Is Puerto Escondido Safe? The Truth About PE In 2024

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Ashlea J. Russell

Is Puerto Escondido safe for travel in 2024?

Puerto Escondido is a rising star on the Mexico travel scene but the question is, is it safe? If you’re here, you’ve probably already been lured in by the beautiful beaches, boho vibes, and relaxed surf culture of Puerto Escondido – so was I!

When I decided to visit Puerto Escondido solo I’m not going to lie, safety was a concern. It’s so far from everywhere else, what if something goes wrong?

The good news is, I had a fantastic time during the weeks I spent in Puerto Escondido and I’m sure you will too! But there are a few things I wish I knew before I went that would have made my trip a little easier.

So let’s go!

Is Puerto Escondido Safe In 2024?

The short answer is: Yes, Puerto Escondido is a safe place to visit. But let’s be honest, as with everywhere, how safe you are largely depends on you.

If you’re planning a trip to somewhere like Puerto Escondido, you’ve probably already got some travel chops and know how to keep yourself safe. And in Puerto Escondido, common sense is all you need.

How Safe Is Puerto Escondido For Tourists?

Puerto Escondido is a safe place for tourists but that also depends on the type of tourist you are.

Puerto Escondido is a town with two sides. On the one hand you have a totally chill beach town with beautiful sunsets and fresh ceviche. On the other, you have a party paradise with raves until the sun comes up.

If you’re not a big partier then Puerto Escondido is very safe for tourists. The town is welcoming to visitors and a lot of the businesses rely on tourism to stay afloat, so they’re happy to see you!

It’s not common to see “gringo taxing” or scams and tourist related crime is very low.

  • Gringo Taxing” is when local vendors mark up prices for customers that appear to be tourists (usually from the US).

However, if you are big into the party scene then you’re flying a little closer to the sun.

As with anywhere, along with raves and parties come drugs and alcohol and the decisions you make will determine how safe you are.

In Puerto Escondido, if you follow the typical travel safety tips you shouldn’t have a problem staying safe:

  • Do not carry or flash large amounts of cash
  • Do not wear expensive jewellery
  • Do not over drink
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do not purchase or seek to purchase drugs
  • Do not walk around alone in the wee hours of the morning
  • Trust your instincts

Crime Rate In Puerto Escondido

Although crime rates have been increasing in recent years, the crime rate in Puerto Escondido (according to Numbeo) is considered to be moderate, at around 47 out of 100 points.

While “almost half” might sound high, to put things into perspective, this crime rate is lower than many other popular travel destinations like Toronto, Rome, Paris, and Nashville.

It’s also important to remember that the vast majority of crime anywhere in Mexico does not involve tourists.

If you avoid overdrinking and seeking or using drugs, the most you are likely to be at risk of would be petty theft. And that’s something common sense can protect you from.

I spend months in Mexico every year and I have never been a victim of any crime here.

Getting Around Safely In Puerto Escondido

Unless your plan is to just spend time in the neighbourhood you’re staying in, you’re going to want to explore Puerto Escondido. The town stretches along the coast and it can take 20 minutes to drive from one end to the other so at some point, you’re going to need a safe way to get around.

Let’s explore your options.

Puerto Escondido is safe to walk around but just be careful where you step.

Is It Safe to Walk in Puerto Escondido?

For the most part, yes it’s safe to walk in Puerto Escondido. In fact, walking is a great way to explore different areas! When walking around Puerto Escondido there are a few important safety issues you’re going to want to be aware of.

  • A lot of roads don’t have sidewalks
  • Some roads are unpaved
  • It’s very hot in Puerto Escondido
  • Phone signal is poor

Puerto Escondido is still a developing town which means some infrastructure you may be used to, isn’t there.

Across the entire town it’s really common to see roads without any sidewalks and no safe place to walk. This is why I recommend checking out Google Maps before heading out to get the lay of the land.

Many of the roads, particularly in the La Punta neighbourhood are unpaved and there are some ankle-breaking dips and holes to watch out for.

It’s also very hot in Puerto Escondido and the phone signal is poor.

It’s important to stay hydrated, carry water, and use sunblock. If you have heat stroke it may be difficult to call for help due to the phone signal issues.

Is It Safe to Walk in Puerto Escondido at Night?

Walking around Puerto Escondido at night is not something I recommend doing. The main reason for this is that it is really poorly lit, even in popular areas like La Punta.

One night I took a short, five minute walk with some friends I’d made to the Food Market and there was only one street lamp on the whole walk. With parked cars, darkened buildings, and unlit lanes, this is not a walk I would have done alone.

Puerto Escondido is lively at night and offers great nightlife options.

It’s also important to remember that with the uneven roads and lack of consistent sidewalks, it’s difficult to walk safely at night in Puerto Escondido.

