The Oaxacan Coast-Magic is Everywhere
Leaving Oaxaca City, we were excited to meet up with Matt’s parents and start to experience beach life. To break up the 7 hour drive we stopped in a little town named San Jose Pacifico. It is a very small mountain town high in the misty temperate rain forest. It is famous for its mystic nature, largely in part due to the abundance of all types of hongos (mushrooms) that grow everywhere. The amount of moisture in the rainy season and fog and mist all year long provide the perfect growing scenario for all types of fungus.We stayed 2 nights in a small cabana with a great view and proceeded to go on several hikes to enjoy the cool mountain air before finishing the long and windy road to the coast.Once in Puerto Escondido, we checked into the house Matt’s parents had rented at the well-known surf beach named Zicatela. In the couple days before their arrival, we got a good feel for the famous surf town on our bikes before picking up Scott and Deb from the airport. There happenned to be a reggae festival happenning right on the beach near the house when we arrived, so naturally we joined in the fun.It was such a great feeling seeing Matt’s parents after months of being on the road without seeing family. Immediately, we fell into vacation mode together, exploring restaurants and nearby beaches. The house had a great view of the sunsets from the top floor where we would drink an evening cocktail and enjoy the sights together.Zicatela is known for the Mexican Pipeline and is a mecca for surfers all year round. There is not only amazing surf talent that floats in and out of the area, but also a wide variety of surfboards. We were able to score a sweet short board for Matt and a great learning long board for Sarah to explore the waves.During our vacation with Deb and Scott, we explored several beaches in the vicinity of Puerto Escondido with our trusty Koru. To the south we visited Tierra Blanca and Agua Blanca where everybody had a chance to play in the surf and enjoy delicious seafood and watch the views under cozy palapas.Mexico has figured out how to use their service expertise to maximize peoples experiences at the beaches, which provided many carefree days filled with fun.Closer to town, we spent a few days at Playa Carrizalillo, which not only had some great beginner waves and an intermediate point break, but great snorkeling all in its small intimate bay. This was one of our favorite spots due to the versatility of the compact little beach. We even witnessed a local haul in a large red snapper he’d harvested with his spear gun.In Puerto Escondido proper, fishing boats anchor in where the water is calm. Lots of locals hang out and swim with their families in the beautiful clear, calm water. It’s also where you can find tours, some of which are better than others. On our first day exploring together, we ran into a local who was advertising fishing tours and we thought, hey why not, let’s go fishing! The next morning Scott and Matt headed to the boat excited to catch some dinner with other tourists who paid to go sight-seeing. Deb and Sarah waved goodbye as they headed into the vast ocean. Quickly after their departure, Scott and Matt realized they mistakenly got duped by a local who gladly took everyone for a joy-ride in his boat. He successfully made money while no fish were caught, and the only wildlife seen was a small turtle. Afterwards, to heal the wound, we found a great comedor and ate from a delicious pot of various grilled goodies.A few days later however, we found a great family operated dive/snorkel tour company that took us on a snorkel tour. We had 2 great sessions of snorkeling with some whale watching in between.To our amazement, they spotted some Killer Whales (Orcas) during our time on the boat. The captain of the boat was ready to take a dive with these incredible animals, when suddenly they dove deep, not to be seen again. This was definitely one of the highlights of our family vacation time. We left the tour company with smiles in awe of the morning we had experienced.The diversity of the beaches in the Puerto Escondido area is truly special. The Mexican Pipeline is a powerful beach break that is very difficult to surf, and when large swells come in, only professional surfers give it a shot. Guns (long narrow surfboards) are the only boards that can handle the large and powerful waves. Further down from the pipeline on the other end of the beach is an area known as La Punta, which boasts several nice restaurants along-side surf schools and shops. Here we found a gentle and clean point break which allows beginners and experienced surfers alike to catch waves. Although it can get busy in the water, it was great fun watching all levels of surfers, fishermen and pelicans enjoy what nature provided.Our time spent in this area with Matt’s parents was incredible. They returned to the states with a newfound appreciation for the country of