Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido (New Road Changes EVERYTHING!)

Getting from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido didn’t used to be easy. It’d take at least 7 to 8 hours to cover 100 miles overland. But now, a new highway connecting the two places has opened and cut journey times dramatically!

Because of this, you might be confused by the best options. There’s probably still a lot of out of date information on the best or cheapest ways to get from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido.

But, this complete guide on how to get to Puerto Escondido has all the transport options. Including costs, comfort levels and journey times. There’s even a bonus at number 6 – a stopover in San José del Pacifico, a magical town in the Oaxacan mountains.

Making the journey in the opposite direction? No worries, all these transport options also work when you’re heading from Puerto Escondido to Oaxaca City.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a qualifying purchase.

How to get to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City
Taking the bus | Colectivo | Flying | Drive | Private Transfer |
With a stopover in San José del Pacifico
Is it worth going to Puerto Escondido?
A tropical paradise in Puerto Escondido. Palm trees and green cliffs flank the beach where golden sand meets clear blue seas

How to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Transport options are aplenty to travel between Oaxaca City and the coastal town of Puerto Escondido (and vice versa). With the new highway passing through the Sierra Madre mountain range and offering stunning views along the way.

The transport options below are suitable for all budgets and group sizes. So, you should have no problem finding the perfect option for you and you’ll be on those Oaxaca coast beaches before you know it!

The Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido New Highway: an Endless saga!

The new highway across the Oaxacan mountains has been in the works for years. Literally.

When work first started, it was due to be completed by 2015. But, it was finally opened at the start of 2024 after countless construction and land dispute delays

The completion of the Barranca Larga-Ventanilla Highway is pivotal to increasing tourist numbers in Puerto Escondido and along the Oaxacan coast. The new road is 100 km in length and reduces driving time to just 2 to 3 hours.

Formed of 3 tunnels, 10 bridges and a viaduct, the road gives splendid views of the mountains. That’s without the inevitable travel sickness you currently have to deal with on the winding roads for 8 hours. Or 10+ hour night buses sat upright…

But it’s not without issues. Local companies are accusing ADO of running more services than agreed and there’s frequent protests blocking ADO services and causing last-minute bus cancellations. These protests generally last one-day at a time so shouldn’t hold your journey up too much.

Looking down the aisle on an OCC bus, the same which is used on the journey from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Option 1: Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Bus

Taking the ADO bus to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City is the option that most balances budget and comfort.

You used to have to a 10-hour bus along a 500-km route as the buses were too large for the mountain route – but no more! Now, it takes just 3 hours – and the tickets are a third of the cost compared with what they were before.

TOP TIP: Sit on the right-hand side for the best views!

Services & Cost

There are 5 services each day, covering the morning, afternoon and evening.

These are:

  • ADO (first-class bus): departs 7.15 am, arrives 10.15 am
  • ADO (first-class bus): departs 9 am, arrives 12 midday
  • ADO gl (executive service bus): departs 11.45 am, arrives 2.45 pm
  • OCC (second-class bus): departs 4.15 pm, arrives 7.15 pm
  • ADO gl (executive class bus): departs 7.45 pm, arrives 10.45 pm

ADO gl are the nicest buses. The wide seats recline quite a lot and there’s lots of leg room. ADO and OCC buses are more than comfortable for the short journey, although ADO tends to have more comfortable seats and more legroom.

All bus services have toilets and under-bus storage for large luggage.

Tickets cost around 18 USD for ADO and OCC or 21 USD for ADO gl. Honestly, there’s not much difference, so I’d just pick the time that’s most convenient for you.

Remember, the Oaxaca bus station is slightly out of the city centre. So you’ll need to factor transfer time into your journey too.

Similarly for Puerto Escondido’s ADO bus terminal. Although it is located centrally, many visitors stay in the Zicatela, La Punta or Rinconada neighbourhoods. All of which require onward transport.


One option is to book via the ADO website (if you can get it to work). Although they don’t have any promotional fares available on this route, so you don’t save when booking in advance.

Another option is to book through Busbud – a bus comparison site that has a more reliable website and payment processor! An added bonus is free changes to your date and time up to 1 hour before your booked departure, giving you the flexibility you need when travelling.

