This Little-Known Beach In Mexico Is A Local Favorite For A Serene Escape

Mexico has no shortage of coastline. From the beautiful but dangerous Los Cabos in the west to the stretches of sand inviting travelers to the all-inclusive resorts along the Riviera Maya, you'll find palm trees, warm waters, and surfable waves. However, you'll also often find crowds, resort prices, and unswimmable waters. But if you find yourself absorbing the many pleasures of Oaxaca, Mexico, be sure to add Playa Carrizalillo to your travel list.


While it's not the easiest beach to get to, that adds to its charm and is the very thing that deters many people from seeking it out. However, when you do make the journey, you'll be rewarded with Instagram-worthy turquoise waters, envy-invoking sand, and quintessential thatched-roof bars. Playa Carrizalillo, or Carrizalillo Beach, is located on the southern coast within the state of Oaxaca. From the still low-key town of Puerto Escondido, Playa Carrizalillo is a 5-minute drive or about a 15-minute walk. From the bank above Playa Carrizalillo, you can look down on the beach via a viewpoint. Then, you can make your way down to the beach for a brief stop, or an entire afternoon.

Spend the day at Playa Carrizalillo

The only way to get your feet in the sand is to traverse a steep stairway of around 160 steps. You might want to pack light, because, in this case, what goes down must come back up. But once you've made the descent, don't think about the trek back out. Just enjoy the crescent-shaped cove, surrounding palm trees, and the gently lapping waves. Decide whether you want to lay down a towel or rent a lounge chair and umbrella from one of the restaurants. You'll easily find them clustered together at one end of the beach, with each offering an assortment of food and cold drinks. Bring some cash for these purchases, and note they close around 5 pm, so services won't be available in the evenings.


Once settled, your most challenging decision for the next several hours will be whether to bob around in the water, get out the snorkel gear, or try out some bodyboarding. If you're a beginning, or hopeful, surfer, this is the place to flex your talents. You can rent a board and catch a lesson right on the beach. Although the waves are small, they offer enough loft to get your board beneath you.

The Puerto Escondido vibe at Playa Carrizalillo

In addition to mid-day fun, Playa Carrizalillo offers the perfect water for a morning swim before coffee or a stroll during sunset. That's why the locals love it. And the region has much more to offer, too. Void of luxury resorts and high-rises, you won't find all-inclusive overwater bungalows in this part of Mexico. While there's certainly enough to keep a tourist busy, this stretch of coast is recognized for its protection of nature, so all exploration is done with a focus on ecotourism. It's easy to see why it's worth protecting, with its bioluminescent plankton and four species of protected sea turtles.


In contrast to the raging resort scene on parts of the west and east coasts, this south-central part of the country offers a chill vibe. Expect to find surfers coming in from a morning of riding waves, yoga classes, and leisurely service. It's part of the reason visitors come here. However, it's not for everyone. That's because it's the kind of place where Wi-Fi is unreliable, toilets may be hard to find, air conditioning is rare, and hot water is not guaranteed. Plus, it's not easy to get here. If coming from the states, most flights require a stop in Mexico City. If you fly into Oaxaca instead, you can schedule a regional flight into Puerto Escondido International Airport (PXM) or take a 6-7 hour bus ride.