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Salt Water Fishing

Dear Tom: I had the good fortune to visit friends in Puerto Escondido with my 17 year old son in July of 1999. We had a great time, but I wanted people on your Website who are interested in salt water fishing to know about a wonderful opportunity. Almost by chance, I ran into a transplanted Chicagoite by the name of Steve Posing, who is married to Maria Salinas, whose parents own a clean and neat budget hotel, called the Hotel Ben Zaa, 011-52-9-58-205-23 or fax 9-58-205-72. Steve and the Hotel offer three days of salt water fishing and a day's visit to the lagoons plus six days of lodging for $375.00 (US) per person. Steve will also pick you up at the Huatulco airport and bring you to the hotel. They rent their rooms $10.00 (US) per day singles and $20.00 double occupancy. One of best days we had of many in Puerto Escondido was when my kid got a 100-pound sailfish with Steve and his partner. Steve is a great guy and is filled with wonderful stories about life in Mexico and Puerto Escondido. Check it out.

Douglas S. Dunham
206.292.9090 FAX 206.292.9736

August 1999

Looking for a Rental for Jan-Apr 2000

Hi Tom, love all your information. My husband and myself are looking for a rental close to Zicatela beach with a pool, for Jan 15 - April 16, 2000. We will be arriving with our two small dogs whom we cannot leave behind. Hope to here from someone soon. Thanks.

Andrea Wood
208-777-9618 (home)
662 Coles Loop, Post Falls, ID 83854 U.S.A.

August 1999

Bitter about Puerto Escondido

Dear Tom, It's very possible that you won't want to publish what I've got to say about Puerto, however, let the truth be heard.

I've been living in Puerto on and off probably around, close to thirty years, you may have known my father, who is buried there coincidentally, Ted Mowers, Aida the snakes husband, you must know Aida Mowers? How long did you say you've been kicking around this place? My family is probably one of the first to arrive here from a hell of a lot better places, whatever possessed my father to move to this place is beyond me, but that's neither here nor there, he's dead and buried there as of April 87', fool that he was, Ted", I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone who is actually serious about living in Mexico, don't bring anything here that you can't afford to lose, including your life, I know lot's of dead people that'll tell you that, the problem is getting in touch with them.

What should I tell you about this stinky little place with pretty beaches and major personal problems.

I'll recommend it to anyone who likes to get drunk, once you get to see the place for what it really is, if you weren't an alcy when you came here you will be one when you leave.

Most of the people that live here, quite a lot of poor Canadians that can't afford or else are too stupid to find a better place are people that either can't go home for some reason or another, or just had one mushroom too many.

Oh, it's a lovely place on the surface, almost paradise except I don't recall too many snakes in paradise, and this place is full of them, buy a piece of property or marry one of the gold diggers from around here and you'll see. By the way I wouldn't hold very high hopes of getting anything back out of the place, what you bring here you had better be prepared to part with.

I guess you could say I'm not a big fan, that's probably what it sounds like, but I keep going back, guess you could say I'm a sucker for punishment, not to mention I'm not very smart.

My bottom line is bring lot's of money and expect to use it all, try to use it yourself before someone else scams you out of it and don't expect too many people to help you around here when the chips are down, unless it's for an ulterior motive. Not too many sincere people living here, and that's a fact, I think the last one I knew was my Dad, and he's twelve years dead and buried.

I don't really have a lot of good things to say about Puerto, the beaches are nice sometimes, but really that's about it, it's a damn good place to lose things dear to you and get a lot of disrespect, very little care for anything other than your pesos. That's Puerto Jodido, some people are o.k. but if take a close enough look, not too many people last here. Just try to enjoy the beaches and sometimes cheap booze, and smile while they stick it to you, they really like that.

Long time F.O.P.E., I won't give my definition of what that means, have a good time, and be nice to these people even if they are just looking for an opportunity to screw you.

bye for now,

August 1999

African Communities

Hi Tom. I recently returned from Oaxaca and am already planning my next trip. While there I learned about the "Costa Chica" where many slaves settled after slavery was abolished.

I am having a hard time finding info on the costa chica. can you help me in my search.

What pueblos constitues the costa chica???? Do you know of any web sites or books that discuss this part of Oaxaca, and Guerrero?, in detail....


August 1999

Costa Chica refers to all of the Guerreran coast and most of the Oaxacan coast (as far east as Huatulco). I recall reading somewhere about black communities that came about due to shipwrecked slave ships. I don't have the specifics, but it seems like there was one such community near one of the lagoons around Puerto Escondido. These descendents are a definite minority, not comprising a significant portion of the area population. Perhaps another reader can offer more information. -Tom

About Crime in Puerto Escondido

¿Como estas,que tal? This is Adam again and there is a topic concerning Puerto Escondido that I would like to discuss. Namely, the negative criticism I've read from certain people who have had the unfortunate happen to them while visiting Puerto.

Most parts of Oaxaca are third world. This includes Puerto Escondido, just take a trip up into the mountains on one of the many beautiful dirt roads the government strives to perfect? With poverty also comes crime. If you haven't eaten in several days what would you do? Yes there are crimes in Puerto Escondido as there are crimes everywhere else in the world. Take it from a seasoned veteran, play it smart and you will not in most cases have any trouble, i.e. don't wander off of the beaten path unless you are with someone who knows the territory, when you're finding your way home on one of those drunken nights, (trust me there will be many of those) stay away from dangerous areas; common sense: dark alleys, Zicatela beach by the rocks, etc.

Remember Mexico is in most places is underdeveloped and in some cases even third world. Are your kids at the age of 7 selling gum to help bring money into the house? Puerto Escondido is no different.

On the contrary, I've found the majority of people living in Puerto Escondido much more friendly and social than normal American citizens. This even despite the large majority being impoverished.

Play it safe in Puerto and you will not be the target of any crime, as is anywhere else. Other than that hope to see you there! Until then, keep it "tranquilo."

Best wishes,
Adam A. Praleikas

August 1999

Casa de los Gringos Locos

¿Como estas, que tal? My name is Adam Praleikas. I'm twenty years old and am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I visit Puerto Escondido every November until January. (this is the time when Puerto Escondido is really kicking). Anyway, my uncle has lived here for 15 years and owns several business there, one of which is "La Union" carneceria. I consider Puerto Escondido my second home and have a few words I'd like to say about the place.

Puerto Escondido is a magical place. It's one of those places on earth that has a different kind of energy. Call it "love in the air" call it what you will. Whatever, it is it's extraordinary. Any doubts, just ask anyone whose ever visited Puerto if they plan on returning. The answer will be a definite yes.

Puerto Escondido is an international meeting place. I personally have met people, mostly beautiful women, from places such as Italy, Canada, Argentina, United States, Austria, and Germany to name a few. Puerto has this 60's, San Francisco, Bohemian type of feel to it. You just have to experience it to understand. Although I live in Ohio my heart is always there in Puerto. If you're looking for romance, excitement or just anything what better place to look for it than in Puerto. I promise you will not be disappointed. If you're there November through January hit the adoquin (main tourist area) and ask Rene at Central Surf, or Jorge at Cocos for Adam or ask the taxi for "la casa de los gringos locos" and we can go party all night long!

Best wishes,
Adam A. Praleikas

August 1999

Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido by Bus

Hi Tom, Just got back from an extended trip to Oaxaca including some time on the Pacific Coast, July 13-23.

Heading from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido we took La Estrella Roja del Sureste from the second class bus terminal, hoping to duplicate the "trip" in the Oaxacan Bus adventure. Twenty years have changed things - it was a brand spanking new red Mercedes bus with padded reclining seats. Seven hours and 70 pesos and we were in Puerto Escondido.

We stayed at Beach Hotel Ines which was an excellent deal. There were no problems encountered at Puerto Escondido by my group, although I sure heard about them from others. The beach at Zicatela was pretty empty, the whole place somewhat devoid of tourists. I don't know if at was all the bad PR Puerto Escondido had been receiving or just the fact that everyone may have been in Oaxaca at La Guelaguetza.

Next we headed over to Puerto Angel using Estrella Blanca. I found Puerto Angel to be much more exotic than Escondido, the circular bay and surrounding hills creating an impressive vista. Contrary to some of the guidebooks, the beach was spotless and the water crystal clear. We stayed at Posada Canon Devata a naturalistic tropical paradise. It is highly recommended.

While at Puerto Angel I talked to a number of the locals - all assured me that there was a conscious effort on the part of the community to keep the problems out. At no time did we ever encounter any difficulties - we even walked back from Zipolite at night, something the guide books recommend against.

At Levyis and Vicente, Playa Panteón, we arranged for a boat to take us east along the coast - some of the most spectacular scenery I've every seen anywhere.

Just wanted to point out some positive things about Oaxaca to counteract so much bad publicity.

Gene Paull
Brownsville, Texas

August 1999

Necesita Información y Ayuda

Escribo para contarte mi caso a ver hasta que punto me puedes ayudar. Primero que nada soy un joven de 21 años y proveniente de Costa Rica. Lo que me gustaría saber es como es el nivel de vida por alla? Pues tengo planes de mudarme el proximo año a Puerto Escondido, así que tambien me gustaria saber cuales son los requerimientos migratorios y el status de trabajo para un extranjero (en otras palabras si no voy a tener problema en vivir alla y trabajar alla). Si a tu alcanze esta me gustaría que me pudieras conseguir la información necesaría.

En estos momentos no me encuentro en Costa Rica. Me encuentro en New Jersey en U.S.A.. pero en Diciembre regreso a mi pais. Asi que me gustaría saber lo más pronto posible acreca de Puerto Escondido para mudarme lo más pronto posible! Ademas me gustaría preguntarte acerca de las oportunidades de trabajo por allá para un joven de 21 años que habla Inglés. Conocimiento en programas de computadora (Windows, Power Point, Excel, etc.) y buena presentación!

Te voy a agradecer cualquier informacion que me puedas brindar!

Javier Rivera

July 25, 1999

Memorable Experience

Buenos Dias Amigos!

I visited Puerto Escondido in May of 1999, and absolutely adored the place. I was greatly missing the place, so I decided to check the internet to find some pictures and stumbled on this web page. I think it's a great thing to have, it gives us the opportunity to keep up to date on what's going on, and it also gives us a chance to read about other people's experience.

In May, myself, as well as a group of 16 others were in Puerto Escondido to do an eye clinic in conjunction with Friends of Puerto Escondido. Our group consisted of 8 doctors, 1 priest, 1 lawyer, and the rest of us were students. Not only was it challenging to find the right prescription for each person who came through, but it was the most rewarding experience I've ever been part of. Our clinic helped over 1200 people see the world a bit better and brighter.

Through this unique experience, we made many friends. Lisa, who provided us with 3 meals a day and a breathtaking view of the ocean from her restaurant, Hotel Lauren, and the staff for the wonderfully comfortable accommodations and hospitality, our drivers, the staff from Friends of Puerto Escondido, as well as the representatives of the Lion's Club. The interpreters we had to help us out during the clinic were also very helpful and amazingly patient with us, and many thanks to all the others I'm forgetting to mention. Hats off to everyone who helped make our clinic the success it turned out to be. We could never had done it without them.

The city was beautiful, one of the cleanest and most enjoyable places I've ever visited. The food was delicious and the drinks were the best I've ever had (a little on the strong side, but great just the same). I would definitely go back in a heart beat, and who knows, in a few years we may go back to do another eye clinic. The memories of this trip will live on forever in my heart and mind.

Many thanks,

Kimberly O'Brien
Cornwall, Ontario, Canada

July 1999

Where to Stay, Work, Learn Spanish?

I recently came back from a 3-1/2 month stay in Oaxaca mostly Puerto Escondido. I can't express how much I enjoyed it. I made so many friends and saw so many beautiful sights.

I have decided to return in late November or early December for 4 months. What I am looking for is some tips on finding work in Puerto and cheap living arrangements. I would prefer to stay in town or close to Zicatela beach also I need to improve my Spanish, can you suggest anywhere?

Well Tom I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to find all this info in P.E. and Oaxaca. I'm getting excited just thinking about my return.

When I first arrived in Puerto, Paul the owner of Buena Vista on Zicatela said to me "you'll be back"(so did everyone else actually!) And so I shall.

Keep updating the site it's great to hear new gossip.

Anne Merrilees
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
amerrilees@hotmail .com

June 1999

Surfing Answers

I read your post in one of the home pages about Puerto Escondido, I used to live there, I am Mexican, and now I am studying away from there, but once in a while I make a trip to that nice place.

Well, about your question on renting a surf board in Puerto Escondido, you can rent a surf board at the Central Surf, there are two shops with that name, one of them near the touristic walk street, and one at the beach of Zicatela (where there are the big waves to surf). But these places are not the only ones where you can rent a board; there are many others, you just need to look around a bit.

About some surf instructors, again, in the Central Surf you can talk with the owner or one of his brothers, they are good surfers, and they give leasons about surfing or bodyboarding.

There are some places on Zicatela beach where you can practice, where the waves are not so big, just ask locals about some of the recommended places to go. (use common sense, sometimes they make some jokes to foreigners, but they are nice if you treat them a little).

Max López
Vicerrectoría de Innovación Tecnológica e Internacionalización, ITESM

June 1999

Surfing Questions

I would like to know where to rent surf boards in Puerto Escondido and what surfing locations are good for beginners. Are there surfing instructors? I would appreciate your recommendations. I get these questions from time to time.

Tom Penick
The Pacific Coast of Mexico

June 1999

Want Budget Accommodations

My boyfriend and I are going backpacking for 3 months, beginning next week in Mexico.

Having kept track of this web site and particularly the feedback from recent visitors, we are determined to spend some time in Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido.

As we have to stretch our money (which we don't have a lot of) over quite a long period of time, we can't afford to stay in the more luxurious accommodation that is usually recommended on the internet. I am hoping you might have recommendations as to cheap accommodation - preferably clean and safe. I have found several recommendations in guide books, but would appreciate more current information as to prices and standards (including places not to stay, if applicable).

Any responses would be much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

Jane Aitken

June 22, 1999

Thieves Target Guests of Villa Belmar

Have followed this site for some time now and enjoy it.

Yes all the good things seem to be reported good and we have enjoyed this place for 8 years for the 4 weeks in January, nice break from Minnesota winter.

The disappointment this year was when my wife and the other lady in our group were robbed at knife point not 200 yards south of the Villa Belmar when they were taking their morning walk. Yes they made a BIG mistake by carrying a tiny little bag with their beach thongs in it. This was the fifth guest in two weeks from the Belmar robbed and the management treated it rather casually until some of us pushed and spoke rather harshly about the town and agreed with the US news programs that rated Puerto as one of the top ten in crime.

Owners then seemed to listen to our negative comments to new visitors and realized that we were not going to agree that it was the ladies fault for carrying a simple beach bag. They seemed to take some action but it just continued.

The regulars like us that have gotten to know many winter guests agree that the numbers were down in January 99, empty streets, empty cafes, empty shops. Thank God for Carmen's and Zipolite beach.

After 25 years of 2 to4 weeks in Mexico were found PE 8 years ago and we are booked thru 2001.

Yes the ladies were robbed at knife point and others from the hotel were but this had NOTHING to do with the hotel, just lack of enforcement on the beach.

The Hotel Inez were used for five years but when we started 4 weeks we wanted ocean view and larger rooms and I have to say it is quieter but that is due to the age of most of the guests and the ownership at the Villa Belmar. www.villabelmar.com

Genaro in the office makes you feel welcome when you arrive, during your stay and when you leave. Senor Belmar is a gracious host who lakes time to talk the history of the area, politics, and what ever is the topic of the day.

You will find everyone VERY helpful, grounds kept perfect, always expanding, maid service, laundry, lunch at the pool, and limited breakfast and lunch at the dining area at the office.

Expensive ?? I don't think so in relation to what we pay in the states. We take a monthly rate of about $ 750.00 US for the largest 2 room suite with full kitchen(the only two room suite) Our room is booked 2 years ahead so we can't get it until 2002 again so we went up to the top floor. For those who don't want stairs and a bit of a walk to the hotel from Carmens this is not the place. If you want to party late and make noise this is not the place. Taxi is a must after dark from restaurants to the hotel, there are several hundred yards to walk on a totally dark beach to the hotels lower entrance from Art and Harry's.

I can only suggest one try it if these comments fit what you want for a vacation.

Out of the way place to eat in PE. Believe it is called Adam's Chicken.. It is just across from the parking lot at the market, kind of near the appliance store. Chicken done on rotating racks and it is very tasty and served with rice and a coleslaw and they will get you a beer from down the street. Reasonable, very..Yes who likes taking a bus downtown but we enjoy this place each week.

Great town P.E. but you are a guest in this town and act accordingly, don't be the UGLY AMERICAN that I have seen in the high rise beach front hotels in other towns, keep PE mellow and laid back.

Place that I haven't noticed on the site is what is known as Grizzly's or if Double D doesn't mind we still call Crow's. Group of rather likeable guys and ladies. Great place for conversation on a hot afternoon and the coldest beer on the beach. Want to know where and what just ask them. I enjoy flying my kite down there and having a few cool ones. That will be our first place to check out next Jan 4. Watch for the rainbow colored bag kite coming down the beach.

As not everyone can be there on Jan. 1, I hope there are millennium parties for the entire month.

Take care and I will see you at Grizzly's or on the beach.


June 1999

Always on My Mind

Thank you for this web site. It helps me to keep Puerto Escondido closer to my heart. I first visited Puerto Escondido in 1977 when I was an exchange student studying at UNAM in Mexico City. My friends and I boarded a rickety bus in Oaxaca for the overnight trip to Puerto Escondido. At four in the morning, we rolled out of the bus squeezing between ladies holding chickens who stood in the aisle all night and bundles of fragrant vegetables and flowers crowding the rest of the aisle way. The bus stopped next to a place where some people were cutting up a recently slaughtered goat. It was quite a surreal experience! My friends and I ambled down the hill half asleep and landed at the Hotel Loren where we caught some shut eye. When we got up we walked to the beach and couldn't believe our eyes! What a beautiful place! I have never been the same since! Back then I sensed that I had discovered paradise. The passing years and many adventures since have confirmed this to be true.

One of my favorite memories is from another trip to Puerto Escondido in 1982: I was sitting on the beach with my Walkman (a new thing back then) when some little boys approached me and asked me what I was doing. I showed them the Walkman and explained that it made music. One of the boys looked at me curiously then picked up the wire to the headphones and put it against his ear as if he could hear the music that way. It was one of the sweetest and most innocent things I had ever seen. I'm sure those same little boys are grown now and are hip to all of the trends in the U.S. now thanks to satellite TV which I noticed had a big presence in P.E. during my last visit in 1993.

Puerto Escondido has grown up a lot since my first visit and has lost some of its innocence which made it so beautiful and appealing. But it is still a sparkling jewel and its laid back, no hassles attitude and mix of international visitors is not to be equaled anywhere.

Puerto Escondido will always have special place in my heart, just like a dear friend or relative!

N. Garcia
San Francisco, California

June 8, 1999

Want to Rent an Apartment

I am looking for an inexpensive apartment on a monthly basis in P.E. Hopefully, with cable or satellite tv.

Daniel Butler

June 1999

Currency Exchange

Dear Mr. Penick

I enjoy reading your internet information on www.eden.com [now tomzap.com]. It's very well done.

Please tell me about money what to do? Should I use ATM-machines in Puerto Escondido or rather change money by using travelers cheques?

What I want to avoid is exchange rip-offs, therefore I want to know if it is a difference between the different kinds (American Express, or Thomas Cook etc.) of travelers cheques, or do they charge each cheque with a basis fee (like they did to me in South Africa; so you are in a bad situation, if you just took US$20s and so on). Can you give me advice? If I use ATM machines with a Visa-Card they charge for each transaction in Germany DM 10,- (US$ 5.26 (today)). If I use Visa in restaurants, there is no transaction fee. How is attitude to use credit cards in hotels/restaurants/shops?

Hans-Heinrich Meyer zu Eppendorf
Dresden, Germany
June 1999

For visitors from the United States, the best way is to use an ATM card and withdraw pesos from the ATM machines. There is a small charge by our bank, maybe $1, and the rate of exchange is very good. The ATM machines accept credit cards as well, as you have said, but you are at the mercy of what the company issuing the card wishes to charge.

American Express travelers cheques are the most widely recognized. It would be best to exchange them for pesos at a bank. Money exchange houses sometimes offer reasonable rates as well. Airports usually don't offer particularly good rates of exchange. Most hotels and restaurants will accept AE cheques too, but the rate of exchange may not be as good. If you purchase a $20 US travelers cheque, you pay the service charge at the time of purchase. In Mexico, it is worth the same as $20 US cash usually, especially at a bank.

Keep track of your cheques. Losses that are not reported immediately may not be reimbursed.

Visa cards are widely accepted, especially in pricier hotels and restaurants. Establishments operating on tight budgets are not as enthusiastic about accepting credit cards because it takes so long for them to receive payment from the credit card company.

So for you I would suggest American Express travelers cheques, that you would exchange for pesos periodically at a bank. Try to conserve small change to use for small purchases from street vendors, etc., who won't be able to make change for a large bill (currency). If your hotel costs $50 US or more per night, I would pay for it with your Visa card. Use your Visa card for meals at this hotel and at pricier restaurants. Use your Visa card as a backup for cash if you run out of travelers checks.

Enjoy your trip.

Tom Penick
The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca

Photos on the Web

I just put up a personal travel website www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Beach/5432/index.html and have posted some photos of the Hotel Santa Fe and Puerto Escondido and a few of Oaxaca. I will be changing it periodically and including more photos. Please come and visit and check out the photos of this beautiful area of Mexico.

Liz Goodwin

May 1999

Announcement from Hotel Villa Sol/Days Inn

Hotel Villa Sol has the pleasure to inform of our new e-mail address where you may send all kind of comments to help us improve our service. We have finally finished all the reconstruction work, and invite all the people to the new Days Inn hosting service. Sr. Victor de la O
General Manager

May 1999

Looking for Mathew, Milo, and Claud   FOUND

I am looking for three friends of mine from England who I heard last of in Puerto Escondido. Their names were Mathew, Milo, and Claud and they were traveling through Mexico two summers ago in a black Chevy van and no one has heard of them since. Thank you. Dave

May 1999

Worried About Travel by Bus

Hi all.. I am about to go on a trip to Puerto Escondido with some family. I am very excited to do so, but what worries me is that we are going by bus. I have heard some horror stories on the Federales... if anyone has traveled that far by bus please let me know how it went and what precautions to take for I am new to this. I would really appreciate this. Thanks


May 1999

Gina, the "Information Goddess"

We were in Puerto Escondido in Feb 95 and fell in love with the place. as a matter of fact Gina (the information goddess, Love the name) helped us by translating as we were attempting to purchase a restaurant there. Unfortunately the time was not right for us then, however we would move there tomorrow if we could. We are debating whether we should come there for new years 1999 and would like to know what's happening then. If you happen to see her please tell Gina hello from Joe 7 Lorna in Port Hardy, Canada. Please send us any information you have on room rates etc. for the last week in Dec '99 and the first week in Jan2000.

Thank you

Lorna & Joe Kersey

May 1999

Anyone Know Paho Colonial Bungalows?

Enjoying the site & looking forward to our turn. My parent's-in-law & extended family of 8 adults and kids 7, 5, 3 yrs, 10 months & 3 months went to Puerto Angel for 3 weeks at Christmas '87 and had an awesome time. These seniors have been to Escondido twice in the last year & are returning again in Nov '99 to help celebrate their brother's marriage. They visited & took photos of a nice spot behind Manzanio??? beach in Puerto Escondido, which they are trying to make reservations for for a month. Paho Colonial Bungalows is an 8-unit villa. They had a fax/phone number but no contact has been possible. We think that Jose Efran Buciade of MAB realty (c/o Eglphyiha condominium calle 3a. poniente P.E.) is the contact person. Any ideas on how to track them down?

