puerto escondido, mexico on playa carrizalillo, a tropical beach cove

Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido & Huatulco: 5 Best Options [2021]


Traveling from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido? or from Oaxaca to Huatulco?

You’ve landed (🛬 pun intended!) in the right place to see your options for travel from Oaxaca City to the beaches of Oaxaca! What you will discover in this article are the five best ways to get from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, Mazunte and the rest of the best beaches in Oaxaca Mexico!

  • For Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido info, click here
  • For Oaxaca City to Huatulco info, click here — This includes info for Oaxaca to Mazunte, Zipolite and San Agustinillo as well!

By the end of this article you’ll know 1) how to rent a car and drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, 2) where to hire a private car with a driver, 3) all about taking the ADO overnight bus to Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, and 4) taking the shared van from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca.

For those who have the budget, the fifth and fastest way to get to the Oaxaca beaches from Oaxaca City, is by taking a flight. For Oaxaca flights, you have two options — AeroTucan and AeroVega — and as I took the flight, you’ll get all my Oaxaca travel tips on this below.

Ready to learn all the ways to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido (Oaxaca to Huatulco Mexico, and Oaxaca to the beaches of Oaxaca)? Let’s get to it!

OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

How do I get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

You basically have five options when traveling from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, Mexico. If you want to rent your own car for the trip, check out this article before you do so, Renting A Car in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know.

You’ll find detailed information below for every travel option from Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca — but if you’re traveling from Oaxaca to Huatulco, jump ahead to that info but clicking the link.

where is Puerto Escondido, mexico? (PUERTO ESCONDIDO MAP)

🏨 Need a Puerto Escondido Hotel? Check out all the best hotels in Puerto Escondido!

OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

1. Private Car from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Depending on your budget, you can hire a private car or van to drive you to Puerto Escondido. When traveling with a group, this can be quite economical. It offers a nice way to see Oaxaca on the drive — and you can request Oaxacan food break when you’re hungry and a bathroom break when you need it 🤣

The cost for a one-way trip is about $350USD. It takes about 7-8 hours, the same as a rental car, and about an hour less than when you take the shared van (colectivo).

private car from oaxaca to puerto escondido
OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

2. Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Drive via Rental Car

This is a beautiful drive, though consider a midsize rental car or even an SUV. The distance from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido is only about 100 miles, but this drive takes between 7-8 hours, as it’s super curvy with switchback turns, on a mountain road that’s frankly not well maintained in all areas.

⤵ Check out the photo below for a visual of the road, but for those prone to carsickness, this drive can be downright agonizing. If you don’t do so well in cars, remember to pack your dramamine, or whatever helps you on the road.

For those who love road trips, you can certainly rent a car in Oaxaca City and do this drive — where you’ll see off the beaten path Oaxaca areas so few others will. The drive is considered safe, but scroll down for some Oaxaca driving tips.

Considering a car rental? Oaxaca Route 131 is the windy road you’ll take from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, and all Oaxaca beaches. (Remember to pack dramamine if you get car sick!)

What’s the best place for a Oaxaca Car rental?

For the best selection, there are several Oaxaca Airport car rental companies to choose from. Head to Discover Cars see what’s available, as sometimes you’ll get a better deal on your car rental in Oaxaca in the Centro Historico or Reforma neighborhoods. I personally always use this company 😎

Is it safe to drive in Oaxaca?

For the most part, it is quite safe to drive in Oaxaca. The one obvious caveat here is that you’ll be driving in a foreign country, where you’re unfamiliar with Mexico driving laws and local customs. Luckily, it’s not too dissimilar than in the U.S., so just have a look at the Mexico driving tips below and enjoy your trip.

Bloqueos: Oaxaca Road Protests

Road protests in Oaxaca happen from time to time, and can add hours to the trip. These bloqueos, or blockades, happen when locals are protesting and essentially shut down the road that passes through their part of town. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict these, and no way to tell how long they last.

🚗💨 12 Useful Mexico Driving Tips

1. Rent with a reputable company! As they say, “you get what you pay for.” For a reliable Oaxaca car rental company, go with Discover Cars.

2. Avoid driving at night. When you live in Mexico long enough, you start to realize many people simply avoid driving at night, if they can. If you do drive at night, stick to only main roads and highways.

3. Always use the couta, or toll, roads. Yes, they cost money, but they are much better maintained and generally considered safer. Pro tip: Bring cash for the tolls.

4. Download an offline map. Your signal will go in and out as you travel through rural areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, so download an offline map from Google or Maps.Me. You’ll also want to download some podcasts and music while you’re getting that map.

5. Speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. You don’t have to worry about conversion math here; just make sure the speed limit sign number matches your speedometer number.

6. Do not use your cell phone while you’re driving. Not only is this unsafe, it is also illegal. In fact, even having your phone in your hand is a ticket-able offense, so try not to even hold your phone while driving.

7. The rumors are true about the cops expecting bribes. If the cops pull you over, and they only will if you give them a reason to, they will expect a cash “payment” in exchange for not ticketing you.

8. Mexican roads are notorious for their abundant amount of topes (speed bumps). Make sure you keep your eyes on the road, as topes don’t always have signs alerting you to them.

9. Mexico’s gas stations are not self-serve. When you stop for gas, an attendant will pump it for you and take your payment. These people don’t actually work for the gas station, and live off tips. When they finish, it’s customary to tip them at least $10-20 pesos ($0.50-$1).

10. Mexico’s traffic lights go from green to yellow, to flashing yellow for a few seconds, to finally, a red light.

11. Make sure you purchase Mexican car insurance. You are generally not covered in any way through your U.S. company when you drive in any other country.

12. Most travel insurance policies cover driving. In case you’re wondering Should I get travel insurance for Mexico? — The answer is hell yes! Get a FREE quote for the Explorer Plan with World Nomads, which has the option to include Mexican car insurance, which you legally must have.

OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

3. Flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

The Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido flight is the most convenient, quickest, and also, most expensive option. There are only two companies, AeroTucan and AeroVega, with flights from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido (which both also offer flights from Oaxaca to Huatulco).

✈️ Oaxaca Travel Tip: Book as far in advance as you can; both AeroTucan and AeroVega usually only have one flight per day.

With both companies, you’ll take a small 6-8 seat plane; if you’ve never been in a small plane before, check out the YouTube video below to see if it seems comfortable for you.

AeroTucan Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Flight

• My Personal experience taking this flight

I took the AeroTucan Oaxaca flight to Puerto Escondido, and really enjoyed it. However, this is a small plane, and definitely a lot more shaky than a large airplane. While I personally loved this experience, if you have claustrophobia, or don’t handle turbulence well, opt for the private driver, bus or van.

Boarding my AeroTucan flight from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido.

• How do I buy tickets for Aerotucan?

If you want to take the Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido flight with AeroTúcan, you have to book in advance via phone or at the Oaxaca Airport. Keep in mind you might not get an English-speaking agent via phone, so have a Spanish-speaking friend, or possibly someone from your hotel nearby to help.

You also have the option to buy directly at the airport, as both the Oaxaca City or Puerto Escondido Airports are just a short cab ride from downtown in both cities. However, know there may or may not be an agent when you arrive, so the phone is a better option.

• Buy your tickets in advance

Either way you choose, you’ll want to get your ticket as far in advance of your flight as possible. As there’s usually just one daily flight from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, you’ll want to make sure you can travel on your preferred day.

• How much do tickets cost?

One-way flights on AeroTúcan average about $3,000-3,500 pesos ($150-175USD). Yes, this is a lot more than taking the bus or the van, but it’s also a lot more convenient as flights are only about 30-45 minutes, whereas the bus takes 10-12 hours.

🤑 Oaxaca Travel Tip: AeroTucan offers a 15% discount on all Thursday flights.

• AeroTucan Flight schedule

Have a look at the image above ⤴ for the AeroTucan Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido flight schedule (as of April 2021) — though they can change or alter their schedule at any time, so double check the AeroTucan flight schedule online.

• Do you have luggage?

The final thing you’ll want to keep in mind is your luggage weight. You are allowed 33 pounds (15kg) on AeroTucan, which is almost 20 pounds less than a larger airline allows. My luggage was over, and I ended up with a surprise $50USD fee 😧

Other than that, I personally loved the flight and would take it again.

OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

Aerovega Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Flight

AeroVega is owned and operated by the pilot, Juan Carlos Vega. Much like with AeroTucan, he operates a small plane with just six seats in total. If you’ve never been on a single-engine plane of this size, check out the YouTube video below of a real experience on this flight.

If it doesn’t seem like it’s for you, and you have the budget, consider hiring a driver and private car. If you’re traveling with a group, splitting this ends up costing about the same as the plane does.

• Flight cost & How to book your flight

The flight costs about $2,000-$2,500 pesos ($100-125USD), which you will pay in cash/pesos, and book directly with Juan Vega. While this may seem unconventional, I have met people who have flown with AeroVega, and it is a legit company — though there’s no website.