Mexico, its people and beautiful Pacific coastline. Around every corner, people were friendly to us and always provided amazing service. A far cry from the stereotype being depicted back home.We wished Scott and Deb farewell and eagerly awaited the arrival of some Earth Lodge friends from Guatemala. Our last 2 days at the house in Zicatela, we spent some great times with Will, Grace and Ellen. The area is full of lots of secluded beaches set-apart by rocky outcroppings. Together we visited Playa Angelito where the water was calm and another great snorkeling spot was found and beach antics were had!From there we traveled south together towards the beautiful little beach town of Mazunte. Our friends rented a hostel for 2 nights, and we were able to park Koru safely next to them to enjoy the area.Both Sarah and Matt agree that Mazunte provided the most amazing sunrise and sunset we’ve seen to date. The orientation of the coast allows the sun to rise and set over the ocean which neither of us had ever experienced before. [First photo-sunset; Second photo-sunrise]The time came to bid farewell to our friends. Will and Grace hopped on a bus and continued their travels towards Honduras, where they planned to scuba dive in the beautiful Caribbean Ocean. Ellen was able to find a job in Mazunte and opted to stay for a while longer before heading back to Guatemala.Our next spot was humble Playa Zipolite known for many things, but mostly as a nude beach. This beach is perfect for overland travelers and backpackers alike. We parked at a camping/cabanas spot named La Habana, where we were able to park the van next to our own palapa space for shade close to bathrooms and showers.This area was heaven for us as well as other overland travelers. By day three, there was a total of 3 vanagons, and 3 other overland vehicles all enjoying the cozy laid back lifestyle.We ended up staying here 3 days longer than planned and it was very difficult to leave after day six. The open-minded nature of this beach, along with fun waves, rocks to climb on, great food, and more epic sunsets made this one of our favorite spots on the trip. One day, we definitely plan to return.Further down the coast we visited at a quiet little bay named San Agustin Huatulco for a night. Here we met other Colorado travelers that spend most winters exploring Mexico. Though the time spent chatting with them was short, it was great visiting together about our fondness for Mexico.Yet again, the sun rising over the ocean was incredible! We made the most of the day and took a morning swim to a nearby desolate beach. After breakfast we set out to explore the protected coral reef in the bay, and what a sight!The area was teeming with life, schools of fish and other beautiful ocean creatures. Leaving mid-day from the area, we couldn’t help but feel like the 2 luckiest humans on the planet, having the ability to explore such amazing places.The good times kept rolling as we stumbled upon another gem called Playa Mojon. Here, a perfect point break with intermediate waves provided some great rides and improved our surfing. We camped under some trees right near the beach for free! Not only was it a perfect point break, but the small trek up and over the rocks creating the point break yielded another beach where no one goes with zero infrastructure. Our days were throughly enjoyed here in the quiet and undeveloped Playa Mojon.We were starting to get eager about our entry back into Guatemala, and although we could’ve killed many more months along this amazing coast, it was time to proceeded towards the border. With our last stop over near the port city of Salina Cruz, we caught some more waves and prepared ourselves for the border ahead. The fact that our car permit was expired kept nagging at us and we were uncertain about Koru’s re-entry into Guatemala. Until next time Oaxaca!
5 thoughts on “The Oaxacan Coast-Magic is Everywhere”
Ah yes, Puerto Escondido was most excellent. Friendly people, great sunsets, unbelievable locals market and 85 degree waters with a virtually endless beach. A great time was had with Matt and Sarah, who did all the driving and interpreting, and a return trip is in the works.
Great photos plus text that makes me envious. I’m grateful that Scott and Deb were able to spend a happy time with you. Be careful. Love you
Thanks grandma. We were grateful to see them for sure! Love you too!
Such fabulous pictures you are taking and so great to enjoy through your eyes. A good time to be missing Steamboat–we are melting and have been for 2 weeks! No snow! Lovely spring though. I continue to enjoy the parts of Mexico that you are seeing and we have not! We are off to Naples, FL in two weeks to start biking, hiking, and golf! But we will have our computer to keep in touch.
Thank you Gail for the wonderful comments as we travel our way south. Definitely sounds like a strange winter. Hard not to enjoy warm sunshine though! Have fun in Florida.