Depending on where one visits in Mexico, a lot of ground can be covered. The most popular destinations, such as Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum, and historic Mexico City often get the most attention. Meanwhile, smaller destinations don’t get the attention that they deserve – even when they offer just as much, if not more, for future travelers.
This is definitely the case for Puerto Ángel, which can be found in Oaxaca on the southern coast of Mexico. While it’s not as refined or tourist-ready as Mexico’s larger hotspots and vacation destinations, it is worth a day trip for those visiting Oaxaca. It’s quaint fishing village and rocky cliffsides create dramatic scenery, and it’s the perfect place to get a taste of authentic Mexican culture, cuisine, and seaside life.
What Makes Puerto Ángel So Special?
Those who don’t mind skipping out on the more touristy sides of Mexico will likely be happy to have found Puerto Ángel. The small fishing village could be considered a local dream, in fact, for those who are looking for exactly that. Visitors won’t find any huge parties, there won’t be much nightlife, and it’s certainly not a destination that would make the top 10 must-see destinations in Mexico. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a special place.
The village itself is surrounded by steep cliffs, making it feel rustic and remote just on first glance alone. In the center of town, one can find beach access to a bay that creates a sheltered cove, which is been perfect for the village’s fishing industry. This is what sparks the magic of Puerto Ángel – its small, sheltered, and protected landscape might be rough around the edges, but it’s truly a gem for those seeking a quiet, tranquil beach escape for the day. A gentle breeze can always be felt from the shore, making the beach a great place to cool down or jump in for a swim. In the surrounding, lush forests, fruit trees grow in abundance, creating somewhat of a tropical paradise.
Nothing Fancy, And It’s Fantastic
Those wandering around the streets of Puerto Ángel will likely notice that occasionally, livestock will wander across the road or there will be the ever-distinct smell of fresh fish. This is the local atmosphere of the village and, while it doesn’t exude luxury or tropical decadence by any means, it’s a calm, peaceful place for tourists who appreciate local culture. It could be said that life here – and, by extension, vacations – is much simpler.
Despite its small size, there are three main beaches that travelers can visit:
- Playa Principal (the main beach featuring a pier)
- Playa Pantheon (best for swimming)
- Playa Zipolite (most secluded)
Those visiting the beach will likely be surprised by the presence of lifeguards, something that’s not always a commodity in Mexico. Additionally, Playa Pantheon caters to swimming – lounge chairs and umbrellas are common amenities here, and there are plenty of restaurants only a short walk away.
For those who aren’t interested in sunbathing, snorkeling and scuba gear can be rented not far from the beaches. Those looking to explore the surrounding coastline can also rent small boats, which will take them around to the village’s most secluded coves and caves. Wildlife tours are also an option for those who plan on getting an early start on the day, with La Ventanilla not far from Puerto Ángel. Another thing to plan on experiencing is the Turtle Sanctuary, which is found only 20 minutes from the village in Mazunte.
Still missing the nightlife? As remote as Playa Zipolite is, there’s a reason for it – here, visitors will find a slice of Puerto Ángel life that’s a bit more uninhibited. It’s somewhat of an unspoken common place for backpackers and those seeking a more social vacation, usually those who aren’t traveling with or as a family. Caution: swimming at Playa Zipolite is not recommended due to its incredibly rough surf, and it is the site of several drownings per year.
Where To Stay In Purta Ángel
Despite its small size, this fishing village does have plenty of accommodations – although, not all of them will be worth a traveler’s time.
*Sorted by rating.
Pasíon de Luna
- Cost: Starting at $161/night
- Good For: A luxurious beachside stay, close to sighteseeing and popular tourist destinations
- Noteable Features: Spa-like pool, open-air rooms, stunning cliffside water views, rustic art-deco modern decor, multiple common spaces and overlooks
- Cost: Inquire with hotel for pricing
- Good For: Close proximity to Playa Pantheon, comfortable but not flashy, tropical forest setting, within walking distance to several restaurants
- Noteable Features: Traditional Mexican artwork and pottery serve as decor, airy rooms and open spaces, balcony views of the bay, pool on-site
La Buena Vista
- Cost: Inquire with hotel for pricing
- Good For: Centrally located in Puerto Ángel, within walking or short driving distance to several shops and restaurants, close to Playa Principal
- Noteable Features: Third-floor pool provides stunning views of the coast, airy rooms, plenty of outdoor space for lounging, on-site restaurant, surrounded by tropical plant flora
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About The Author
Katie Machado (2018 Articles Published)
Originally from New York, Katie is used to a fast-paced lifestyle. She got her personal start with writing in the second grade, and carried that passion with her until she won a spot in her high school’s published poetry book – but not before becoming the News Editor and columnist for the high school newspaper. In college, she majored in English Literature with an emphasis in Political Science, soaking up most creativity and method from one of the last professors to study under famed beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The more she wrote, the more she learned about the world and, more importantly, herself. She has been writing professionally and has been published since the age of 19, and for nearly a decade has covered topics in entertainment, lifestyle, music news, video game reviews, food culture, and now has the privilege of writing and editing for TheTravel. Katie has a firm belief that every word penned is a journey into yourself and your own thoughts, and through understanding this, people can begin to understand each other. Through her voice, she brings personality, research, and a bit of friendly sarcasm to every piece she writes and edits.