AeroVega usually only offers one flight per day, so book as far in advance as you can by calling and/or emailing the Captain Juan Vega using his contact information above ⤴

Actual AeroVega flight from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

4. ADO Bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

The last over-land option is on the large ADO bus, which takes about 10-11 hours. Most buses on this route go overnight, so you can sleep on the bus. The cost for a one-way ticket is about $500-600 pesos ($25-30USD). It takes about 10-12 hours.

The bus takes so much longer than the van because it must avoid the mountain roads altogether, as it’s too big to make some of the sharp turns a smaller colectivo van is able to. The bus is also more comfortable, with big comfy recliner-style seats, outlets for your gadgets and a bathroom.

In short, taking the bus is much more comfy — if you don’t mind sacrificing time and spending a bit more. If you have car or motion sickness at all, opt for the bus over the van, or check out the info above for the Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido flight ✈️

The large ADO bus from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido is much more comfortable than the colectivo van. (Photo: Ted McGrath via Flickr)
OAXACA TO PUERTO ESCONDIDO

5. Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Van (Colectivo)

You may hear the van also called a colectivo or camioneta, which is a shared passenger van that seats between 10-12. Most companies in Oaxaca use Nissan Urvans or Dodge Sprinters on this trip.

There are several companies — like Transportes Villa del Pacifico and Service Express Arista — located in downtown Oaxaca City you can book with. The cost for a one-way ticket is about $300 pesos ($15USD).

A colectivo in Mexico (Photo: Zaklina K via Flickr)

• Buy your tickets in advance

As this is the cheapest way to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, van companies offer several trips daily, though do tend to be at full capacity. You can buy your ticket in advance, or wait until the day of the trip; though do know there’s always a chance of the van selling out.

🚐💨 Oaxaca Travel Tip: For those prone to motion or carsickness, buy your ticket in advance so you can reserve the front seat — and don’t forget your dramamine, as it’s a winding drive on mountain roads.

• How long does the van trip take?

In total, the van from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido takes about 8-9 hours. This is a bit longer than in the car because the van sometimes makes 1-2 stops in small pueblos to pick up other passengers, and makes a 30-minute bathroom, eating, and stretching break.

beautiful lagoon on the beach
Huatulco is not only one of the safest cities in Mexico, but it’s also one of the best Mexican beach towns!
OAXACA TO HUATULCO

How do I get from Oaxaca to Huatulco?

Bahías de Huatulco, meaning Bays of Huatulco, or simply Huatulco, is located about two hours east of Puerto Escondido. Huatulco is a popular resort destination in Mexico, with many condo buildings, timeshares and resorts, but it also has incredible snorkeling and swimming at the 36 Huatulco beaches.

Many people from the U.S. and Canada have winter homes in Huatulco, so its population doubles in the busy season, late-October to early-April. As a result, there are seasonal flights to Bahías de Huatulco International Airport (code: HUX), but also connecting flights through Mexico airports year-round.

Coming from Oaxaca City to Huatulco, you have the same options you have when visiting Puerto Escondido, though shared vans (colectivos) aren’t common. There is information below for each of these most-used options below.

You’ll find detailed information below for every travel option from Oaxaca to Huatulco — with options for all budgets and travel styles.

where is huatulco, mexico? (Huatulco Map)

🏨 Need a Huatulco Hotel? Check out all the best hotels in Huatulco, Mexico!

OAXACA TO HUATULCO

1. Private car from Oaxaca to Huatulco

Depending on your budget, you can hire a private car or van to drive you to Puerto Escondido. If you’re traveling with a group, splitting this cost may be economical. If the budget allows, it provides a nice way to see Oaxaca on the drive — with the also being able to request a bathroom break when you need to 🤣

The cost for a one-way trip is about $500USD. It takes about 7-8 hours, the same as a rental car, and about an hour less than when you take the shared van (colectivo).

OAXACA TO HUATULCO

2. Oaxaca to Huatulco Drive via Rental Car

The distance from Oaxaca City to Huatulco is about 150 miles, and this drive takes between 6-7 hours. It is a bit of a curvy, bumpy road, though much less so than the drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.

Still, for those prone to carsickness who don’t do so well in cars, remember to pack your dramamine, or whatever helps you on the road. You may also want to consider a midsize rental car or SUV.

What’s the best place for a Oaxaca Car rental?

For the best selection, there are several Oaxaca Airport car rental companies to choose from. Head to Discover Cars see what’s available, as sometimes you’ll get a better deal on your car rental in Oaxaca in the Centro Historico or Reforma neighborhoods. I personally always use this company 😎

Is it safe to drive in Oaxaca?