Thank you for your time. My husband & I will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this fall (& my fortieth!) and we are planning on our first ever adult-only trip. If childcare still is an issue back up here in Canada for us come fall, we're contemplating bringing the kids. (12, 9 & 6) Would you say that there is calmish snorkeling & beginner surfing available in P.E.? Whether couple or family, we will be winging the bookings (i.e: flight last min, etc.) as we're on a farmer's frugal budget. Any opinions on villas/bungalows & kids? (We're normally campers so used to roughing it.) We'd probably go relive a visit to Angel, too & Oaxaca city. Thanks again.

Lee Mounsey
Oliver, British Columbia
email: osprey1.bc.sympatico.ca

May 1999

Friends of Puerto Escondido Begins Its 2nd Season

Friends of Puerto Escondido (FOPE), a support and resource group for foreigners and other concerned individuals, celebrates its first year of existence this month. And an impressive year it's been!

The group has created an Emergency Response Team, which, in coordination with the state tourist office, can render support to any foreigner in an emergency situation. FOPE has established clear channels of communication with consular officials of many nations and has produced a valuable resource list for its members. The group has also been active in the larger community. Among its many activities: More than 22,000 pesos have been raised to support the work of Casa Hogar, the local orphanage. Bookshelves and books have been donated and installed in the Cultural Center, Casa de la Cultura, and a drive to provide the most requested books is an ongoing project.

Friends of Pto. Escondido meets the 2nd Saturday of every month at Paul Cleaver's Tabachin del Puerto, located behind the Hotel Santa Fe, at 4 p.m. The next meeting will be June 12. Call Vicki Cole, 582-1673 for more information.

Dra. Beach

my Home for Sale in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
May 9, 1999

Memories, La Parilla del Gitano

Tom; I would like to thank you for creating such a great site! I just happened to stumble upon it one day, and now I go back every week just to make sure of what I'm missing back home in Puerto Escondido. Born and raised in West Virginia, my family moved to Puerto when I was 12 years old, and to this day, I consider Puerto to be my true home, and where I belong. I lived there for 4 years and haven't been back since 1991, and miss it terribly.

I can still listen to a song, and look at photos, and it always brings mass tears to my eyes, that's the kind of effect this town has on me. That's where my friends were, and my life, and I would recommend that everyone visit Puerto just once and you'll consider it to be your home as well. I'm sure that many of the things I remember, have either changed or no longer exist. I remember going to Bananas and Tio Mac's on any given weekend, and then off to La Disco Bacocho, or El Tubo. I would going swimming at Coco's, or sneak into the pool at the Santa Fe. I miss my school, my friends, and just being a kid growing up in the most beautiful place on earth.

For anyone who may remember (this goes way back), my parents owned a restaurant, called La Parilla del Gitano (The Gypsy's Grill) right off of Perez Gasga. My parents being Robert and Mary Jane Taylor, we served American food, and welcomed all. I miss all the commotion of a weekend home from boarding school in Oaxaca, and seeing all the people, from places Id never heard of (I still have the huge guest book customers were given to write comments and stories of their homeland in, I look at it now and again, and wonder if any of them remember me, as much as I do them?)

I could ramble on forever about Puerto, but it's just one of those things where until you see it for yourself, you won't fully under... I was young and took the fact that I thought I would be there forever for granted, and now that I'm back in West Virginia, I couldn't miss anything more. So for those people who by chance remember me, my folks, or any of the places I mentioned, and just want to share stories, feel free to email me. Its been a long time away from home, and hopefully, I'll get back there, one day soon. Until then, keep my memory beautiful, and take care of my home for me.... All the love in the world...

Rachel Oliverio

May 1999

News From the Local Server

Tom. We have been watching your pages for the last 3 months. We are the owners of the local server in Puerto Escondido. The rates, you know them by Dra. Garnet Beach, we need to expand the market until the rates will be comparable to U.S. The main important thing for us, is to make this service a window to the world for many local people that never had access to interne before, and suffer the consequences of bad, incomplete or not well global information.

We will appreciate all comments from our visitors or from any people in the world who love this place. We will have a mailbox for comments next week.


Armando Ibarra

April 1999

New Internet Service in Puerto Escondido

We now have a server in Puerto Escondido. I am the 3rd to be connected! $500 Pesos to install and $350/mo for 30hrs and $450 for 50hrs. It is probably about double U.S. prices? But better than paying long distance charges and $194/mo!

Dra. Beach

my Home for Sale in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
April 1999

As Long as The Sky is Blue

Thanks for the site Tom, I check in every day hoping for new comments.... My girlfriend, Mary, and I visited Puerto, for the 2nd year in a row, during the 2nd 2 weeks of March '99. We fell in love with the place last year, and will return annually for as long as the sky is blue, and the sand is hot, and the ocean is warm, and the margaritas are cold.

We stayed at the Flor de Maria during both of our visits, and recommend this wonderful hotel to anyone looking for an inexpensive, quality "paradise" hide-a-way. The rooms are comfortable and clean, [and cheap!.. we paid $35/double, w/maid service] the restaurant is 1st class, and the roof-top bar/pool area is a quiet, lazy oasis with the world's friendliest bartender, Felix. Mornings, we would usually breakfast at Carmen's almost directly across the road. It's fabulous!! There is really nothing else to say about this funky, little bakery [the other location is on Zicatela, and is probably the hottest breakfast/lunch spot on the beach.]

The beach, out the front door of the hotel and down the road about 50 yards, is among the nicest anywhere on the Pacific. Pictures do not do justice and this is one of the last places where the fishing boats pull right into the bay and sell their catch to the local merchants and tourists.

The seafood in Puerto is the best anywhere in the world. Our favorite restaurant is Junto al Mar. We would spend many, many hours at this beachside joint, enjoying drinks and food, often for lunch AND dinner. We get disbelief from friends when we tell them we had a hard time spending $25 for a whole evening of drinking and dining. There are many good restaurants in town [including a new Japanese/sushi restaurant on Zicatela] but Junto al Mar is world-class. Maria's, in the Hotel Flor de Maria, is also an excellent restaurant, serving Italian/steak/seafood specialties. And everyone should check out Paul's at the Hotel Tabuchin [behind the Santa Fe Hotel.] We had wonderful lunches here, and the host is an American long-time resident of Puerto. A very interesting fellow, and a great conversationalist. We are considering accommodations here on our next visit. Sunsets are awesome from the roof-tops of many places here, but we found the roof/bar/restaurant at the Hotel Arco Iris to be the most fun. Great margaritas too!

We walked and took taxi's everywhere. We never felt unsafe. We never experienced any unfriendly behavior or attitude from the locals. If we ever saw any unpleasantness it was from other tourists who would have been happier at a Club Med or maybe Disney World. The locals, whether in the service industry or merchants/shop owners, were never anything but polite and gracious. As for reports of increased crime, remember; A Little Common Sense Goes A Long Way!! Period.

I could go on and on, but Puerto Escondido is someplace that really needs to be experienced, not just read about.

If the big, corporate, commercial, crowded mega-resorts are your idea of a "Mexican vacation" then Puerto is not for you. If you're looking for relaxation and beauty and culture and real experience, you will have a hard time finding anywhere comparable.

Brian Drake
Minneapolis, MN
Mary Kalka
Minneapolis, MN


Puerto Escondido Review

Hi Tom, thanks again for this great web site, it's been so helpful in planning my vacations. Recently I returned from my second visit to Puerto Escondido, during the third week of March. Recent reports indicating a drop in tourism seemed confirmed by the general quiet on evening ambles on the pedestrian mall downtown. However, we had a wonderful time; it's still the same great place as last year (we were there two weeks before the notorious murder), and the pleasure of watching waves and surfers on Zicatela certainly is undiminished.

Getting there: From Huatulco it's about 60 miles to Puerto Escondido. See previous comments on taking a cab from the airport. We paid $80 U.S. (the initial price was $100, but we hesitated and they came down 20 percent). It was still a rake-off but, with two of us to split the cost, it was worth it to get there and start relaxing. The ride is about an hour and a half. Other travelers recommend walking out to the highway and hailing a bus or a passing cab from town (town cabs are far cheaper than the airport ones). It's only about a block from the airport terminal to the highway; elsewhere in these pages there are cautions about walking on this road, but it didn't look too risky to me. On the way back to Huatulco we took a cab from the Santa Fe Hotel for 500 pesos, or about $50 US. I'm pretty sure that's the "official" rate from P.E., though of course it's all negotiable.

Eating: This time we checked out La Gota de Vida and El Cafecito on Zicatela and found them highly recommendable. At both restaurants we ate everything offered and had no problem. Conventional wisdom for U.S. travelers in Mexico says don't eat anything that isn't cooked unless you picked or peeled it yourself, but these and other restaurants (though not all) in Puerto Escondido take obvious pains with sanitation and are trustworthy. Check out the wonderful licuados (fruit smoothies) - they must make 30 varieties at La Gota. And they're nearly as ubiquitous and cheap as soda pop in the U.S. I also must put in another plug for my all-around favorite restaurant in P.E., La Galera on the top floor of the Arco Iris Hotel. It's not the fanciest, but the overall quality, price and variety of the food, the service, and the great view of the beach make it hard to beat.

Hotels: Based partly on a recommendation on these pages, we stayed at El Tabachin for part of the trip and really enjoyed it. It's just up the hill from and behind the Santa Fe, at the end of the short street that runs behind the latter. Not only were the accommodations great (fantastic view from the balcony of our room), so was the food. Best huevos rancheros I've ever had. The proprietor is an American who's lived there for 17 years. He and the staff were very congenial and helpful. We also checked out, though didn't stay at, the new Hotel Olas Altas along Zicatela. It looks like a good one in the nicer but not extravagant category; construction was just finishing up and they were offering a very enticing rate special. Big pool, airy if somewhat sterile-looking central court, clean rooms. Also looked at the Buena Vista on the recommendation of another traveler. It's up a considerable flight of steps off the beach road (look for the hotel's sign painted in an alleyway near Cabanas Olas Altas) but is said to be worth the climb for the accommodations, the ocean views, and the breeze. Staff we talked to spoke English and were very friendly.

Safety: Again, we had no problems. One interesting thing was that the much-touted floodlights along Zicatela beach stayed unlit during the week we were there. Personally, I was glad: Had they been on, the stars would not have been nearly so enjoyable. I wouldn't walk on any dark beach near a city anyway, here or there, so it was fine with me.

Mosquitoes: They're there, even in the dry season. At night they can invade your room and make sleep impossible. Even if your room has good screens they'll get in through gaps in the frames. Unless you have air conditioning, nights are usually too warm to seek refuge under the covers, so that's out. What to do? We found those slow-burning repellent coils work well, if you don't mind a little smoke in your room (sure it means breathing a pesticide, but it's not something you do every day all your life. Lighten up!). They're available in the pharmacies under the brand name Raidolitos. Or use mosquito netting, hung from the ceiling and draped over your bed. Most hotels I've been in don't offer nets, though often there will be hooks for hanging them, so you might want to bring your own (numerous suppliers on the worldwide web or buy them in P.E.). I haven't used netting myself but I'm taking one along next time I go.

All in all, Puerto Escondido is a great place to go if you're looking for a relaxed, low-key, relatively untouristed getaway with fantastic sun and surf. I'll be back there soon, for sure.

Ralph A Pribble

April 1999

Roads to Puerto Escondido

We just returned to Mexico City from Puerto Escondido. If you go by road use the Acapulco toll road; the cost for Autopista del Sol is $390.00 pesos all the way to Acapulco and the coast road to Puerto Escondido is real good. We went by Oaxaca and the road is real awful from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido.

Have a nice trip and real fun.

Raúl Cruz López
Mexico City

April 1999

Looking for Places to Rent

I visited Puerto Escondido last summer and I haven't stopped thinking about it. I stayed at Hotel Santa Fe [photo 53K] and absolutely loved it- everything was perfect! I am thinking about moving to Puerto Escondido next summer for 2 or 3 months and would like any information you have concerning places to rent. Thanks for your help! Kim Knuth

April 1999

Looking for a Realtor

I am travelling to Puerto Escondido soon and was wondering if anyone could recommend a real estate agent for possible home or property in the area. Please let me know.

April 1999

Looking for Surfing Magazine

Ciao, My name's Giuseppe Repetto I'm Italian surf photographer Do you know this Mexican Surf Magazine? La Ola Mexicana If you know is possible, please send me the address? I like to collect the Surf Magazine. I come to Mexico 2 times in Baja California last year. I like very well the Mexican waves. Next time I come to Puerto Escondido, for best Surf Trip. Keep Surfing

Giuseppe Repetto
mailto giurepetto@iol.it

April 1999

'98 Tragedy and Flor de Maria

My friend Heather, her two young girls and I have traveled to Puerto twice in '97 and '98. Staying approx. 3 weeks each time. Late March, through Easter and into mid April. A most beautiful place, great peoples and finest of foods. In '98 we arrived just after the murder of Carol Schlossburg. This was a tragic happening for Zicatela. I was very pleased to see the swift action of local law enforcement in regards to this event. I understand that the accused are now in custody. Our prayers go out to you Carol. It should be understood that this was a very isolated event and not common in these parts.

We have always resided at the Hotel Flor de Maria. A wonderful, economical dwelling with friendly staff, good food and Canadian proprietors. I highly recommend this place. Ask anyone for directions. Features roof top pool and lounging as well as a wet bar. In comparison to other 'snooty' hotels in Puerto, you will find this to be a '10'. Guests are cosmopolitan, of middle income and very friendly too! We paid for a two bed room at under $30 USD a night.

When you leave, please tip the help well, Maria will divide it amongst them.

Enjoy and Paz...

Jeremy and Heather

April 1999

Reflections on Puerto Escondido

I have been reading through some of the letters people have written about their experiences in Puerto Escondido, and they have made me very reflective. I get a lump in my gut when I think of Puerto, and of Mexico, and when I go back to my time spent there in 1993, it's like putting on my favorite old pair of flip-flops. My memories of Puerto aren't as vivid as they used to be, so your website allows me to refresh them even though I'm not able to return there in person right now. The friends, learning to surf, dancing to salsa music at Son y La Rumba, the beaches, swimming, soccer at sunset, fruit bars from La Michoacana, hanging for hours in my hammock, the solitude of walks at sunrise along Zipolite...oh to be there again.

I was in Mexico in 93, and was only 21 then. I had just lost my Mom to cancer the year before. University, boyfriends, family, friends...nothing mattered, existing was a chore. On a whim, a friend and I decided to postpone our university careers, and catch a flight to Mexico. We drove through one of Manitoba's worst January storms to Minneapolis and got on the cheapest flight we could find to anywhere in Mexico. With one travel book, a bit of savings, very hopeless Spanish ,and absolutely no plans, we were on our way. We landed in Mazatlán, and for four months we bounced all over Mexico and Central America. Oh, the stories I could tell, and have told, over beers on so many cold winter nights...

And then, running short on funds, and feeling like we needed to stop somewhere, we headed once again for the coast. I had heard about Puerto, and somehow knew that that would be a good place to hunker down for a while. Little did I know that I would get stuck in this place forever...if only in my mind. My friend loved it too, but she had other spots in mind...after two weeks in Puerto, and all that time travelling together, we said our good-byes one sweltering March afternoon. As she pulled away on the Tres Estrella bus to Acapulco, I wondered how I could have made such a ridiculous decision...had the surfing caused too much brain damage already??? But then I turned, and glanced out over the coast line, the sun beamed through my soul, the smell of corn tortillas drifted through the breeze, and I new that although I was alone, everything I needed was right there, that moment in Puerto Escondido. This feeling has never left me.

Kirk Talent

March 1999

Hwy 175, Looking for a new Hideaway

This is somewhat dated, but...Last summer (August 98) I and my group left Oaxaca for Puerto Escondido @ 9:a.m. After several delays involving a flat tire, a saga in itself, we were making pretty good time through the mountains. About half way between San José al Pacifico and Pochutla we came to a halt; a tanker truck had slid off of the road trying to negotiate one of the hairpin turns and was blocking both lanes. This was 5 p.m. The first tow truck from Pochutla broke its chain trying to pull the truck out. Finally a backhoe arrived and carved out part of the mountainside to make one-lane for cars to pass. We had been the first headed to the coast to arrive on the scene and got through quickly. The remarkable thing to us was, How did the truck get that far? The road was in sad shape: one lane only passable at times because of mud slides, several bridges under repair, and several short detours. All in all it was a harrowing trip for us. [Hwy 175 is in pretty good shape now with only a few 1-lane spots; still advise against nighttime travel though. - Tom] We got to Puerto Escondido at 5a.m. As usual, as you well know, it was worth the effort. We spent a marvelous three days recuperating and then were off up the coast road to Taxco.

I'm looking for a new spot on the coast this year. Something between Manzanillo and Zihuatanejo and Playa Azul geographically looks good. Do you know anything about the beach along there? Are there satisfactory accommodations? (comparable say to the Arcoiris in Pto E)

[But of course; Mar Vida in Barra de Navidad or Hotel Royale in Cuastecomates. - Tom]


March 1999

Where's the Food?

My wife and I visited Puerto Escondido in mid-March this year. It was my second visit after five years away, and my wife's first. Let me add just a few details and thoughts to the excellent comments of your other contributors. I knew from my previous trip that it was possible to take a bus or "collectivo" from the Huatulco airport if you walk out to the highway. Unfortunately, our plane's departure was delayed by snow in Toronto so we arrived quite late in the afternoon. Taking a slow bus to Puerto would mean we'd arrive after dark. With no hotel reservation we decided to take a cab all the way. The cab bandits at the terminal wanted 900 pesos [that's about $85 U.S.] for the trip. As we walked toward the highway the price dropped to 600, then 350. We were able to finally negotiate a 300 peso cost for the 90 minute trip. I've heard others say you can get the cost down to 250.

One thing that disappointed me in Puerto this time was the quality of the food. On my previous trip I had very little money and cheap was more important than variety or quality. This time we had more money, and as we do a lot of Mexican-style cooking at home, I was looking for some taste delights. However, with the exception of a superb red snapper at Danny's Terrace, everything else was humdrum. Even that venerable staple of Mexican life -- refried beans -- were watery and flavourless. When you consider the freshness and variety of the food available in the Mercado, there seems to be no excuse for the dullness of the food along the tourist stretch. (I exclude the superb pastries at Carmen's from this critique; they are, as always, superb!) We even walked up to La Perla (near the new supermarket above highway 200) thinking that a place that caters to Mexicans might be better. Even here, the lobster was incredibly tough and the breaded jumbo shrimp was mainly batter.

On the subject of safety, we were untouched by any hint of crime. We walked from the Playa Principal to Playa Bacocho through a residential area and back via the lighthouse. We never felt unsafe, although we do agree with one of your other writers who writes that the police are pretty useless. At night they patrol the walking street in huge numbers but we didn't see any on the beaches. A local resident told us that when the police do walk along the beach they follow a predictable schedule, so it wouldn't take a criminal genius to get away with robbery.

Here's another suggestion: don't drive to the beach in the Laguna Chacaqua National Park unless you have a four-wheel drive vehicle with high road clearance (which, fortunately, we did). Once you turn off highway 200 there are no signs to the town and the road is 29 kilometres of sand. By the way, when you get to the town, don't bother asking one of the local fishermen for a tour of the lagoon unless you speak Spanish and you know what birds you're looking for. These men are fishermen and know very little about the other wildlife. Take a guided tour of Laguna Manialtepec, instead. Needless to say, the meal we had in this little town was dreadful, despite the fact that the red snapper and shrimp we ordered were probably caught only 100 metres from where we sat.

Two final thoughts. There is nothing nicer than sitting in a palapa after sunset, drinking happy hour Cuba libres, watching the kids play soccer under the new security lights and listening to the surf pound on the sand. Second, when we went up to the new market we discovered it was 90% empty. The locals seem to have simply smiled when the governor came to open the place and when he was gone they went back to their traditional stalls made of canvas, bamboo and leftover wood. Mexico has a deep sense of tradition and that's one of things we love about it. Governors and fancy new buildings come and go, but the wonderful people of Mexico go on forever.

Steve Lindt
London, Ontario, Canada

March 1999

The "Villa"

Tom - Thanks for the forum... We've just returned from our 3rd consecutive year of one full month (Feb. each year), in Puerto Escondido. We stay at the fabulous little Hotel Mayflower owned/operated by the witty and charming, Minne Dahlberg. A fellow Canadian (expat) who speaks German, Spanish, English (and "un peu Francais"); one of the most accommodating and helpful individuals you could hope to meet.

As much as we loved our time in Puerto, we had a somewhat unpleasant experience I'd like to relate, so that others can be a little more "savvy" than we were. Last year, on one of our walks through town, I stopped to admire a lovely little house called "Casa Blanca", located on Calle a Puerto Angelito 204. It so happened that the owners, Ralph & Mina Lewis of Redway California, were in the yard, and invited us in to view her house, and asked us if we would be interested in renting next year (1999). Even though we had already paid a $100 U.S. deposit for another accommodation, we agreed between ourselves to forfeit the deposit, and rent the house; the location was ideal - midway to the main street of town and the beautiful Manzanillo Beach, and I wanted to experience "living like a local". Upon our return to Toronto, I immediately sent them a deposit of $100 U.S. (bank draft), as a gesture of good will, and our "gentlemans agreement".

Throughout the year, I did my best to maintain contact via letters, Christmas cards, long distance telephone calls, but had no response until late November, when I received a midnight telephone call from Mina - waking me from sleep to give me the "good news/bad news" scenario. The bad news (for us) was that they had the good fortune to rent the "Casa Blanca" for a year. The good news(??), they would give us their personal residence "The Villa", instead. We had not seen this house & had no idea of the location etc. but Mina assured me that if I liked her little "Casa Blanca", I would LOVE the "Villa". We felt that we were now "stuck" because our vacation was only 2 months away, we had forfeited our previous reservation, and it was high season...what success would we have in finding suitable alternate accommodation for the month? So we decided to wait & see, surely, their own private residence would be wonderful. The day before we arrived in Pto., we phoned the Lewis' representatives (Maritza & Alfonso Garcia), from Acapulco, to give details of our arrival, as Maritza would be taking us to this "VILLA". (I'm sure you can imagine where this is all leading.....)

The "villa" was in some God foresaken part of town, high in the hills behind the Santa Fe Hotel, and completely isolated; as Ralph had so slyly phrased it to me on the phone - "TRANQUIL". There had been no preparations made for our arrival - no linens, towels, beds not made up, no window curtains, outdoor furniture stacked in the living area (obviously the floors had not been swept/washed), and the house completely unaired. The worst part was the next morning, when in daylight, I was able to see the yard absolutely UNDULATING with ants and the walls inside the house crawling with other insects. I'm fully aware of the effects of nature in the tropics, and the effort required to keep control - clearly there had been no preparation for our arrival. We spent 1 night and returned the keys to Maritza Garcia, along with a 6 page letter to Ralph & Mina Lewis detailing all the above, & requesting the return of my deposit, plus the loss of my original deposit at the hotel. Of course, I am naive...after they arrived on the 15th, and I finally managed to contact them by telephone, Mina calmly advised me that "that's not the way I do business", and further, that it was in fact, us, that had "broken the contract", because she had offered alternative accommodation.

The moral of this story, if there is one, is: Get your contract in writing; and be aware of with whom you are dealing. We did in fact manage to resurrect the remainder of our holiday, thanks to the ambiance of Minne's "Hotel Mayflower", and the interesting cross section of travelers she attracts from all over the globe.

