident could offer. Playa del Carmen cheaper than Puerto Escondido? Don’t listen, dear readers. These writers have no idea what they are talking about, as anyone who has visited both will tell you.
Note that the title of my post is the cost of living there for a month. Renting a house somewhere for a month is a different experience to travelling through as a tourist staying in hotels, and of course, it’s very different to living there long term. Our post is aimed at people like us who want to stay a month or two.
These are our exact expenses and we did spend more than we did in Playa del Carmen, but that’s because we found it easier to find cheaper accommodation in Playa. As I explained in the post, arriving in January made finding accommodation in Puerto difficult.
Feel free to share your own cost of living in Puerto Escondido if you have more “local” information.
Hi there, this is a great article. We are planning to go to Mexico (from Australia) in 2017 with our 2 young daughters, and hoping to spend some time in Puerto Escondido but wondered how safe you would consider this town to be given our kids will be with us? Are there good swimming beaches and is the water warm?
We felt safe but you do need to be a bit careful at night. A friend of ours was robbed when running on the beach in the early morning. But I also ran in the mornings with no problems. Many of the beaches are surf beaches but Playa Carrizalillo is calm and warm.
This area is just supper.we have been there for the last3years. It will be a great place for your kids and your self.The people there are very friendly .
I’m considering trying a Oaxacan beach town and am especially intrigued by Mazunte, but I do need WiFi in order to work online. Do you think finding a place in Mazunte with decent WiFi will be a big problem? I’m currently in San Pancho and am thinking of moving to the Oaxacan coast either the first week in December or at the beginning of January. Any advice is welcome. Thanks! :)
We only visited Mazunte for a few days, but it’s much smaller than Puerto Escondido and the wifi in PE was pretty bad, so I think it’s unlikely it’ll be great in Mazunte. I’m really not sure for certain though.
I’ve just come back from a 3 month trip to Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido and Playa del Carmen. I find prices generally lower in Puerto than Playa, regarding rent and food. I was staying at an Airbnb in Puerto for $14 US a night and could easily eat the menu del dia at a simple mexican eatery for 30-50 pesos. In Playa, it was more like $30 a night and 60-100 pesos minimum for a meal. In Puerto, I went on this fisherman’s boat to see dolphins for 300 pesos. That would have cost 1000 in Playa. All tours are much more expensive in Playa. And anything near Playa that used to be nature and free or cheap has now been converted to high-priced tours. Example: Xcaret $130 US, Sian Kaan Biosphere $150 US. Taxis also almost double in Playa.
I would say it’s generally true that Playa is more expensive. We just happened to get a good deal on an apartment in Playa and had to pay more in Puerto.
when you guys ended up getting the telcel phone data (“3GB data plan cost 399 pesos ($26) valid for 30 days”), did you notice it was any faster than the wifi you were using? trying to plan an extended stay in PE and need a faster connection that what you mentioned you were getting over wifi. thanks!
I think it was faster but not hugely.
Thank you so much for the information you’ve shared. I’m planning on spending next May through August there and the more I find out about Puerto Escondido the harder it is to put it in the back of my mind and concentrate on school. I am looking forward to surfing (don’t read “surf bum” into that), improving my Spanish, and working with school kids, too. It all kind of reminds me of the anticipation of Christmas morning when I was younger. I can’t wait — even though I have to. Again, thank you.
Next time you’ll have to head farther east to Ziplolite & Mazunte, where my girlfriend & I stayed for 2 weeks or so in our hammocks & only spent $300! (even if you don’t stay in hammocks it’s pretty cheap lol)
Cool app though – I just downloaded it & will be making good use. Thanks!
We actually spent a few days in Mazunte before we went to PE. We loved it for a break, but it didn’t feel like an ideal base for a longer term stay for working. Glad you enjoyed it and hope Trail Wallet comes in handy!
Oaxaca City is choc-a-bloc with Mayordomo ( and other) Chocolaterias! Just rented there 4 blks from the Zocolo in El Centro Historicó for 6 months. Rent was $300 USD found from a notification in Café Brujula taped to the wall.
Moved last week to Puerto Escondido and found a nice, even roomy and well equipped balcony Apt in Rinconada, 3 blks straight down my quiet street to Playa Carazililo. Found my find Apt for monthly rental of $320 USD – this being June I just walked across the road from El Cafecito and in 1 blk to a shady corner where I saw the 1st rental sign posted and moved in. Now, a week on I see rentals everywhere. Someone offered my a furnished monthly for $97! Like you wrote, just come here and look around in different places and your new Apt is waiting! Mostly I shop the amazingly complete Super Mini 69 in Rinconada or the Big Box Chedraui Super Store in P.E., a 15-20 min walk or 25 Peso taxi. Writing you from down coast Zipolite, a famous Nude Beach. Took a very cheap Bus – just walked into the Puerto Escondido Bus Station and without a thought bought a ticket. Here now by turquoise 3-6 ft surf but I forgot my Swim suit! Will have to make do. Weather is generally great in June with intermittent rains but never all day.
How different things are at this time of year! We didn’t see any for rent signs in January sadly. Glad you got such a great deal!
Thanks for the great blog! My husband and I are planning to move to Puerto Escondido next month and hopefully we’ll be able to find a nice furnished place even though it’s the end of high season. I have a question for you guys. I teach English online and it’s very important that I’m able to video chat with my students without being cut off. Is the internet in Puerto Escondido reliable enough to video chat without any problems? Thank you so much!
Maybe, maybe not. We didn’t find the internet that reliable, but it probably depends on the accommodation. I recommend doing a speedtest before committing to a place. You could also use 3G tethering as a backup, as it tended to be faster than our wifi. Good luck!
Thanks so much Erin! Where would I get the 3G tethering? From Telcel? Is it a USB that plugs into the computer or is it tethered through a smartphone?
Thanks again for the help!
We just tethered though our iPhone with a Telcel SIM.
I remember Puerto Escondido fondly from a short stop I made there over 20 years ago. Back then there was a crazy little bus station with chickens running around and the best accommodation was a hammock on the beach. I’m sure it’s still beautiful.
We love Mexico, It’s probably going to be the country we end up living in once our world travels slow down.
I can see the attraction and I’m sure we’ll be back again too.
I saw how you guys fund your travels…amazing. Wish I could do something similar. That you guys managed to convince each other to sell everything and go about the World…also talks about the confidence in each other’s conviction. Salute!
Also, I am a new traveller…let me try the app now. :-)
This does indeed sound like good value, but it seems that was mostly down to the fact that you lucked out and were able to share a place with others. It’s definitely on our potential list of places to settle for a month in Mexico, but the accommodation situation does seem tricky.
We did get lucky having someone to share with. There were some cheaper options but they didn’t look great. I think it is possible to find apartments for $600-800 a month but you need to book early or arrive in the off season. There were even some good deals on Airbnb, but they weren’t available for the entire month we were there.
Thanks for the useful article, Erin! Looking forward for more similar posts. And the Mayordomo chocolate shop is lovely.
I’ll be writing a cost of living for Oaxaca city soon.
Do you have any plan to release your app for Android?
No current plans I’m afraid.
What a fascinating post! Trail Wallet looks like a handy tool to be able to keep track of expenses…I never would have guessed Puerto Escondido would be more expensive than Playa del Carmen or San Pancho. Thanks for the shout-out on the Puerto Escondido travel app – I’m glad you found it handy! Happy travels!
We were a bit surprised too, but I think it’s only really accommodation that’s more expensive and that could have been the time of year we were there. Plus we got lucky in Playa and San Pancho with some great housing deals. Thanks for your advice on finding a place and your great website/app.