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Is Puerto Escondido Safe in 2024? Puerto Escondido Crime Index and Safe Places

Are you a traveling enthusiast and wondering if is Puerto Escondido safe? Puerto Escondido is a tourist center in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It has many worth-visiting sites like the scenic beach Playa Carrizalillo or the stunning lagoon Laguna de Manialtepec. However, as Mexico is notorious for crimes, this place also houses some dangers.

Numbeo mentions that this coastal region has a safety index of 43.19 which is considered moderate. So, how to visit it safely and avoid any mishaps as well? Read on as I will help you make the most out of your trip to this town. I will provide you with the 4 common crime types and from which bad areas you should steer off. Let’s find out if Puerto Escondido is worth visiting or not!

Is Puerto Escondido Safe to Visit in 2024 – Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence Risk – MEDIUM
  2. Kidnappings Risk – LOW
  3. Fraud Risk – LOW
  4. Petty Theft Risk – MEDIUM
  5. Level of Danger When Driving – MEDIUM
  6. Level of Danger in Buses – MEDIUM
  7. Level of Danger in Taxi – LOW
  8. Level of Danger at Night – MEDIUM
  9. Level of Danger on the Beach LOW
  10. Level of Danger from Hurricanes LOW
  11. Level of Danger from EarthquakesMEDIUM
  12. Danger Level of Tap WaterHIGH
  13. Areas Requiring Caution – Laguna de Chacahua, Beaches
  14. Safe Places – Playa Zicatela Neighborhood, La Punta Neighborhood, Rinconada Neighborhood
  15. Crime in Puerto Escondido compared to other cities in Mexico – Rating based on real reviews from travelers and locals according to Numbeo. Crime index meaning: 0-20 is very low, 20-40 is low, 40-60 is moderate, 60-80 is high, and 80-100 is very high.

CITY

STATE

CRIME INDEX

Guerrero

28.92

Quintana Roo

34.21

Jalisco

35.70

Quintana Roo

36.94

Queretaro

37.55

Sinaloa

39.43

Puerto Escondido

Oaxaca

43.19

Baja California Sur

43.24

Nogales

Sonora

45.39

Nuevo León

48.25

Veracruz

49.20

Guanajuato

50.54

San Miguel de Allende

Guanajuato

50.94

Сhihuahua

55.49

Quintana Roo

55.73

Morelia

Michoacan

56.90

Puebla

58.23

Chihuahua

68.71

Baja California

71.99

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees to parts of Oaxaca state, which include tourist areas in: Oaxaca City, Monte Alban, Puerto Escondido, and Huatulco.US Department of State

An Insight Into Crimes in Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido is a small port town that is quite famous for its beautiful beaches like Zicatela Beach. Moreover, it also offers various activities. Among them are boat tours, snorkeling, and wildlife watching.

Since it is an attractive place, Puerto Escondido happen to be a safe enough haven for tourists. For example, as per the Government of Mexico its parent state Oaxaca in 2023 had 2 times fewer crime incidents than another state Veracruz (42,199 compared to 86,520). Moreover, according to Elcri, the homicide rate of the city in 2023 is only 14.

homicide rate of Puerto Escondido
Credit: www.elcri.men

As per Numbeo, the crime index in the city on February 2024 is around 43. Thanks to the community’s efforts, the overall security of the area is quite good. However, Numbeo also mentions that there has been a 71.3% increase in crime rates in the last 3 years. Which makes it a little concerning. Therefore, stay with me till the end and learn further details about the crimes in Puerto Escondido:

1. Cartel Violence Risk – Moderate

When it comes to cartel violence, the overall risk is average. Overall cartel clashes have been reported in the state of Oaxaca between Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) and other local groups. But it doesn’t have a valuable effect on the tourists in Puerto Escondido.

Cartel-related Violence Risk
Credit: www.globalguardian.com

This thing is supported by the fact that there were only 2 cases of cartel violence in 2023, according to the research of VICE News. The report talks about the murder case of Victor Masson, a 27-year-old Canadian man. The incident occurred just days after an Argentine tourist was killed with a machete on the same coast. Apart from such incidents, it is mostly safe in the southern state of Oaxaca.

2. Kidnappings Risk – Low

Being under good control of authority, kidnapping risk is also low in the town. However, the Department of State still advises exercising increased caution in Puerto Escondido.

the U.S. Department of State reccomendations
Credit: www.travel.state.gov

There was only 1 case of kidnapping in the area, reported in 2022. As per the CRISIS24 report, a kidnapped German national was released following a security force operation in the town on September 20. The victim had been abducted on September 8 and the kidnappers demanded an MXN-1 million (USD 50,000) ransom from her family for her release.

