Though it's no longer a secret, Puerto Escondido, located on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, still delivers exactly what you need on a Mexican vacation: relaxation and solitude. (Even now, there's only one daily flight from Mexico City.) Escondido is best known among surfers for Mexpipe, a bone-crushing break on Playa Zicatela, right off the central area. For mortals, there's the bodysurfing-friendly Playa Principal, to the north, plus no end of lagoons for swimming and snorkeling. When I was here last fall, locals directed me to their favorite hideout, Playa Carrizalillo, a palm-fringed beach that's great for swimming and mellow longboarding (board rentals, $3.50 per hour; lessons, $20 for two hours; both available at the beachask for Ramón). Stay at Villas Carrizalillo (doubles from $150; villascarrizalillo.com), situated on the cliffs above.