The Ultimate Guide to Chacahua, Oaxaca

Rustic beach vibes. Lush mangrove forests. Epic surf.

What’s not to love about Chacahua, Oaxaca?

This remote fishing village has been put on the map thanks to its consistent waves, wild coastline, and laid-back atmosphere.

But the secret is officially out, and Chacahua is no longer the hidden gem it once was.

Despite this, the village still maintains its rustic charm and is the perfect place to go for surf, sea, and sun.

This guide details everything you need to know about visiting Chacahua in Oaxaca, Mexico. It also includes insider tips on where to eat, sleep and play.

Playa Chacahua in Oaxaca on a sunny day
Chacahua, Oaxaca. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Tips for visiting Laguna De Chacahua

Cash is king: There are no ATMs in Chacahua, so bring enough cash (and some more). The main supermarket takes credit cards but charges a hefty fee for this service.

The internet is weak. There is no mobile phone signal in Chacahua, but most accommodations offer WiFi. However, the signal is extremely weak, and you’ll struggle to browse the internet, let alone do any work.

Chacahua is the perfect place for a digital detox. Bring a book and a pack of playing cards and disconnect from the outside world.

Where is Chacahua, Oaxaca

Chacahua lies 60 km north of Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico. It forms part of Laguna De Chacahua National Park, home to impressive mangrove forests and wildlife.

But getting here isn’t as easy as it seems.

You’ll need to take a series of transportation methods, including bus, boat, and truck. But the 3-hour journey is worth it. Trust me!

chacahua oaxaca sunsets
Sunset from Laguna de Chacahua

How to get to Chacahua

Puerto Escondido is the gateway to Chacahua, Oaxaca. In my opinion, Puerto Escondido is totally overrated, so skip it and head straight to Chacahua!

Here’s how to get to Chacahua, Oaxaca.

Step 1: After arriving in Puerto Escondido, go to Terminal Tur Bus station, which is next to the ADO bus station. From there, take a colectivo (minivan) to an intersection that connects to a road leading to El Zapotalito. Here is the exact location.

Step 2: Get off the colectivo at the intersection of El Zapotalito, cross the road, and take a taxi or camioneta (shared truck) to El Zapotalito.

Step 3: After arriving in El Zapotalito, take a 45-minute direct boat to Chacahua. If you’re on a tight budget, you can opt for a 10-minute boat ride followed by a 30-minute caminato ride instead.

Here’s my post that details exactly how to get to Chacahua. It includes step-by-step instructions (with pictures), as getting to Chacahua can be overwhelming.

Is chacahua worth it
Walking the beach, trying to find a place to stay in Chacahua

Where to stay in Chacahua, Oaxaca

While Chacahua is a small village, there are two sides with a few areas to stay.

I’ll start by telling you where NOT to stay in Chacahua.

Where not to stay in Chacahua

The “other side.” Chacahua is separated by a waterway that connects the lagoon to the Pacific Ocean. Don’t stay on the side where the lighthouse is (which will be to your right if you arrive by boat). It’s far from the main Chacahua surf spot, and you’ll have to pay 15 pesos for a boat ride whenever you want to get to the other side.

Too far from the jetty. Playa de Chacahua is a long stretch of beach that goes on for as far as the eyes can see. But no roads, cars, or bikes are along the beachfront, so you’re walking everywhere. If you stay too far from the main square and jetty, getting to the surf spots or restaurants can be a pretty far walk.

atms in chacahua
This is the supermarket in the main square of Chacahua, Oaxaca

Where to stay in Chacahua

I suggest staying on the main side of Laguna de Chacahua, which will be to the left if you arrive by boat. This is where all the action happens. You’ll find the main square here as well as the best Chacahua surf.

If you’re not too fussy about accommodation, don’t pre-book a place to stay. I arrived with no bookings and found the most incredible accommodation on the beach.

Having said that, Chacahua is booming with backpackers and eager surfers. We also met a lot of ex-pats who live in Puerto Escondido and visit Chacahua for weekend getaways to escape the hustle and bustle.

If you’re planning your trip to Chacahua over a weekend, public holiday, or school holiday, finding accommodation might be more challenging for you than it was for me.

Also, check the Chacahua surf forecast. If it shows good swell, I guarantee the surfers will come from all over Mexico.

During these busier times, you should consider pre-booking accommodation. I have no doubt that you will find a place to stay in Chacahua, but you might have to spend more time walking around and pay a bit more than you had hoped to.

Camping in Chacahua

Camping is the cheapest option for accommodation in Chacahua. But it’s very basic, and you’ll pitch your tent in the sand. You can also opt to sleep in a hammock.

It costs 50 pesos per night for camping but prepare to pay double if you’re visiting over a busy weekend.

beaches in chacahua oaxaca
Beach vibes of Chacahua

Cabanas

Cabanas are popping up all over Chacahua. But don’t expect anything luxurious!

Most rooms will have a fan and cold water showers. There’s also WiFi, but the signal strength will be poor.