3. Fraud Risk – Low

Just like some other Mexican towns, Peurto Escondido is also not completely scam-free. However, they are not as frequent as that in other areas of the state. This thing is evident by the fact its parent state, Oaxaca has only 1,822 reported frauds, compared to Chihuahua, where the number is around 5,601.

Fraud Risk Puerto Escondido

Allow me to address some of the common scams that prevail in Puerto Escondido:

  1. Taxi drivers at airports or bus stations offering rides in large vans overcharge up to 3 times the regular taxi fare.
  2. Some bars never return the change during rush hours. Be attentive and ask for the remaining amount until you get it.
  3. Beware of agents at tourist hubs offering freebies to attend talks. These talks often promote expensive timeshare properties; avoid giving personal information.

4. Petty Theft Risk – Moderate

Petty theft is another common risk in Puerto Escondido having a crime rate index of 45 stated by Numbeo.

Petty Theft Risk in Puerto Escondido

Some of the common sense petty theft risks in the town include the following:

  1. On beaches, thieves take advantage of crowded areas to steal unattended items.
  2. In vibrant street markets and bars, be vigilant about your wallet, purse, or any valuable items, as pickpocketing is very common.
  3. If you’re staying in vacation rentals, ensure that the property is secure, and use safes provided for your valuables as unsecured items are easy to access.
  4. For solo female travelers, increased caution is necessary as they are easy targets for robbers. It is advised that you should travel in a group.

Addressing the Areas To Avoid in Puerto Escondido

When exploring the beautiful locales of Puerto Escondido, it’s necessary to be aware of certain areas that may pose safety concerns. Here are details about a couple of bad areas where you should exercise increased caution:

Areas in Puerto Escondido Requiring Caution
  1. Laguna de Chacahua: This area saw the murder of an Argentinean tourist in May 2023, reported by VICE news. Overall 3 men were attacked and one of them succumbed to the injuries.
  2. Beaches: The coastal area of Puerto Escondido is overall safe. However, an incident related to the targeted killing of a Canadian man was reported last year, according to VICE News. He was killed in the car by unknown drug cartels.

Discussing the 3 Transportation Modes Of Puerto Escondido In Detail

If you are in Puerto Escondido, you just need transportation to explore attractive sites like relaxing beaches or buzzing nightlife. You can either take a local option like a bus or choose for private transportation mode such as a taxi.

However, I would recommend you to be cautious while taking a rental car due to the 37.50 crime rate index of cars being stolen stated by Numbeo. If you are planning a visit or are in the beach town already and need a safety guide for transportation, I have discussed it below:

1. Is it Safe to Drive in Puerto Escondido Mexico? Moderate Risk

Overall, driving in Puerto Escondido is safe, However, Numbeo states that it has a crime index of 43.75 related to things stolen from the car. Therefore, you should stay alert about your belongings, while you’re away from your vehicle. Also, be prepared for a 7-8 hour journey if you are driving from Oaxaca City.

Is it Safe to Drive in Puerto Escondido Mexico

You will be navigating through switchbacks, potential encounters with livestock, and occasional areas with road damage, especially in the rainy season. However, the biggest benefit of having your car is that you can safely visit both beautiful areas nearby and within the town such as:

  1. Huatulco;
  2. Playa Puerto Angelito;
  3. La Reforma Waterfall.

2. Safety in Buses in Puerto Escondido – Moderate Risk

Navigating Puerto Escondido via buses, particularly collectivos along Route 200, comes with unique safety considerations. These colectivos operate without a fixed schedule, stopping at some random spots along the main road.

You have to cover some additional walking distance to reach your final destination. This increases the security risk. Don’t interact with any stranger unnecessarily as Puerto Escondido has a crime rate index of 41.67 regarding people getting mugged or robbed.

There are only 2 bus terminals in Puerto Escondido, which connect more than 10 cities in Mexico state. These terminals include:

Safe Buses in Puerto Escondido
  1. Terminal Autobuses ETN Turistar
  2. Terminal de Autobuses OCC

3. Safety in Taxis in Puerto Escondido – Low Risk

When it comes to taxis in Puerto Escondido, personal safety is generally maintained. However, it’s advisable to seek out established taxi ranks whenever possible. Additionally, don’t forget to double-check and agree upon the fare with the driver.

On average, the cost for a taxi ride is around $50MXN – $100MXN depending upon the travel time and whether you are traveling in day or night time. The following are available taxi services in Puerto Escondido:

  1. Dm Travel Viajes Divertidos
  2. Sitio Puerto Escondido A.C
  3. Local Taxi service

Discussing the Night Safety In Puerto Escondido – Moderate Risk

Puerto Escondido is one of those areas that has a moderate safety level compared to other Mexican towns at night. It has a safety index walking alone during the night of 53.57, regarding Numbeo.