> > > Planned your onward travels? After Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido, the next stop on the backpacker trail is San Cristóbal de las Casa. A beautiful mountain town that I couldn’t recommend more. Check out this complete guide on getting there from Puerto Escondido.

Option 2: Colectivo to Puerto Escondido through the mountains

Colectivos are only slightly cheaper than the ADO buses and you do sacrifice a fair bit of comfort. In these 16-seater minibuses, the seats are narrower, there’s less legroom and there’s no toilets on board.

But, they aren’t held up by protests and run much more frequently. So you’ll have more choice in when you make the journey.

And the colectivos to Puerto Escondido take the new highway from Oaxaca. So you no longer have to endure hours of travel sickness and being thrown around in your seat on the winding mountain passes!

How to get to from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido by colectivo

There are a few options for direct colectivos to Puerto Escondido.

These include:

  • La Solteca S.C.L (this is the name on Google Maps, so you can find it easily)
  • Villa Escondida
  • Villa del Pacifico

To note, there’s a good chance your luggage will be put on the roof of the vehicle. It’s rare for people to lose luggage, as normally everything is tied down well.

But, you should keep all valuables and important items in a bag that you take onto the colectivo.

Cost & Times

Colectivos are the same price as the bus – 300 pesos.

But departures are typically every hour from 3 am through to 11 pm, so they give you more flexibility in when you travel.

Booking in advance is not generally required but services will be busier around national holidays. You can usually book in advance by going to the office.

Looking out across the ruins of Monte Alban in Oaxaca City, you can see the planes take off from Oaxaca Airport from here.

Option 3: Take a flight to Puerto Escondido

Flying from Oaxaca used to be a good option to avoid the long, vomit-inducing journey or night bus. But now, it’s not much quicker once you factor in the time you’ll need at the airport.

But if budget isn’t a constraint and you’d love to see the Oaxacan mountains from above, this is cheaper than you might expect.

Can you fly from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido?

Yes, direct flights operate just a couple of times per day. But, you won’t find the OAX to Puerto Escondido route on flight comparison sites or with well-known commercial airlines.

Additionally, you won’t find a jumbo jet waiting for you on the tarmac.

Instead, small propeller planes seating no more than around 10 people make the journey each day. While this will certainly be a unique experience, it can make for a bumpier flight and landing.

The two airlines operating the OAX to Puerto Escondido (PXM) flight route are Aerotucan and Aerovega. The latter of which has almost no online presence, but is legit.

TOP TIPS: As the flight is private, it doesn’t show on the departure boards on the airport. So make sure you’re paying attention. And don’t forget you’ll pass through airport security, so get your drinks for the plane after that.

Booking & Cost

An Aerotucan Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido flight can be booked online or at Oaxaca de Juarez Airport.

For Aerovega, you’ll need to email [email protected]. Or send a WhatsApp message to the airline (a one-man, one-captain company) on +529545880062.

The price of a one-way flight starts at around 210 USD/3,500 pesos. This has gone up a lot in the last year (from 2,500 pesos) due to the increasing price of fuel.

To note, you’ll want to check the luggage allowance with whichever company you book with. Smaller planes are normally much more stringent about keeping to weight allowances, including carry-on.

Excess luggage is likely to incur a costly fee to cover the increased amount of fuel needed. And, a flight is unlikely to be a suitable way to travel with a surfboard or any other bulky gear.

In all honestly, the price is not much for a near-private flying experience. Especially, if you consider the flight an activity as the views and overall experience are so cool.

Journey Time

The flight time between Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido is only 30 minutes. And, on a clear day, you will be treated to the most majestic views of the mountains and coast.

Oaxaca Airport is a 30-minute drive from the heart of the city. While Puerto Escondido Airport is just a 10-minute drive from the Centro district and closer yet to the neighbourhoods of Bacocho and Rinconada.

Still looking for accommodation in Puerto Escondido?

Find the top-rated hotels, check availability and book online through booking.com
or hostelworld.com

One of many churches in Oaxaca City

Option 4: Drive to the coast from Oaxaca City

If you have your own car or already have one rented for an extended period, driving to Puerto Escondido makes perfect sense.

You can leave when you like, stop when you like and it means you have your car with you on the coast. Which, is a great way to get around and explore harder-to-reach beaches and towns.