I stayed at Jamy’s and highly recommend it. My private cabana cost 600 pesos per night, but the owners offered a better deal of 400 pesos if I booked a minimum of 4 nights (which I did).

I was hoping to find accommodation with air conditioning. But I quickly discovered that these options are limited. You’re also paying double the price for a room with an aircon.

I recommend booking your accommodation online if you’re looking for an airconditioned room and a more comfortable setup. If you’re looking for fancy resorts, Chacahua is not for you!

Things to do in Chacahua, Mexico

Chacahua is the ultimate beach destination.

Picture this: Waking up to the sound of waves. Breakfast on the beach. Yoga with ocean views. Salty surf sessions.

Yep, I know – the dream!

Chacahua Surf: the best thing to do in Chacahua

Chacahua surf
Chacahua is one of the best right waves in Mexico

Die-hard surfers were the first to discover the beauty of Chacahua. They enjoyed the uncrowded surf and rugged coastline with only a handful of other travelers.

But a lot has changed since then.

Chacahua has become one of the best places to surf in Mexico, and there are a lot of people in the water. But it’s less crowded than Puerto Escondido.

Chacahua has an impressive right-hander break that can run for hundreds of meters on a good day. If you’re lucky enough to snag one of these, avoid the long paddle back out. Instead, run back along the beach to the paddle-out point by the jetty.

There are also a few shorter lefts that come through, but Chacahua Surf is all about the famous right.

It’s not a barreling wave, making it ideal for both long and short boards. The inside section is a great place to learn how to surf.

To get out, take an easy paddle from the beach alongside the jetty. You can also walk to the end of the pier and hop off the rocks.

Best time to surf at Chacahua

learn to surf chacahua
The rugged coastline of Chacahua, Mexico

The Chacahua surf is on fire during the rainy season from May to September. This is when you’ll find the biggest waves.

Those who come to Chacahua to surf at this time are generally experienced surfers.

If you’re learning to surf, you should visit between October and April when the waves are more suitable for beginners.

Renting surfboards in Chacahua

surfbaord rentals in chacahua mexico
You won’t struggle to find surfboard rentals in Chacahua, Oaxaca

There are many places to rent surfboards in Chacahua. The starting price is 300 pesos daily, but you can negotiate a better deal if you rent for a few days.

You’ll need to hand in proof of ID when renting a board. Do not give your passport!

I recommend using an expired or international driving license. I always take my old drivers with me on my travels. Our friends handed in their ID and never got it back!

So that’s all you need to know about surfing in Chacahua; now let’s get into the other things to do.

Hang out on the jetty

surfing in chacahua oaxaca
Watching the surfers from the jetty

The jetty is the best place to watch the surfers in action.

Buy a few drinks and snacks before taking the short walk to the jetty’s edge. Don’t leave Chacahua without checking it out. I could spend hours here.

Chill on the beach

I pretty much spent all my time hanging out on Playa Chacahua.

You can watch the surfers, go for a dip, drink some beers, and catch a tan.

If you plan on swimming here, note that there’s often a rip in the swimming area, and the waves can be strong.

Watch the sunrise from Playa Chacahua

fishing chacahua oaxaca
Watching the sunrise from Playa Chacahua

It’s hard to beat the early mornings in Chacahua. The sun rises from the beachside, and this is the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee.

You’ll see the local fishermen getting their catch for the day and the eager surfers heading out to the surf. It’s a peaceful time and worthy of an early wake-up.

Swim in the Chacahua Lagoon

If you’re looking for a more relaxing place to swim, the Chacahua Lagoon is perfect for you.

The calm, shallow waters are ideal for a lazy afternoon swim sesh.

Do yoga in Chacahua

chacahua yoga
You’re not going to find a better place to do yoga that this

Yoga is one of the best things to do in Chacahua.

I started each morning with a relaxing yoga class at Palma Real, which is on the beachfront, just a stone’s throw from the main square.

A yoga class costs 150 pesos.

Try The Lentil Soup

Have you really been to Chacahua if you have not eaten this famous Lentil Soup? This restaurant is an institution in the village!

For only 50 pesos, you’re treated to the most delicious and flavorful lentil soup with tacos on the side.

The restaurant is located on the corner of the main square. And it’s not hard to find! Just look for the place that only has lentil soup on its menu.

Watch the sunset

Chacahua sunsets
Watching the sunset from the jetty in Chachau

I love a good sunset! And Chacahua did not disappoint.

But the sun doesn’t set from the main surfing beach. For the best sunset spots, you have a few choices.

  • The main jetty, looking back into the Laguna.
  • One of the few local bars near the lagoon
  • The Lighthouse, which is on the opposite side of the lagoon to the main square

Walk to the lighthouse (El Faro)

The Lighthouse is one of Chacahua’s biggest attractions. You’ll find it at the mouth of the laguna, on the opposite side of the main beach.

To get to the Chacahua lighthouse, take a boat to cross the lagoon. This will cost 15 pesos for the quick ride. Walk past the beachfront restaurants until you see a sign “Playa El Faro.”

