After living the
City life in Oaxaca,
we are packed up and ready to board our minivan. We have all our
clothes for the chilly weather in Oaxaca, our beach clothes for
sunnier climes plus food and water for the long
trip in the minivan.
The trip through
the highlands gave us bird's eye views of ranches and small villages.
In the foreground of this photo, you can see maiz
growing. Maiz is used to make the corn tortillas given to us
at every meal in Mexico.
The driver had a
local mechanic checking out the van while we stopped in this town for some food.
We asked him in Spanish if everything was all right and we were
assured it was.
While taking the
bus in Mexico the drivers get hungry and it's normal for them to
stop every few hours. Here we enjoyed some fresh made melas
before continuing on our journey. This vendor is using the tortilla
press to make fresh corn tortillas.
She puts a ball
of maiz in the center with a piece of plastic wrap on top.
Then she folds the blue lid on the right, presses down, and follows
with the arm on the left and applies more pressure. The result is a
fresh tortilla and the entire process takes seconds. From there they
are ready to go on top of the heated grill on the left.
Our vehicle broke
down. Everybody out!
Even though we
had asked previously about any problems back at the quesadilla
stop, and were profusely assured everything was normal, a few hours into
the trip the driver decides to pull over and disappear for 10 full
minutes without explanation. He has some book in his hands and
thinking it's a map, we assumed he was lost or something.
Instead, it was
the owner's manual he was carrying and had made a call to his office. We were promised that
another van would be along
shortly to pick us up. So, we found some shade under a tree, sat down
and ate our lunches.
We all kept
saying that at least we were in the shade, at least we had food, at
least we didn’t have an accident, at least it was daylight, at least
there was a bar a stone’s throw away, at least….
Before the boys finished
their beers the next van
arrived and we were once again on our way.
It's possible that the
driver wanted to spend some quality time with the cute girl he picked up
along the way and made up the story about the van having trouble...
but we will never know!
This is Puerto
The map illustrates the local beaches in the area. On the
right hand side you will see the surfer's beach Playa Zicatella (which is across
from our hotel rooms) Playa Marinero (which is where we set up our
daily beach chairs) and Playa Principal (where the locals go each
weekend for their beach fun).
unpacking, and getting familiar with our location in Puerto Escondido we
found this Italian restaurant on the beach. Our traveling buddies,
Dennis and Martha, joined us and we listened to the waves
crashing a few feet away. We all enjoyed our first evening in
as the locals call it.
The restaurant where we ate the night before
sure looks different in the morning light! We had been up on a platform
a few feet to the right.
Our room at Hotel
Las Olas was
bright and sunny and included
a balcony with hammock. It was clean, with an ensuite bathroom and
maid service daily. Each room has a mini fridge, cable TV, and Wifi.
We paid 250 Pesos nightly. Although we had access to an air
conditioner (for 50 Pesos more per night) at this time of year, it was not needed.
is across from our hotel. This shot looks West to the town of Puerto Escondido.
A well known surfer's
beach, Zicatela is dangerous for normal swimming due to the strong undertow.
You've been warned!
The far end of
the beach is loaded with fishing boats and
doesn't have much surf. However on this end, the waves
break nicely. Great for body surfing.
is built into the hill and then flattens out. Only a mile or so from
our hotel it is an easy walk if you want to scout around in town. Or you can catch local buses
that go up the hill for only a few
Here you can see
the umbrellas where we set up our daily camp at the beach. There was no charge for the
loungers, table and umbrella, however the restaurants do expect you to purchase
some drinks or food from them. We ate mostly at Palomino’s
where the fish torta is a good value, coming with fries (35
Pesos), and the 4 fish tacos come with rice (45 Pesos).
two beaches is this lookout point; a prime place to watch the sun rise
A late afternoon view of
Zicatela beach from the lookout point. Although the
surfers are not currently out, this is where the action is. Of
course it depends on which kind of 'action' one is looking for. Up
at the farthest beach point in the photo towards Huatulco is a nude
all sorts line up on the beach. Here is a typical menu.
The Hotel Santa
Fe is a well known mainstay in this area. We had a sunset dinner
of huge, tasty tostadas (45 Pesos for 2) and 2 bowls of Aztec soup
(35 Pesos each) with home made bread. Muy sabroso! A very relaxed atmosphere
with a good view of Zicatela Beach.
No shortage of
beach side restaurants! All selling seafood, fresh coconuts and
taking a break from work and swap tales.
create tide pools and foamy surf. It really is
hello with her sun visor in hand.
A typical fishing
boat on the shore.
of the Day. I asked the fisherman why the fins were cut off these
sharks, and was told that the fins are sold to the Chinese Restaurant
for Shark Fin Soup.
Balmy breezes along the beach.
We're all 'dressed up' for a night out.
Across the street
from our hotel was a Pizzeria with this wood burning oven. Right on
the beach! Cipriano’s Pizza is the best pizza we have had in
This is easy
60 Pesos will
give you a medium size salami pizza and it is really good. Their
fruit salad with yogurt and granola is huge, enough for 2 people and
is 40 Pesos.
Sunday is family
day at the beach and the snow cone venders are out in force.
Life here at
Zicatela beach is easy going and convenient. Our hotel room has a
small view of the beach, a sundry store is conveniently located a
few doors down, and there is 24 hour free wifi. The town is quiet
and we can walk to the beach any time of day or night without worry
about our safety. Restaurants with decent food are across the street
and the beach where we swim and spend our days is just about ¼ mile
down from where we are staying.
Taking a break
from lazing around in our beach chairs on Playa Marinero.
Vendors selling fresh shrimp cocktail.
Try one with a splash of the hot sauce. Delicious!
And don't forget
the fruit! All you have to do is hang out under your umbrella and
vendors come to you. Fresh papaya, mango and melon, with a squeeze
of local lime. I'm lovin' it!
after a hard day at the beach.
A final dinner
The Last Supper.
buddies, Dennis and Martha, and new friend, Doug, toasting La Dolce
We arranged with the Pizzeria to purchase fish and prepare a
special dinner for
us - a grilled fish dinner with huge baked potatoes and a generous
salad. Cost was 70 Pesos per person plus drinks.
We received more food and it was better tasting than any of us
anticipated. The moist, tender fish had garlic on top and the salad
came with a mild but tasty dressing. We ended up taking a good bit
of food home with us to our mini kitchens in our rooms.
The sunsets are
forever changing and is an easy, relaxing way to enjoy the evenings.
Mexico is a great place to chill, surf, swim or simply work on your
tan. And don't forget about the food!
Traveling south down the Pacific coast of Mexico is a must
adventure for any traveler. Our style is to go slow and if we
like a place, we stay longer, ‘getting local’ as soon as
possible. This means we scout out where the neighbors shop, the
restaurants they frequent and we make friends along the way with
store owners, the maids, and anyone who lives in town. These
people know where the best prices and value can be found – it’s
certainly not where the tourists shop.
Adventurer's Guide to the Pacific Coast of Mexico
details our route, the places we stayed, prices we paid along
this adventure and history and culture of these locations. We
also give you names of hotels in each area, the transportation
available, useful information and the pros and cons of each
place as we viewed it. To learn more,