Gloria Smith

March 1999

Robbed at Knifepoint

Hi Tom. I know you love Puerto & I really liked it, too until I felt like a complete victim of the community when my boyfriend and I were robbed at knifepoint by banditos and the police laughed it off. I'm going to think twice before I vacation in a spot that locals and tourist have such an obvious income disparity.

Here's my story:

BE CAREFUL in Paradise. Leave your cameras at home. Though it looks like a safe town because of the presence of the policia, the policia were anything but helpful when my friend and I were robbed by knifepoint in broad daylight. Last Friday, March 5 we were hiking up the stairs toward the lighthouse when three bambino banditos grabbed us from behind with a knife. While holding a knife to my friend's neck they grabbed his camera and backpack.. We chased after these teenaged bandits but the police in the Adoquin refused to give chase. We filed a report with the police (who spoke as much English as we did Spanish) who chuckled at our story: Stupid, rich Americans. We're rich and vacationing in their city; they are poor and can't afford to eat at the restaurant they're serving us at. Be careful.

Julie Meyer

March 1999

Spirits Dampened in Zipolite, Escondido Better

I just returned from a two-week vacation in southern Oaxaca State. I had read this web page before I left, so was able to take along some insightful info. We flew in to Acapulco and got on the first bus we could find to Puerto Escondido. It took about 8 hours including the tire blowout. We stayed there for 2 nights, but anxiously hightailed it out of there for the magic and beauty of Zipolite that we had heard so much about. We stayed at the beachfront cabana at Shambala's...big mistake. The room was full of scorpions (some two inches long-big enough to do a lot of harm), tarantulas and poisonous centipedes. Okay, okay no big deal.... I could handle that, after all we were in a tropical part of the world, and we did have mosquito nets to discourage these little critters.

However, what was to come was worse...the third night of our stay we woke up at 4am to banditos stealing all our stuff. They took our backpacks which contained clothes, shoes, books and cameras... not a single picture of the trip as a result. Fortunately we all slept with our money belts under our pillows, or they would have gotten them too. We were very lucky we weren't physically harmed... when the banditos heard us wake up, they flew out the window. Now, don't get me wrong, Shambala is a beautiful place.. awesome food and friendly people. But I would seriously recommend sleeping up in the hammocks rather than the beachfront cabana. It has no locks when you are sleeping. I'm sure we were not the first to be robbed, nor the last.

The riptide in Zipolite is horrifying. We watched two people drown in the waters the second day there. As for the peace and magic everyone talks about...I couldn't find it anywhere. There were people everywhere and restaurants from one end of the beach to the other. It was not the Zipolite I had in mind at all.

We visited Mazunte, which is a 15 minute taxi away...now there was peace and magic!! It was much smaller. I would highly recommend visiting this paradise. And the turtle sanctuary is worth checking out too.

Then we decided to head back to Puerto Escondido where we stayed for the remaining week of our holiday. I would definitely visit PE again. We stayed on Playa Zicatela. We quickly became addicted to Carmen's pastries at La Cafecita (especially her mango pastry), and everything on the menu at La Gota da Vida. It has an excellent vegetarian menu!!! We stayed at Hotel Ines. It cost us $10 Canadian each per night (4 people sharing a room). It has a beautiful pool and the rooms are immaculate. In fact this room was only $2 more per night than the one in Zipolite (which had no private shower or toilet). We danced away a few nights to a salsa band at La Rumba.. a bar in town...lots of fun.

Even though we dealt with a lot of disaster this trip, I don't regret a single moment of it. Possessions can be replaced, but the memories and the stories are worth every lost item. For any of you heading off to these parts....be safe and enjoy.

March 1999

Checking up on Paull

Hi Tom: Our family - me, my husband Ross, our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren (5 and 8) just returned from a wonderful vacation in Puerto Escondido and wanted to add our comments to your visitor's webpage. Our son, Paull, is there on "an adventure" (since November) and this is the reason we visited P.E. We stayed at the Flor de Maria and found the accommodation and atmosphere just great. Our grandchildren got a kick out of Henry, the owner - Maria's pet parrot who joined us for breakfast most mornings. We thoroughly enjoyed the ocean and most evenings went to Art and Harry's at Zicatela for the food, the view and also because there were some iguanas close by that our grandchildren loved to feed. Our granddaughter Olivia celebrated her eighth birthday at Art and Harry's with children they met at our hotel - it was a fun day.

Paull has made many wonderful friends there and often goes fishing with Carlos Sanchez Mendez who has a fishing boat and also is the president of the sport fishing cooperative which operates the El Pescador restaurant. [The cooperative is an important new initiative in puerto escondido which is trying to establish itself as a centre of excellence for service and results in sports fishing. - Paull] While we were there most of the fishing expeditions had limited success, but after we returned home we heard that Peter Wilson of Halifax and Don Brillmaier of Wilsonsin caught a 550-pound marlin thirteen feet long. They all snacked on some of this delicious fish later.

We found the people to be very friendly...and honest. We were going on a walking tour with Gina (you probably know who I mean) and I forgot my purse in the taxi. Gina cooly called central dispatch and within five minutes the young taxi driver was back with my purse and everything intact. He received a reward! The tour was terrific and Gina is an energetic and informed guide. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

They were having a week-long celebration in Chila about a fifteen-minute drive from P.E. and we went to a spectacular fireworks display one evening and a rodeo another. There was always lots to do but relaxing in a cabana by the ocean or on the rooftop of the Flora de Maria with the pool, comfortable chairs and Felix (our amiable bartender) was often enjoyed.

Shirley and Ross Barkell

March 1999

Comments from Holland

Hi Tom, its nice to read the visitors comments about Mexico. Too bad I found it after our trip, but to be honest I never heard of Puerto Escondido before.

My friend worked in the Gulf of Campeche for about 8 weeks and then I decided to go to Mexico too for the holidays. I went after Christmas and we met in Mexico City, there we spent a few days, including new years eve which we spent in a restaurant with a Mariachi band, that was a nice experience. Friends from Holland were at Puerto Escondido and they called us in our hotel and asked us to come to Puerto Escondido for a few days. So we hired a car and went there in 2 days.

We drove from Mexico City to Acapulco and that was okay but then we took a short cut before Acapulco toward Puerto Escondido. That was not such a good idea, a very bad road. There were holes and mules and kids and pigs and suddenly even the road ended into a river. I thought there must a ferry or something but no, so we decided to cross after a small boy told us that we could he ran in front of us and so we made it. Later it became dark so we decided to stop and look for a hotel. The only thing we found was a posada at Cruz Grande a horrible place ,very dirty. There we had a meal at a restaurant, a very nice fish and a lot of beers. The next morning we left very early and finally arrived at Puerto Escondido.

From this trip at least I can say that we saw the real Mexico. We spent only a few days in Puerto Escondido but it was fantastic. The beach, the food; we went fishing and caught a sailfish of 2.20 meters and 35 kilo. We gave the fish to the waiters of the restaurant where we ate every day (the first one if you enter the main beach; I don't remember the name) and they prepared it for us in the evening. We drove back via Oaxaca, also a very nice city and then we had to go home. We are planning to go back in November also for the fishing tournament. Before we go I'll read the comments.

greetings from Holland
willfred sluis

March 1999

Looking for Sister     *Have received phone number and found sister. Thank you.

I need a telephone number (or the e-mail, if they have one): the hotel Ugo Il Viandante of Puerto Escondido. It's very very important for me, I need to speek with an Italian man called Joe who stays at Ugo Il Viandante; I wish to find out about my sister Elisabetta. She is in Mexico and I have not heard from her since January.

Stefania Muti

February 1999

Bring a Surfboard to Puerto?

I want to visit Puerto Escondido for surfing, so I wanted to bring my own surfboard, but American Airlines wants to charge me $185 for my surfboard each way from Frankfurt to Acapulco. Now I am thinking about buying a surfboard in Puerto Escondido and selling it again at the end of my trip.

Is it possible to buy "good" surfboards in Puerto Escondido or is it better to bring my own?

Torsten Dutschek
Frankfurt, Germany

February 1999

Houses for Rent

For Rent. Large, comfortable home - Fully furnished, modern appliances, plus linen, towels, dishes, and cookware. Large pool, cabana, and guest cottage. Complete maid service. Rinconada/Bacocho area - a quiet, clean suburb of Puerto. Ten minutes walk to beaches. Available May 1 for up to one year. US $400 /mo. negotiable.

For Rent spacious, private, self-contained suite, with large balcony and top floor terrace. Fully furnished, modern appliances, linen, towels, cookware. Pool, cababa, daily maid service. Rinconada/Bacocho clean, quiet, cool. Ten minutes walk to beaches. Available now for short or long term rent. US $300 /mo. negotiable.

David Collier
Fax reply only: (604) 688-5659
February 1999

Friends of Puerto Escondido News

It was a big month for Friends of Puerto Escondido (FOPE). The benefit Christmas for our local orphanage, Casa Hogar Nueva Vida, raised more than 9,000 pesos that was used to buy clothing and shoes for the 14 abandoned children who are cared for at the center. FOPE also hosted a party at Casa Hogar on Día de los Reyes (Day of Kings, Jan. 6) with piñatas and other treats.

Then on Jan. 9, the regular monthly meeting of the organization hosted the appearance of the U.S. and Canadian Consuls from Mexico City, as well as their consular agentas in Oaxaca. At least 100 foreigners attended a reception to introduce FOPE to the visiting embassy representatives and local Mexican officials. Individuals had the opportunity to meet with their country's representatives to discuss their concerns and to clarify the nature of the support and assistance that the embassy can offer to those resident in Mexico.

The next meeting of Friends of Puerto Escondido will be held on Feb. 13 at 4 P.M. at Instituto Bilingue. (The meetings are in English.) Call Vicki Cole at 2-1673 for further information.

Garnet Beach

my Home for Sale in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
February 1999

Some Current News From Puerto Escondido

I've been living full time there for nearly six years teaching English and Spanish and have watched the town grow, prosper and suffer. Currently we're suffering from a 70% drop in tourism owing to a combination of factors, not the least of which is the widely reported increase in crime. I must mention here that the murderers of Carol Schlossberg, who was tragically killed last March ('98), are in jail. They weren't from Puerto, but the extensive internet and TV coverage of that crime painted the entire town black with its broad brush. Beach robberies have been on the rise, but the newly elected mayor of Puerto (as the locals call it), as well as the newly elected governor of Oaxaca, have made crime a top priority. The agente municipal (mayor) is honest, hard-working and trustworthy. (If you'd like to write him directly with tactful suggestions or comments, address your letters to: Arq. Wilibaldo Mijangos Calvo, Agente Municipal, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca 71980, MEXICO). It's not reasonable to expect a reply, but perhaps you will.

It's important to put crime in its sociological perspective. The rise of the dollar against the peso (currently at 10.30 pesos/1 US dollar) makes travel to Mexico very attractive. Minimum wage in Oaxaca is less than $3.00 US per day. Puerto has developed into arguably the gem city of the Oaxacan coast, attracting not only tourists, but poor people from mountain communities (many of which are coffee producing and are feeling the effects of the substantial drop in coffee prices) who arrive in hopes of finding work. Tourists who walk alone on unpopulated stretches of beach carrying daypacks, wearing jewelry, and carrying more than 50 pesos may well be at risk of robbery. Be smart! The new lights along Zicatela and the Bahia Principal (Main Bay) have cut down on robberies at night, but it's as foolish to tempt fate and stroll the beach in unlighted areas as it would be to take a similar stroll along most US beaches I know.

With regard to money: There are four banks with ATMs. You'll get the best exchange rate with short lines. Don't forget your pin number.

A new group, "The Friends of Puerto Escondido", invites all foreigners to its ranks, whether they're just visiting or living in Puerto. It meets once a month, on the second Saturday at 4:00. Members and visitors share information about the "Best Of"... medical personnel, upholsterers, dentists, etc.... as well as warning of scams and sharing emergency contact information in ones country of origin, blood types (most Mexicans are O positive) and other helpful tips. The group also sponsors special events such as a sand sculpture contest and fund raisers for the local orphanage. Contact Gina (see below) for directions to the meeting site.

Ebullient Gina Machorro has been mentioned in various visitors comments. (She'll be especially tickled at the sobriquet "The Information Goddess") Fully bilingual, she works for the Oaxacan tourist information service (SEDETUR), and her desk is just outside the chains of the Adoquin (main tourist street) in front of the Hotel Roca Mar. On Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8-10 she leads a fascinating walking tour of Puerto, well worth the 150 pesos. She treats her guests to handmade tortillas and local breads, as well as beverages, and takes them to out-of-the way places of interest. (Because Puerto has grown like Topsy, it's hard to find many of these places on ones own.) Gina can also arrange long and short term rentals from the cheap to the luxurious, and has leads on some wonderful pieces of land for sale. She can be reached at 011-52- (958) 2 02 76. She won't be able to call you back unless it's collect. Government workers are paid very little, but you'll find that she knows everything about everything in Puerto Escondido.

The territorial conflict between Santa Maria Colotepec, San Pedro Mixtepec and Puerto Escondido, centuries old, may be resolved this year (1999). All lay claim to Puerto because of (surprise,surprise!) $$$$, that is, the tremendous tax revenues generated by tourism in Puerto. As of now, very little money goes directly to Puerto Escondido as a governmental entity. That has hindered sewage treatment as well as solutions to other infrastructure problems. There is considerable hope on the horizon.

Because tourism is down this year, many hotels have lowered their rates. It's a great opportunity to visit and get acquainted with a fascinating area. My best advice is to fly to Oaxaca, spend one to three days there in one of Mexico's most interesting cities (I recommend Hotel Calesa Real--near the center of town, very clean, quiet, reasonable), then take AeroVega (buy your tickets at the Hotel Monte Albán in front of the cathedral or at a travel agency) to Puerto in the morning. You'll arrive in 30 minutes and feel as if those $65 US were well spent. Busses taking one of three routes are an option, but all trips take between 7-12 hours on roads waiting for new tax revenues (collected mostly in March) to be repaired. Vancouver, B.C., Toronto and Minneapolis are among the cities I know which have cheap charters to Huatulco, 2 hours south of Puerto. From the airport there, you can take the airport transportation (comfortable, air conditioned, HORRIBLY EXPENSIVE--about $100 US--vans), or, if you don't have much luggage, you can walk out to the highway and flag down a bus that says "Puerto Escondido", or a mini-bus that says "Pochutla". If you go to Pochutla, you'll take a similar mini-bus to Puerto which will leave shortly after you arrive in Pochutla. The bus trips will cost between $3 and $10.

Puerto Escondido is a wonderful place to live. Is it perfect? Of course not, but then I don't know of such a place. I feel completely safe and continue to enjoy the friendly inhabitants, the delicious seafood, the beautiful beaches, the proximity to breathtaking Manialtepec Lagoon (20 min.) and its miriad birds, the lovely weather (within several degrees of 80 F year 'round), the proximity to the city of Oaxaca and the benefits of a lower cost of living. The promise by Telmex to become a local internet server remains a hollow one as do many of that company's others. You may e-mail me, but because I'm forced to go through a server in Oaxaca (I pay 95 pesos an hour for e-mail only), please include a "snailmail" (mailing) address. I'll try to get back to you. If it's more urgent, I can call you collect.

Sheila C.
January 1999

Huatulco/Puerto Escondido

Tom, congratulations on you page! I think it's great and extremely helpful for everybody who wants to spend some time in Oaxacan coast.

We just arrived home from our vacations in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca. We were there from December 26 up to January 10.

First, my boyfriend, another friend and myself, drove from Mexico City to Huatulco. The road was good. We arrived in Huatulco on December 26 and stayed in Bahía Santa Cruz in Hotel Biniguenda, which has many nice rooms. I have to say that it was extremely expensive (considering what you get for your money), it costed us US$ 130 per night, however all of the Huatulco was full due to the Christmas season. The hotel itself is nice and I am sure that during the low season, the price is much lower. We had a nice and not expensive dinner at one of the beach restaurants at Santa Cruz and another one at the Argentinean restaurant in Tangolunda bay. The restaurant is nice and so is the food, but very expensive.

After two days in Huatulco we went to Puerto Escondido. My boyfriend and I first fell in love with Puerto Escondido in 1994 and have been there for 4 times since our first visit. We made a reservation in Posada Real in advance, because we stayed in this hotel 3 times before and loved it, especially its garden from where the sunsets are fabulous and the nice beach club with a lovely pool. However this time, it was a little different. The pool in the beach club was so dirty that it was impossible to see the bottom of the pool! After we complained to the manager, it got a little better. The hotel staff were also not as friendly as they used to be. Sometimes, we waited for our drinks at the hotel garden for 30 minutes, or we were ignored when we tried to order. Which I find weird is that when we were friendly with them and tried hard with our broken Spanish, they ignored us, however after we started to speak English only, it got better. Nobody at Posada Real speaks English. Maybe we will try Santa Fe hotel next time we come to Puerto Escondido.

During our previous stays in Puerto Escondido we usually had our dinners at Posada del Tiburon, a restaurant I considered to be the best in the world (mind you, I go to France a lot!). This time, the service was awful, to put it mildly. We made reservation for New Years dinner and paid in advance. We ate at that restaurant 3 nights before the New Year's, so they knew us. As agreed, we arrived to the restaurant at 10 p.m., waited for 2.5 hours and did not get any food whatsoever! After 2.5 hours we wanted our money back and left. They completely spoiled our New Year's party! Therefore, don't go to Posada del Tiburon! It was very good, but it went very bad.

After a week in Puerto Escondido we took a Cristobal Colon bus to Huatulco. We made a reservation in Camino Real Zaashila and we loved it! We had a very nice room with the ocean view and a private pool. We found out about this fabulous hotel from your page, Tom, and I am very grateful for it. As everybody that stayed there, we believe that it is marvelous and worth every dollar you spend for it. We spent a little more that we intended, but it was definitely worth it! The main pool in the Zaashila is huge, the beach is really beautiful and nothing can beat your own private pool!

We stayed in Huatulco for a week. My boyfriend went snorkeling to the La Entrega, said it was nice, but it was really funny, because on the day that we went there, there was a huge Celebrity Cruises ship parked in the bay (I still have no idea how something so huge could park in that tiny bay). We tried most of the restaurants in the La Crucecita Zocalo and all were nice, even though some were very expensive, like the Cactus.

We flew back to Mexico City and loved the Huatulco airport. It's the nicest air terminal I have ever seen!

I am sure that Puerto Escondido and Huatulco are ones of the most beautiful places on this planet and we will go there again.

Happy New Year and best regards from very cold Europe,

January 1999

Comments from Chihuahua

Thank you for this great page. It's a shame I found it after the trip. My husband and I were at Puerto Escondido last December 7th and it was a beautiful experience. We really enjoyed our trip.

From my particular point of view I can tell you we didn't like Hotel Ines, it is very cheap but at least our room (No.13) wasn't the best one. Maybe the bungalows or apartments are better. Anyway, we moved to Santa Fe and although it is not very cheap it is worth it. It's a beautiful place and people were very gentle and helpful. Also the food in the restaurant is great.

I am Mexican and even we live far away from the sea (Chihuahua). Let me tell you our experience with sea food at Puerto Escondido wasn't very pleasant, I prefer mariscos at Chihuahua. Maybe because I didn't read all the comments on this page.

Playa Carrizalillo is paradise!! Also the tour to Chacagua is beautiful. All the people in the area are great and nice. I found dogs are happy residents at Zicatela and Puerto Escondido.

I really recommend El Cafecito, great place, service, food and prices. It is a shame I lost my film of Puerto Escondido, I will miss everything from that small place.

Look forward to visiting Puerto Escondido next year. If you could provide us with some information regarding land prices in the Bacocho (and Puerto Escondido in general) area. We would really appreciate it. Thank you and have a great Navidad!!!

December 1998

I Love Puerto Escondido

I love Puerto. I've been going there since 1995 I even bought land there I haven't been there since Feb. of this year so I suppose I need to plan a trip real soon. I was so surprised to see it online. It made me remember all the good times I had there and all the good people I met. There is something in the air in puerto that makes you fall in love, believe me.

December 1998

Report: Security, Restaurants, Hotels, Roads

Puerto's Agente Municipal has made some major changes for tourist security. The entire beach along Perez Gasca and the north part of Zicatela is fully lighted, enabling people to stroll along the waterfront after dark. There are about 18 high powered flood lamps illuminating the entire area. They truly did a most excellent job of this. Brown-shirted Policia Turistica patrol the beaches and tourist areas. We were in town for both the Sailfish Tournament and the Surf Championship and were very much aware of a large army presence at those events. Puerto knows the value of its tourist industry and is making major steps to preserve it.

Mexicana Airlines doesn't not seem to see matters quite the same. They have transferred their service into Puerto E./Huatulco to AeroCaribe and there are a lot of people who are NOT happy about it. Schedules seem to change without notice, travel agents get incorrect connection times and information, and a number of people have been left at the airport due to unannounced cancellations. I suppose it will eventually sort itself out, but as one bitter taxista told me, "Mexicana has abandoned us."


The Best Place in Town Award (in my opinion) Junto al Mar - The floodlights on the beach add dramatically to the charm of this most excellent spot. Seafoods were prepared to perfection, service was outstanding, and prices, all things considered, were modest. It has been our habit to have at least one "fancy" meal while in Puerto, and that was always at the Santa Fé. Junto al Mar, at the west end of the Adoquín, has served notice that the Santa Fé is going to have to work harder if they want us back.

Sardinia de Plata - does not merit mention on your page.

La Torre - relatively new place in Bacocho at the west end of Rinconada. We have visited several times now and confidently recommend it. The menu does not currently offer seafoods, offering instead some very tasty chicken and beef dishes, prepared with in decidedly regional styles. La Torre is an attractive, albeit small place, having only about 10 tables. It is impeccably clean, service was exceptional and prices were modest.

My old friend Silvio at the Taquería Playita has enjoyed so much business that he had to relocate... only about 1/2 a block, but to the chagrin of many of his long-standing customers, myself among them. He now has much more space and his braziers are built into a separate glassed-in area. you can still watch the food preparations, but you are no longer exposed to the heat of the charcoal. During the Fiestas de noviembre, he was serving up two of the biggest pastors I have ever seen. Nobody disputes the fact that Silvio's tacos are the best in the area, perhaps the best in the country!

Taquería Mayra - another favourite place. From the newsstand on Avenida Oaxaca it is one block east (up the hill.) Serves a full regional menu but the tlayudas with beef or chicken are my clear favourites.

Danny's Terrace at the Rincón del Pacifico has made some changes on the terraza (very pleasant and breezy now) - recommended for lunches.

Cafecito on Zicatela is still beating the daylights out of the competition. Quality, prices and service are all among the best. The owner is obsessive about cleanliness, particularly washrooms. I even got to do emergency repairs on the toilet for him during the surfing championship... you would think I might get a free lunch for it? I'll remind him when we go back in February.

Next to Cafecito is a new hotel, Olas Altas. It is part of a very welcome "new look" in Zicatela. It features about 50 rooms and suites a VERY attractive place. Landscaping was just about complete at the end of November. I'll get you a photo in February, Tom. Prices were around $60 CDN for the single rooms, just over $100 CDN for the suites.

Fiesta Mexicana has deteriorated, a "hotelucho," a dump. Damage from Pauline and Rick has not been dealt with, but they seem to be continuing in business anyway. It is dreary and seedy - best to bulldoze the thing into the adjacent ravine and use it for fill. Current gossip is that the place is tied up in a marital dispute and probably won't be improved until that issue is settled.

