Surfer looking the wave breaking at Zicatela beach, Mexico; Shutterstock ID 749690260; your: Sloane Tucker; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI

Shutterstock / Rafael Storch

Playa Zicatela

Top choice in Puerto Escondido

Legendary 3.5km-long Zicatela is the best-known surfing spot in Mexico courtesy of the tempestuous surfing waves of the Mexican Pipeline. The heart of the action, including the Pipeline, is at Zicatela’s northern end. Nonsurfers beware: the waters here have a lethal undertow and are not safe for the boardless, or beginner surfers either. Lifeguards rescue several careless people most months. Surfing aside, the beach is a beauty: wide, golden and gloriously laid-back – man!

The main beach area is backed by Calle del Morro, a kind of gringo-ville meets Mexican beach town where locals, along with visitors from colder climes, mix seamlessly.

The Punta Zicatela area at Zicatela's far southern end has mellower surf and a mellower vibe to go with it. With its unpaved roads overlooked by vegan cafes and yoga retreats, it's favored chiefly by backpackers and beginner surfers.

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