Whether you go independently or by escorted tour, outings away from the Puerto Escondido resort can reveal rewarding glimpses of flora and fauna, local cultures, and idyllic beaches seemingly half a world removed from the adoquín tourist hubbub. For escorted tour suggestions, see Tours.
Farthest afield, to the west of Puerto Escondido, are the colorful festivals, markets, and handicrafts of the indigenous Mixtec towns of Jamiltepec and Pinotepa Nacional and the crystalline beaches and wildlife-rich mangrove reaches of the Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua.
To the east lie the hidden beaches of Mazunte, Zipolite, and the picture-book Bahía de Puerto Ángel, with its turtle museum, au naturel sunbathing on Playa Zipolite, and very accessible off-beach snorkeling at Puerto Ángel.
A bit farther beckon the nine breezy Bahías de Huatulco, ripe for swimming, scuba diving, wildlife-viewing, biking, and river rafting.
Closer at hand, especially for wildlife lovers and beachgoers, are the jungly lagoons and pristine strands of the west-side Laguna Manialtepec, the nearby hot springs and Chatino sacred site of Atotonilco, and a duo of home-grown animal conservation sanctuaries, Iguana and Land Turtle Nursery and Producción Ecoturístico Colotepec.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition