Though no longer the tranquil hangout it was thirty-plus years ago, when it became the pioneer beach resort on this stretch of the coastal highway, Puerto Escondido still has a lot going for it – at least in the eyes of its surfing-oriented demographic. With direct flights from the capital and something of an international reputation, these days Escondido has firmly established itself as a destination: you'll find the standard strings of souvenir shops, crowded bars, Internet cafés and no-frills restaurants along the Adoquín (the main pedestrian strip), as well as constantly spiralling prices that for the most part do not correspond to quality. This said, there is an air that remains, against all odds, somewhat small-town, casual and uninhibited. There is still the hint of the village it once was; this is most evident in the early morning, when fishermen return to Playa Principal, their boats laden with marlin and red snapper. Beaches stretch around the bay for miles in each direction, and while there are a tremendous number of hotels to choose from, the majority tend to be on the small and basic side, catering to long-stay travellers, and most of the visitors are young, with surfing high on their agendas.