In better lit areas like the strip in Zicatela, you shouldn’t have any issues, but if you’re walking around at night make sure you know where you’re going.

Is It Safe to Take a Taxi in Puerto Escondido?

Because there is no functional DiDi or Uber in Puerto Escondido, if you need to travel longer distances without your own vehicle, you’re going to need to take a taxi.

The good news is, taxis in Puerto Escondido are safe to take, as long as you know how they work. I’ve written the world’s top Taxi Guide to Puerto Escondido that you should definitely read and save before you go. This will tell you how to get a taxi, how pricing works, how to tell if your taxi is legitimate, and more.

Taxis are a very common and affordable way to get around Puerto Escondido and as long as you are taking authorized taxis, and following the local way of doing things you’ll be totally safe.

Scooter Safety

Renting a scooter is one of the most popular ways to get around Puerto Escondido, especially if you are staying for a while. This was one of the first things I looked into when I decided to work from Puerto Escondido for a few weeks.

I get that it sounds fun to zip around a beach town on a scooter, fuel is cheap, parking is easy, and I had planned to rent one for myself. But, when I actually got to Puerto Escondido I decided against it.

It’s very hot in Puerto Escondido and driving around on a scooter in the beating sun is not a good time.

Also, there is one major road that you have to take if you’re travelling across town and the traffic here is not good. Sitting on a scooter with bus fumes blowing in your face is a terrible experience.

  • Scooters are also impractical if it rains, if you’re doing any shopping and when driving on unpaved, bumpy roads.

If you do decide you really want to rent a scooter you can do so both privately and through a company. Rentals through a local company with a good reputation like MotoPuerto will include insurance.

Private rentals are cheaper but they will require a damage deposit instead of providing insurance coverage.

Make sure your travel insurance covers scooters before you rent one.

Driving Around PE

Renting a car in Puerto Escondido is easy to do. Prices vary depending on the time of year and how official you want your rental company to be.

The only thing you really need a rental car for is some day trips from Puerto Escondido and driving between different neighbourhoods in town.

Parking can be tricky in a lot of Mexico because honestly, the system feels like a very loose science.

It’s hard to tell where you can and can’t park and what the hourly restrictions are. Following the suit of locals can also be misleading because sometimes the rules don’t apply to them.

If you decide to rent a car in Puerto Escondido you’ll want to follow these safety tips:

  • Purchase a paper map or download Google Maps Offline, especially when leaving town
  • Never run low on gas
  • Watch for speed bumps
  • Watch for chains or spikes on the road that could pop your tires
  • Carry cash for gas stations
  • Do not drive out of town at night

If you’re interested in renting a car you can check out rates here:

Health & Safety In Puerto Escondido

When most people think about safety in Mexico, they think about crime. But in reality, what you should really be worried about is your personal health and safety.

There are few things worse than getting sick or hurt far away from home, so here’s what you need to know to stay healthy and safe in Puerto Escondido.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Puerto Escondido?

No, you cannot drink the tap water in Puerto Escondido. Mexico doesn’t have a universal clean water program so the general rule is that you can’t drink tap water anywhere in Mexico.

With that being said, I have been travelling all over Mexico for years and I have never gotten Montezuma’s Revenge (A.K.A. life-altering traveller’s diarrhea👎🏻).

I tell you this because it’s important to realize you’re not at risk of dirty drinking water all the time you’re in Mexico. The people of Mexico do not want you to get sick.

The safest way to avoid dirty drinking water is to drink sealed, bottled water. This is widely available all over Mexico and Puerto Escondido.

Most hotels and restaurants will also have something called a garrafón which is basically a big jug of drinking water. Imagine an office water cooler but less fancy. Hotels will usually have this at reception and restaurants normally have it in the back.

This water is usually free, room temperature, and totally safe to drink.

  • Ice In Mexico: Almost anywhere that offers ice in drinks or blended drinks will buy their ice in bags. This is clean ice made from clean drinking water.

The only time I would say you have anything to worry about is if you’re served water in a cup from a very basic establishment. Think plastic chairs, no card machine, food being served from a cooler.

If you’re ever unsure you can ask for “agua para tomar” which just means “drinking water“.

Can You Swim in the Ocean in Puerto Escondido?

Yes and no. Puerto Escondido is known for it’s beautiful beaches that stretch along the whole length of the town. When you hear “beach” it’s normal to think “swim” but this is the ocean we’re talking about, and it’s not always safe to go in.

The beaches in the bottom end of town like Playa Zicatela are not suitable for swimming. These beaches are world-class surfing beaches which means waves. Big ones.

You can swim in the ocean in Puerto Escondido in calmer areas like Playa Carrizalillo and Playa Bacocho.

If you want to swim in the ocean in Puerto Escondido you can head up toward the Bacocho area where you’ll find much calmer waters.