Night Safety In Puerto Escondido
Credit: www.tripadvisor.com

For a better experience, explore Puerto Escondido’s vibrant nightlife in Zicatela, a hub for late-night gatherings. Or visit nightclubs like Sixty Nine and La Punta Vida contribute to the lively atmosphere, hosting late-ending parties.

3 Safe Puerto Escondido Worth Visiting Places

As you explore Puerto Escondido, selecting the right places to visit is necessary for a secure and enjoyable stay. I have listed some of the safest places to visit, each with its unique charm and atmosphere:

The Safest Places in Puerto Escondido
  1. Playa Zicatela Neighborhood: Transitioning to the eastern side, Playa Zicatela is known for smaller and cozy hotel properties. Casa Daikiri provides an intimate setting at only a 5-minute walk from the area. Moreover, you can enjoy surfing here world-class waves, suitable for this activity.
  2. La Punta Neighborhood: La Punta is a Bohemian Paradise situated in the east. Here, you can expect rustic elements like dirt roads, occasional electricity cuts, and a charming array of local life.
  3. Rinconada Neighborhood: Heading to the western side, Rinconada offers a quieter and gentler feel. With local flavor and international influence, you can enjoy eclectic dining options, boutique shops, and a calm swimming beach, Playa Carrizalillo.
Note: In case you are fond of watching planes, Puerto Escondido Airport is also a safe place to visit.

Is Puerto Escondido Safe in Terms of Beach Safety? Low Risk

Puerto Escondido offers stunning beaches like Bacocho, Huatilco & Puerto Angelito, and Carrizalillo and is considered a safe beach destination in Mexico. However, as with any beach, there are risks to be aware of.

Strong waves and currents can make swimming hazardous at times. Lifeguards service the main beaches in Puerto Escondido and use a flag warning system to communicate conditions:

Flag’s colors meanings
  1. Green flag – Safe for swimming, low hazard
  2. Yellow flag – Moderate hazards, use caution when swimming
  3. Red flag – High hazard, dangerous conditions, no swimming recommended
  4. Black flag – Beach closed for swimming
  5. Purple flag – Dangerous marine life present
Note: It’s always important to heed the flag warnings and advice from lifeguards. Never swim alone or when warnings are posted.

A Note About Hurricane Safety – Low Risk

Puerto Escondido lies along the Pacific coast of Mexico and is no stranger to the potential risks associated with hurricanes. The hurricane season spans from June to November, peaking in August and October. While fatal or severe hurricanes are rare, it’s crucial to be informed and prepared.

Since 1948, only a limited number of tropical storms and category 1 hurricanes have made landfall from the Pacific Coast. However, on May 31, 2022, ALJAZEERA released news about Hurricane Agatha making landfall in Puerto Escondido, affecting beach resorts with heavy rains and the potential for flooding. Striking as a Category 2 hurricane, Agatha unleashed sustained winds of 105 mph.

Hurricane Safety

Important Safety Considerations About Hurricanes

In case, you are visiting the town between June and November, below are some tips to be aware of beforehand when thinking about whether Puerto Escondido is safe or not:

  1. Stay Informed and Prepared For Evacuation: Keep track of weather updates and warnings. Familiarize yourself with evacuation procedures. Follow instructions from local authorities promptly.
  2. Emergency Supplies: Have an emergency kit with essentials such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, and first aid items.
  3. Communication Plan: Stay in touch with authorities in terms of medical emergencies with contacts such as 954 582 1288 (Medical and Chirurgical Unit). Plus, keep your phone charged and consider a portable power bank.
Note: To report or get any information related to the Hurricane, contact Marina Puerto Escondido’s guest services team.

Earthquakes in Puerto Escondido – Moderate Risk

Puerto Escondido, which lies in the tropics, faces the unfortunate possibility of earthquakes. According to the report by Earthquaketrack, 19 earthquakes have been reported in the recent year. In fact, one recent earthquake of 4.3 magnitude struck the area on February 25, 2024.