But, I wouldn’t recommend hiring a car just to travel between Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca. Because the public transport routes are quick, efficient and cheap.

Is it safe driving from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

In short: it’s much safer now that you don’t have to navigate the mountain roads and hairpin bends!

Most of the time when this question is asked about places in Mexico, it’s usually carjackings, robberies, corrupt police officers and roadblocks that people are concerned about. None of which are a real concern on the roads here. Although, some roadblocks can occur as a way for the local people to protest.

Instead, the biggest safety concern used to be the condition of the roads and the weather conditions reducing visibility.

But, the new highway is great to drive on and the tolls should raise funds to keep it in good condition.

If you want to drive the mountain route, make the journey during the day and check the weather forecast in advance. Ideally, you’d also have experience with the roads before. As well as having experience with the car (braking distance, handling etc) and driving on the right-hand side of the road (alien to us Brits and Aussies).

RELATED POST > > > Playa Bacocho, Puerto Escondido (Complete Beach Guide)

The beautiful streets of Oaxaca City, the capital of the state of Oaxaca. Colourful bunting hangs across the street of colourful buildings

Option 5: Private Transfer to Puerto Escondido

Another option to get for driving from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido is to take a private transfer. Now, these aren’t as popular or common for this route as in other parts of the country, due to the long journey time.

However, like much of Mexico, when someone is willing to pay, someone is willing to drive. But, a private transfer isn’t going to come cheap.

Booking & Cost

You can book online with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance, as well as a pay later option.

A one-way journey in a car that seats 3 people costs 299 USD. For larger groups, a private 8-seater minibus costs 439 USD.

These costs are for the whole vehicle and therefore are split between all passengers – hotel pick up is included. For 8 people travelling in a minivan, this equates to just about 55 USD per person.

The mountain town of San Jose del Pacifico is the perfect stopover on a journey between Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido

Option 6: Via San José del Pacifico (with a stopover)

An alternative option to a long drive or expensive flight is to stop mid-way. And, there’s nowhere more perfect for your stopover than the mountain town of San José del Pacifico.

Located at 2600 metres, San Jose del Pacifico is known as the magic mushroom town of Mexico.

Use of the natural psychedelics has been decriminalised in the town due to their indigenous and cultural use. As such, (a relatively small number of) backpackers and tourists come to San Jose del Pacifico for a psychedelic experience in the mountains.

But, magic mushrooms aren’t the only reason to visit San José del Pacifico. Hiking trails and viewpoints that look over the Sierra Madre mountains, often from above the clouds, are perfect for adventure-seeking visitors.

This is the perfect place for a stopover between Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido as you can stay for one, two, three or more nights. Accommodation is available in cheap town-centre hotels or more remote forest cabins where you’ll be fully disconnected from the rest of the world.

For more information and a detailed guide on how to get there from Oaxaca City and then on to Puerto Escondido, read this complete guide to visiting San José del Pacifico.

Is it worth going to Puerto Escondido?

If you like surfing, beaches and/or being by the sea, then you’ll find something perfect for you in Puerto Escondido.

Although it has a reputation as a surfing town, there’s plenty more on offer. Whale-watching tours, sunset boat rides, releasing baby turtles into the wild and kayaking in lagoons are just a few of the activities in Puerto Escondido.

Plus, there’s also everything from party hostels to luxury villas. As well as all types of restaurants from seafood to Persian.

There are beach bars and markets. Plus sunset spots and world-class surfing competitions right on the beach.

What’s more, you can travel along the coast to other small towns and special beaches. Like Lagunas de Chacahua National Park, a small town where there’s barely any WiFi or phone signal, but miles of golden sand.

Or, Mazunte and Zipolite, Oaxaca’s coastal spiritual towns with sprawling beaches. In fact, some of Mexico’s best beaches are in Oaxaca – here are 25 Oaxaca beaches you should add to your must-visit list!

If you have any questions or want any more information, drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Information is correct as of March 2024 but is subject to change in future.