From here, you’ll hike up the hill and climb the stairs to the lighthouse. It only takes 15 minutes, and you’re rewarded with spectacular views from the top.

Eat seafood

where to eat chacahua
Fresh king prawns for lunch

The seafood in Chacahua is some of the best I’ve ever eaten. And don’t get me started on the ceviche – it is to die for!

It costs 200 to 250 pesos for a large portion of either prawns, ceviche, or fish. The best I found was from Jamys, which was where I stayed.

Bioluminescent plankton

The bioluminescent plankton is one of Chacahua’s top attractions. These are best seen during the new moon when the sky is darkest.

For as little as 150 pesos, you can get a private tour with a local. They know the best spots to see the bioluminescent plankton.

Do absolutely nothing

where to stay in Chacahua mexico
Chilling at Jamy’s in Chacahua, Oaxaca

No one will judge you for having a lazy getaway in Chacahua. Chill in a hammock and have that afternoon nap!

My best memories from Chacahua were hanging out at Jamys Restaurant, watching the surf, and chatting with other travelers.

Whale watching

Humpback whales travel along the Pacific Coast during whale migration season from December to March.

If you visit Chacahua during this time, you’ll be in for a treat! You may even get lucky and see dolphins, turtles, rays, and more.

Explore the mangroves

mangroves in Chacahua
Passing through the mangroves on the boat to Chacahua

Laguna De Chacahua is a national park with lush mangroves and plenty of wildlife.

If you take the small boat to get to Chacahua, you’ll catch a glimpse of this along the way.

But if you’d like to do more birdwatching and mangrove exploration, you can pay a local to take you out for a few hours.

This boat tour costs 1 600 pesos, but the costs are split by the number of people who join you.

Release baby turtles

Chacahua is home to a few species of turtles that nest their eggs on its shores between October and March.

These species include the Oliver Ridley, Leatherback, and Green or Black turtles.

chacahua travel guide
Surfers hitting the water at sunrise

Nightlife in Chacahua

If you’re coming to Chacahua for the nightlife, you should reconsider! It’s not a party place (and I hope it never becomes one).

Everyone tends to have early nights and early mornings. But there’s definitely a festive vibe with people enjoying drinks throughout the day.

However, there is the occasional party! The community organized a fundraising event during my visit, and the party continued until sunrise.

Is Chacahua worth visiting

Yes, yes, yes! Chacahua is absolutely incredible.

So many people skip Chacahua in favor of Puerto Escondido. Don’t be one of them.

What to pack

  • Cash
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray for evenings
  • Playing cards
  • Books
  • Downloaded podcasts
A beautiful beach in Laguna De Chacahua
Laguna de Chacahua is 100% it

Chacahua National Park day trip from Puerto Escondido

You can take a day trip to Chacahua from Puerto Escondido. But I do not recommend it.

Getting to Chacahua takes 3 hours, so you won’t have much time to enjoy it unless you’re leaving really early.

If you can’t spend the night and you really want to visit, it’s better to do a tour where your transport is taken care of. Why?

Because if you visit independently, you might have to wait around for buses and boats, which will only eat into the little free time you have in Chacahua.

Is there internet in Chacahua?

There is no mobile phone signal in Chacahua, but most places offer WiFi internet. However, the signal strength is very weak. If you plan on working or doing travel research, you won’t get anything done. Trust me on this!

Are there ATM’s in Chacahua?

No, there are no ATM’s in Chacahua. I recommend bringing 500 to 1000 pesos per day in cash.

If you get stuck, you can withdraw money from the main supermarket in the square. But this is the only place to do so, and they charge a hefty commission of 10%. With the constant power issues, I wouldn’t rely on this as an option for drawing money.

How long does it take to get to Chacahua from Puerto Escondido?

It takes about 3 hours to get to Chacahua from Puerto Escondido.

When leaving Chacahua, allow extra time if you have a connection on the same day. You might have to wait for a boat or bus, and the last thing you want is to miss an expensive flight out of Puerto Escondido.

What is Chacahua known for?

Chacahua is known for its laid-back beach vibes and impressive surf.

Final thoughts on Chacahua, Mexico

The beauty of Chacahua lies in its rustic charm and chilled vibes. It’s untouched by tourism and was my favorite place in all of Mexico.

Gary is already planning his next Chacahua surf trip, and I’m here for it!

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Best Things to do in Chacahua Oaxaca Mexico

Do you have any questions about visiting Chacahua in Oaxaca, Mexico? Drop me a message in the comments section below!

Looking for more Mexico travel inspiration? Check out my other posts!

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About Carryn

Hi, I'm Carryn. I’m an adventure travel blogger trying to figure out my way through life by traveling and exploring. Join me as I share my travel guides and tips for life abroad. Find out more about me here.

3 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Chacahua, Oaxaca”

    • Hi Robin,

      I stayed at a place on the beach called “Jamy’s”. It’s a 10 minute walk along the beach from the Jetty. They also have a great restaurant so if they’re fully booked, make sure you stop here for a meal.

      Have fun.
      Carryn

      Reply

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