Oaxaca’s Pacific Coast
Recently I have been dreaming about my favourite beach, I cannot wait to be there in a month. I realized that it is almost impossible to write about visiting the wonderful state of Oaxaca without mentioning its gorgeous coastlines. Puerto Escondido, a town on the Pacific coast half a day’s drive from Oaxaca City, offers a variety of different beach experiences, without the all-inclusive resorts. In the 1990’s an Italian movie called “Puerto Escondido” brought a lot of Italian tourists to the Oaxacan coast, to this day there are still many Italian restaurants in town.
Playa Principal and El Adoquin
The Playa Principal (main beach) is just off the main street, referred to as “El Adoquin”. There is no zocalo or plaza in the centre of town, and so the Adoquin, pedestrian only every evening, becomes the social centre of town where families and friends meet to have an ice cream or go for a walk.
Famous for its giant surfable waves and night life, Zicatela is the preferred beach of young backpackers. You can enjoy breakfast and espresso at El Cafecito, afternoons under and umbrella in the hot hot sun (but not much swimming because of the waves!) and late nights at Casa Babylon or Playa Kabbalah where you can have a drink while sitting on a bed right on the beach.
By far my favourite beach in all of Mexico, Carrizalillo (pictured at the top of this post) is located on a bay West of the Playa Principal. Easily accessed by taxi from the highway where the bus drops you off, Carrizalillo is a calm and comfortable beach. On your way to the beach you will pass by La Rinconada, where you will find restaurants (including the other El Cafecito location), shops (a corner store run by an Italian man where you can buy pastas, cheeses and wine) and internet cafes. Further down is a cliff with a giant stone staircase, and at the bottom is Carrizalillo bay, with gentle (swimmable) waves and lots of shade. Because of the long hike down the cliff there are often less vendors on the beach, but sometimes you can find them at the top of the stairs selling nieves (ice cream and shave ice) or tamales. There are many family-run palapas on the beach serving food and renting surf boards.
Planning your visit
Puerto Escondido has an airport, with regular flights from Mexico City and Oaxaca City on Aerotucán. The most common route is by bus or car climbing down the Sierra Sur mountains, passing through many small towns on the way. The Suburban buses that leave from Las Casas Street are your cheapest option (less than $40 round trip) for bus travel, and also the most efficient since large buses find it harder to make the hairpin turns.