For the most part, it is quite safe to drive in Oaxaca. The one obvious caveat here is that you’ll be driving in a foreign country, where you’re unfamiliar with Mexico driving laws and local customs. Luckily, it’s not too dissimilar than in the U.S., so just have a look at the Mexico driving tips below and enjoy your trip.

🚗💨 12 Useful Mexico Driving Tips

1. Rent with a reputable company! As they say, “you get what you pay for.” For a reliable Oaxaca car rental company, go with Discover Cars.

2. Avoid driving at night. When you live in Mexico long enough, you start to realize many people simply avoid driving at night, if they can. If you do drive at night, stick to only main roads and highways.

3. Always use the couta, or toll, roads. Yes, they cost money, but they are much better maintained and generally considered safer. Pro tip: Bring cash for the tolls.

4. Download an offline map. Your signal will go in and out as you travel through rural areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, so download an offline map from Google or Maps.Me. You’ll also want to download some podcasts and music while you’re getting that map.

5. Speed limit signs are in kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. You don’t have to worry about conversion math here; just make sure the speed limit sign number matches your speedometer number.

6. Do not use your cell phone while you’re driving. Not only is this unsafe, it is also illegal. In fact, even having your phone in your hand is a ticket-able offense, so try not to even hold your phone while driving.

7. The rumors are true about the cops expecting bribes. If the cops pull you over, and they only will if you give them a reason to, they will expect a cash “payment” in exchange for not ticketing you.

8. Mexican roads are notorious for their abundant amount of topes (speed bumps). Make sure you keep your eyes on the road, as topes don’t always have signs alerting you to them.

9. Mexico’s gas stations are not self-serve. When you stop for gas, an attendant will pump it for you and take your payment. These people don’t actually work for the gas station, and live off tips. When they finish, it’s customary to tip them at least $10-20 pesos ($0.50-$1).

10. Mexico’s traffic lights go from green to yellow, to flashing yellow for a few seconds, to finally, a red light.

11. Make sure you purchase Mexican car insurance. You are generally not covered in any way through your U.S. company when you drive in any other country.

12. Most travel insurance policies cover driving. In case you’re wondering Should I get travel insurance for Mexico? — The answer is hell yes! Get a FREE quote for the Explorer Plan with World Nomads, which has the option to include Mexican car insurance, which you legally must have.

OAXACA TO HUATULCO

3. Flights from Oaxaca to Huatulco

The flights from Oaxaca to Huatulco are your most convenient, quickest, and also, most expensive travel option. There are only two companies, AeroTucan and AeroVega, with flights from Oaxaca City to Huatulco (which both also offer flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido).

✈️ Oaxaca Travel Tip: Book as far in advance as you can; both AeroTucan and AeroVega only have one flight per day.

With both companies, you’ll take a small 6-8 seat plane; if you’ve never been in a small plane before, check out the YouTube video below to see if it seems comfortable for you ⤵

Headed to Mazunte, Zipolite, San Agustinillo or Puerto Angel?

You’d also fly into Huatulco International Airport, and then pick up a car rental in Huatulco, grab a taxi, or take public transportation to these other Oaxaca beach towns.

Actual AeroTucan flight, one of the two airlines offering flights from Oaxaca to Huatulco, Mexico.
OAXACA TO HUATULCO

AeroTucan Oaxaca to Huatulco Flight

• How do I buy tickets for Aerotucan?

If you want to take the Oaxaca to Huatulco flight with AeroTúcan, you have to book in advance via phone or at the Oaxaca Airport. Keep in mind you might not get an English-speaking agent via phone, so have a Spanish-speaking friend, or possibly someone from your hotel nearby to help.

You also have the option to buy directly at the Oaxaca International Airport, located just a short cab ride from downtown. However, know there may or may not be an agent when you arrive, so the phone is a safer option.

• Buy your tickets in advance

Either way you choose, you’ll want to look into options for Oaxaca to Huatulco flights, and reserve yours, as far in advance as possible. As there’s usually just one daily flight from Oaxaca to Huatulco, you’ll want to make sure you can travel on your preferred day.

• How much do tickets cost?

One-way flights on AeroTúcan average about $3,000-3,500 pesos ($150-175USD). Yes, this is a lot more than taking the bus to Huatulco, however, it’s also a lot quicker with flights taking just 30-45 minutes, compared to 7-8 hours by bus.

🤑 Oaxaca Travel Tip: AeroTucan offers a 15% discount on all Thursday flights.