More Mexico Travel Guides

OAXACA: Playa Bacocho, Puerto Escondido (Oaxaca Beach Guide)

MEXICO: 22 Stunning Mexico Waterfalls Worth Visiting

OAXACA: 25 Oaxaca Beaches You HAVE to Visit

OAXACA: Lagunas de Chacahua, Oaxaca (Ultimate Travel Guide)

CHIAPAS: Incredible Waterfalls at Cascadas El Chiflón, Chiapas (Travel Guide)

CHIAPAS: Visit El Arcotete Eco Park in San Cristobal, Chiapas [Complete Guide]

And much more, check out all Mexico Travel Guides here!


A complete travel guide for getting from Oaxaca City to the Pacific coast town of Puerto Escondido. All options from propeller plane and private shuttle to a 10-hour night bus and bumpy colectivo ride through the mountains

13 thoughts on “Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido (New Road Changes EVERYTHING!)”

  1. Hi, thanks for this post, it‘s super useful. You go in detail about this journey.
    Are there nice to sit and wait for the night bus Puerto-Oaxaca for those of us who checked out our rooms in the morning at Mazunte, for instance? Nice cool cafes would be lovely to hear. Left luggage, showers. Thanks a lot

    1. Thank you, glad you found it useful. I’m not sure of any cafes, I just hung around at my hostel under about 9 pm and then headed straight to the bus station. It could be worth contacting some nearby hostels you like the look of, and seeing if they offer day passes to use their facilities. They generally have secure areas for luggage too.

  2. Hey there! Great info thank you for putting it out there.

    We will probably opt for the ADO bus for the oaxaca to PE trip, but do you have advice for getting from PE to Hautalco and back? we have around 4 weeks on the coast and would like to saty in one or two towns on the way and maybe explore the coutnry and hills above. We had considered driving a rentla yet there seem to be quite a few negatives to this idea!

    Any advice greatly appreciate.

    Dil and Sooz, Wales, UK

    1. You can take the ADO/OCC buses from the ADO Terminal in Puerto Escondido to the ADO Terminal in Huatulco. The journey takes around 2.5 hours and you can book tickets either online or at the bus station. On that route the bus also stops at Pochutla, where you can find local bus connections to Mazunte or Zipolite – two smaller beach towns. From Pochutla, you can also take smaller minibuses to San Jose del Pacifico – a small town in the mountains of Oaxaca, much cooler than the coast where you can hike and enjoy a different kind of nature.

  3. Thanks for sharing, we chose the Oaxaca Shuttle company in private service, and we asked them to make a stop in San José del Pacífico, it is impressive how beautiful it is and especially to see the green mountains. The fee was $349 usd. Thanks for the information you share.

  4. Hi Zoe,
    I have the following itinerary after leaving Tulum:

    24/10 – 28/10: Oaxaca City (4 Nights)
    28/10 – 31/10: Mexico City (3 Nights)

    I’ve heard Puerto Escondido is amazing and highly recommended by others when coming to the Oaxaca State. I don’t know when I will get to come back to Mexico (I’m Australian) so is it worth changing my trip to the following just to squeeze in Puerto Escondido?

    24/10 – 27/10: Oaxaca City (3 Nights)
    27/10 – 29/10: Puerto Escondido (2 Nights)
    29/10 – 31/10: Mexico City (2 Nights)

    Please help!
    Thanks so much

    1. Hi, I think it comes down to whether you want to spend as much time at the beach as possible or not? If you want to be at the beach, then go to Puerto Escondido. But remember, the travel days are long so you’ll probably see very little of each place. Personally, I think Oaxaca City and Mexico City offer much more of an insight into Mexican culture and history (Oaxaca City: Monte Alban, Hierve el Agua, Mezcal tasting, Historic centre & Mexico City: Teotihuacan, Historic centre, Chapultepec, Coyocan), whereas Puerto Escondido is a chilled beach town with good nightlife and an international crowd. Hope that helps.

    2. Hi,
      I think I will choose the ADO bus. How is the ride on this bus from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido. Are there many mountains to cross?

      1. It does cross the mountains so there are a lot of winding roads and turns but I didn’t find it too bad. Just make sure to keep your belongings secure as they can slide along the floor with all the turns. And try to avoid sitting at the back as you’ll feel the bumps more there.

  5. Hello!
    Super helpful post – thank you! It’s August 2023 now – any update on when the highway will be finished?!!
    Vicki x

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