Hotel Villa Sol is under a limited reconstruction. We saw a Days Inns car parked there several days and are speculating that it will be a part of the Days Inn chain. Part of the Villa Sol name had been painted over.

Road report

Huatulco to Puerto E. - generally in very good shape. A few minor rough spots close to Puerto, but otherwise OK.

Acapulco to Puerto E. - Very much improved. Most of last year's detours are fixed. No problems.

Oaxaca to Puerto - via Sola de Vega (Hwy 131), still many sudden potholes and single-lane traffic areas due washouts.

All in all, Puerto is looking great, still bright green from the late rains. The holiday season is going to be a very busy one.


December 1998

Driving From Ontario

I would like to know the best way to get to Puerto Escondido by car. We are planning a trip in January and would like to here from people who have traveled from Ontario Canada and what route etc. they took. Also the boarder crossings and what location or motel would be the best ones to stay at.


November 1998

Puerto Escondido and Area

Jeez Tom, I hardly know where to start! Just recently got my 1st computer and was browsing for information on Puerto Escondido, when I found your web site. And I gotta tell you, it's great!! Very informative. I've gotten a lot of information not only from it but the various links.

My first encounter with Puerto Escondido was in 1989. Went down on a whim with two amigos, for 1 wk., next yr. 3 wks., after that 2 months, from middle of Jan. til middle of March. Ultimate goal--Oct. til April. Don't really stay in Puerto anymore, as much as I use it as a jumping off place to explore southern Mexico. I do a lot of backpacking and such. My woman gets down there a couple of wks. during Feb.

I first went down to Puerto Escondido in Feb., 1989 (20-30 yrs. too late, but that's another story). A lot has changed in that short of time, pop. 8,000 to more than 30,000.

Some good, some bad, but that's a problem that's universal. But anyway, puerto has a variety of visitors or turistas, the Playa Principal varity, (older gringos, folks that want to be right on the beach), the Zicatela (surfers, party folks, etc.), folks who have been going there from when the main tourist Strassa was all sand (still is occasionally during the rainy season) and have found many local friends and cheaper accommodations. Myself, I've been staying at the Hotel Ben Zaa for the last 6 yrs. Family run by the Salinas family. Great people. Located away from the majority fo the other hotels. Beautiful view from the 3rd story rooftop. Great sunset view. Really a 360 degree view of all of Puerto. Reasonable rates ($10 single, $15 double).

San Augustinillo:

Camped next to Evelia's last time for 2 wks. No charge as long as I ate there. Became the night watchman of sorts, helped clean up in the a.m. and p.m. Everything is pretty well back to normal since Pauline & Rick, less palm trees and a few roofs still missing, especially at the Turtle Museum. I'm anxious to see if it's back on line. My understanding is that they had to cut loose of all the turtles due lack of power, setting back a 10 yr. research project. Knowing how long it takes the gov. to do anything it is quite a blow to the local economy. As you know, tourism was to take place of the annual turtle slaughter.


Expect to rent Umberto's place for a wk. when the Mrs. comes down. My friends, Tony & Helen from B.C. have a little airstream there. I believe Helen is on your web site relating their experience with Rick. Beautiful, calm bay.

Well, enough for now. Getting geared up for my annual break. Expect to leave Jan. 15. Going to Campeche 1st. for a couple of wks. bumming around the ruins of the Yucatan (if anyone has info, please e-mail me). Then to Palenque, camp up stream at Agua Azul (found a camp site last yr.--10 pesos a nite), then down to Puerto E. to meet my little love muffin".

By the way, they are removing the dock at Puerto Angel, possibly putting in a new one.


November 1998

Choosing Between Puertos

Dear Tom:

We spoke last month re: Puerto Angel and Posada Canon Devata. Got back last week from two weeks in Oaxaca - nine in the city and six in Puerto Escondido. Originally was going to go to Puerto Angel (thanks for the contact # for Kiri). Made a lot of friends in Oaxaca and they advised changing my plans; thought I'd enjoy P.E. more - more activity. I suppose they were right; passed through P.A. on my way to Huatulco Airport and it was very quiet, although very lovely. Plan to spend some time there on my next trip down.

As for P.E., it was very nice (although awfully hot). Had downloaded some info from your website on P.E. prior to leaving, and I was glad I did. Stayed at Hotel Arco Iris and I highly recommend it. Inexpensive (and they give a 10% discount if you pay in full), very clean, lovely grounds, wonderfully pleasant and helpful staff, and the view is incredible. They also serve a good and inexpensive breakfast, although Cafecito is definitely the place to eat on the Zicatela.

Was in P.E. when the Governor of Oaxaca came for the beach-lighting ceremony. Yes the beaches at P.E. are now lit at night, from Bahía Principal to almost the end of Zicatela. Not very romantic, but certainly safer now.


November 1998

Volunteer Work?

I visited Puerto Escondido in the winter of 1993, and have not stopped thinking about it since. In fact, I am hoping to spend a couple of months in Puerto Escondido this Spring. The last time I visited Puerto Escondido, I stayed much longer than expected, because I absolutely fell in love with the place. I would love to hear what is new in Puerto Escondido. Is there still a Canadian man running a bakery/cafe in Puerto? I cannot remember his name now, but do remember that he was very kind. I would also like to know if there is any work/volunteer work for foreign travelers in the area right now. Jennifer

November 1998

September in Puerto Escondido

Thanks for the web site. Its great to read about one of the nicest places in the world and hear from others who have been there.

My wife and I had two wonderful weeks in Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido in September 98. Puerto Escondido manages to retain its small town feel while still providing reasonable tourist amenities such as hotels and restaurants. The Hotel Santa Fe [photo 53K] sets the standard for service, has a great tropical feel, the best restaurant in town and views of the ocean. As usual the local people and foreign residents were very friendly and helpful. A couple of recent additions at Zicatela beach include La Bella Vita, an outstanding Italian restaurant just across from the Santa Fe and Dann's Bar at Noel's Cabanas. La Bella Vita uses fresh local produce to make dishes like "insalata caprese" (fresh tomatoes, basil and mozarella) and garlic shrimp with tomatos and pasta. Dann's Bar is a collection of plastic tables under palapas next door to Cabo Blanco. Dan is an-expat from Ventura, California, who is married to a local lady. Dann's attracts a colorful crowd of retired Americans, Australian surfers and German tourists. Its a great place to listen to tall tales and enjoy a few cold ones.

Many people ask about safety in Mexico. There is an increased police presence on the beach in Puerto Escondido. All of the local cops seemed competent. I felt completely safe but we also make a point of using common sense as to where we go and when. Stay off the beach at night. Of greater concern is the undertow at Zicatela beach. This is not a swimming beach and only experienced ocean swimmers should go in the water.

So if you go to Puerto this winter please stop by Dann's and have a cold beer for me. Tell him Mike and Susan from Ohio State say Hi!

Mike and Susan

November 1998

Tales of the Heart, an article by Kenneth Richards.

Love in 1995

At the end of 1995 my boyfriend and I visited Puerto Escondido and fell in love on the beach. Now we are married and returning for a holiday. Because we had such a lovely time three years ago we are a little nervous about returning and wonder if anyone can tell us what to expect in the way of changes since then?

Also, I was sorry to see reports in the comments section of a rape/murder. How very sad for Carol Schlosberg, her family and friends. My heart goes out to them. I hope they will forgive me for wondering how her tragedy is likely to affect our visit. I can't help wondering if the situation remains tense, or the police presence heavy.

Thirdly, Ben and I have both had health problems this year and have to be very careful what we eat at the moment. Normally, I don't worry about diet at all (anyone who sees me on the beach will see result) but we really have to be careful this time. Can anyone give us some do's and don'ts please.

Fourthly, is there a smart/cheap way of getting from Puerto Escondido airport into the town?

Thanks, Tom, for this website. All the best to all of you


November 1998

Looking For A Place To Rent

Have enjoyed browsing you web site. My wife and I are interested in renting a 2-bedroom apartment or small villa for the month of July or August somewhere in Mexico on the Coast. Please reply to:

Hank Rudin
PO 1776
Onset, MA 02558
November 1998

Manialtepec Lagoon & Ecological Notes

I've been enjoying your website for some months now - great work. You have a knack to tell it like it is - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

My name is Michael Malone, owner /operator of Hidden Voyages Ecotours" (Viajes Escondidos SA de CV) which is noted several times in your pages. My wife and I have migrated to Puerto Escondido each winter now for 3 to 4 months for the past 18 years. We've watched Puerto grow and change drastically in this time, but still love it and look forward to returning year after year. Recently I have set up a web-site for which I would appreciate a link. I have posted some aerial photos of Manialtepec Lagoon which you are welcome to use on your site if you wish. You may check it out at: http://www.wincom.net/~pelewing/hvecotur.html

I am a neophyte computer user and will attempt in the near future to forward you a list of the 260 bird species that I have identified in the vicinity of Puerto - from Chacahua Lagoon National Park, Manialtepec Lagoon, and the foothills adjacent Puerto, The region is extremely rich in biodiversity, very little of which has any protection whatsoever. Through ecotourism I am attempting to promote awareness of this richness so that local peoples and international travelers can better understand and appreciate it, which in turn will give an economic incentive to protect it. Its a long, slow battle that may take a generation. It's heart-breaking to watch it slowly be destroyed - Manialtepec is threatened from all sides by cattle production, jet-skis, shrimp cultivation, drainage schemes, clandestine cutting of mangrove, population pressures, you name it. For the past several years I have been leading both National and Massachusetts Audubon groups on 8-day tours of Oaxaca with 4-day stays in both Oaxaca City and in Puerto, again bringing in some economic activity to provide jobs for Oaxaqueños, instill pride in their wildlife resources, and get them directly involved in its management and conservation. Oaxaca has biological resources every bit as rich as Costa Rica, which the state government is finally waking up to and beginning to promote.

We will drive down to Puerto at the end of November and be there until approximately April 1, our usual routine. If you will be in Puerto at that time please drop into Turismo Rodimar on the adoquin and introduce yourself. It would be my pleasure to take you out on a morning tour of Manialtepec Lagoon and show you some of its highlights.

Regards from Ontario, Canada
Michael Malone

October 1998

Puerto Update

My husband and I just came back from Puerto for a long weekend, it was too short this time but is better than nothing. The weather was incredible, just some rain at night. We like to stay in the Beach hotel Ines in Zicatela. They have web page: www.hotel-ines.com.

There is some good news about Puerto: El Son y la Rumba are now in the adoquin and Mayka is singing wonderfully. In that place you can also dance close to the waves. Ana (brasilian buggyboarder) and Barto (from Peru Surfer) in November are going to have a Baby. Big Jim and his wife had a baby boy last week (he is the one that manages the river trips with Blue. Morgan works in the spa of the hotel Ines, the spa is incredible, sauna, Jacuzzi and you can get a massage for 150 pesos, and also is working for a web that informs the surfers about the waves around the world. He was owner of Bruno´s after Bill and Patty.

The main road had some problems in the rainy season but all the people of the town are helping to build the road; they help with work, food and water for the workers, etc. This kind of collaboration they call tequio. All this to have it fixed as soon as possible.

Tips: If you go to the market you can buy shimp, 1 kilo for 45.00 pesos. Incredible! If I remember something else I would write later. I am planing to spend the new year there again.


October 1998

La Michoacana

Me gusto navegar por tu pagina, es bastante interesante y muy completa. Es agradable encontrar sugerencias tan atinadas. El Cafecito es fascinante, la comida, la gente, la puesta del sol.

Ojala puedas incluir en tus recomendaciones posteriores la paleteria y neveria La Michoacana, en donde se disfrutan unas paletas, nieves (ice cream) y aguas frescas verdaderamente exquisitas y refrescantes.

Ojala tomen en cuenta mi opinion. Gracias y felicidades.

Septiembre 1998

Searching for Miguel Leyud Ruiz

My name is Patti and I am from the Canadian Arctic. I am trying to locate Miguel Leyud Ruiz who works (worked) at the Posada Real. The reason for the contact is simply to know if he is O.K. as I heard he has been very ill. He worked in the restaurant there. If you can help me, I would be most grateful. Thank you. I have been to Puerto Escondido a few times and long to go back soon.

Please reply attn: Patti H.

August 1998

Fun at Arco Iris

Our stay in Puerto was nothing short of laid back. Lots of sun, sand, surf. We stayed at Hotel Arco Iris! Don't miss it---the staff goes out of their way to help you. In fact it was their pleasure to make us happy, the restaurant is excellent, and the manager Jose is lots of fun to talk with and willing to help out in any way. Arco Iris was one of the first hotels to be on Zicatela Beach, it has spectacular views and don't miss happy hour on the third floor with live music a few nights a week. So the next time in Escondido check out the Arco Iris and also for some fun look up Jorgue's diving shop across from Santa Fe hotel. Good fun good prices.

We didn't see any crime and felt safe which is always good! Have a great time in Escondido!

August 1998

Looking for Film Producer living in P.E.

Two years ago our friends vacationed in Puerto Escondido. From them we've learned that there is a Canadian woman living permanently in Puerto Escondido and involved in film. Producing films or screening them in a small theatre. We do not know her name and address. But wish to get in touch with her. Do you by any chance know her and perhaps can advice us about her e-mail address or phone so we can contact her?

Tad Jaworski
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

August 1998

Hotel El Tabachin

I was in Oaxaca for a month, first in Oaxaca City for the language institute there (excellent!), and then to Puerto Escondido for a week. I was so impressed with the hotel where I stayed in Puerto, that I want everyone to know about it.

It's called El Tabachin. It's very reasonably priced. My husband and I stayed on the third floor "suite" for $55/night. Unbelievable, because it's a huge room with two beds, a kitchen, and lots of extra room, windows, plenty of ventilation. Best of all is the balcony. We had a spectacular view. Tabachin is next to Santa Fe, and I read over and over how wonderful S.F. is. And, I'm sure it is. But not one room there had as fantastic a view as we did. Not only is Tabachin on a hill, but the fact that our room (the entire floor was our room!), was on the third floor put us up very high. And, if that wasn't enough, there was an open deck above us.

This place is really nice. Beautiful blue tiles on the floor and stairs, four ceiling fans, two doors (for better ventilation), a balcony on three sides, a large water tank with purified water, a large tiled shower, and decorated in spanish colonial. It isn't just the hotel itself, but the owner, Pablo (or Paul), who makes the place so special. Pablo is a relaxed, extremely intelligent, well-traveled man, who is fascinating to talk with. He is very humble, too. If you call him and ask him about his hotel he will be quite modest about it.

Oh, and he has a courtyard set up with tables for breakfast. The fruits are organic and grown on his property in Nopala. The coffee is locally grown, as well. The food is very good. He just serves breakfast, however. Pablo also has two houses in Nopala, a mountain village about two hours from Puerto Escondido. He has them available mainly in the winter months. He did take us on a tour there, and treated us to a fantastic lunch made by his cook in Nopala. Pablo has many local people working for him, and he pays them well, and also supports them financially in their higher education. I highly recommend El Tabachin. If you do go there, please ask Pablo if there is anything you could bring to him. He is very appreciative, and will repay you for whatever it costs. I took sheets with me for him, and he was very grateful.

phone number for El Tabachin: 011 52 958 21179


July 1998

Surfing Question: What is the difference between seasons?

I was in Puerto Escondido for 2 weeks of June in the summer of 1997. The surf was huge for about 1 and a half days, triple overhead or more. It was small for about 3 or 4 days. Other days seemed average, about 1.5 to double overhead. I am planning a visit to Puerto this winter, in January or February. I would be grateful for information about what kind or surf conditions can be expected at Zicatela beach during these months. If anyone has information regarding this please post it here or e mail me at hordur@vedur.is.

I was very pleased with my trip. Highs were good food, excellent surf and mostly friendly people. Lows where heat and mosquitoes. My advice to travelers to Puerto is this. Pack light but have plenty of reading material. Puerto is a great place to relax.

Hordur Thordarson

July 1998

Fishing Question

I am an avid "light tackle" fisherman. Are there many fresh-water lagoons which may house Black Bass? In particular I am looking for a species that is found in Southern Mexico and Central America---in the USA we call them "Peacock" Bass. They are large, going upward of 7 kilos, and are brilliant in color. I do not know the Spanish name for this species. Can you help me out on this?

I should arrive in mid-September and plan on staying [in Zipolite] until the 1st of the year. Any info would be greatly appreciated .

Larry W. Phillips

June 1998

More Comment on the Murder in P.E.

I am boggled by the comments made by "citizen zero" What if it had been one of his family members that had been murdered, or his daughter if he has one? Then what? Would he still feel the same way? I dont care if it has happened a million times. There comes a time when you do have to make a "big Hoopla" about such a serious crime, and thank god the woman had some kind of connections because had she not then this crime would have gone unnoticed as well. The slime ball that raped and murdered her had raped another girl years ago. And she lived to point him out to authorities. He was sentenced to 25years in prison, but apparently he was released after serving only 8 years. See unfortunately society is filled with people like "citizen ZERO'S" they are brain washed with all the violent movies they have watched that they believe a rape and murder is no big deal. It is a big deal! And had a "hoopla not been made out of this terrible tragedy the slime ball would still be out on the loose and it would have happened to another woman as well.

June 1998

Fantastic First Trip

Just returned from our first trip to Puerto Escondido. Nope, one week is not enough! Stayed in a house just behind Art & Harry's - Zicatela Beach. Beautiful weather (hot!) and a great middle of the night windstorm complete with lightening and thunder. A few places we must mention - The Cafecita is the place to be for coffee, terrific breakfasts, good conversation, and of course surf watching. The owners; Dan & Carmen are friendly and good-humored. The employees are great - Claudia taught us the fine art of ordering in Spanish, and Nadine gave us great local tips. La Gota da Vita has good fare too. Las Crotos - on the Aloquin was excellent dinner - white tablecloth, fresh fish - right on the ocean. Dan's 24-hour minimart on Zicatela - is a great place to stop by for a Sol- Cervesa, people watching, and the sacred practice of hammock stretching (hanging out in a hammock for a few hours).

If you feel the yearn of the sea, take a quick taxi to Puerto Angelita and ask for Omar (Nadine's honey). He'll take you out on la lancha (boat) for a good price to fish for Bonita, see the huge sea turtles, and tour 7 gorgeous beaches.

Speaking of beaches, Zicatela is the best surf and surfer watching spot. Playa Marinero is great people watching, and good swimming. Carazalillo is paradise!

While we were there, the local newspaper arrived with lots of scuttlebutt. Apparently two (non-local) men have been caught who admitted to the murder.

Next time - its two weeks (or more)......

June 1998

Comment on the Murder in P.E.

I have sat back and listened to all the hoopla surrounding the unfortunate murder in Puerto Escondido last April. Now I'd like to make a few comments of my own. I just happened to be there when the murder happened, but the first reports I heard claimed it had been a simple drowning. It is unfortunate that someone was murdered on vacation, but I would be nearly as upset if someone I loved drown too. This event has been blown totally out of proportion in my opinion. I have been visiting P.E. since 1971, when the little cove of Puerto Angelito had a coral reef (murdered by development) and Zicatela Beach was a pristine stretch of sand with virgin barrels of unsurfed waves, and they turned off the generator in town every night. Even back then two English women were raped while camping down on Zicatela. In those days the locals told the tourists not to get too far from town at night because there was a Navy base close by. People used to drown back then too. Mexico's Pipeline can take out even the strongest swimmer if the surf is huge and his luck is bad that day. The drowning rate is probably ten times what it was in 1971. Is the murder rate ten times worse? Probably. That's just because there's more people.

The media hype about the murder is just that--hype. It was a slow week in the United States and the tabloids were scraping the bottom of the fear-mongering barrel. Believe me, I would camp half way down Zicatela beach a hundred times before I would even dare to walk down a back street in any of Americas major cities. The murder in P.E. was akin to being struck by lightning. It was just a case of bad luck. Mexican police may be a bit laid back, but I'm sure they do the best job that they can do. I tire of hearing that they are corrupt, (like American law enforcement are all ex-choir boys), and that they don't take their jobs seriously (ever talk to a congressman?), and that they take bribes, (ever hear of lobbyists and campaign funding reform?), and if you're rich you'll get off, but if you're poor you'll go to jail (remember O.J. Simpson?) Mexico is a far safer place to be than the good old U.S.A. I'll take care of myself thank you very much. Mexico is still a relatively free country, and I refuse to trade liberty for security, because you can lose your freedoms, but you will never, ever be able to completely ensure your security. If you want warm sun, sandy beaches, nice hotels all the amenities and lots and lots of regulation and friendly, smiling police officers directing your every move, go to Florida, or Malibu Beach. Just hope to God you don't get caught in some crossfire, car jacking, or drug deal gone bad. If you fear Mexico, please by all means stay home. American paranoia is a disease that threatens the warmth and ambiance that the Mexican people bestow on foreign visitors so lavishly. If you open up to them, trust them and have the "amigo spirit," Mexico will reward you with the most relaxing, fulfilling and truly memorable vacation experience you could ever hope to have.

The American media would have you believe that Mexico is a violent, corrupt and decadent country. But that could not be further from the truth. It is most certainly the other way around--a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Citizen Zero

May 1998

Puerto E. 5 Years Later

We just got back from 2 weeks on the beach. What little damage there was from the hurricane seems to be under repair. We were interviewed by a guy from NBC who was on the plane from Mexico City. He was doing a story on the murder in March and wanted to know what our feelings were and why we would place ourselves in harm's way. I told him that, as long time visitors to Escondido, I didn't see the crime issue as any more relevant an issue then it would be if I stayed at home. I suggested that he do a story about all the Mexican nationals who die on our southern border every year.

It is sad, however, that this woman died in the manner that she did. Conversations with Americanos and locals indicated a high level of frustration with local law enforcement and a perceived lack of dedication to the job. There is a meeting scheduled (today, I believe) to organize a support group for residents.

The smoke from the fires in Mexico was very evident in Escondido but not unbearable. We had 2 days out of 14 that were very smoky but still enjoyable. The biggest effect seemed to be an increase in humidity which drove up the thirst for more cerveza at the beach.

The beach has really changed since I was last in Escondido (5 years ago). As a result, the surf was less than it has been and the barrels were nowhere the length or quality that they used to be. While I don't surf anymore, others still seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Thanks for this website, Tom. I'll stay in touch.

May 1998

Safe and Enjoyable Trip

My husband and I just got back from 2 days in Oaxaca City and 5 days in Puerto Escondido. We felt comfortable the entire time. There was a noticeable police presence in both places. We some police with automatic rifles, often in groups of 4 or 5.

In Oaxaca we stayed at the Victoria Hotel. It did not have air conditioning because usually it is cooler at night and none is needed. However, it was 92 degrees the first night we were there thanks to El Niño. It started to cool off about 4 AM. The next day we kept our drapes closed until the sun set and it was much more comfortable. The zócalo was wonderful on Saturday afternoon! The colors, crafts, people and food were a scene to devour. We sat at a cafe on the square, had a cervesa and people watched. There were several political rallies slated for the evening with live bands. Many young people were there later in the afternoon. We felt safe walking within 2 or 3 blocks on all sides of the square.

The food and drinks at the hotel were excellent. The people genuine and gracious and the hotel gardens and grounds beautiful. Our room was $80 per night but well worth the view from the terrace bar and the restaurant. They had a breakfast buffet with authentic Mexican dishes that changed daily. Before we left, the maitre d' brought the manager of the hotel to our table so she could invite us to return. We will definitely return to the Victoria when in Mexico again and recommend their hospitality, beautiful hotel and scenic views.

