Puerto Escondido is a sleepy little fishing town that barely existed 35 years ago. At that time the population was around 500 and power was supplied by generators. Later with coastal highway 200, the power grid arrived and an airport (palapa with a portable radio). It was out of the way cheap, scenic, and some of the best surfing in the world. A lot of upscale development has happened further south around Huatulco, just not here yet.
Puerto Escondido also has a very off beat tourist class, many backpackers, surfers, and europeans. A different vacation place in México. They have serval nice restaurants owned by expats thanks to this.
The city has grown to around 22,000 but not as much as most Mexican beach cities. The airport has gotten nicer, and busier for those AM flights. The ocean is always present while you visit. You can hear it from most places in town, the ocean breeze is cool and refreshing from the tropical heat. Many new houses and businesses are being built south and east of Calle del Morro. The road its self is paved with sidewalks trees, flowers, and lights.
This is a surf town. It is one top surf spots in the world, home of the 'Mexipike'. In late summer, early fall the tide starts to swell and the waves on Zicatela Beach can reach 50 feet. This is not a swimmers beach. During this time several surf competitions will be held. The pros, camera crews, organizers, and fans will fill the town, hotels, restaurants, and bars. Even locals who don't surf come to town to watch the show.
Puerto Escondido is still off the beaten path with no international flights available. Most fly in from Oaxaca or Mexico City, a few will take the bus on a very windy road. The city remains quite till after dark when all the bars and restaurants will open. Downtown on the main drag, Calle Alfonso Pérez Gazga, auto traffic is closed after 5pm. It turns into a blocks long open air market with food, drinks and handicrafts being sold. Very festive and quaint.
Shout out here to my father who introduced me to Puerto Escondido in 1993. Called me from a payphone by the beach and said it was time for me to take a vacation and visit someplace new.