Surfing Puerto Escondido
Playa Zicatela, also known as the Mexican Pipeline, located in the beach town of Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico, is one of the most famous and challenging surf breaks in the world. The surf here is not for the faint of heart, as the waves are known to reach heights of up to 30 feet (9 meters) during peak season. The beach break is a mix of sand and rock and has several different sections, including The Point, The Bowl, The Beach, The Far Bar, and The Peak. Each section offers a different level of difficulty and wave size.
Playa Zicatela’s surfing history dates back to the 1960s when surfers discovered the incredible waves. Since then, it has become a popular destination for experienced surfers who are looking for a challenging and thrilling surf experience.
What Makes the Waves at Playa Zicatela so Good?
The waves at Playa Zicatela are created by a combination of factors, including the beach’s unique geography, which creates a funnel-like effect that amplifies the waves. The beach faces the south, which makes it exposed to southern hemisphere swells. During peak season, which is from May to August, the swells can come from as far away as Antarctica, producing some of the biggest and most powerful waves in the world.
Best Surf Conditions for Playa Zicatela
- Swell direction: South or South-West
- Swell size: 8-15ft (2.5-4.5 meters) on the face
- Wind direction: Light offshore or no wind
- Tide: Mid to high tide
- Season: March to November
Dangers of Surfing Playa Zicatela
While the waves at Playa Zicatela are awe-inspiring, they can also be dangerous, especially for inexperienced surfers. The waves are powerful, with strong rip currents and undertows. There are also several hazards to be aware of, including rocks and shallow areas. It’s recommended that only experienced surfers attempt to surf at Playa Zicatela, and that they do so with a buddy. Knowing the surf breaks and hazards is crucial for safety.
Getting to Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is located on the southern coast of Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca. The nearest airport is the Puerto Escondido International Airport, which offers direct flights from Mexico City and other Mexican cities. Alternatively, travelers can fly into Huatulco International Airport, which is about a three-hour drive from Puerto Escondido. It’s also possible to drive or take a bus to Puerto Escondido.
Puerto Escondido: The Town
Puerto Escondido is a laid-back beach town that has become a popular destination for surfers and travelers looking for a relaxed and authentic Mexican experience. The town is located on the southern coast of Oaxaca, and it has a population of around 50,000 people.
The town is centered around a bay that’s surrounded by beautiful beaches, including Playa Zicatela, which is famous for its world-class surf break. Playa Principal is the main beach in the town and is a great place to relax, sunbathe, or take a dip in the ocean.
Puerto Escondido has a variety of restaurants that serve traditional Mexican cuisine, as well as international dishes. For seafood lovers, there are plenty of options to choose from, including fresh ceviche, grilled octopus, and fried fish tacos. Some of the best restaurants in town include El Cafecito, where you can enjoy delicious breakfasts and fresh juices, and El Sultan, a local favorite for seafood.
The town has a vibrant nightlife scene, with bars and clubs that cater to both locals and tourists. If you’re looking for a place to grab a beer or a cocktail, La Punta is a popular area that has a laid-back vibe and great views of the ocean. For those who want to dance the night away, Barfly is a popular nightclub that has a lively atmosphere and often hosts live music and DJs.
If you’re interested in exploring the local culture, there are several markets in Puerto Escondido that offer a glimpse into the town’s rich history and traditions. The Mercado Benito Juarez is the main market in town, and it’s a great place to sample traditional foods, buy handmade crafts, or pick up souvenirs.
For those who want to take a break from surfing or just explore the area, there are several other activities to enjoy. You can take a boat tour of the nearby lagoon, go snorkeling or scuba diving, or visit the nearby turtle sanctuary. There are also several hiking trails in the area that offer stunning views of the coastline and surrounding mountains.
In conclusion, Playa Zicatela in Puerto Escondido offers an unparalleled surf experience for experienced surfers. While the waves here can be challenging and even dangerous, they’re also incredibly rewarding for those who dare to ride them. It’s important to surf with caution and always be aware of the hazards, such as strong currents, shallow reefs, and the occasional shark sighting. However, for those who are up for the challenge, Playa Zicatela can provide some of the most exhilarating and memorable surf sessions of their lives. So if you’re an experienced surfer looking for a new adventure, make sure to add Puerto Escondido to your list of must-visit surf destinations.