Is this where surfers go when they die? Many places claim to be the world’s best surfing beach, but Puerto Escondido’s Playa Zicatela – 3.5km of golden sand and crashing waves – would make most wave-riders’ top tens. Even if you have no desire to test your balance as a 20ft wave curls over your head, Mexico’s ‘hidden port’ is a highly desirable place, a small mellow town where Mexicans, expats and world travelers intermingle, and surfboards are as ubiquitous as cell phones.
While it’s hardly undiscovered these days, PE remains pleasantly rough around the edges and, thanks to its spread-out nature, rarely feels urban. Plus there’s more to do here than just ride white-knuckle on waves. Folks in tie-dye T-shirts stroll the sandy lanes of La Punta, master chefs have moved into residential Rinconada, while Playa Carrizalillo – the superstar of Mexico’s beaches – is a gorgeous place to hang out, swim, and live vicariously as a surfer dude(ette).