Playa Carrizalillo (the hidden beach) and Playa Bacocho are two of the best beaches for swimming in Puerto Escondido. The waters are calmer and you’ll find locals cooling off here.

Always pay attention to the flags before heading into the water. Even the strongest of swimmers can be swept away by an unexpected wave so keep your wits about you.

To stay safe swimming in the ocean in Puerto Escondido it's important to pay attention to the flags.

Is There a Hospital in Puerto Escondido?

Puerto Escondido has three hospitals. The main public hospital is General Hospital Puerto Escondido and the main private hospital is Hospital Ángel del Mar.

If anything unfortunate happens when you’re in Puerto Escondido and you need to visit a hospital, I recommend visiting Hospital Ángel del Mar.

This is one of the top private hospitals along the coast and offers most advanced specialties and tests at reasonable prices.

You should note that because this is a small hospital not all specialties are available at all times. Depending on your situation they may need to send for a doctor to come in from a neighbouring city.

This hospital also has some English-speaking staff and translators on hand if they need a little extra help communicating.

Is Oaxaca Safe?

The state of Oaxaca is widely considered to be one of the safest states in Mexico, but that’s not to say it’s without problems.

Oaxaca has a very large Indigenous population and as is common across the world, there is some conflict between the Indigenous people and the government.

This means that from time to time there is some political unrest and protests. While these occurrences aren’t necessarily unsafe for tourists specifically, tensions can escalate and it’s best not to be caught in the crossfire.

Most of the political protests in Oaxaca are centred around Oaxaca City (Oaxaca de Juarez). It’s not uncommon to see encampments and activism around the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) in the centre of the city.

Oaxaca is considered to be one of the safest states in Mexico.

The last time I was in Oaxaca there were several movements ongoing. The Zócalo (main square) was filled with encampments that had been there for months.

Again, these aren’t “dangerous” situations, but tensions can boil over so it’s important to be sensitive to local issues.

While I didn’t have any issues with personal safety in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca City is one of the only places I’ve been to in Mexico (so far) where I didn’t feel totally at ease. Outside of the city, in the rest of Oaxaca I’ve always felt at ease and safe.

Is It Safe to Drive From Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido?

Getting to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City is a major point of discussion in the travel world. They’re not that far apart, so it shouldn’t be that hard, right?

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Oaxaca City is actually located in the Sierra Madre mountains which means there is some difficult terrain to navigate to get to Puerto Escondido. For years, the only way to travel by car was through a long, winding, motion-sickness inducing mountain pass that even the iron stomached struggle with.

This drive takes at least 7 hours and is a challenge. While this route is considered to be safe in terms of crime, there are several hazards that should be considered.

  • Gas stations are scarce (bring cash)
  • Phone signal is very unreliable
  • There are hairpin turns next to straight drops
  • Road closures and detours are possible at any time
  • There are animals crossing
  • Never drive this route at night

The good news is, the State of Oaxaca has been working on a new super highway that connects Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca.

Construction of the new highway is expected to be completed by July 2023 (tentatively) and will reduce the drive time to 2-3 hours and improve safety.

The new super highway will provide a safe drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.

Puerto Escondido FAQs

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers!

Is Puerto Escondido Touristy?

If your bar for “touristy” is Cancún, Puerto Escondido is not somewhere I would call touristy. Sure, there’s an appeal for tourists because there is so much to do and see in Puerto Escondido but the majority of tourism is from Mexicans and the town is not yet “Americanized”.

Is Puerto Escondido Worth Visiting?

Puerto Escondido isn’t for everyone, and deciding if Puerto Escondido is worth visiting for you really depends on the type of trip you want. If you’re looking for a laid back, rustic beach town with lots of activities then you should feel right at home in Puerto Escondido.

Is Puerto Escondido Expensive?

Prices in Puerto Escondido are on the rise due to increased popularity, and the dreaded inflation we’re all feeling worldwide, but I wouldn’t call it expensive. There is a wide range of restaurants, activities, and accommodation in Puerto Escondido that can fit any budget.

Is Puerto Escondido a Party Town?

Puerto Escondido is only a party town if you want it to be. Most of the late night parties and raves happen in the Zicatela and La Punta areas, but you’ll only find them if you seek them out. It’s totally possible to visit Puerto Escondido and not be disturbed by pounding music and public drunkenness.

Summary: Is Puerto Escondido Safe?

Puerto Escondido was a safe place for me to visit and it’s going to be safe for you too. As long as you are staying smart, using common sense, and staying out of trouble you should feel perfectly safe, just like I did.

It’s easy to get in your own head about travel safety because, of course, it’s important! But once you’re sitting on the beach, sipping a cold drink and watching the surfers hang ten you’ll be glad you went.