How to get to Chacahua: STEP-BY-STEP Details

Are you trying to figure out how to get to Chacahua, Oaxaca?

Firsty, I’m super jealous! Laguna De Chacahua is one of my favorite places on Earth.

Despite its increasing popularity, this small fishing village has maintained its authentic charm and is the perfect getaway if you’re looking for sea, sun, and surf.

However, getting from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua is the hard part.

While the journey takes around 3 hours, it involves a series of transportation methods, including bus, taxi, and boat. For many travelers, this is too much of a mission, and so they choose to give it a skip.

But don’t make that mistake!

The journey to get to Chacahua from Puerto Escondido is pretty straightforward and well worth the effort.

After doing this trip in April 2023, I created this step-by-step guide on how to get to Chacahua. It answers all the questions I had… and a whole lot more!

How to get to chacahua from puerto escondido
Arriving at Chacahua with the direct lancha from El Zapotalito

Overview of how to get to Chacahua (from Puerto Escondido)

Location: Laguna De Chacahua National Park (here)
Total time needed: 3 hours
Total cost: 405 pesos for the scenic trip | 205 pesos for the cheaper option

Step-by-step summary

Below is a quick overview of how to get from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua. I go into more details further along in the post.

First, you will need to go to Terminal Tur Bus station in Puerto Escondido.

From there, take a colectivo (minivan) to an intersection that connects to a road leading to El Zapotalito. Here is the exact location.

Next, you’ll get off the colectivo, cross the road and take a taxi or camioneta (shared truck) to El Zapotalito.

After arriving in El Zapotalito, you have two options to get to Chacahua.

  • Budget: Take a 10 minute Lancha ride followed by a 30 minute cominato ride
  • Scenic: Take a 45 minute direct Lancha to Chacahua – this is the preferred route and very scenic
How far is puerto escondido from chacahua
Waiting patiently for the taxi in El Zapotalito

Exact steps for how to get from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua

After reading the first part of this post, you may be feeling overwhelmed.

Don’t worry, when I was figuring out how to get to Chacahua, I felt the same way!

First, you need to get from Puerto Escondido to El Zapotalito, the gateway to Chacahua.

Take a minibus colectivo from Puerto Escondido to intersection near El Zapotalito

Terminal Tur Bus Station from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua
First, you need to take a minivan from Terminal Tur Bus Station in Puerto Escondido
  • Starting point: Terminal Tur Bus station in Puerto Escondido
  • End destination: Intersection leading to El Zapotalito (Next to La Bamba restaurant)
  • Cost: 80 pesos (we were charged 70 pesos on the return trip)
  • Travel time: 1 hour

The first step of how to get to Chacahua involves a 1-hour colectivo ride north of Puerto Escondido.

You will need to make your way to Terminal Tur in Puerto Escondido. Save this location here. It’s on the main road near the OCC bus station.

These colectivos depart every 15 to 30 minutes and you don’t need to book your ticket in advance.

Simply go to the bus driver and say “El Zapotalito”.

He will drop you off on the side of the road at an intersection that connects with a road to El Zapotalito. This is the exact location which is next to La Bamba Restaurant.

This colectivo ride takes an hour and will cost you 80 pesos per person.

Note: Immediately after leaving Terminal Tur Station in Puerto Escondido, our bus stopped at another small bus stop called Servicio Mixto (here) to pick up other passengers. You can also get the bus to Chacahua from this point. However, the bus may already be full with passengers who boarded at Terminal Tur.

Take a taxi or camioneta from intersection to El Zapotalito

taxi in el Zapotalito chacahua
This taxi from the intersection to El Zapotalito will cost 25 pesos per person
  • Starting point: Taxi shelter across the street from roadside stop (La Bamba restaurant)
  • End destination: El Zapotalito
  • Cost: 25 pesos per person
  • Travel time: 10 minutes

After being dropped off on the side of the road near La Bamba restaurant (here), cross the road and wait in the small taxi shelter.

There should be a taxi or camioneta (shared truck) waiting. If not, it won’t be long before they arrive, so just hang tight.

The 10-minute ride to El Zapotalito costs 25 pesos per person, no matter how many people get in the taxi.

We took a taxi the one way and a camioneta on the way back. Both cost 25 pesos. Just hop in whichever comes first.

Final step of getting to Chacahua: 2 Options

Where is Chacahua, Oaxaca
After arriving in El Zapotalito, you’ll need to take a lancha (boat)

After arriving in the small village of El Zapotalito, you have two options to get to Chacahua.

You can either take the direct (and more expensive) lancha (small boat) from El Zapotalito to Chacahua.

Or you can opt for the cheaper option, which will involve a quick lancha ride followed by a camioneta ride on a dirt road.

Both end up taking the same amount of time, but the price and overall experience are different.

Here’s what you need to know.

Option 1: Direct boat from El Zapotalito to Chacahua (Scenic but expensive route)

Lancha from El Zapotalito to Chacahua
The direct boat to Chacahua takes you through a beautiful mangrove forest
  • Starting point: Servicios Turisticos La Isla Del Vendo (here)
  • End destination: Main square in Laguna De Chacahua
    Cost: 300 pesos per person
  • Travel time: 45 minutes

This is the most scenic way of getting from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua and costs 300 pesos per person.

