On the southern coast of Mexico lies the sleepy town of Puerto Escondido. A few times a year the ocean waves and population both swell as the surfing conditions reach epic levels, but otherwise things are quiet and laid back. We enjoyed long strolls on empty beaches and relaxing in the pool, ate plenty of mangoes, and made some life long friends
A bit off the beaten path, Puerto Escondido isn’t the easiest place to get to. We arrived after a meandering 10-hour bus ride along the coast from Acapulco. The bus station on the edge of town was quiet, and as the taxi queue was empty we wandered out to the street to flag down a ride into town.
Zicatela Beach is home to beach bars and European tourists, although we saw little of both in our first nights there. Things were really quiet, the beach bars and restaurants both empty. After bouncing around from town to town over the previous weeks, this slow pace of life seemed agreeable and we began to look around for a place to stay long term. With fortune smiling upon us, we discovered a small casita with private pool, hammock, and easy beach access and settled in for a month.
Our first days were a bustle of activity, exploring the market and stocking up on fresh produce, walking the beaches, taking a surfing lesson, and releasing baby turtles into the sea. But we quickly learned why the pace of life was slower than we were used to.
The sun in Puerto Escondido is a fierce beast. It works its way across the sky with intensity, sending every living creature into hiding. By 11 am the sand on the beach is so hot that it is like walking on coals, and remains a smoldering inferno until well past 4. Being at least of average intelligence, we discovered that drinking beer in the shade and occasionally dipping into the pool were quite enjoyable ways to fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way (best done while listening to Pink Floyd.) An occasional frozen fruit bar or chilled mango kept things exciting
As the sun sank into the sea, normal life resumed as we sought sustenance and conversation. In the evening the main street through town, Alfonso Perez Gasga, was transformed. No longer open to vehicle traffic, the street was covered with tables and blankets where vendors displayed their hand crafted wares. The entire local and tourist population seemed to be out to eat street food, chat with their friends and neighbors, and to just stretch their legs.
We lost track of the days quite easily as our minds and muscles both melted with the sun and the beer. We used this time well as we read a few books, caught up with friends via Skype, and practiced our Spanish with our neighbors. Since our plans were taking us back inland for the coming months, we took advantage of the amazing beaches and ocean swimming.
But like all things with travel, our time in Puerto Escondido came to an end. As we packed up our belongings and said our good-byes, we looked forward to our next adventure in Oaxaca, and for the last time we fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the shore