In Puerto Escondido we stayed at the Santa Fe [photo 53K]. Upon arrival they gave us a choice of two rooms, one at $48 and one at $56/night. We chose the more expensive room by the pool. It was brighter and a little larger with an alcove for a table and chairs. The bathrooms are huge with 2 sinks and a shower with a window up high, completely tiled all around. There were large mirrors and Hollywood style make-up lights above each sink and counter. They also have air conditioning and a fan. We used the AC during the day and the fan at night. The Santa Fe is incredible. It is a Spanish-Moorish paradise - a spectacle for the eyes. They have 2 pools - one for adults only. You can sit on the terrace above Zicatela beach and watch the waves crashing or the young people playing soccer. The roar of the waves could be heard in our room at night even with our windows closed!

The restaurant was wonderful. The garlic shrimp were grilled and left in their shells like a lobster tail would be. The red snapper was heavenly. The one Italian dish I had - fettuccini alfredo - was disappointing. No meat is served.

We walked the mile on Marinero Beach to the zona tourista each day. We were warned not to take the road to town. We ate at Bananas for breakfast - fruit crepes and ham/cheese crepes with Oaxacan cheese. Both were excellent! We also ate at Perla Flameante (tuna teriyaki style) and at Posada (Tiberon) - excellent garlic shrimp in a spicy red sauce. We ate lunch only once at a small cafe across from the ice cream stand opting for tacos con pollo and enchiladas con pollo. Both were excellent with the 2 for 1 cervesa since Happy Hour is all day long there.

We also ventured into the town itself up on the hill. We took a taxi to the Mercado and from there walked a few blocks and bought some tapes. We returned the next day to go to PE's only "supermarket" which is around Av. 4 Norte a block west of Av. Oaxaca. There was a police guard at the entrance. We then walked down Oaxaca Avenue to 1st Ave. and the newsstand. The Tacqueria across the street was closed since it was only about 1 PM. A taxi anywhere in town is 10 pesos and it is definitely worth taking - they are everywhere.

We wound up our stay with an overnight in Mexico City. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Dias Plaza (close to the airport) instead of the Imperial Hotel downtown (originally reserved) because of the warnings about taxis. The Holiday Inn has a shuttle. It was expensive ($110/night) but a beautiful hotel - very art deco with a lobby atrium that went to the skylight above.

Everywhere we went, the Mexican people were hospitable and gracious. Our safety was paramount to them and to the tourist trade in general and they gave us advice on where to go and what to stay away from. We took their advice and had a wonderful experience. We met some young people traveling around Mexico on a shoestring who stayed on Zicatela for 30 pesos (about $4) a night (no AC) and they felt safe as well. We highly recommend the Hotel Victoria and the Santa Fe.


May 1998

Murder at Noon

It is a sad thing when you hear that someone has been murdered for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But this time she was at the right place at the right time! What can you do when something like this happens? Besides sharing in the grief and outrage many feel, I feel that in a place with a primitive police who use primitive methods of interrogation, perhaps the best thing that could happen is that concerned citizens put enough pressure on the local authorities to simply execute the criminal. Is he a politician? Is he a local police officer? It doesn't matter. In a place with primitive methods, primitive justice will work.

Omar Guillen

May 1998

Roadblock on Hwy 200

Thought I would offer comments from a recent first-time trip to Puerto Escondido. I had been looking for a destination in Mexico that offered a tranquil, low-key beach getaway, and when I encountered this web site I knew I had found the place. It was very helpful in planning my trip; it also makes for some great daydreaming. [virtual vacationing--it's real busy Monday mornings - Tom]

We got a great deal on a charter from Minneapolis to Huatulco in March, $152 round trip. We stayed our first night in La Crucecita, the town which is one hub of the Huatulco resort area. Got a room at the Flamboyant; nice place, right on the square. Next day, with the help of the travel office by the hotel's front desk, we were able to hire a taxi to Puerto Escondido for a reasonable 400 pesos. We got almost as far as Pochutla before coming up on a long line of stopped vehicles. Turned out the road was blocked some distance up ahead. I asked the driver if it was Zapatistas and he said, "no, no, just the people. It's political." No one had any information about whether the block was being or might be cleared, so we sat awhile and waited. Apparently we could have walked up to the roadblock and caught a taxi on the other side to continue the trip. But, as my friend would have had to lug a heavy suitcase (I had a pack) about a mile in the blazing sun, we elected to return to Huatulco.

I had heard that these roadblocks were a possibility; just our bad luck it happened to us. People in La Crucecita said it happens maybe every month or two; sometimes the blockade lasts two hours, sometimes 24. The next day we still couldn't get any good information about whether the road was open, so we decided to let another day go by, to make sure, before attempting it again. So, after landing on a Tuesday, we finally did get to Puerto on Friday. We never did find out what the actual roadblock consisted of -- rocks, trees, people? There was no evidence of it along the road which we could see later.

In Puerto we booked into the Arco Iris. This is a very nice budget hotel, with great staff, nice gardens and a good pool. The restaurant on the third floor, La Galera, was excellent and the best overall dining value we found; the view of the beach from there is delightful. However, at night our ground-floor room proved to be full of mosquitoes. The screens were good but there were gaps all around the doors. We didn't have nets or adequate repellent, and it was way too hot to cover up, so we got almost no sleep that night. So the next morning we moved up the road to the Santa Fe. And that was wonderful, a very good place. Lush gardens, beautiful tiled stairways, good room with cross ventilation and A/C. All this comes at a price, of course, about $84 US for our room, three times what we paid at the Arco. A cab downtown was 10 pesos, and they come by every few minutes. Heck of a deal.

(A tip for other first-timers to this area: Bring mosquito netting and repellent just in case. We had read the warnings about bugs but as it was the dry season we didn't expect to see any. Wrong. It would have been handy to have some spray for the ankles while dining in the evenings.)

We had read much in advance about hurricane damage. There were some wrecked palapas and abandoned buildings. But not having visited the area before I had nothing to compare with, and whatever damage remained didn't detract from our experience.

Weather: in the 90s and sunny every day we were in the area. Afternoons, the sun's heat could get downright fierce, but most days there was a delightful breeze. In the evening it can get pretty breathless if you're downtown; out along Zicatela, it's better.

Zicatela Beach was the thing for us. Each afternoon we would take day packs and hang out under the palapas along the beach. At some we were asked for a small rental fee (20 pesos typically) by one of the palapa cantinas along the beach, others didn't seem to be tended. Watching the thunder and crash of those big waves while feeling the delightful sea breeze is a pastime it would be hard to tire of. Everyone comes down to the beach to watch the sunset, and even the locals would ooh and aah when the bigger sets came booming in. As the big event neared, we would bestir ourselves and stroll the strand, where for a magical hour everyone seems united by the eternal beauty of a Pacific sunset.

Re: crime, Puerto Escondido didn't strike us as a particularly dangerous place and we didn't hear of any incidents while we were there. Zicatela beach is big and very dark at night, not the kind of place most people would feel comfortable hanging around late anyway. In daylight, at least on the half-mile or so of beach nearer to town, there were usually enough people around to offer safety in numbers. On the street fronting the beach, there's a one-block stretch on the upper end without lights where you might want to tweak up your "situational awareness" a little passing there at night. For the most part I felt safe in the Zicatela area after dark, if not necessarily on the beach itself. I can't speak for late-nighters, as we were in by 11:00. We did notice piles of new metal standards staged for installation along the beach road, perhaps for new power lines or street lights.

We found the swimming great on Playa Marinero. We rented boogie boards from kids on the beach and had a great time riding the six-footers. If you miss-time the break of your wave and don't dive for the bottom before it crashes over you, you can really get "maytagged." This might not be news to experienced ocean swimmers but we don't get much practice with big waves in Minnesota. On several occasions while being power-flushed toward the beach at what felt like 30 miles an hour, I was really glad there were no rocks or coral on the bottom.

As the beach was our main draw, we didn't get into town much beyond a couple of evening ambles along the pedestrian zone. Tourism may be down in Puerto according to some reports, but there seemed to be plenty going on downtown. We did notice that no place looked what you could call busy, and the staff at the restaurants were really working the sidewalks, trying to entice diners in from the street. They succeeded with us at the Junto al Mar, where we had a good seafood dinner. It was the only place we tried in town.

To avoid any more surprises with the road, we took a bus back to Huatulco the day before our flight left. (Cristobal Colon line, primera clase, departed right on time and was very comfortable.) So we had only three days in Puerto. But I'm looking forward to getting to know the place better on future trips. Until then, I'll look to these pages whenever I need a mental escape back to the beach. Keep those comments coming, and much thanks for this very enjoyable web site!

Don G. Pribble

April 1998

La Comida y el Hotel Ines

I am from Mexico City, and we (my family and I) have visited Puerto many times over the past 5 years. I am going to write in Spanish because it's easier for me.

Hemos visitado Puerto Escondido muchas veces y en diferentes epocas del año. La unica que no recomendamos es semana santa, por que hay mucha gente, y por lo tanto es menos la seguridad en la zona y la gente ensucia mucho las playas. Hemos visto en los ultimos años muchos cambios en Puerto Escondido, desde que existía el Brunos con Patty y Bill, luego con Morgan y ahora que es parte del Cafecito, realmente se extrana el Brunos como era antes, aunque el nuevo está muy bien, lo que recomendamos muy temprano en la mañana (abren a las 6 a.m.) es el Cafecito siempre hay gente con quien platicar e intercambiar comentarios.

Por la tarde no hay que perderse de ir al adoquín (pedestrian zone) a tomar un rico gelato a la gelatería italiana a la entrada de esta calle antes de los taxis. La comida Italiana es muy buena y barata.

En Zicatela Beach está el restaurant de los Tíos, la comida es muy abundante y a buenos precios. En cuanto a hotel siempre nos quedamos en el Hotel Ines justo en la playa, tienen diferentes tipos de cuartos, unos con cocina otros cabañas etc. casi hemos recorrido todos los cuartos del hotel, la alberca y el restaurant-bar están muy bonitos y Lola y Mario los cocineros preparan un spaghetti carbonara delicioso los precios son buenos, la dueña del Hotel se llama Ines.


April 1998

What's Happening to Zicatela?

I am disturbed to hear about some violent issues against tourists at Puerto Escondido. I have been going to Puerto Escondido for over 10 years and have stayed at hotel Santa Fe [photo 53K] while on various surfing trips. I have been trying to talk my wife to go back and the press is not helping. I have never had a problem other than being bothered by a local a-hole because he got tired of seeing me around for over 3 weeks; still one of the better surf vacations in the western hemisphere. Great people, great surf, great food. I hope that it stays that way. I'm a bit disturbed about putting a street on playa Zicatella; had to wonder what was next.

Tommy Sheridan
April 1998


Ola !

J'ai visite le site sur Puerto Escondido, sympa !

J'ai passe 6 jours a PE au mois de fevrier.

C'etait durant mon voyage au Mexique qui a dure un mois. Nous avons descendu la cote pacifique depuis San Blas jusqu'a PE. Ensuite nous sommes passe dans le Chipias pour terminer a Isla Mujeres.

Je peux dire aujourd'hui de tout les endroits ou nous avons sejourne, c'est PE qui nous a le + enchante, vraiment...

Nous avons pratique le body board dans des vagues plutot cool. Le surf est vraiment impressionant, nous avons eu la chance d'assister a une session de 4 metres a 7 heure du matin.

Mais sans parler du surf, c'est l'ambiance qui regne qui fait de PE un paradis.

Ambiance tres jeune, nationalites tres diverses. Le soir pour faire la fete, il n'y a rien de mieux.

On nous disait que l'endroit ete dangereux le soir, nous avons ete mefiant, et pourtant cela nous a paru cool. J'ai eu l'occasion de me balader seul devant la plage en pleine nuit et je n'ai jamais eu de probleme. Pourtant les temoignages d'agression nous montrent bien que nous ne sommes pas assez mefiants.

Ce q'il faut retenir c'est que PE, c'est un paradis pour les surfeurs et un paradis pour faire la fete, et passer des journees cool, au rythme mexicain quoi...


April 1998

Best Tacos at La Playita

Hi There Tom!

I want to thank you very much for the information you give in your site. I went on vacation last week with my mom, my aunt, and my grandmother. I stayed at Villas Bacocho Hotel, and your information helped us very much in our trip.

I live in Mexico City. My mom always wanted to take me to Pto. Escondido, and last week we did it. Your site helped us to visit nice places, to learn about which beaches are nice or which ones aren't. We had a pleasant vacation.

Thanks to you, I tasted the BEST TACOS AL PASTOR I have ever tasted! Taqueria La Playita Rules! I'm building my own Mexico City Web Site, but I haven't finished the html script.

Thank you again.

Joel Morales

April 1998

Anybody Know about Danny's Bar?

Hi: We have planned a two-week stay in Puerto Escondido next month and having read the reports on this excellent website, are really looking forward to it.

We have been recommended a place called "Danny's Bar" as being a fun, young place to stay. However, I have read all your Visitors' Comments as well as several guide books and found this mentioned nowhere.

Does anyone know of the existence of such a place and if so, can they recommend it? We would really appreciate any info and will certainly drop an email recounting our experiences on our return.

April 1998

Looking for a Family to Stay With

Hi: I would like to live with a family for about a month in Puerto. Do you know of any families who take in boarders? I've done this in Cuernavaca and loved it. I also did it in Oaxaca City, but the experience there was too rustic.


April 1998

Rape, Murder in Puerto Escondido

One of my closest friends was travelling across Mexico with her partner. While staying at a hotel in Puerto Escondido, she went for a walk on the beach alone. Not at night, but in broad daylight. She was found later, apparently drowned. Later, autopsy showed she had been raped, sodomized and murdered. The local authorities told us that these things happen but they never catch the perpetrators. They don't seem to be pursuing any investigation beyond the autopsy. We feel shocked, horrified and helpless. Any advice how to take steps to make this horrible tragedy less likely to recur? Doesn't the government or tourist industry care that tourist can get raped and murdered without consequence? Any advice would be appreciated.

David Berman
April 1998

see news account

Retiring to Puerto Escondido

I have read very carefully the comments about Puerto Escondido. Last year, on Christmas break I traveled from Puebla, where I live, to Oaxaca, Puerto Angel, and Puerto Escondido. It was such an experience the road from Mihuatlán, to Puerto Angel, it was 90% destroyed by hurricane Pauline; nobody told us about it. I was traveling with my 15-year old kid, and it took me more than five hours to get there.

However, it was really surprising to visit Puerto Escondido. Although I was there just for a few hours, I really got to like it. The point is that since I am recently divorced, and planning to retire, (I am 45 years old), still young ???, but wishing to have a quieter life, I am looking for a place to live and do what I like most, to write about Mexico. I am Mexican, you may have already noticed because of my English. I am trying to meet friends who have already been in Puerto Escondido before. I will go again on April 4, planning to stay there for a week Thank you for you information and hoping to hear from you.

Raul Payan
March 1998

Puerto Escondido Updates

It's mid March and very hot in Puerto Escondido. February was not as windy as in the past years.

An update on good places to eat: La Torre in Rinconada--halfway between Bococho and Rinconada on the divided four-lane that runs to the Agencia Municipal. Their hamburger and french fries are great. Burger comes with cheese and bacon. The plate costs eighteen pesos. Their typical dishes are great. Seafood tends to be a little pricey by our standards, but you might find it well within acceptable limits. Very clean.

Arco Iris is a bit slow and some have complained of food coming cool, but they still have good food, and reasonable. Just arrive half an hour before you want to be waited on and things should work out.

On the adoquin is a lovely shop called El Tigre Azul run by a couple from Puebla. Extremely hospitable, very clean, artistic atmosphere--many artworks for sale. The owners are talented and pleasant to chat with. Good view from the top floor. I have heard that people complain about their salads being too big!

The only place to eat at Carrizalillo Beach is Marias' Restaurant--but don't go down asking for Marias. The other locals have caught on and they all claim to be "Marias'". The real Maria can be found nestled under the larger palm trees, three quarters of the distance to the far end of the beach from the trailer park walking trail.

Art and Harry's are way too pricy for us. The same hamburger and french fries is 35 pesos (most other places 15 to 18). Don't get me wrong. Art and Harry's is reasonable by stateside standards, but by Puerto standards, hang on to your hat.

Los Tios has OK seafood on the beach. A little noisy at times, but friendly atmosphere.

La Cafecita--too bad they pushed Brunos out of the way.

The new pier has begun and the road along the adoquin is still torn up. Hopefully it will all be fixed by Santa Semana.

New things coming to Puerto daily. Can you believe stop signs? Can you believe a ceramic shop with classes?

Will upgrade the road conditions within a month from the Texas border thru Mexico City, Acapulco and P.E. They were trying to fix the damage from the hurricanes when we passed thru in January. Let's see how far they got.


March 1998

Taxi Scam

I saw Ellen (of Pete and Ellen in Puerto Escondido) yesterday, and she told me of a scam the taxistas are pulling at the airport. They bought their ticket for the proper zone at the official counter, but the driver stopped after a few blocks and told them that there would be an additional charge for 'excess baggage.' Gotcha!

Clay Cummins

February 1998

Airport Scam

There appears to be a parking scam being run by airport security officers. After arriving in Huatulco on the 4th of February, a young uniformed type tried to shake down our cab driver for 75 pesos. We protested because parking is supposed to be free at the airport. The individual supposedly called his supervisor but we noticed he never depressed the send key on his walkie-talkie. Another passing security guard refused to become involved in his attempt to collect. After a heated exchange we left without paying.

We were dropped off at Huatulco by friends on Feb. 17 and they reported the same attempted shakedown occurred to them, this time for 90 pesos. They didn't pay either.

A resident Canadian reported a similar incident occurred at the Puerto Escondido airport. He got around the problem by demanding an official receipt with the government (Hacienda) stamp on it which, of course, wasn't forthcoming.

A word to the wise.

Steve Bevitt
Berkeley, CA

February 1998

Puerto Escondido Update - February 25, 1998

General Comments

Puerto Escondido is a travelers' and vacationers' dream right now. Tourism is down this year to perhaps a third of its normal level. One government official told us that if it were not for "old timers like you we would have no one here."

(Aside: The "old timer" comment referred to the fact that we've been returning for many years, and definitely not to our ages.)

Because there are so few tourists, service everywhere in Puerto Escondido this year is faster and more attentive. We never saw at any time of day or night more than few dozen tourists in the shops and restaurants along the Adoquin (pedestrian zone) on Avenida Perez Gasga by the Playa Principal.

Getting a good table for dinner was the least of our problems. On several occasions we were just about the only patrons. In fact the only restaurants we saw that had more than a half dozen guests on a regular basis were the Santa Fe, Arco Iris, Art and Harry's, Lorenzo's (every table filled both times were there), and El Cafecito. If you thought Puerto Escondido was friendly in the past, try it now.

(Aside: dinner for four, including wine and tip, regularly was under US $40.00.)

In The Aftermath of Hurricane Pauline

The effects of Hurricane Pauline on Puerto Escondido last October were relatively minor to start (Hurricane Rick was just a big blow) and are largely invisible to visitors today. The few roofs that were damaged have been repaired. A state tourist bureau worker showed us some pictures of the main street immediately after the storm. The amount of dirt and sand and mud that had washed down was quite incredible. "We all learned what to do with a shovel," she told us. By the time we arrived the feet and tons of sand and dirt that washed down the hillsides into the Adoquin and Avenida Perez Gasga near the Palapa Restaurant had been shoveled up, carted off, and swept away. Hardly a sign of the hurricanes remained.

We had an opportunity to view a home-made 1-1/2 hour long video documentary of the Hurricane Pauline's aftermath in the small (population <5,000) Indian village of Nopala, a few hours from Puerto Escondido in the mountain coffee growing region. It was made by a native photographer whose father had been the area photographer before him. Damage was relatively light (a bridge and trees washed away, houses flooded, and the like). The overwhelming reaction on the part of the people appears to have been one -- not of anger or pain or frustration or sorry or worry -- but wonderment. The river was higher than anyone had ever seen. Water was everywhere, in the streets, in homes, in drawers, sheds, everywhere. And everything was drenched through...clothes, food, everything. The sense of wonder was palpable.

All the scores of little palapas dotting the three beaches from the fishing fleet to Art & Harry's are still there and apparently unaffected by the storms. Symbolic of the shortage of visitors however, the three palapa areas on Zicatela nearest town are not being used this season.

[Aside: We gained a new respect for those fragile looking thatched roofs that look like they would blow away in any healthy wind storm. Well, they don't blow away, but tiled roofs and asphalt roofs do. A local builder explained that when the air pressure changes suddenly and dramatically, as it does during hurricanes, the thatching lifts a bit allowing the pressure to equalize. Tile and asphalt roofs can't do that so they actually blow out.]

The Weather

The weather was postcard beautiful but noticeably cooler this year with day time highs occasionally reaching to 80 but mostly only to the upper 70s, and evening lows in the 60s. Everyone blames El Niño. Once it was cloudy for part of the day. Otherwise we had -- as expected in the height of the dry season -- weeks of brilliant sunshine and no rain.

The cool onshore and onshore breezes were almost continuous this year. On several days it was too windy and/or cool for me to eat breakfast on our terrace . The waves were consistently stronger and higher for a longer period of time this year than any time in at least the last 10 years. Twice while we were there, the *Wave Fax* listed Puerto Escondido among the world's best.

(Aside: After years of watching vacationers on Puerto Escondido's beaches, I've come to the conclusion that, generally speaking, 40-year-old men with pot bellies should probably not wear bikinis.)

The IN Places

The IN places to eat this year include most of the usual old stand-byes. The Santa Fe [photo 53K] remains in a class by itself as the premier hotel and premier dining room in Puerto Escondido. The Arco Iris remains popular for sunset drinks and also for lunch and dinner (they have the most interesting and extensive Mexican menu in town and very modest prices). Art and Harry's at the far end of Zicatela is still a surfer's hang-out and is very popular with Americans of all ages. Sunday night is particularly busy. They have entertainment three nights a week.

In town, El Tiberon does a wonderful chicken in orange sauce. Los Grotos and Danny's Terrace at the Rincon del Pacifico are also popular with vacationers. The Tequila Sunrise remains the one popular disco night spot.

Conspicuously missing from this year's IN list are the Perla Flameante in the pedestrian zone and the Flora de Marie. None of the 'regulars' ever mentioned either one this year and while we did talk about trying them we just never got around to it, probably because there were a lot of other interesting places to try. The never popular Blue Iguana disco on Zicatela is not making it.

Eco-tours to the Manialtepec and Chacahua lagoons remain the singularly most popular day trips. Another popular excursion is a 2-hour float down the Colotepec River. Probably the most popular and interesting one night overnight trip is to Santo Reyes Nopala in the mountain coffee growing region. Paul Cleaver of the Tabachin del Puerto (at the Santa Fe) has a place in Nopala for overnight guest.

Out this year are side trips to Puerto Angel and to Huatulco. Hurricane damage to Pto. Angel has dampened interest in that direction, and periodic road blocks outside Huatulco set up by Indians sympathetic to the Chiapas situation has dampened enthusiasm for that trip.

(Aside: It is hard for two people to spend US $30 for a meal in Puerto Escondido, but it's possible. Elizabeth and I have done it twice in 10 years. The second was this year at the Santa Fe where we had a nice bottle of local white wine and the two most expensive dishes on the menu -- proving once again that with enough persistence most anything is do-able.)

What's New

Reporting on what's new, three of the biggest items for vacationers are restaurants. Heading the list is El Cafecito, located on Zicatela beach next to Carmine's in the spot where Bruno's was last year (Bruno's is gone from Puerto Escondido). Cafecito is run by Carmine and Dan (of Carmine's Bakery fame) who did some remodeling (like e.e. cummins' Buffalo Bill, the bar is 'defunct' and the stairs are now on the right). They have a very limited but as you would expect an interesting and high quality menu.

