Three-kilometer-long Zicatela is Puerto Escondido’s most happening beach, with enticing cafes, restaurants and accommodations, as well as the legendary surfing waves of the Mexican Pipeline. The heart of the action, including the Pipeline, is at Zicatela’s northern end (nearest town). Nonsurfers beware: the waters here have a lethal undertow and are not safe for the boardless. Lifeguards rescue several careless people most months.

The Punta Zicatela area at Zicatela's far southern end also has decent surf and a mellower vibe, favored chiefly by backpackers and beginner surfers.