Travel & Tips

Six Must-Visit Beach Towns on Mexico’s Most Laid-Back Coast

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Where to eat: Not surprisingly, fresh seafood is one of the highlights of Puerto Escondido’s culinary scene, but an influx of international expats in recent years means you can find just about any cuisine type. Head to the large market, Mercado Zicatela, and on its beach-side you’ll find a string of tasty restaurants offering traditional Mexican dishes. For a stellar catch of the day, you can’t go wrong with La Principal Cantina La Mar or Marisquería Los Erizos. For dinner, splurge at Almoraduz, a seasonally driven Oaxacan restaurant with a lengthy wine list.

Must-do: Definitely leave Playa Zicatela’s waves to the pros, but there are plenty of gentle shores for snorkeling, swimming, like Playa Manzanillo, which is tucked between two rocky crests near Puerto Angelito. Playa Carrizalillo is another serene spot that’s a great option for trying your hand at surfing.

If you’re visiting between the months of August and December, you’re practically obligated to check out Laguna de Manialtepec, a lagoon that’s lit up at night by bioluminescent plankton. Take a guided boat tour, or simply bathe, literally, in the electric-blue glow of the tiny ocean critters.

If you’re looking to take home some Oaxacan handcrafts, head over to Mercado Benito Juarez where you can find a slew of leather goods, handmade clothing, richly-patterned blankets, and other mementos. And be sure to grab a bag of Oaxacan coffee beans from one of the roasters nearby.

Rent a car so you can cruise the rest of the coast: Los Tres Reyes is by far the most reputable provider. There are also a few scooter and motorbike rental services scattered around, which are great options if you’re traveling light.

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