(Aside: The reason I spend a lot of time here talking about eating places is because eating is a really big deal for vacationers in Puerto Escondido. As someone put it to us years ago when we first started going there, "There are only two things to do in Puerto Escondido after dark: count the stars and talk about where you want to have dinner the next night." Elizabeth says he was showing his age.)

Another is Mario's Italian restaurant just outside the eastern end of the Adoquin and a few places down from (and not to be confused with) his Pizzaland. Mario greets guest personally and offers the warmest and most attentive service of any restaurant in town. It also has such amenities as white table cloths and cloth napkins, serves water without being asked, and provides beautiful light classical music in the background for dining. Typical of his attentiveness, on Valentine's day, Mario presented women with carnations. A very popular dish is the baked meat lasagna.

A third restaurant new to the IN list this year is Lorenzo's which moved from its temporary 3rd floor spot across from El Tiberone on the Adoquin to a location just off Mexico 200 and across from the Suzuki landmark (1a Sur & 2a Poniente). The roast pork is probably (and deservedly) Larry's most popular dish.

(Aside: As tangible evidence of Puerto Escondido's maturity, we ate fresh leafy green salads almost every day and in at least a half dozen places. Ten years ago, eating fresh vegetables any place in Puerto Escondido was a risky and generally not too smart a feat, even at the Santa Fe.)

A second new thing of interest to vacationers is the SUN, Puerto Escondido's free English language newsletter/newspaper (it looks like a newsletter, feels like a newsletter, and is published monthly like many newsletters, but its publisher calls it a newspaper). It has a calendar of local events, advertising for many of the more popular tourist oriented businesses, information about local events of interests to vacationers, and even a column devoted to the history of Puerto Escondido. It offers US subscriptions for $25.

El Mercado (the old market) is being significantly expanded and modernized. Currently, fresh fruits, meats, fish, flowers and the like are the main items. A few blocks down from El Mercado, there is now Puerto Escondido's first real US-style super market (of sorts), Ahorrara.

(Aside: We could buy all kinds of coffee in Puerto Escondido but nowhere could we find coffee filters. Even our maid came up empty handed when put to the task.)

On the beach, the grassy mall between the road and Zicatela Beach is developing beautifully. The tallest of the palms planted there five years ago now reach 15-20 feet. And for those interested in such things, construction of the prominently situated 4-story house at the end of the point beyond the lighthouse is finally completed.

At the Santa Fe, the luxurious Terraza section is finished thus bringing the number of rooms to 72. The Tabachin del Puerto section remains a favorite with the arts and craftsy set. Phones and TVs have been installed in the suites in the Zicatela Bungalows section (not all of us are sure this is progress however). New lounges were added to their pool area.

(Aside: One of our truly observant companions pointed out that each evening in February the sun sets in Puerto Escondido almost exactly one sun's width to the north of where it set the previous evening.)

Crime in Puerto Escondido

Crime in Puerto Escondido has been widely reported on the Internet, and it has state and local tourism authorities worried. A frustrated government official told me that in one day alone the previous week there were six reports of burglaries and thefts from tourists. That is more than would be reported in a whole season 10 years ago. Three weeks ago, a man and two women were robbed at knife point after leaving the Tequila night club. Two weeks ago (according to a knowledgeable resident) four Puerto Escondido police officers were arrested (after the Police Chief was put in the public spotlight by a call-in talk radio program) for robbing tourists late at night near Art & Harry's (they reportedly used a Puerto Escondido Police car!).

Ten years ago, tourists could and often did sleep safely on the beaches at night. Five years ago we were 'advised' to avoid walking alone on the beaches late at night. This year we were 'told' to stay off the beaches after sunset. Crime has tourist officials concerned. Within the last month representatives from all the state and local agencies involved held a strategy meeting looking for ways to deal with the problem. At the same time however, for the first year since the murder on Playa Marinero in 1993, there are no police on the beaches. But there are police guarding the chains that limit vehicular access to the pedestrian zone. How serious the authorities are about crime is thus an open question.

Preview of Coming Attractions

In the category of *coming events,* several interesting and potentially important things are either in process or on the drawing broads. Sewer lines are now being laid all along the three beaches (Principal, Marinero and Zicatela). A knowledgeable insider told me that all the businesses along the beach had gotten a letter from the federal government telling them to get hooked up or torn down. (The same letter allegedly tells them to keep their music down to 60 decibels.)

Also in progress, Mexico 200 (the Coastal Highway) is being widened into a 4-lane road from the airport through the city to the Colotepec River at Barra and the federal military base.

And the long planned and always deferred marina is now being started in front of the port captain's headquarters. The first piers were being put in before we left. The idea for the marina was part of the original federal government plan for Escondido when it was planning to develop the 70 mile strip between the new resort of Huatulco that it was going to (and did) build and the old village of Puerto Escondido. The government built airports in both places, repaired the road between the two points, started to develop Huatulco, and then ran out of money. A dozen times in the ensuing years some group has tried to resurrect the marina idea, but without success.

Of interest to Internet fans, TelMex reportedly will put an internet node in Puerto Escondido this June. I expect there will be an Internet cafe there when we get back next winter.

Finally, but certainly not least, Puerto Escondido with its alleged population of 40,000+ is fast on the way to becoming the City of Puerto Escondido. Presently, Puerto Escondido is claimed by two towns (different original maps). Because of the peculiarities of local and Oaxacan politics, there are now in effect FOUR mayors! While we were there, one of the towns was vacating their offices in downtown Puerto Escondido, and several people were actively campaigning for mayor.

(Aside: While I have no idea of its significance for the greater future of Puerto Escondido, time shares have arrived. US $450/month for 10 years (plus $130/month condo fee) will get you a 1-bedroom fully furnished unit with daily maid service in the Bocacho area west of town. Ah well, another ho-hum day in paradise.)

Brian J. Larkin - 1301 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036 - 202 296-3205

February 1998

In Response to Questions

Hi, I'm writing to respond to two of the requests for info dated February of 1998. I just happened upon your site and was happy to read about Puerto Escondido, as I spent 2 wonderful weeks there this past summer during a 2 month stay in Mexico. The ability to speak the language goes a long way there -- I found the locals to be extremely friendly.

Anyway, in regards to which road is better to take from the city of Oaxaca: I tried 3 different routes. The "long way" (down to Salina Cruz and then up the coast to Puerto) is the only first class route. I paid about 160 pesos at that time ($20) for a one way ticket. The ride is smoother, it's generally safer, and they have movies and stuff. Plus they stop for food.

The "other way" (straight west over the mountains and towards the coast) which LOOKS shorter as the crow flies, can only be done by second class bus (which is really more like third). They do stop, but the choice of the Mexican Deli Mart equivalent could be better, and the toilets are the pits (literally). It might be a bit shorter time-wise (an hour?) but there are hairpin turns for HOURS. I think it was around $6-7. As we careened from turn to turn I found myself debating what was more probable: that I would lose my cookies (I think that was, in fact, the only lunch I'd had that day) or that I'd fly off a cliff to an early death, along with the drunken farmer on my left.

I have to admit, the second class bus trip was much more Interesting. The drunken man who saw me trying to grapple with "Como Agua Para Chocolate" via an English-Spanish dictionary, was amazed that there was an equivalent English word for almost every Spanish word he could come up with (mas o menos). ("Loco?" "Crazy." "Craaazzy.")

Anyway the other route I took was from Puerto to Mexico City. You have to go back down to Salina Cruz and THROUGH Oaxaca City. It was LONG. Too long. If you are considering this definitely figure out a way to swing up through Acapulco or something. (I can't remember why I wasn't able to do this at the time).

There was also a question about where to stay that's "an inexpensive to moderate hotel in Puerto Escondido (preferably with a pool and near a beach)". I think there are maybe 2 that fit all three of those requirements. When I was there (in the summer) they seemed to have slightly different crowds. Arco Iris was a little more expensive and kind of family oriented but had nice rooms. It's right on the beach (anything on Zicatela is less than 50 ft. from the beach), and has a pool as I recall. I think the other one is called Hotel or Bungalows Zicatela and is more of a younger or surfer crowd. It definitely has a small pool and I'm not sure what the rooms are like, but they are probably decent. I think it's also probably a little less expensive. It all depends on your definition of "moderate". (The nicest Hotel in Puerto Escondido (Sante Fe) [photo 53K] is on the dividing line between the two best beaches. I'm sure it has a pool (although I'd call to make sure) and I think it's high in the double digit dollars cost-wise. To some people, that is moderate.)

Frankly, you will be swimming in one of the most beautiful, enjoyable bodies of water you would ever want to swim in. I can't see why anyone would want a pool -- except for maybe a water temperature change (?), or swimming at night. If you want to be right on the beach, pick something (anything) on Zicatela. It's mostly for surfing but you can "dip" there.

If you're an adventurous traveler, I'd just book one or two nights somewhere and then look around when you're down there. I ended up spending the longest portion of my stay in a wooden bungalow up on a hill, overlooking the beach. It had a beautiful view of the bay and Zicatela off in the distance, which I could see from my palm thatched veranda while swinging in a hammock. There was always a nice breeze, even on the hottest days, and it felt appropriately rustic, even slightly romantic. There were only four units and I shared a bathroom, but for $10/night I thought I had the nicest place in Puerto Escondido. But it was just one of those places you see and say, "se renten?" And he says, "manana tengo una. Quieras?"

(I got a little long winded there....I think I miss it!)

February 1998

Hurricane/Sewage Damage to Carrizalillo and Bacocho areas

I stood aghast, looking over Bacocho. It was hard to believe that several units of the hotel Fiesta Mexicana had fallen over the cliff and had crumbled down the barranca. My husband on foot is much faster than I, and he called me over to look farther down. The sewage pipe that had discretely emptied sewage waters (without treatment) into the ocean had split.

Puerto Escondido ran its sewage into the ocean back thirty years ago when we first stumbled upon the small town of 800 people. A few years ago when the town put in a sewage treatment plant for the main beach area, it was way too small. Now, several sewage drains have been emptying unnoticed into the Bacocho area, and this small town has surged in population to near to 50,000. That's a lot of you know what emptying directly into the ocean.

When the second hurricane hit, the barrancas all around Puerto Escondido suffered severe damage. You have only to swim out in any of the bays and look up the hill. There are many raw cuts to gaping gashes, devoid of vegetation from the tremendous force of the gathering waters surging out to sea.

In the area of Carrizalillo, palm trees that we planted thirty years ago were swept down the 50 degree barranca. It is now a 90 degree drop.

Because the government of the town is under siege from the next town over, there is no one to complain to (about the black waters) with any authority. Oaxaca state holds its election next year and at that time Puerto Escondido may only have one "presidente" of the town, instead of the two who are arguing over the position. It is such a mess that people are being advised to not pay their property taxes until the issue is settled, because both municipalities want the taxes.

Sure would like to know who to contact about the raw sewage. It would be nice to save the sea life while it still might be possible.


February 1998

Where are Those Plants?

I just wanted to share a bit of info with you all. I haven't heard anybody mention those large green plants that grow on the road from Oaxaca to P.E. Not dope, but a natural cure for diabetes. I hope that nobody takes advantage of this info for financial gain, but if you need a cure, these will work. Now you only have to find them.

And how about that photo of the Aero Morelos plane that landed without landing gear? Great shot, and be sure I'll take Aerovega.

John B.

February 1998


Greetings; Your website is turning out to be a fantastic aid as I plan a trip to the Oaxaca region! I am primarily interested in visiting Puerto Escondido after flying into Huatulco. Can anyone could recommend an inexpensive to moderate hotel in Puerto Escondido (preferably with a pool and near a beach) that would be helpful as well. Thanks for the help!

Jeff Jorgensen

February 1998

Back to Normal, Almost

We went to Puerto Escondido in the first two months of December, and found that the area has had very little storm damage that has not been repaired.

The outlining areas are the ones that were more devastated by the two storms. Peanut crops were destroyed, Piña Palmera had a lot of distruction (including downed trees and downed fences which resulted in the cattle of the neighbors getting onto the property causing more problems) and small villages in the hills, which were difficult to reach because of bad roads were in trouble, too. But the tourist areas were just fine and ready for business as usual. Beaches are in good shape and boats ready for the tourists, too.

One person who made our trip much better was a tour guide named: Anatolia Marquez. She can be reached at her desk at the Rincón Pacifico Hotel on Av. Alfonso Perez Gasca. Phones: 22001 or 20056 She was not only a wonderful guide (who speaks English), but she can also do a medical (not sexual) message that can make anyone feel better. She can also introduce tourists to the real Mexican people, including letting them know different little hints to make a tourist realize more about the people and the culture of the area that he or she or they are visiting (if that tourist is interested in learning more about this) or she will arrange for tourists to see the really interesting things that are in the area besides the great beaches. Puerto Escondido has three real types of beaches - something for everyone. And, it is "open for business" now.

Cecelia Tinkle
Langley, B.C.

Feb.5, 1998

Road Info Request

Love your Web page about Oaxaca/Puerto Escondido/Puerto Angel. A friend and I are planning to drive from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido at the end of March and are trying to get info about the roads, best way to go, etc. I heard that Route 131 (more direct) is now paved all the way, though it wasn't always. But most guide books say the only way to go is Route 175. Anything anybody can tell us about this trip would be greatly appreciated.

Sheila Salman

February 1998

What's Happening to Zicatela?

Hi, I just returned from my third trip in 7 years to the state of Oaxaca. Went to the capital for four days, Escondido 9 days and Puerto Angel 2 days. Oaxaca has visibly grown, evidenced by increased activity on the zocolo by tourists and vendors. We got out to some of the villages near the city and did some shopping and exploring that was worth the effort of figuring out the second class buses.

Puerto Escondido was bittersweet. I was glad to return but saddened by what has happened on Zicatela beach. The changes there support my theory that given something beautiful, folks will find a way to ugly it. Geez! What is in the minds of the city fathers? I will not be returning until I hear that mess of palapas and shacks across the road from the hotels is gone. Going down to Puerto Angel was a relief, even though the horror of the hurricanes is still fresh there. This was my first time there. I liked it and wished to be able to stay longer. I'd love to return. The beaches are more inviting to my taste, and I'd rather spread American dollars around to people so much in need. I do love Mexico and want to explore more of it in the future.

January 1998

Trouble in Paradise

Spent an other wonderful vacation and New Year in Puerto. Things seemed the same as I remembered them, except for the damage from the hurricane. There was a whole section of stairs and street missing by the Mayflower Hotel. The weather was great and the people friendly as ever.

Here's a warning though...a German friend was walking back from El Tubo with his girlfriend at about 4:00 am on Marinero Beach and was jumped by some men. Luckily nothing happened to the girl and he survived the attack battered and bruised. They didn't take anything from him...just beat him up. He should have known better, he's been going to Puerto for the last 8 years...it goes to show you, you can't get too comfortable, and all those warnings you hear about being on the beach after hours should be heeded.

I can't believe the McPhee's have traveled to Mexico so many times and never invested in a travel guide. I suggest they purchase a Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico, all the info they're asking for can be found there. All except the time schedules for the busses...that's up to luck and availability.

Again, great job and keep it up! Until next time!

ciao - mariela

January 1998

Mariposa Speaks your Language

We left Quebec on December 1, 1997 and we drove during five days (6000 Km) to reach Puerto Escondido. When we got there, we rented an apartment at the Oasis hotel for fifteen dollars per day. We came back to Quebec on december 26, 1997. This was a very special and most interesting trip.

At Puerto Escondido, Pacific Ocean is gorgeous, so are the sunsets and the numerous beaches.

I would like to pass a message to all Canadians who look forward to visit Puerto Escondido.

By the way, I have had the opportunity to lunch at the Restaurant Mariposa. This restaurant belongs to Pancho who is an excellent Mexican cook (particularly in the cooking of meats). He may serve his customers in English, French, Italian or in Spanish - quite special ! For these reasons, I strongly recommend the Restaurant Mariposa.


Ildefonzo Juarez (Poncho)
Restaurant Mariposa
Avenida Juarez, #208
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico

Jules Perron
Québec, Canada

Janvier 1998

Bus Info?

My wife and I have been going down to Puerto Escondido for the past 12 years, and flying in, usually from Mexico City. This year, Mexicana is hitting us with a return fare from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido of $396.00 canadian per person. While our airfare return from central western Canada to Mexico City is only $715.00, we feel Mexicana is too much. So we are wondering if anyone could supply us with information on the premiere bus service between Mexico City and Puerto Escondido, like what bus terminal in Mexico City would it leave from, and possibly the times and cost?

Jack McPhee

January 1998

Unforgetable Vacation

I said I'd send you comments upon return--fue inolvidable! El agua, la comida, la gente, todo! We enjoyed our very comfortable stay at Posada Real even though it was off the beaten track. In some ways, that was good. Why did I hear that people don't like that hotel?

We mixed with Mexican tourists on a couple of different day-long excursions. One to Huatulco to go snorkeling, one to Laguna Chacahua. Enjoyed both very much. I was thankful that we were not surrounded by North Americans and was given a chance to practice my Spanish.

Boogied at Zicatela, surf never warranted renting boards.

You need to add Carmen's o El Cafecito to your list of restaurants. Breakfast is superb with rich coffee.

Do you know the dates for the 1998 surf contests there? Do you have information on other surf spots internationally?


January 1998

Sportfishing in La Barra (Jalisco)

Walt Work of Ann Arbor & I were in Barra 11-29 to 12-6 fishing every day with Enrique Figueroa. We caught numerous small tuna, 10 sails, 55 small macao sharks but only 2 dorado. The highlight was a 184# yellow fin tuna. Just great fun. We landed it despite breaking our rod. We met John Williams and Butch, as well as his charming wife, Constance. They operate the water sports center at the Grand Bay and are worth a visit but don't mention the fortunes of the Longhorns or Cowboys to John. We stayed at the Bogavante where we have stayed for 6 years during the week after Thanksgiving. It remains acceptable. Ramon's has kept its position as our favorite and most convenient restaurant. Piper's is a great nite spot. We saw John, Butch & Constance there enjoying the live music and dancing. Barra remains one of our favorites but we will be at Puerto Escondido for Christmas & to celebrate the New Year and a big MICHIGAN WOLVERINE victory in the Rose Bowl and a National Championship.

John Dewane
St. Joseph, Michigan

December 1997

Anybody know about a new highway?

We are preparing a trip by car to Puerto Escondido, and have read with great interest the many stories. We have been to P. E. many times over the last ten years but have never driven down there. The route we are going to travel takes us from southern Ontario, Canada thru the U.S.A. to Brownsville Texas. From there we travel along the Gulf of Mexico and will move inland to the city of Oaxaca. Rumor has it that a new road has recently opened that would take us right into Puerto (131??) and save us the travel thru to Pochutla or even worse, Huatulco. I have heard that the recent few storms passing through may have washed this road out. I would love to hear from someone who may be in the know about this final leg of our journey. Tom, your site is the best thing next to being there!

Best regards
Gerry, & Margie

December 1997

A Few words about Escondido

Just got back yesterday. Rick was a pipsqueak of a storm. Almost no damage.

A few words about Puerto Escondido. La Gota de Vida is no longer in the pedestrian mall, it has moved to the corner of Hotel Acuario in Zicatela. Had a hell of a time finding La Posada restaurant. When I found it the La Posada is in very small letters and the word Tiberon is very large. Excellent food and it's such a nondescript looking place. Loved it. While we were eating lightning struck the hotel across the street and also the hotel Escondido up the hill. Hotel Escondido was destroyed.

We had a really great time on this vacation. Stayed at the Santa Fe, Ines and Kndel@aol.com. The last one was too far away from the action and I wouldn't do that again. If I remember anything important I will E-mail again.

Ken DeLoach
November 1997

Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido Flight

Mexicana is now running a 5:00 pm 727 from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. My wife and I are booked on December 1. This is certainly good news for the local economy.

Dave Bennie
Rocky Point, NC

Flying and Bussing

AeroVega is a very small airline running one to three flights a day between Pto. Escondido and Oaxaca. Flights are at 7:00 and 9:00, generally, with more or fewer flights as dictated by demand, from what we could determine. Our craft was a mid-70's Cessna that seated six or seven passengers. (I sat right behind the pilot and kept an eye on the altimeter!) Flying time was about 40 minutes.

AeroVega's office is on the central circle downtown, just to the east of the tourist info booth and they were recommended by Gina, the information goddess.

Our friends flew Aero Caribe, which recently began direct service from P.E. to Oaxaca with a 37 passenger craft. Caribe is currently offering a 2-for-1 deal that makes it the best value in P.E. air travel at under 400 NP per passenger. The AeroCaribe flight was smooth, they said, and included one free beer each! AeroCaribe is running a two for one special: they paid 710 NP for both tickets, as opposed to 430 each that we paid for AeroVega. I don't know how long that will be available.

The Bus Situation:   Two of us went first class on Cristobal Colon for 130 NP. This was comfy, but because of the damage Pauline did to the highways, CC is using the Salina Cruz route to the coast towns. This means that after more than 6 hours of cruising, you finally see the ocean in Salina Cruz, still more than 5 hours of torturously slow travel along the dilapidated coast road from Puerto Escondido. All in all it was a 12 hour trip, despite the ticket agent's claim of 9 hours.

Our friends went the second-class route via Pochutla for 60 NP. The good news is that the trip took a mere 9 hours, but the bad news is that the highway is in such bad shape even the bus driver was amazed that he was getting through. (Apparently, Nov 4 was the first day they had opened that road to buses.) At some places the passage over washed out cliff roads was filled in by packed boulders and some passengers' nerves gave out. They jumped off the bus and walked across the gap, reboarding after the bus was a dozen meters down the road. Harrowing was one of the milder descriptions used.

Tom Achor

Portland, Oregon
November 13, 1997

Hurricane Recovery

We just left PE on Sunday, 11/9. Although there are signs that there had been a recent hurricane (Pauline, that is) we found everything to be operating or with repairs well underway. I noticed that several of the beachfront businesses on Playa Marinero were not open and don't look like they are even being worked on, and even the Santa Fe looks pretty battered. All over, workers were busily rethatching palapas, but for the most part PE looked unscathed.

In fact, the longest lasting impact of the storm in PE may be the cancellation of a lot of booked vacations. There is an obvious dearth of tourist business and the news of Hurricane Rick will probably not help the situation. We had our pick of rooms, tables and beach space everywhere we went.

At Flor de Maria, where we stayed, the rooftop bar and pool area were being fixed up when Hurricane Rick struck Sunday afternoon. We flew to Oaxaca Sunday morning on AeroVega and had no problems, but when I called down to the hotel Sunday night, Maria said that all later flights were cancelled and that they were waiting out Hurricane Rick in the dark. We had received no notice that a serious storm was even imminent!

I talked with Maria again on Monday and she said that the damage was not too bad, they were just mopping up all the water. All services had been restored by that time. Hope that was the last of this wicked hurricane season for Mexico! My friends who waited out the storm in PE will be home tonight with their account, which I will send you.

BTW, I can't say enough about the quality and value of our lodgings at Flor de Maria. The rooms were spotless, the courtyard and pool very pleasant and the restaurant the best we had in all of Mexico. And, most of all, the hosts, Lino and Maria, are unequalled in their hospitality and conviviality. Highly recommended!

Tom Achor

Portland, Oregon
November 13, 1997

Hurricane Rick

Hurricane Rick made landfall on the western Oaxacan coast, just west of Puerto Escondido moving east northeast on the evening of 11/9. This hurricane does not appear to have the strength that Pauline had; the satellite photo does not show that an eye has formed. However the rains from this one will likely complicate travel on the coastal highway and other roads where temporary repairs were made by filling in washed out areas with dirt. There have been isolated power outages and loss of telephone service.

