The New Highway Connecting Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

Last Updated: April 17th, 2023

Latest Updates

April 17th, 2023President López Obrador (AMLO) tweeted the following (translated from Spanish): “Almost there! All we have left is a large bridge and 12 km of pavement to finish the Oaxaca-Puerto Escondido highway. Instead of 6 hours of transfer, you will now be able to reach Puerto Escondido in just 2.5 hours. The highway will open in July 2023. Hopefully, by then, we can also resolve the problems between Sola de Vega and San Vicente Coatlán and achieve peace.” – View Original Tweet & Video
February 3rd, 2023 – With just 15 kilometers (9 miles) left to finish the highly anticipated new highway from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, the project has come to a screeching halt due blockades that have been setup by local residents in Sola de Vega and San Vicente Coatlán over a land dispute. It has been reported that a proposal was made to the two communities involved in the dispute but they declined the offer. President López Obrador (AMLO) has vowed to create a new route around the dispute if the two sides can’t come to an agreement shortly. Stay tuned for more updates…
September 2nd, 2022 – “The brand new, highly anticipated highway from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido is nearing completion and is expected to significantly increase tourism numbers to not only Puerto Escondido but also to the rest of the destinations that line the coast of Oaxaca.”

Table of Contents

Puerto Escondido Rental Cars

New Highway From Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido

After two decades of hold-ups and unsuccessful attempts, a new super highway connecting Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido is said to be approaching completion.

The brand new, highly anticipated highway from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido will be 102.4km (63.6 mi) long and is promised to cut travel time in half from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido.

With the current treacherous mountain route along Mexico’s HWY 131 from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido taking approximately 6-8 hours, the new highway will provide visitors with a safe and straightforward route from the capital of Oaxaca to the Oaxaca coast in just 2-3 hours.

The super highway project is currently in the hands of México’s current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and is expected to significantly increase tourism numbers to not only Puerto Escondido but also to the rest of the beautiful destinations that call the coast of Oaxaca home.

Old Highway (HWY 131) vs. New Highway

The new highway from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido will be a safer and much shorter alternative to Mexico Highway 131 and Highway 175, both of which cut through the mountains and are prone to dangerous accidents like landslides, falling rocks, and washouts during the rainy season.

  • As of now, it takes approximately six to eight hours to reach Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City via Mexico’s Federal Highway 131 (Carretera Federal 131).
  • Sections of Highway 131 that have slid down the mountainside are often not marked, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
  • Driving at night may be even more dangerous as livestock may be sleeping or walking on the road.
  • During the rainy season, it becomes virtually impossible to use the roadway due to falling rocks and landslides.
  • Repairs on Mexico Highway 131 often continue for the entire dry season and reach completion just in time for the next wet season.

New Puerto Escondido Highway Characteristics & Facts:

The new highway will include a variety of characteristics including a hard shoulder, nine exit roads, three tunnels, 10 bridges, a viaduct and two tolls along the way.

  • Length: 102.4km (63.6 miles)
  • Drive Time: 2-3 hours
  • # of Exits: 9
  • # of Tunnels: 3
  • # of Bridges: 10
  • # of Tolls: 2

How Much Did the New Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Highway Cost?

In 2008, President Felipe Calderón announced an investment of 4.5 billion Mexican pesos in the highway project which by today’s rate would be the equivalent of $225,343,755 USD (225MM USD)

According to an audit by the Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF), about 805 million pesos were invested in the project last year.

Overall costs of the project are said to be upwards of 8.5 billion Mexican pesos or ($410,000,000 USD).

Oaxaca to Puerto Highway Issues & Delays

In 2008, the initial proposal for the construction of the 102.4km-long highway from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido was published on a Mexican government website known as Proyectos México, however the construction did not begin until August 2012. 

Over the course of the project, it has been reported that there have been many hindrances to the progress along the way including financial irregularities, economic slowdown over the past few years as well as protests by residents who live along the Barranca Larga-Ventanilla section of the highway.

When Will the New Oaxaca-Puerto Escondido Highway Be Ready?

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO has vowed to bring the multibillion peso highway project to completion by the end of 2022.

“That highway, when it is finished, from Oaxaca —which we have already completed about 75 percent— from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido will allow us to travel at most two and a half hours from Oaxaca to the coast. Now it takes five or six hours. That’s going to help a lot; also, that coast is very beautiful, Puerto Escondido, Huatulco.” — President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (June 2022).

As of June 2022, Alejandro Ismael Murat Hinojosa, Governor of Oaxaca, said that all sections that were under construction had reached their halfway mark, while two sections are approaching the 90% mark.

If the construction continues without any significant delays, the highway is expected to open by the end of 2022.

How Will the New Highway Benefit Puerto Escondido and the Coast of Oaxaca?

The new highway will provide both the citizens and visitors of México the ability to travel from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido with ease and a sense of security like never before.

While tourism numbers to Puerto Escondido and the rest of the coastline of Oaxaca have been rising due to increasing media coverage, the new highway from Oaxaca to Puerto is expected to attract both domestic and international visitors who want to explore more of one of the most unique and cultural states that México has to offer.

Interesting Fact: In 2022, Oaxaca City was named #1 City in the World by T&L Magazine.

Recent media coverage and standout features by major publications such as Vogue, Condé Nast and Travel & Leisure Magazine have catapulted Oaxaca City to international stardom.

Due to the current difficulty of travel and lack of accessibility between Oaxaca City and the coast of Oaxaca, travelers generally choose to visit one or the other when planning their trips to Oaxaca.

Once the new highway is open and ready for travel, travelers will now have the opportunity to explore both destinations in the same trip and the state of Oaxaca will see a significant gain in tourism dollars.

Tourist will now have the ability to fly into Oaxaca City, road trip along the coast of Oaxaca and fly home from either Puerto Escondido Airport or Huatulco Airport if they choose.

The Mexican media has described the Puerto Escondido highway as an economic godsend to the tourism industry of Puerto Escondido and other destinations along the Oaxaca coast.

Puerto Escondido Airport Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe to Drive from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido?

We do not recommend the current route from Oax to Puerto Escondido due to the treacherous and curvy route that winds its way through the mountains and the amount of time it takes to get there (6.5-10 hours).

The new highway connecting Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido is predicted to increase economic growth for not only Puerto Escondido but also to the rest of the coast of Oaxaca as it will drive tourism to the area.

Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Highway (Latest Progress)

The following video was filmed and published by a YouTube user named “Joe Films” on Friday, August 26, 2022 and shows the current progress of the Oaxaca Puerto Escondido Highway.