Beach lovers and surfing enthusiasts enjoy staying on Playa Zicatela, the creamy strand that stretches east and south of the busy adoquín. Here, folks relax, in street-side cafes and restaurants and strolling and sunning on the beach as they watch the surfers conquer (or try to conquer) Zicatela’s awesome, oft-thunderous open-ocean waves.
Three long blocks south along Playa Zicatela  stands the very economical and tidy “surfer village” Rockaway (Av. del Morro, tel. 954/582-0668, rockhomemx [at] yahoo [dot] com, www.hotelrockaway.com , cabañas $12 s, $20 d, $34 q, rooms $30 s, $47 d, 54 t), a fenced-in cluster of about 10 clean, concrete-floored bamboo and thatch cabañas. Plainly decorated but clean, spacious, and fan-equipped, they sleep up to four and come with private showers and toilets, mosquito nets, and shady, hammock-hung front porches. An inviting, leafy pool patio occupies the center, while a squad of new air-conditioned rooms stands to one side. Weekly or monthly discounts are negotiable; with parking.
Back at Playa Zicatela ’s north-end beginning, find Bungalows Acali (Av. del Morro, tel. 954/582-0754, casadanycarmen [at] escondido [dot] com [dot] mx, $30 s, $32 d, $38 t, $50 with a/c). Here, a small colony of rustic cabañas clusters around a blue pool in a banana, palm, and mango minijungle. The cabañas themselves, like a vision out of a south-seas tale, are built with walls made of sticks (non-see-through) and sturdy plank floors, raised above ground level. Rentals are clean, fan-equipped, with mosquito nets and good bathrooms. Rooms have fan, hot-water shower, small refrigerator, and parking; credit cards accepted.
About two long blocks south down the beach comes Beach Hotel Inés (Av. del Morro, tel. 954/582-0416, fax 954/582-0792, info [at] hotelines [dot] com, $25–120 d), the life project of German expatriate Peter Voss and his daughter, Inés. Their 45 units occupy the palmy periphery of a lush, pool-café-garden layout, which climaxes with an attractive, stuccoed, two-story complex of rooms at the back side. At the shady poolside tables, longtime repeat guests linger for coffee and conversation after late-morning breakfasts, stroll the beach in the afternoon, and return for a balmy sunset happy hour. Other days they sunbathe au naturel or relax in the petite but luxurious health club, which provides massage and hot tub. Most of the rentals are hotel-style rooms, in deluxe and superdeluxe grades, with clean, light interiors, comfortable furnishings, and well-maintained bathrooms. They rent four levels of accommodation, from smallish, but comfortable, hotel-style rooms to larger cabañas, deluxe apartments, and large super-deluxe suites.
Tucked only a block inland from the beach, at the far south end of the Zicatela development, is Casa Olga (Av. del Morro, olga_hmex [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] mx, no phone, $30 s, $35 d, $60 q) that the friendly Mexican owner likes to call “your home away from home.” And yes, it could easily be, with five attractively decorated, comfortable rooms on hammock-hung porches overlooking a lovely green lawn, garden and blue swimming pool. The upper-story rooms, with two and three beds, are the most invitingly private, with airy ocean view and awning-draped shade. All have private hot-water shower-baths, fans, and use of an outdoor kitchen adjacent to the pool-patio.
It’s easy to miss the Hotel Flor de María (at Primera Entrada Playa Marinero , Colonia Marinero, tel. 954/582-0536, fax 954/582-2617, pajope [at] hotmail [dot] com, www.mexonline.com/flordemaria.htm , $37–60 d), tucked on a quiet side street above east-side Playa Marinero . That would be a pity, for the Flor de María is an attractive, reasonably priced hotel, half a block from the beach. Rooms rise in two stories around a tranquil, leafy interior patio. At rooftop, a breezy sundeck-bar, with a small but inviting pool and a hammock-hung palapa, overlooks a beach-and-bay vista. The approximately dozen immaculate deluxe rooms are simply but thoughtfully decorated, each with two double beds with flowery violet covers and modern-standard hot-water shower-baths. Additionally, the hotel offers a pair of similarly inviting but more spacious second-floor ocean-view suites and a very good restaurant.
Head about three blocks south along Av. del Morro, which runs along Playa Zicatela , to the three-story Hotel Arco Iris (Av. del Morro s/n, Colonia Marinero, tel./fax 954/582-1494, 954/582-0432, arcoiris [at] hotel-arcoiris [dot] com [dot] mx, www.hotel-arcoiris.com.mx , $50 s, $60 d). A flowery, shady green garden surrounds the hotel, leading to a gorgeous rear pool and patio. For those who love sunsets, sand, and waves (and don’t mind their sometimes insistent pounding), one of the spacious, simply furnished top-floor view rooms might be just the ticket. The Arco Iris’s proximity to the famous Puerto Escondido  “pipeline” draws both surfers and surf-watchers to the third-floor restaurant La Galera, which seems equally ideal for wave-watching at breakfast and sky-watching at sunset.
Puerto Escondido ’s class-act hostelry is the Hotel Santa Fe (Av. del Morro, Playa Marinero, tel. 954/582-0170 or 954/582-0266, fax 954/582-0260, from U.S. toll-free tel. 888/649-6407, Mex. toll free tel. 800/712-7037, info [at] hotelsantafe [dot] com [dot] mx, www.hotelsantafe.com.mx , $126–223 d). Built in pleasing neocolonial style, with gracefully curving staircases, palm-shaded pool patios, and flower-decorated walkways, the Santa Fe achieves an ambience both intimate and luxuriously private. Its refined but relaxed restaurant, wonderful for morning oceanview breakfasts, serves a delicious menu, featuring a number of traditional Oaxacan specialties.
The accommodations—spacious, high- ceilinged and comfortable—are thoughtfully appointed with hand-painted tile, rustic wood furniture, and regional handicrafts. Moreover, the recently added room wing has enhanced the hotel’s ambience, with a new airy and tranquil elevated view pool patio that connects gracefully with the original hotel section. The approximately 50 accommodations come in standard, junior, and master suite grades; an additional 10 kitchenette bungalows sleeping four; kids under 12 free. All accommodations come with a/c, phones, parking, and credit cards accepted, but no TV.