Tom Penick

November 10, 1997

Hurricane Rick in Puerto Escondido

Neither Robin nor Juanita were available but I did talk with the reservations clerk at the Santa Fe. I didn't get his name but he recognized mine before checking the reservations book, so he's one of the folks we know.

"Everything is normal," he said. "We had very little damage. Everything in Escondido is normal this morning, power, telephone. It is nothing like Paulina a few weeks ago."

Brian J. Larkin
Washington, DC

November 10, 1997

Looking for a Place to Rent

We are a Norwegian young couple with two small children, who plans on living in puerto Escondido or nearby, for about a year. Could you please help us find a comfortable bungalow or apartment with all facilities, for long term renting?

We would appreciate some prices and places where we can get more info. Cheap or moderate prices is necessary, preferably outside the most common tourist spots.

We hope you can help us.

Stine and Chris Sovik
Oslo, Norway
November 1997

Back to Normal


I have exchanged e-mail messages with Brian Larkin re my trip later this week to P.E. He suggested I call Gina Espinosa in P.E. and gave me her telephone number. I called Gina this morning at about 6:30 a.m. California time--8:30 a.m. Puerto Escondido time.

Gina answered on the second ring and gave me the kind of information I was hoping for---P.E. is in good shape and didn't suffer any serious damage from Pauline. Telephones were down briefly, but everything is pretty much back to normal. She said Zicatela beach is in good shape, restaurants are operational, etc. etc. Also gathered from her comments that business is not yet quite as brisk as usual.

Hope the above is helpful.

Bruce Samuel

November 3, 1997

Damage Report from Wayne

Looks like Puerto weathered the storm well. We suffered only a few broken windows at our place. The beaches will be a bit grubby with driftwood and debris for another two or three weeks. Roads and bridges that were damaged are being repaired. Power and phone services, although intermittent, are available during the daytime at least. Lots of trees blown down but not much else to report right now. I'll have the full scoop for you on the way back, possibly sooner if the BBS in Puerto is sending out mail packets to the internet servers in Oaxaca.

Hasta luego,

Wayne Adams
October 21, 1997

Hurricane Pauline

Dear Tom,

You may remember that I emailed you during the summer to inquire about rain in Pto Angel because I was planning a trip in Oct. Well.....

I have just returned from what will always be a memorable "vacation!" We stayed in a condo in Pto Escondido, but decided to take a day trip (for lunch!) to Pto Angel on Wed, the day of Pauline. We of course had no idea a hurricane was predicted (or was it? I still don't know). Our VW bug had a canvas roof that wouldn't shut, making the trip a bit difficult as the rain increased and we considered pulling over for shelter on the way. Thank goodness we didn't, b/c of course it only got worse. Wind & rain were quite strong when we got to the little restaurant in town where we had lunch to wait out the storm(!). Soon of course, the wind was howling, rain was spraying through windows like a hose, and eventually the sea was coming under the doors. We experienced the "eye" when darkness suddenly became light, and having seen a documentary on hurricanes, I knew that this was the real thing, and that the other side of this light could be worse. It was harrowing, and luckily we were able to get to higher ground, moving upstairs of this building, by this time feeling very vulnerable. The owner of the little restaurant/hotel was wonderful. We had a room for the night, candles, water and candy bars! The town was in incredibly bad shape - power lines down, trees down, and most roofs off homes. Many homes completely destroyed, roads blocked, mud everywhere. Local people lost so much, but were immediately working to clear roads of debris and assist each other.

We decided to try to get back to Pto Escondido, although there were conflicting reports about road access. Our VW had been submerged in water and had thick mud on the floor and in the gear shift, but characteristically, it started up when jumped (finding cables was another adventure!) The trip took over 3 hours, but w/the help of local people who moved power lines and trees out of our way, we got through.

Pto Escondido was also hit and had no power or water, so we decided to try to fly out Fri AM. We were very lucky to get a flight to Mexico City that day. Much activity at the airport...supplies of food, water, & medications had already begun.

I wanted to give you an update and thank you for your info which was quite correct. You mentioned that this was hurricane season....

Thanks again,
Julie Strudlowski

October 13, 1997

More from Julie:

In Puerto Escondido there appeared to be fewer trees down and less damage to buildings than in Puerto Angel. We saw some roofs damaged in PE, but had little time to notice much more. Without power and water, restaurants were largely closed (we found one open and it was serving eggs, hamburgers and fish and cold beer! They had block ice, so we knew someone had a generator!) With most everything closed, it was hard to tell what internal damage may have occurred. We were quite exhausted when we finally got to Pto Escondido, so we did little exploring. The road along Zicatela beach didn't appear to be badly damaged, although we turned around early when we saw that there was no power anywhere. I hope also that Art & Harry's etc is ok. We decided to get on the first plane available once we determined that there were diminishing supplies (which, needless to say, were needed by the locals).

We were staying at the Condos Carrizalillo on the 3rd floor and when we arrived there, we found that it had been flooded w/about 3" of water from the rain that had seeped under the door. Our view of the ocean which was stunning before Pauline was even more lovely after because a few trees had fallen and cleared the vista!

I wish I could be of more help. This was my first trip to Puerto Escondido, and certainly, won't be my last.

Julie S
Redwood City, CA

Concerns on Hurricane Pauline

I visited Puerto Escondido in 1995 and would love to return someday. After a week in the villages along the coast and in the mountains, we enjoyed the luxury of the Hotel Santa Fe. I think the group I was with bought two dozen hammocks.

I'm writing today (Oct. 11) because we're concerned for our friends in Puerto and Jamiltepec and that area. Your site has provided the most news we could find on hurricane Pauline.

===Wheel's on fire, rolling down the road. Let's notify my next of kin; this wheel shall explode ...
Visit my web site at http://www.angelfire.com/ks/thackerfactor
Or check out my photos of Great Bend at http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Studios/1656 -- My SoHo Studio.

Susan Thacker

October 1997

Fishing and the Magic of Puerto Escondido

Absolutely the best!! I haven't been back to Puerto Escondido since 1983, but there was a time when our whole crew spent every winter for 2-3 months fishing and partying in Puerto Escondido. We always stayed in the bungalows and even today I have an ice chest filled with all of my fishing gear waiting for me to return. I remember when Pasquale had a small beach restaurante on the beach, just a shack with a pool table in the back where we would suck down Superiors and laugh all night, the mexican night highlighting the raucous joy and fishing tales from the days trip to the Pacific. Often we would dine on our catches, Pasquale's wife grumbling, she never liked us gringos much anyway, usually dorado, tuna, or an occasional sailfish we had fought for hours to bring in. Pasquale built a larger place, very beautiful in fact, but only lived long enough to enjoy his newfound wealth for a year before his punctured body washed up on shore, his body covered with over 20 stab wounds, the victim of federales who felt they weren't receiving their due "mordida". Or it might have been fellow narcotraficantes or even his wife, whose jealousy was known throughout Puerto Escondido. It's too bad, he always had the greatest grin, but the underside of Mexico is ever-present and ever dangerous, kind of like the cancerous rot beneath the surface of a beautiful woman infected with AIDS, ever seductive, ever dangerous.
Back then we were all cowboys of one sort or another. Vacations that lasted 3 months were nothing for us. But let me tell you about the fishing. Cruising out before dawn before the sun began its rise, before the heat forced you into cerveza after cerveza, the fish were already jumping. Jacques Frel, tuna, and dorado abounded. You could see the schools of fish in the distance, followed by the ever-present birds, the sentinels of the spoor so to speak, and we would head toward the silver flashes, beckoning us to battle in the early morn. Before long the whine of the lines whipping out as one after another hit, the zing that still raises my blood pressure, and always brings a raucous grin to my face. Frequently we would bring seaweed paper and wasabi mustard so that as we brought the fish in, we could make California rolls, the freshest sushi in the world, the mustard so hot it would bring tears to our eyes and laughter to our throats. I never caught a marlin, but I hooked one 100 yards off of Roca Blanca. It was out of National Geographic, this awesome monster about 1000 lbs rising out of the water like leviathan, twisting and fighting the line, leaping in an arc that just took the breath away before he splashed back into the blue water, breaking my line and my heart with his incredible beauty. But I have danced with the sailfish as they pirouette on their tails, a dance of death with a ferocious fight that almost shamed me in its final step, an adversary so noble what right did I have to take his life - but on the other hand there is nothing like sailfish steaks charbroiled on the grills at the bungalows, everybody getting together, rockin', dancin', and just plain having the time of their lives.
You see there is magic in Puerto Escondido, the kind of magic that only lives outside the US. It's the kind of magic that manifests itself in the sight of a million sea turtles basking on the ocean surface on a hot, listless day or the leap of a manta ray twenty feet high as he tells the world of his natural majesty. It's the dark angels of the sea, the mako, the brown, the great white, sharks of every ilk, that are ever-present and occasionally take a life when one is just a little too careless. In 1982, a group of surfers hooked a great white, fought it for hours, drifted further and further out, until they disappeared forever. It's the translucent creatures of the great deep who live miles below, dotting the surface with their corpses, reminding you of just how vast and wide the blue Pacific really is. It's the magic of horseback riding through the wild foliage of Mexico, splashing through streams at a gallop, then stopping at a primitive village where the only respite from the heat is an ancient cooler with ice cold Tecate to dry your parched throat. It's the magic of bare breasted beauties from all over the world walking the beaches turning your libido into a wild beast of the night and the early morning trumpet calls or reveille that sounds like the tortured call of some primordial beast, but in reality is only the wakeup for 18 year old kids with the latest in automatic weaponry to "protect" the citizenry. It's the magic of dancing 'til dawn, drunk on te"killya" slammers and the atmosphere of a night life that made Fellini's nightscapes akin to an evening on the farm.
There was always a group of us that went down, 20 or more women and men, who called ourselves the "Too Much Fun" club. Not all of us made it, but damn it we lived, and if we were to sum up the best of times it would have been at our second home, every winter without fail, Puerto Escondido. And now that I'm free once more, I think I'll take another trip down there soon. They say its still unspoiled and the water's still a bit dangerous. Great! I'll soon be opening that old ice chest and battling the denizens of the sea and reliving what for was for mine, the best of times.

Hasta la Vista

Michael Weatherby

September 1997

Looking for a Place to Stay

My husband and I are interested in spending two months in PE mid January to mid March. We are looking for a clean, comfortable condo, villas, or room with kitchen facilities at an inexpensive rate. (Pool would be nice.) Anyone with info please Email me at mike@recorder.ca. Thanks.


September 1997

Engaged in Escondido

I was in Esco last October with my girlfriend, and we are planning a return this year in early November. It was the greatest holiday we had ever had and are planning on making it a yearly trip. We got engaged so we have a lot of years to come. Bruno's was our favorite spot to eat and hang. We were usually sleeping by 10pm and up around 7am. The waves and sun knocks you out. I was getting up earlier there then on normal work days. We stayed at the Bungalows Zicatela for 15 dollars a night and will either stay there or at Arco Iris this year. Can't wait.


September 1997

Trouble on the Night Bus

The followed appeared in the newsgroup rec.travel.latin-america on 9/2/97:

I'm just back from my trip in Mexico, and I'd like to share an experience that occurred to me: I was going with a night trip bus (primera clase de estrella blanca) from Zihuatenejo to Puerto Escondido. In the half way from Acapulco to Puerto Escondido, at about 3.00 a.m., the bus suddenly stopped because there was a tree on the street. Immediately someone started throwing rocks to our bus. Two windows got broken and people was in panic. The bus driver tried to avoid the obstacle and (thank God) we escaped from the trap. The day after a travel agent told me that it's not the first time that night buses going south from Acapulco are stopped by robbers in that way.

I hope that can help you...Diego.

Mario Marchioni

Surf Report

The following post was spotted in the news group alt.surfing on 8/25/97 in reply to a request for information:

I was in Puerto Escondido about a month ago. Its real easy to find a place right on the beach. You want to take a cab to Playa Zicatela. Hotels range from 50 to 400 pesos (about 8 pesos/dollar) a night, there are plenty of them, and I found plenty of empty rooms.

The beach break was solid 10-12 foot barrels. I didn't even paddle out. The peaks were pretty crowded too. About 20-30 guys out on each one. Great for taking pics though.

The point break was great. Sand bottom with a lot of rocks. Real long mellow rides, but the take off zone is only about 10-yards wide and there were probably 30 guys on it. You have to be real aggressive to get a wave there.

Miguel Antonio

August 1977

On Oaxaca, Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido

The following post was spotted in the news group rec.travel.latin-america on 8/4/97 in reply to a request for information:

I am no expert on this area by any means but can give you my admittedly limited experience, since no one else seems to want to. First of all, if you are interested in the culture, I would plan to spend more than two days in Oaxaca.(or, for that matter, Mexico City justifies 2 weeks in itself) While in Oaxaca visit the ruins of Monte Alban. There are villages in the area worth a trip for the crafts produced there. The local market is worth a day. In town there are several spectacular churches, other historic buildings, museums. The main zócalo is wonderful, with live music most nights, sidewalk cafes and bistros, lots of folks coming and going; the heart of the city. Get a good guide book, and enjoy this wonderful city. I spent 4days there a couple years ago and it wasn't near long enough.

How to get there? If you like hours and hours of winding mountain roads, by all means take the bus. The views are spectacular, to understate it. White-knuckle spectacular. We drove a rental car from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. 7 hours. Next time, we take the plane.

As far as Puerto Angel is concerned. Forgive me my impertinence, but your question re: AC probably gave everyone who has been to Puerto Angel a good chuckle. If you are concerned about AC, Puerto Angel is not for you. The question in Puerto Angel is whether or not there are screens on the windows, and if they are good screens. Whether your "room" even has walls. Is there is a bed, or just a hammock? Get my drift? You will be lucky to have a fan, forget AC. It is a VERY rustic place, with rustic accommodations, with a drop-dead gorgeous beach, very little to do but relax, and enjoy it.

[Actually the Soraya has five large airconditioned rooms for about $35 U.S.]

Puerto Escondido is a different story. PE is still a very small town and still very undeveloped by most folks' standards. There are accommodations within most budgets, from hammock hooks on the beach to -yes, AC rooms,- but not too many of them. The "town" is very laid back, just a few streets strung out along the beach. There are a few hotels, a few good places to eat and drink, and most of the conveniences one would need. Here too, there is very little to do but relax, enjoy the beach, socialize with other travelers. There is a tiny bit of nightlife downtown, a tours to the "jungle" for nature-viewing. During the right time of year you might be able to see turtles nesting or hatching. That's about it.

The hotel you mention, Arco Iris is in one of my guidebooks, says it is a classy place, right on the beach, nice gardens and pool, spacious rooms, some with kitchens. Sounds nice. We stayed at Flor de Maria, about $30 a night, not cheap for Mexico, but good value in PE. Canadian owned, so bilingual. They have a bar and pool on the roof, good view of the ocean, Italian restaurant onsite, bakery across the (sand) street for breakfast, tienda across the street for cervezas before the rooftop bar opens. What more could you ask for? Not real fancy but nice. No AC, but good screens . There are a couple of higher scale places. The Santa Fe, next door to Marias, looked nice.

As far as reservations, we just showed up (end of January)and lucked out with a room in the place we wanted, but they were turning people away the next day and the day after. There might be a problem if you have your heart set on a particular hotel. At high-high season (Xmas, Easter) I would for sure get reservations.

Hope this helps a little.

August 1997

Travel Companion Wanted

WANTED: Travel companion, travel together share expenses 50/50. I plan to stay in Zipolite, Puerto Angel, and/or Puerto Escondido. I want to go for one month in October, November, December 1997. I'm flexible. If we like it, and you decide you want to, we'll stay for two months.

This is the first time that I will be traveling that far into Mexico. If anyone has any info to contribute on this area it would be appreciated. I am going alone if I have to but would prefer to have a companion along.

Denton (Denny)

July 1997

City of Oaxaca

I just returned from a one week excursion to Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca. I found your website to be very helpful in my planning and so I am adding my contribution. This was a short trip, inspired by a $240 charter from Minneapolis, MN, to Huatulco. That's a long ways for the bucks.

We walked the few blocks from the airport to the highway and caught the first bus passing to Pochutla where we easily hopped another bus to Puerto Escondido. This cost us $2 apiece rather than the $40 cab fare. We found out after talking with long term residents in Puerto Escondido that this is a risky method because budget travelers are targeted for robbery on the walk to the road. We took a cab for our return.

We stayed at the Arco Iris and were pleasantly surprised at what we got for our money. Huge room, private balcony, oceanfront, very nice pool and gardens, very good and cheap meals. The desk was always staffed and helpful. They held our excess luggage while we traveled to Oaxaca and gave us a room with a kitchen (with no extra charge) when we returned. All of this for $26 per night double is really remarkable. I was able to make reservations at no cost by using the hotelmex site on the internet. The place has a very nice Mexican feel to it, lots of tile and kind of rustic.

We found excellent pizza and ice-cream deserts at the Galeria on the pedestrian mall. The Sante Fe is the place for a more formal meal. We also enjoyed watching the children climb the rocks on Playa Marinero as they returned home after Sunday Mass, while eating at the Sante Fe.

Aero Morelos isn't flying to Oaxaca at the moment, and now we know why. We had very nice flights in a six-seat Cessna flown by Aero Vega. One engine refused to start both legs of the trip however. We sat on the runway a long time and then it kicked in during the taxi. I suspect it was completely safe although it could cause you to wonder. The flight costs $100 round trip from P.E. and we spent less time in the air than on the runway. It goes at about 8 AM each morning and you make reservations a day or two in advance.

Oaxaca must be loved by everyone. It struck me as more sophisticated and European than other Mexican cities. Absolutely spotless public parks, concerts, sidewalk cafes etc. There are many tours available to the ruins and the villages, almost all at the same price and doing the same things. There is a separate touristic bus company at the Hotel Angel for those who want to do these things on their own and save a few bucks.

We stayed at the Hotel Monte Alban, which is an old colonial hotel in the heart of town. High beamed ceilings, wrought iron balcony out to the plaza, quiet and comfortable. They had folkloric dances in the lobby but the people were out by ten and you got to watch the show free. I believe the Monte Alban charged $26 per night.

I was told it is hard to find a bad meal in Oaxaca and as far as I can tell that is true. We had good meals at the most expensive places and at the budget eateries. All of the restaurants around the plaza seem to be popular and all that we sampled were very good.

This region of Mexico is great for those who want to sample some of the real Mexico, shop, play, and get value for their money. I had no concerns for safety in the City of Oaxaca. There were police women everywhere and no apparent problems. Puerto Escondido is pretty upfront about the beach incidents they have had. We didn't take any chances walking in dark areas. We had no problems and no one we visited had any bad experiences. My impression was that things are well organized and civil, but that the poverty and social unrest in the area dictate that you stay away from isolated areas while carrying anything valuable.

Kristin Kallsen

July 1997

Heavenly Vacation plus a Plane Crash

My husband, I and another couple visited Escondido for 8 days the end of May. It was one of the BEST vacation trips I have been on. We read your pages before we left. They helped tremendously.

The only drawback to our trip was the day trip we decided to take to Oaxaca city. We took Aero Vega to Oaxaca on a Tuesday and the ride was great. Small plane, which made it exciting, and the pilot was excellent. However, on the trip back on Aero Morelos the next day, the pilot forgot to put the landing gear down. The next day we heard that the airport, or whoever, was putting out a story about calibrated landing lights. Not true. There was also two gentlemen from Oaxaca and a priest on this plane. Strangely, this was the second time this year that the priest had had this experience. We all knew that the pilot forgot. It would have been much more scary if we had known what was going on, but we weren't even sure til we exited the plane. As we hit the ground, the pilot slapped his knee. It was pretty obvious then that he had just remembered. As we were skidding across the runway, the plane started going towards the right and we noticed that the propellers were bent. It came to a stop on its own and we all exited the plane as fast as we could. No fire, thank goodness. The worst thing about this was that NO ONE from the airline to the airport personnel asked if we were okay. The only words from them were no pictures. Well, we have pictures.

[Wait till you see the photo. Actually, landing a small plane on its belly is not very dangerous. It has happened to many general aviation pilots and is just expensive and very embarrassing. The props are ruined because the tips are bent and the engines have to be torn down and inspected. Other than the bent props and bruised ego, there's usually very little damage. -Tom]

Back to the Heaven part. We stayed at the Hotel Santa Fe. Everyone there was always friendly and attentive. We were prepared for "everything is slower in Mexico," but you couldn't tell it at Santa Fe. They had the best food, and the hotel is one of the prettiest sites there. The whole area was pretty dry because it was the end of the dry season, but at this hotel, it looked like paradise. The rates were excellent. We paid only $52.00 a night. The room was huge and we heard that all the rooms were different. They all had terraces, some not very big. We met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. And the first day we ran into someone with whom we had mutual acquaintances back in our old neighborhood in Dallas Texas. Small World!

We highly recommend the side trip to Oaxaca, just don't take Aero Morelos. (I wouldn't mention their name, except that they had no regard for our welfare after the "belly landing", and the pilot was obviously incompetent.) We went to the Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban. It was incredible. There was a teachers strike going on and the streets were filled with people living under tents and awnings. It was pretty crazy. We visited a restaurant for lunch and again for after dinner drinks and desert called "del Vitral" --beautiful. They gave us our own little room that night to enjoy our drinks. Excellent staff.

We especially tried to remember the things we read regarding Mexican attitudes and everyone was right on. They are a proud people. If you treat them with respect you will get along great. Everyone was always nice to us and they appreciated it when we used our spanish, the guys were better at spanish that my girlfiend and I, but we communicated very well.

We also decided to fly into Mexico City for a day before flying into Puerto Escondido since we were going to be gone for 9 days. We stayed at the Hotel Maria Christina and hired a driver, Cesar, for the day. He was terrific. Very educated, spoke english well and took us everywhere. We packed a lot into that day. National Palace, the Cathedral, the Zocalo, Zona Rosa, Coyoacán where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived, which is now a museum. A couple of markets, excellent lunch at a restaurant that had the word "cuba" in the name and was close to the zocalo. If you have the time, haven't been to Mexico City, it is well worth the trip. Stay away from American Hotels and find a smaller Mexican hotel. Rates are much cheaper and the Maria Christina was excellent.

The trip was one we will remember always. We kept our valuables locked up, no one got sick and the only thing we stayed away from was the water, (bought bottled water) and only ate the fresh vegetables and fruits in the nicer places. Had dinner one night at the Posada Real hotel in Puerto Escondido - not good at all. There is an Italian restaurant close to one of the walkways to the beach in Perez Gazga, that was very good and they show a movie every night called "Puerto Escondido" - fun. Montezuma's bar was a lot of fun. Art and Harry's food was good and service was friendly (I think everyone gets free shots here, at least the newcomers.) We missed Herman's, it was closed. There were good one's but I can't remember them all.

The last day we went to Carizillo beach. It was beautiful water, not many people and a beautiful bay also, kinda private. Not as hot as Angelito or Principal. We think the best way to do this is to hire a boat to take you over. You can set a time to be picked up, set under a palapa, order drinks and food. The fish is caught after it is ordered, cooked right there and served with french fries, pico de gallo, avocado, salt and pepper and probably other stuff you can order too. This beach is definitely a must if you are going to Escondido. I know I'm leaving out a lot of good places, but the only thing I would change about this trip is the return plane ride from Oaxaca. But hey, we definitely have something to talk about for a while!

