Be careful! Discovering this Pacific gem might screw all your further travel plans:)
Puerto Escondido translates from Spanish as a ‘Hidden Port’. It’s a small town on the coast of Pacific in the state of Oaxaca (pronounced: wa-ha-ka). A few travel fellows, whom I met on the roads of Mexico, were raving about this “spot you just have to go to!” How could I not reroute?
So after exploring the jungle of Chiapas, I jumped on an overnight bus, and after many Spanish movies and whirly Chiapas-Oaxacan roads I made it to Puerto Escondido. On a side note, Mexico has a good system of long-distance ADO buses. For some reason, to purchase tickets online with foreign cards, you need to download their app and do it thru that. Also, you can fly into Puerto Escondido by a tiny plane from Mexico City.
I wanted to do some surfing and some chilling, so I chose a hostel right by the Carizalillo beach, called Vivo Escondido. The most undersold hostel on the entire internet!
Hostel has lots of almost unexpected corners, like hammocks on the rooftop or a glass roof for watching the stars. At least, I am pretty sure it was made just for that:) Inside the hostel is all covered in really artsy-fartsy murals. The staff is young, fun and friendly. Kitchen is probably cleaner than your grandmother’s! And also, it’s located away from the party area of the Zicatela, which I loved.
Right by the hostel is the surf school/ shop called ‘Oasis’. When I first tried surfing in Indonesia a year before, I initially took classes from various so to say freelancing surfer teachers:) So basically, surfer dudes on the beaches, who claimed they could surf. And they could. But I still ended up in a surfing school and stuck with it. Schools are just…more legit! So this time I decided not invent a bicycle, and went with whatever multiple local surfers recommended: Oasis.
Apparently, Puerto Escondido is one of the world’s top surfing locations! I came there mid January though, after all the imaginable holidays, so I did not experience any crowds and wave-sharing.
There’re multiple surfing beaches in Puerto Escondido. Tiny Carizallo beach is usually good for beginners. However that time there were absolutely no waves. So we went to Zicatela beach, which is usually for pro surfers.
To tell the truth, I am afraid of surfing! I’m dreading the fact that I cannot fully control the situation when surfing, and feel like I am at the mercy of the wave not to screw me:) On top of that, on day one I got hit by a board (my own totally avoidable mistake), and had nightmares all that following night! But that’s all in my head! In reality, my body remembered the technique, how to get up and all, and I caught some good waves every day!
Puerto Escondido also became special for me, because I got to fulfill a dream of mine: sky-diving. Just signed up for the next day, for the last jump of the day, at sunset. That’s me and the instructor hanging in the air:)
My instructor was a copy of Jared Leto, so I was very distracted! The door of the plane flung open, 4,000m below was the sunlit ocean. There was no time or room to be afraid, instructors just go for it and ignore your lousy emotions! So we just went for it! One incredible minute of free fall, then whooshh the wing opens and we swing down for another… five minutes? Ten? No idea! In the end I was sure we were landing on a rooftop:) Landed on the beach!
I kept relieving and savoring adrenaline-filled pre-jump minutes for a long long time!
There are so many other cool things to do in Puerto Escondido. One of them is night swimming in bio luminescent lake. You go at night by boat on this lake, and its all glowy and sparkly and you swim. Fun! Only the night I went, it was raining for the first time in 50 years! And man, was it pouring down! For the first time in Mexico we were all freezing (rain + speed boat), nevertheless it made the experience super memorable:)
And I finally got to try stand up paddle boarding! You get way more control (as a beginner) than in surfing and still work all your muscle groups. The first time we went, we miscalculated the wind and the currents, and got stuck under the blazing sun for 4 hours, hehe:) But that was a blast and we went really far exploring different beaches.
There is a big party-bar area in Puerto Escondido. Honestly I never made it there, besides to have a popsicle during the daylight. Crazy just like that:) If you’re into the bar and beach party scene – you would love it. And if not – you would love it! These Pacific sunsets are so intense, and you’re welcome to discover some deserted and less crowded beaches to savor them.
My last night in Puero Escondido coincided with a Mexican/ Christian holiday Three Kings Day. The story goes, the Three Wise Men (Kings) visited baby Jesus on that day. The Mexican fun tradition goes, we all eat a special round cake with little baby Jesuses hidden inside. We passed the cake around, each cutting a piece for him/ herself one after another. I GOT THE BABY JESUS! God bless Puerto Escondido, lovely people, thrill-filled days and chill nights! Allelujah!