Earthquakes in Puerto Escondido
Credit: www.edition.cnn.com, Luis Alberto Cruz Hernandez/AP

Also, not to forget, 3 years back CNN highlighted a significant 8.2 magnitude earthquake that impacted the southwestern coast, including Puerto Escondido. To navigate these natural occurrences, here are essential safety tips:

  1. Earthquake Insurance: Get your insurance from Swiss Re as they have developed a parametric earthquake coverage for 2,000 sites in 200 locations within Mexico including Puerto Escondido. The policy ensures rapid payouts based on an agreed-upon claims settlement process, offering financial protection.
  2. App Alert: Enhance your earthquake readiness with the QuakeAlert app, providing you with a 20-second early warning.
  3. Emergency Contact: If you get injured or stuck somewhere due to an earthquake, immediately contact the Medical Unit by dialing 954 582 1288 to provide any first aid facility.
  4. Evacuation: In case you are in a coastal area, be aware of the potential for tsunamis after a significant earthquake. For this, follow evacuation routes and head to higher ground promptly.

Is Puerto Escondido Safe in Terms of Drinking Tap Water – High Risk

In Puerto Escondido, relying on tap water for drinking is not advisable due to inadequate filtration systems. This caution applies to everyone, including long-term residents and visitors. I would recommend you opt for safer alternatives such as bottled water or invest in a filter water bottle. This simple precaution can significantly reduce the risk of waterborne illnesses.

Note: In the event of accidental consumption of tap water, don’t panic and get a medical checkup and a blood test.

Essential Safety Tips When Visiting Puerto Escondido

Before we head to the conclusion, allow me to list some safety tips that you should be aware of while heading to Puerto Escondido:

  1. Comprehensive Travel Insurance: Getting travel insurance is highly necessary as it covers various aspects such as medical emergencies and trip cancellations. On average, the cost of travel insurance ranges from $60 to $500, but you can get a custom quote from Travel Insurance Saver.
  2. Strict Avoidance of Purchasing Drugs: In Mexico City, drug-related offenses can lead to severe penalties, including imprisonment, owing to the country’s strict anti-drug laws. The penalty of conviction can go up to 25 years in jail, along with prescribed fines.
  3. Dealing With Police: Many cases of corruption involving traffic police have been reported in various areas of Puerto Escondido. The corruption rate is about 58.33% as per Numbeo. Travelers do not find the local police friendly and mostly have time-wasting experience with them. It is best to avoid interaction with them unless you are in dire need of help.
  4. Avoidance of Night Driving: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the risk of a fatal crash is 3 times higher at night than during the day. Moreover, it also has a moderate safety index of 53.75. Therefore, you should exercise caution while traveling at night.
  5. Stay Updated on Local News and Safety Advisories: In August 2023, the U.S. Department of State issued travel advisories for Mexico. This advisory contains a state summary along with notes on safe and unsafe locations within the state.
  6. Stick to Well-Known Tourist Areas: Blending in the buzzy spots is a great practice to increase safety. Stick to tourist areas such as Playa Bacocho, Huatulco Bay, and Foro Atemoztli generally experience lower crime rates than less frequented neighborhoods.
  7. Respecting Local Laws and Customs: Violating local laws can result in fines or legal consequences. For example, avoid alcohol consumption as you can get up to 36 hours of detention and a permanent ban from the country.

FAQs

Is it safe to run in Puerto Escondido?

Yes, it is safe to run in Puerto Escondido as the area has a moderate safety index of 56.81%. However, it is suggested to be cautious at night time and avoid isolated areas.

Is it safe to drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

Yes, it is safe to drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. The journey involves 3 routes and Highway 131 is the safest one. However, you may experience frequent rocks falling, landslides, and curvy roads.

Is Puerto Escondido safe for beginner surfers?

Yes, with a moderate level of safety, Puerto Escondido’s beaches are suitable for beginners. Playa Carrizalillo is recommended, offering calmer waves. However, always check local surf conditions and take lessons from reputable and registered instructors such as Surf Mexico Surf Academy or 360 Surf School Cancun.

Can you swim in the ocean in Puerto Escondido?

Yes, you can swim in the ocean in Puerto Escondido but you need to be cautious. Playa Carrizalillo and Playa Bacocho have calmer waters, ideal for swimming. Always check local conditions and respect flag warnings, such as yellow color means moderate surf and red color means strong surf.

Conclusion

Let’s revise, is Puerto Escondido safe? The area comes with a safety index of 56.81 regarding Numbeo. Moreover, its homicide is also low, which is around 14 in 2023. So the city can be classified as medium-security. However, some small risks of cartel violence, kidnappings, and petty theft are still here.

Generally speaking, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Peurto Escondido while being safe. Don’t forget to visit Playa Zicatela, La Punta, and Rinconada. You can engage in fun activities like horse riding and beach surfing. You can also try out their famous dishes like pescado frito and ceviche.

During your trip always ensure to follow the U.S. Department of State advisory. Along with this, avoid indulging in drug cartel activity and stay in a shelter, or call 954 582 1288 for medical assistance during natural disasters.