After getting off the taxi, ask for “Lancha Directo”.

You’ll hop on a small boat and head across the lagoon to Chacahua. It’s an incredibly beautiful ride through narrow mangrove forests.

The lanchas only leave when they are full. This means you could end up waiting a while for one to fill up. I was lucky and only waited 5 minutes. But I spoke to another traveler who had to wait over an hour before her lancha left.

After 45 minutes, you’ll be dropped off on the lagoon side of Chacahua, closest to the village. From there, you can hop off and walk to your accommodation.

If you’re unsure of which side of the laguna to get off at, it’s on the left. Do NOT get dropped on the side with the lighthouse as this isn’t the main hub.

Option 2: Lancha and truck combo from El Zapotalito to Chacahua (budget option)

Transport to Chacahua
If you choose the budget option, you’ll need to take a quick lancha ride followed by a 30 minute truck ride to get to Chacahua
  • Starting point: Lanchas Colectivos (here)
  • End destination: Chacahua
  • Cost: 100 pesos per person (50 pesos for the lancha, 50 pesos for the truck)
  • Travel time: 45 minutes

After getting off the taxi in El Zapotalito, go to the lancha departure point. The boat operators will try to get you to go “directo”, but just say “no directo, gracias” and head to this point.

The lancha ride costs 50 pesos per person. After 10 minutes, you’ll arrive at a small wooden dock on the island of Chacahua.

From there, you’ll get on the camioneta truck which will cost an additional 50 pesos. This bumpy ride will take about 30 minutes and you’ll be dropped off in the main plaza.

How to get from Chacahua to Puerto Escondido

getting to chacahua from Puerto Escondido
Taking the lancha back from Chacahua to Puerto Escondido

For your return trip, you will follow a similar journey as you had taken to get from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua.

If you arrived via the direct lancha, you might want to take the cheaper option back. This truck departs every hour from the main square. But this is not every hour on the hour as I thought!

So I recommend getting there at half past and hoping for the best (it left at twenty to the hour when I was leaving).

Tips for how to get to Laguna De Chacahua from Puerto Escondido

Things to do in Chacahua
This is where the colectivo will drop you off after leaving Puerto Escondido
  • Make sure you are following your Google Maps after leaving Puerto Escondido to keep track of when you should get off. If you’ve told the driver you are going to El Zapotalito, he should stop without being reminded, but best to be safe than sorry.
  • There are points in the journey from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua where you will lose cell phone reception, so I recommend downloading Google Maps for offline use. This is free and will allow you to track your location and saved attractions, even if you have no phone reception.
  • There is no ATM in Chacahua so bring enough cash as most businesses are cash only. I noticed one restaurant that accepted cash payments, but there’s a 5% transaction fee.
  • I recommend taking the direct lancha to Chacahua as it’s a beautiful boat ride through the mangroves. And on your return to Puerto Escondido from Chacahua, take the cheaper alternative.

How far is it from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua?

Chacahua is 55km from Puerto Escondido. There is no direct bus and it can take 2 to 3 hours to get to Chacahua.

What is the cheapest way to get to Chacahua?

The cheapest way to get to Chacahua is by colectivo from Puerto Escondido to the intersection (80 pesos) followed by a taxi or camioneta to El Zapotalito (25 pesos). You can then take a combination of lancha and camioneta (100 pesos) to get to chacahua. The total journey from Puerto Escondido will cost 205 pesos.

Is there a bus from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua?

No, there is no direct bus from Puerto Escondido to Chacahua. You will need to use at least three modes of transportation, including colectivo, taxi, and boat.

What to do after getting to Chacahua?

After arriving in Chacahua, you’ll immediately get into holiday mode!

Find a place to stay, grab a beer, go watch the surfers from the jetty and chill out! Here’s my detailed guide on everything you need to know about Chacahua, including where to stay and what to do.

Do you have any questions about how to get to Chacahua from Puerto Escondido? Drop me a message in the comments section below.

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

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.

2 thoughts on “How to get to Chacahua: STEP-BY-STEP Details”

  1. Hola carryn! Just found out about your blog post on chacaua- super thankful for the information your put on there !!

    As it seems really hard to find an affordable accomendation as a solo traveler (doing Nica to North MX right now) and I saw you basically just looked for an accommodation after getting there, is there anything you would recommend? Maybe also stuff that’s not online? Would be lovely to get some inside tips!

    Muchas gracias y saludos de mexico!


    • Hey Manuel,

      I recommend reading my Chacahua travel guide here. I stayed at Jamy’s which is on the beach front, about 5 minute walk from the pier. It’s not available online – but most accommodation isn’t!

      One tip is to negotiate the price. I asked around at a few cabanas for a price and tried to negotiate based on length of stay. They’ll offer something better if you’re staying for 3 or more days. I also managed to get it lower as I was there during the week, and not weekend.

      Also, check what the swell is doing and how busy it is. If there’s good surf it can get super busy and the price for accommodation will be at its peak. With the high demand, you’re unlikely to negotiate a good price. It’s a different story if you go mid week and it’s quiet.

      Good luck and enjoy Chacahua!



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