• AeroTucan Flight schedule

Have a look at the image for the AeroTucan Oaxaca to Huatulco flight schedule (as of April 2021) — though they can change or alter their schedule at any time, so double check the AeroTucan flight schedule online.

• Do you have luggage?

The final thing to keep in mind is the weight of your luggage. You are allowed 33 pounds (15kg) on AeroTucan flights, which is almost 20 pounds less than a larger airline allows. When I took the Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido AeroTucan flight, my luggage was over, and I ended up with a surprise $50USD fee.

beautiful blue water in a bay and beach cove in the small beach town of Bahias de Huatulco, Mexico, in Oaxaca state, a safe solo Mexico travel destination in southern Mexico on the Pacific Ocean
One of 36 bays and beaches in Bahías de Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Aerovega Flights to Huatulco from Oaxaca

AeroVega is owned and operated by the pilot, Juan Carlos Vega. Much like with AeroTucan, he operates a small plane with just six seats in total. If you’ve never been on a small, single-engine plane, check out the YouTube video above to see if this might feel comfortable for you.

If the flight doesn’t seem like it’s for you, and you have the budget, consider hiring a driver and private car. If you’re traveling with a group, splitting this ends up costing about the same as the plane does.

• Flight cost & How to book your flight

The flight costs about $2,000-$2,500 pesos ($100-125USD), which you will pay in cash/pesos, and book directly with Juan Vega. While this may seem unconventional, I have met people who have flown with AeroVega, and it is a legit company — though there’s no website.

AeroVega usually only offers one flight per day, so book as far in advance as you can by calling and/or emailing the Captain Juan Vega using his contact information below.

OAXACA TO huatulco

4. ADO Bus from Oaxaca to Huatulco

The last over-land option is on the large ADO bus, which takes about 8-10 hours. There are daytime and overnight buses on this route, so you can sleep on the bus. The cost for a one-way ticket is about $400-600 pesos ($20-30USD). It takes about 8-9 hours.

The bus will drop you off at the ADO Bahias de Huatulco station, located about 20 minutes from the beaches. There’s no Uber in Oaxaca state, but there will be plenty of taxis waiting outside of this bus station at all hours of the day; just make sure to have cash/pesos to pay.

Final Thoughts: Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Travel Options (+Huatulco)

As you now know, there are options for all travel styles and budgets for your Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido trip. The info below also applies for how to get from Oaxaca to Huatulco and the other best beaches in Oaxaca, Mexico. Here is a quick summary of the right option for the right traveler:

For the luxury traveler

Book a private car with a driver for the Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido trip, or take the Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido flight. For travelers heading to Huatulco, you have the same options of hiring a private car to Huatulco and also taking the short 30-45 minute flight to Huatulco.

For the mid-budget traveler

Rent a car and drive! The drive will show you the off the beaten path Oaxaca pueblos few others see. Driving in Mexico is generally considered safe, and this article will walk you through the rental process, Renting A Car in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know.

• For Oaxaca budget travel

You’ll want to use the colectivo, or shared van, or take the ADO bus to Puerto Escondido. There aren’t always Oaxaca to Huatulco van routes operating, but you can always take the ADO bus to Huatulco.

Have questions about Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Travel?

I’d love to hear from you! If there was anything I didn’t cover in this article, please ask away in the comments down below, and I’ll do my best to get you the info you need.

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6 Comments

  1. Hi! I love your articles, they are super helpful!! Do you know where I can secure a private van for a trip from Mazunte to Oaxaca?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Mariana: Thanks for writing…. and great question. I’ve never heard of this service, as Mazunte is still mostly off the main tourist trail & won’t have as many services offered as Puerto Escondido or Huatulco.

      When I visited Mazunte, I just took a taxi from the airport. I’ll advise you to do the same — take this car service to Huatulco, and then grab a taxi from the airport to Mazunte. This will be the fastest, most direct route! Enjoy Mazunte, it’s so beautiful 🏝

  2. Hi how safe it is to ride the colectivo vans at night? We are planning to take them from Oaxaca to Huatulco. We are still debating weather to do it at night to sleep during the drive or to do it during the day. Would greatly appreciate your recommendation.

    Thanks,

    1. Hi Norma, Thank you for writing! The night colectivos are known to be safe, however, I think it’s always safer to travel Mexico (and anywhere) during the day.

  3. Thank you.,..that was a lot of wonderful information…..now to decide

    1. Hi James, I am so glad you found it helpful. Just remember, the drive can be brutal if you’re prone to carsickness… and the flight is uncomfortable if you don’t do small planes.