Though it’s well established as a tourist destination, Puerto Ángel still goes about its business as a small, down-at-heel fishing port with minimum fuss. Everything remains resolutely low-key – you may very well find pigs and chickens mingling with the visitors on the streets – and locals fish off the huge concrete dock, catching yellowtail tuna and other gamefish with a simple rod and line. Though it has a gorgeous setting – around a sheltered bay and ringed by mountains – the beaches are less than pristine. Small hotels, rooms and simple places to sling a hammock, however, are abundant, with some of the most promising on the road between the main village and the Playa del Panteón. If you’re on a tight budget Puerto Ángel can be a fun place to spend a few days, meandering and sampling the superb local seafood, while the fabulous Casa Bichu will appeal to those willing to splurge.
Puerto Ángel has two, rather scruffy, beaches: Playa Principal is right in front of the town, and Playa del Panteón is opposite, beyond a rocky promontory and the mouth of a small stream. Panteón is the cleaner of the two, reached by road or a path around the base of the cliffs to the west. Here there is some interesting snorkelling around the rocks, though the stretch of sand is not without a profusion of tenacious hawkers. By the afternoon, though, it’s in shade, so most people wander round to the town beach. With just a little more effort you can visit one of the far better beaches either side of Puerto Ángel. To the west is the more primitive Zipolite, while to the east, about fifteen minutes’ walk up the Pochutla road and then down a heavily rutted track to the right, is tranquil Estacahuite. Here you’ll find three tiny, sandy coves divided by outcrops of rock and the swish Casa Bichu. The rocks are close in, so you can’t swim far, but there’s wonderful snorkelling (beware of sharp coral and undercurrents) and rarely more than a handful of other people around. You can rent snorkelling gear here (M$150/day), or hire it from cafés on the Playa del Panteón and bring it with you.
There are other lovely beaches near Estacahuite, including idyllic Playa del Boquilla, where you’ll find the Hotel Bahía de la Luna and a restaurant, accessible by boat from Puerto Ángel. Boquilla is signposted from the main road to Pochutla, but it’s inadvisable to drive down here, as the seven-kilometre road is in a terrible state. A better idea is to arrange a boat trip in advance to both beaches, turtle-spotting along the way.