Playa Riscalillo, on the Pacific Ocean in the state of Oaxaca, is a tranquil slice of paradise that few venture to.
When you imagine this beach, think of powdered sugar sand and shallow, calm waters. You don’t often see calm waters on the coast of Oaxaca, so this is an excellent place for families and anyone not into surfing.
Riscalillo Bay is actually part of the Parque Nacional Huatulco, so you have an expansive natural park right at your fingertips if you get tired of the beach. But with nine bays, it’ll be hard to see it all.
You can snorkel, swim, and dive at the beach. And since it’s protected, the scenery is absolutely mind-blowing—above the water and below.
This beach is only accessible by boat, but it’s a quick ride from Santa Cruz Bay nearby.
About Playa Riscalillo
Playa Riscalillo, Oaxaca, is considered a virgin beach, which means it is relatively untouched. Additionally, the park has a lot of different flora and fauna that are just fascinating to see.
The water is crystal clear with a turquoise hint, which is exactly what water should be for a relaxing beach day. The sand is exceptionally fine and very white. The Pacific side is quite different from the Caribbean side, so you won’t deal with the same amount of seaweed here as you would in other parts of Mexico.
Additionally, it is partially covered by trees which give natural shade.
This beach was a set for a famous Mexican film, Y tu mamá también. If the scenery is good enough for a movie, it’s good enough for us.
Things to do at Riscalillo Beach
You’re not coming to Riscalillo Beach, Huatulco, to be busy. You’re coming here to relax, relax, relax.
You absolutely should go snorkeling here. There’s a reef just off the coast that is so untouched you can see another world just below the surface.
Sunbathing and taking mental images of the sheer beauty of the beach will be your primary activity for the day. Get your creativity on with some card games, or simply listen to music and the subtle sound of the crashing waves.
As you picnic on the shore, you can watch birds like the pelican and osprey dive for their lunch.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that this area is pretty remote, even if it’s easy to get to. That said, pack everything you need for the day when you visit.
Things to Remember at Riscalillo Beach
Besides taking everything you need for the day, take any garbage and waste with you when you leave to not destroy the beach.
If you want to go snorkeling, avoid wearing sunscreen or verify that your sunscreen is coral reef-friendly.
Don’t collect shells on the beach or take them with you. This goes for sand too. Everything is protected here, so do your best to be mindful of the area. You are not allowed to make bonfires at the beach, so it might not be best to stay once it gets too dark.
You cannot camp at Playa Riscalillo, so arrange your accommodation beforehand.
Where to Stay in Playa Riscalillo
If you want to visit this magical area and see all kinds of fish, plants, and birds, you will want to stay in the Santa Cruz Bay and La Crucecita areas. Both have some of the best hotels in Huatulco.
You can go to the center of town for cheap accommodation, or stay right on the water.
Weather in Playa Riscalillo
It stays pretty warm throughout the year, rarely getting below 20°C (68°F). However, it doesn’t typically get oppressively hot, with maximum temperatures around 36°C (97°F).
It’s the rainiest between June and October, so it might be better to visit in the dry season between November and May.
And, since it isn’t super well-known, you won’t have to deal with spring break crowds in March and April like you would in Cozumel or Playa del Carmen.
Packing List Essentials for Playa Riscalillo
To prepare for your trip, you’ll want to pack the following:
- Bathing suits
- Reef safe sunscreen
- Microfiber towel
- Waterproof bag
- Bug spray
- Cooler with water, snacks, drinks, and anything else you need for the day
Fill up your supplies in La Crucecita before heading to Playa Riscalillo, as there’s nothing but sand, sun, and sea when you get there.
Map of Playa Riscalillo
Not exactly sure where Playa Riscalillo is. We get it. And we got you! Check out this map of the area, including other incredible beaches nearby.
How to Get to Playa Riscalillo
If you are coming in on an international flight, fly into the Bahias De Huatulco International Airport, a quick 30-minute drive away. Then, take a car or shared minivan from the airport in Santa Maria Huatulco to La Crucecita in about 30 minutes. Or from the airport to Santa Cruz town.
It takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes by boat from Santa Cruz Bay to Playa Riscalillo. The ride itself is worth the trip because you can see sea turtles and dolphins enjoying a swim. Be sure you use boat services with authorizations and permits, as this protects you and assures you they protect the beach.
If you are already in Oaxaca, you can fly into Huatulco or opt for slow travel and take a bus from Oaxaca City to La Crucecita in about six hours.
Check out all of Bookaway’s routes in Mexico when you plan your vacation.
Yes, Playa Riscalillo, Huatulco is remote and might not be the easiest to get to. And yes, there are limited facilities when you get there.
Does this mean it’s not worth visiting? Absolutely not!
The journey is part of the experience, and you will value every second of your time getting there. The whole area is simply magical and gives you such a different experience than some of the more popular beaches in Mexico.
And if you’re in the mood to beach hop, check out these other nearby dream beaches: Playa la India, Playa Conejos, and Playa Tangolunda.
Have a blast, and soak in the sun!
Bahias De Huatulco International Airport (HUX) is about 30 minutes from Santa Cruz Bay/La Crucecita.
You will want to stay in Santa Cruz, which is closest to Playa Riscalillo.
Yes! It’s perfectly safe, as are the surrounding areas.
Yes, it’s perfect for swimming, with shallow, calm waters.