World's Greatest Places 2021
Part of the Mexican Design Fair at Casa Naila on the coast in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
Courtesy Jaime Navarro
July 20, 2021 6:36 AM EDT

On the Pacific coast, a small surf town known for its mix of laid-back chic and untamed oceanfront is quickly transforming into a design hub. In May, Puerto Escondido attracted the attention of international curators and collectors with its inaugural Mexican Design Fair—a buzzy event showcasing the work of an array of creators including designer Liliana Ovalle and architect Pablo Kobayashi. Recent openings in the area include two boutique beachfront properties: Casona Sforza, a hotel whose exterior is defined by a series of clustered brick arches, and Hotel Escondido, a minimalist enclave with 16 thatched-roof bungalows. New restaurants and bars are also popping up, such as Espacio Cometa, an unfussy outdoor sand-floored café that serves contemporary breakfast specialties like avocado toast and açai bowls, as well as cocktails and dinner at night. Later this year, celebrated local chef Alejandro Ruiz will open Casa Oaxaca del Mar, a new seaside outpost of his Oaxaca City restaurant focusing on locally caught seafood. —Brekke Fletcher

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