P Miller

June 1997

Windsurfing Spots in Oaxaca

The following appeared in the newsgroup rec.travel.latin-america on 6/15/97:
>Oliver Sandtner wrote:
>> Hi,
>> i´m planning to go to Mexico for three month till August 97. Therefor
>> i'm looking for informations about windsurfing and surfing in Mexico.
>> Any ideas? (Email preferred)
>> osandtner@karlsruhe.netsurf.de
>> ul2e@rz.uni-karlsruhe.de

In <5nvp4g$t$1@news.gte.net> Bruce Davis  writes:
>Oliver: Try Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast. Lots of inexpensive
>hotels, good seafood and it is easy to get there. The waves are
>extremely powerful and  somewhat dangerous for the inexperienced surfer.
>One of the most beautiful villages in Mexico--good surfing/windsurfing
>shops. Have a great time!
Good advice if you're looking for the social scene and surfing. For
windsurfers, if you're a SERIOUS shredder and want some major air, go a
little farther south to the gulf of Tehuantepec and Salina Cruz. The
gulf is one of the few places in the world where sailboat's insurance
is void on entry! Be careful though, you could get blown all the way to
OZ! It isn't pretty but the wind screams ALL the time and it ain't for
lightweights. Eat an iguana tamale for me!.....Howard

llfertig@ix.netcom.com(Lynda Fertig)
June 1997

Super Cafe

Hi Tom....enjoyed your web page on Puerto Escondido. I was there for 2 1/2 weeks during New Year and had a great time! I'm planning on spending all my future New Year holidays there from now on. That's the effect this city and it's people had on me.

I found a small coffee shop called Super Cafe. Have you heard of it? It's run by an older couple and it's located on those stairs (across from La Gota De Vida restaurant on Perez Gazga) heading up to the church. It's on the left half-way up. Fresh coffee, great view, excellent breakfast, and great people. I recommend it.

Mariela Botella

June 1997

Hotels, Food, Beaches

Great job on the web pages, Tom! My friends and I carried printouts with us and they helped immeasurably.

Food, Hotels

My two friends and I just returned home and I want to pass along some info on hotels, food, and beaches. (One of us is a caterer so these gastronomic recommendations aren't made lightly.)

When we first arrived in Puerto Escondido, it was incredibly hot (hovering at 100° F), so we opted for a hotel with air conditioning. Our first night, we stayed in a double room at the Paraiso Escondido for 365 pesos (US $45), which was pricey for us. However, the place was gorgeously funky and our room had its own balcony, which afforded a great view of the bay. Also, there is a Banamex right on the corner, which has an ATM ("Caja Automatica"). One drawback is the distance to the Playa Principal. We decided to take the 10 peso taxi over to check out Playa Zicatela.

Although Zicatela is a surfer's beach, it was definitely more our speed--a younger crowd focused on the beach. That night we ate at Hotel Santa Fe (expensive--huachinango is their specialty, also have great chiles rellenos and shrimp-stuffed avocados), and checked out the Arco Iris Hotel. Unfortunately, there were no vacancies so we moseyed down to Beach Hotel Inez. The German proprietress showed us a regular room in the back (180 pesos), a bungalow with burners, a tree house, and a 2nd-story beachfront room that had 2 terraces, a refrigerator, and a safe (300 pesos). We splurged on the latter and enjoyed it immensely. The hotel had a refreshing pool, a flowering courtyard, and daily maid service. We highly recommend it.

Most days, we went down to Cafecito (co-owned by an amiable Canadian named Dan) for breakfast. The cafe specializes in freshly baked goods and gives free refills on coffee. Dan is building a restaurant directly next door and it will stick to interior Mexican cuisine. We also ate at health-conscious La Gota de Vida, owned by a friendly guy from Naples, Italy. They offer tasty smoothies, hummus, veggie sandwiches on fresh whole-wheat buns, and fresh pasta (we sampled a delicous dinner of fresh fettucinne with a creamy, roasted red pepper sauce). We also tried to eat at Hermann's Best (eastern end of the walkway), but Herman was on vacation. Almost every afternoon, we headed to the ice cream place, La Michoacana, for paletas (popsicles made from fresh fruit). The banana daiquiris are great at Arco Iris, but the food is not. Cipriano's Pizza served a huge mound of tasty guacamole. And we never could find Bruno's on Playa Marinero.

Our discovery, made 2 days before departure, was the surfer hangout Art and Harry's (Playa Zicatela). What great food! We tried beef burritos, pasta with garlic/cheese and veggies, a teriyaki chicken burger with cajun fries, fresh guacamole, and cheap drinks. Our waitress, Teresa, was friendly and efficient and brought us free shots to boot! Believe me, we ate alot of food on this trip (most of it interior Mexican) but for your food dollar, you can't beat this place. If you miss catching the news, you can watch CNN every morning (8 am-12 pm) and sports or surf videos at night.


Apparently, people don't take the red flags seriously enough; don't attempt to swim at Playa Zicatela. You will get sucked out to sea or destroyed by massive waves. The waves are still present but more manageable at Playa Marinero (rent boogie boards from a boy on the beach for 10 pesos/hr). Playa Principal is fine for swimming but if there are a lot of people there, watch out for boys standing in the water fishing with hand-held lines right next to you. For a relaxing day, get a 15 peso taxi to Playa Carrizalillo and relax under a palapa between peaceful swims. You can take a boat back to Escondido for about 15 pesos per person or hike back up the cliff to catch a taxi. At most beaches, restaurants let you use their palapas providing you buy a couple of drinks or some food.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Caroline Chamberlain

June 1997

Daylight Attack on Zicatela

Just a couple of comments about what was generally an awesome trip my boyfriend and I did to Oaxaca in March...We liked the Puerto Angel area of the coast best, due to its lack of crowds and "tranquilo" atmosphere.

However, one experience we had on the third day of our trip, in Puerto Escondido, bears repeating...

We had hiked way down Zicatela to get away from the crowds (it was Easter week, lots of vacationing Mexicans and of course the usual foreigners) for a day. We certainly were not alone on the beach, there were some surfers down by where we were (the far end of Zicatela), and assorted folks walking on the beach. We had read enough tales of robberies on Zicatela to be wary of being there after dark, so we started walking back towards the main surfing area of Zicatela well before sunset. We were blissfully walking arm-in-arm at the water's edge, gazing out over the sea, when out of nowhere, this young Mexican guy comes ramming into me from behind. I gasped in shock, and let out a small scream when I realized he had a 6" knife in hand. His eyes showed us that he was at least as frightened as we were. Though I speak some Spanish, I didn't understand his words, aside from "dinero", but it was all-too-obvious to us that he wanted the large, brand new technical Dana backpack that my boyfriend carried, stuffed with our stuff...snorkeling gear (unfortunately there is no good snorkeling on that beach!), passports/money/credit card, walkman and tapes, etc... I was carrying nothing except my camera.

He went after my boyfriend (John) with the knife, and John's first reaction was to resist. This guy was about 5'4", several inches shorter than either one of us. I would have given up whatever I had immediately, but it was not in my hands at that point. John is very quick on his feet, agile, and strong, and was able to spar with the guy a bit and let him know that he wasn't gonna get anything. When he realized that, he came after me for the camera, and I decided quite spontaneously to present a unified front, and screamed "NO!!!" at the top of my lungs at him, and held my camera close to my body. We realized right away, thankfully for us, that this guy did not want to use the knife. It probably works quite well as a threat of violence and most gringos kick down whatever they have.

Anyway, he ended up running off back up by the road, from where I suppose he had come, after about 30 seconds... I have to say it was quite possibly the longest 30 seconds of my life!! Very surreal, indeed. I certainly am not advocating that anyone else try this, it was just an instinctive reaction on John's part, and would have been a horrible mistake if the guy had used the knife on either of us. It was a lesson in terms of the real danger of this happening...even though it was still light out, and there were people on the beach less than 100 yards away. He had a window of opportunity, and went for it.

It's unfortunate that you can't safely get away from the crowds there, but it does seem to be the reality. Luckily we had no other bad encounters in the rest of our 2-1/2 weeks in Oaxaca. I feel that this was an exceptional encounter, and something that is much more likely to happen in our great country. Only in the US, they'd likely have a gun, not be afraid to use it, and it would likely be a drug-motivated robbery attempt. I doubt this guy would have bought crack or heroin with our stuff, probably just tortillas...I still feel many times safer anywhere in Mexico that I've been than walking around many cities in the US at night. Happy travels....Oaxaca is lovely (the city as well as its coast).


May 1997

Police, Crime, and enjoying P.E. on a Budget

Puerto Escondido is a beautiful small city (population circa 35,000). I absolutely fell for its warm beaches and beautiful setting. As a college kid on a tight budget, I also liked the fact that I could stay in a nice room that easily slept three with a private bath, shower, toilet, refrigerator and even a stove for 120 Pesos Nuevos. Can't beat that deal. Food was likewise as cheap, one could easily eat three meals a day for less than 45 Pesos on Calle de los Moros, located right on the principal surfing beach, Playa Zicatela. The only drawback, a wanting night life. The only happening bar that we encountered was in the center of town, towards the end (from the South) of the pedestrian walking area. Here we met guys and gals from all over the world. Most of Western Europe was represented by one or two delegates, the Middle East, South Africa and yes, some North Americans.

There are some drawbacks that go hand in hand about traveling in a third world country. For one, the police are generally susceptible to corruption and thus can persecute you for relatively nothing or nothing illegal at all. They are oftentimes looking for a little bribe, which you should give them, however, not as much as they ask for. Another thing, the "organized" crime is also evident. No this is not Mafia style, but it will get you hurt if you are not careful. Friends of mine have been approached at the beach and told that they were going to go back to the hotel and get all of their money, passports and whatever else they have that's valuable by villainous individuals. These thugs, who are often armed, then accompany the victim back to his/her room and carry out this robbery. Obviously these are extreme cases, but they do happen and will immediately ruin one's great escape.

I hope that all who go to Puerto Escondido go with an open mind. It is not a resort town, no building stretches into the heavens more than 3 stories, and there is only one 4-star hotel, La Posada Real. Which, of course has American resort prices. Puerto Escondido is beautiful and calm. The kind of place that can be more appropriately enjoyed on longer trips, 2-3 weeks or even longer. If you do it right, bargain a little here and there, stay in a cheap place, you will only use any hotel you stay at for sleeping (which on our trip did not occur before 4 or 5:00 A.M.), and eat at the right restaurants, you can easily have an affordable trip for a couple of weeks for the fraction of the cost of attending more prominent vacation destinations, i.e. Acapulco, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, or others.

By the way, it helps it you can at least speak conversational Spanish. Though the taxi drivers will love to try out their broken English slang.

Have a good vacation, and enjoy the distinct flavor of Puerto Escondido. Buenas vacaciones y encanta el sabor distincto de Puerto Escondido.

Gregory Bates
March 1997


Dear Tom, Just a word to thank you for your Oaxaca Coast home pages. I read them obsessively before going for the first time this January, and I go back to them now to reminisce. This is a magical part of the world, and I now feel some strong connection to it. I intend to go back often, and maybe even to have a little casita there someday. The people were like angels, the scenery equally divine. Thanks for your part in turning me on to a special place that has already changed my life in important ways.

I spent some time in Puerto Angel-Zipolite and some time outside Puerto Escondido. I had a car rented and really got to explore. I got to know Gloria's (of Shambala) brother, Danny, and he took me hiking to some property they have in the mountains where these rivers meet in the middle of the jungle. The scenery and swimming was awesome.

I got to know some wonderful folks. Hung out with some of the people who live out on the barrier beach of the Manialtepec lagoon (Puerto Suelo). These people are really caught in the middle; on the one hand, the ecologists rightly want to preserve the lagoon, but these people (many of them descendants of shipwrecked slaves) who have lived here for a few hundred years are now considered squatters. They have very few means to earn the currency they need to buy cornmeal. Do you know of anyone who is trying to help them? I would love to get involved. We "first world" people use (and waste) so many of the world's resources; it's seems so unfair that people who have lived in harmony with the land now have to bear the burden of conserving what little we haven't yet squandered.

March 1997

A Return to Puerto

We recently returned from Puerto Escondido (Late Jan.) While there, we used this page printed out and carried with us, at least some parts. What a major enhancement to the trip the pages made. We flew into Acapulco and were immediately grossed out. We immediately decided to return To Puerto Escondido. Unfortunately it meant the bus. Very exciting. While in Puerto we ate at Herman's ( great value) and stayed at the Hotel Santa Fe. Pricey but well worth it. The Best food.was to be had there.. We also spent time at the Montezuma's Revenge bar, where Xavier was the most friendly bartender that a pair of thirsty tourists could ever ask for. He idolizes Tom Cruise in Cocktail. If you're headed that way take him a mixing glass and shaker for him to flip.

The Turtle Museum trip is well worth the time expended, as are the lancha trips to the beaches north of Playa Principal. We stopped in for the afternoon at Zipolite at the behest of a local cabdriver. The locals seemed to be in awe of, as well as laughing at the nude tourists that frequent the place. We didn't spend much time there.

The Crow's Nest bar on Playa Zicatela is a marvel of sorts. Ask the crow to see his photographic gallery. The best of the whole trip was how little Puerto Escondido had changed in the last 10 years. Zicatela was developing, but it felt much the same as it did in the eighties. I'm sure the locals would dispute this but from an outsiders point of view it was still muy tranquilo.

Mike Sheridan

March 1997

Side Trip from Huatulco

An aside [from my Huatulco comment].. it was disappointing to travel to Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido (after having spent a few months there in 1985) and see what a decaying resort begins to look like after it hasn't been kept up and respect is abandoned for the beauty of nature. When I was at Zipolite in '85 there were no unsightly beach huts catering to tourists, only the seaside and a sense of awe when you walked the shore and had nothing to distract you from the power and magnitude of the ocean. In Puerto Escondido there are no street lights left that work, because of vandalism. These areas need to be protected from the encroachment of tourism by setting higher standards and preserving the reasons why travelers come in the first place.

I'd enjoy hearing any comments from others that enjoy Mexico, particularly San Miguel de Allende, since I want to make a trip there on my next visit to Mexico.

Barb Oshanski
Toronto Ontario
February 1997

Trip to Puerto Escondido from Acapulco

The bus ride took about 7hrs from Acapulco to Puerto Escondido. The fare was only 75 pesos. The bus was air-conditioned and the road was good...The inconvenience was the topes (bumps) they have when you enter and leave each village...very hard on the back...

It was dark when we arrived. We walked from the bus terminal down toward the beach/ocean...less then a 5 min walk...and took a room at the San Juan Hotel for only 130 pesos. It was a full moon that night and how beautiful was dinner with the full moon coming up over the ocean.

The next day, we took a room for 4 more nights, on the 3rd floor, for 120 pesos per night. What a beautiful view of the ocean and beach from that floor. There were other hotels and cabañas around...the cabañas were about 40 pesos a night and another hotel named the Mayflower, costing about 200 pesos a night also had shared rooms/bathrooms to offer at 30 pesos per person per night. All of those hotels/cabanas are not on the beach. We had to walk down some stairs, then on to the board walk, where restaurants/boutiques were, then on the beach...about a 3/4 min walk.

The restaurants offered a wide variety of meals. The sea food was the most expensive, 50/60 pesos; the Mexican dishes were the least expensive: from 25/30 pesos. For those who do not know the value of the pesos it averages about $5.50Cnd.

The Mexicans are proud/honest people. Beggars are very scarce. Do not go around showing off your good fortune and jewelry. Keep it very simple and they will respect you for it. You do not need to speak much Spanish, but you do need to carry your dictionary.

They have a Market north of the town, about a 15-min walk. This market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and clothing...even some restaurants... So, if you are looking for a quiet, unpolluted place to go, Puerto Escondido is the place to go...You fly to Acapulco and bus south to Puerto Escondido..

Our adventure continues on to Oaxaca, north of Puerto Escondido. . . .

Didi and Mumu

February 1997

Recommending Bungalows Villa Marinero

I've spent many vacations with my family in Puerto Escondido. I would like to recommend the place where I usually stay. It is called Bungalows Villa Marinero. Phone (958) 20180.

Located on Marinero Beach. It offers one or two-bedroom quaint beach front cottages with ceiling fans, kitchenettes, front porch (with hammocks) outdoor recreation center, and pool. The place is family owned and operated. The grounds are meticulously kept. Peaceful and relaxing getaway.

Prices are very reasonable: between 35 and 65 US dollars for 2-5 people (February 1997). Highly recommended.

Robert J. O'Brien
Austin, TX

February 1997

Question about Kayaking

I've been to Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel a few times since 1971, but never by kayak. I have a portable two person kayak, but I know the giant waves prevent landing at many of the beaches. If you have any first or second hand info other than what's already on your site, I would appreciate it. I am planning a three week trip in March with a friend and will do the lagoons etc. I would like info on tiny secluded coves where we could camp. Nothing is scarier than paddling twenty miles on the back of huge olas wondering if you have twenty more miles before a safe landing area appears. Thanks.

Dwight Farr
January 1997

Hermann's Best and big tuna boats

I have been meaning to write you about a wonderful restaurant we found and have been frequenting often.

The restaurant name is Hermann's Best. It's located on the eastern end of the Pedestrian Zone, on the right, just before the zone becomes "pedestrian only," beside Mario's Pizza. For 17 pesos you get a huge portion of fish or chicken prepared as you request, plus beans, rice, a salad, tortillas, and great salsa. The service is excellent and the owner/chef is very personable. The place is small but there are 7 tables--oftentimes they are all taken! In our Puerto Escondido dining out experience (one of us for over six years) Hermann's Best without a doubt serves the best fish in town!

I can also report (sadly) that the first of the enormous Tuna boats arrived yesterday. The presence of these boats litters the harbor and the horizon. And with long lines and nets they gluttonously capture the majority of the tuna that move through here. If this is to be like last year, there will be up to 12 Tuna Boats working the Pacific between here and Huatulco--with a helicopter "spotting" the tuna schools for them. This is really atrocious to see. Everyone is talking about them; no one is thrilled to see them.

January 7, 1997

On Grasshoppers, Markets, Sail Fishing

I'm sure there are many places in Mexico which have very interesting and unique features, but Oaxaca has enormous biodiversity as well as indigenous cultural diversity. One unusual activity which seems to be really unique to Oaxaca is the practice of coaching tourists/visitors when--en Oaxaca comen chapolines. Chapolines, as it turns out, are sort of stir-fried grasshoppers. They are sorted by size and sold by weight in nearly all of the markets. Actually they are rather good, as these "natural" foods go.

Within the state and within 40 miles of Oaxaca city there is a system of traveling markets. A shop-till-you-drop person could literally spend every day at a new market site. The state is famous for black pottery, green glaze pottery, wood carvings, basketry, mescal, artistic weavings. It is also a wonderful place to study ancient architecture. Oaxaca city is probably the most studied social setting in the world. Anthropologists and sociologists seem to flock there. The people of the state of Oaxaca host several fabulous festivals, maybe the most spectacular is the Guelaguetza which is held the last 2 weeks in July.

Puerto Escondido is an exceptional place for sail fishing. There are lots of boats available and the price is relatively inexpensive. Fishing is great and close to shore, so there are no hours long trips to the fishing grounds.

Check with:

Manuel Chavez
Col. Aeropuerto
Domicilio Conocido s/n
Pto. Econdido. Oaxaca

for details and to schedule a fishing trip.

Jim Kitts

December 1996

[Mr. Kitts has also contributed an article on coffee-growing and ecotourism.]

One More Time, by bus

Hi Tom, Dawn here again! Back from another Mexican adventure. I recently visited the great state of Oaxaca in Mexico, again and there are a few things I wanted to add to my last entry . . . .

If you have the option of flying in to Puerto Escondido rather than taking the autobús [bus] from Oaxaca, Oaxaca I strongly recommend doing so. I had a bit of a nightmare the last time I was there in June. Come to find out there were two autobús stations in Oaxaca and I ended up at the wrong one! I really only have myself to blame but I am hoping to spare someone else the same hassles.

If you do not know about the autobúses already I am here to give you a little insight... The bus ride from Oaxaca to Puerto is around an 8-hour ride. It's a very curved road and it's not for the person that gets motion sickness. I suggest taking the A-line bus that is a little more expensive and well worth extra Pesos. It costs around 85-140 Pesos (85 being the lowest line and 140 being the best) If you do have the option though I suggest flying. My bus ride was supposed to take 8 hours, well it ended up taking 11 hours. A broken down bus lying in our path delayed all traffic both directions for hours. The plane ride takes around 45 minutes to an hour and the cost is reasonable. There are direct flights into Puerto from Mexico City. This flight takes around 2 hours, flying directly into Puerto's small but accommodating airport. Once again these are just suggestions, that I have had to learn the hard way! I hope everyone who reads this gets the opportunity to experience Puerto and all it's gifts of sun, surf and great food!

Thanks for posting these comments, Tom. I have received many upon many inquires concerning Puerto since my last post! Keep up the good work! Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Mexico is the best adventure and everyone should experience it!

[For more information about transportation and comments about the bus ride, visit the Transportation section.]


October 1996

A Question about Retirement in Puerto Escondido:

Hi, Tom, this is a question about retirees living in Puerto Escondido!! I'm the co-author of a book called Choose Mexico (about retirement in Mexico), and we're updating the book. It's been some time since I was in Puerto Escondido, so I really need to know a couple of things... mainly, are there many (any) retired Canadians or U.S. citizens living there? I'd love to talk with one of them, to find out how they like living there, and what kind of advice they might have to some senior citizen-surfer who wants to retire in PE???

[Please assist Mr. Howells with a reply.]

John Howells, sr

September 27, 1996

Accommodations in Puerto Escondido

The following appeared in the newsgroup rec.travel.latin-america:

amberbugg@aol.com (Amberbugg) wrote:

> Can anyone recommend accommodations in Pto. Escondido that
> are good and reasonable? I am going in October. What about
> transport around there too?

Hotels in Pto. Escondido are generally quite small (20-40 rooms) and run from $9 to $65 and up. In general, the rooms on in town on the beach itself run about $15 - $20 in the off season. On Zicatella beach rooms range from $9 - $25. In October you do not need a reservation.

I'd suggest you take the airport taxi to the Arco Iris. You can either stay there or walk to anyplace that you want to stay.

The Arco Iris on Zicatela Beach is probably the best buy in Escondido. Standard rooms in October will be about $15 and with kitchenette will be about $20. It has the largest and most varied menu at very low prices. It is right on the beach which has world class surfing. Parking is plentiful and they have a nice pool.

The Paradisio Escondido is charming and runs about $35-$45. It is managed by a German fellow, Fredrico, who is not especially charming but runs the place in a very orderly fashion. Its dining area is nothing to write to the Washington Post about, but the place itself is really very nice. Rooms have air conditioning. It is 2 blocks from the main beach and overlooks the bay.

The Hotel Santa Fe is the best in town with prices starting at about $65. Everything about it is the best including its vegetarian menu.

I've skipped a lot of quite satisfactory places, the Rincon for example and the Lauren, because they are less interesting.

Have fun.


September 1996


Most experiences I read about Puerto involve surfing. Has anyone tried the fishing? It is, in a word, outstanding. My first day out I caught a 175 lb. Blue Marlin that I won't soon forget. Sailfish and Dorado are also plentiful. The ponga boats cannot accomodate the big fish and the captain that I know is Captain Howard Horton on a boat named "Robalo." He works with the locals and is an excellent captain and overall guide to the area. He can be reached locally at 958-21761. The fishing season is from mid-November through the end of April.

Everyone, it seems, knows about the Spaghetti House Italian Restaurant. Yes it is good food. And cheap. Coco's (on the main street) is a great bar with a band, "Los Vichos," (The Beatles) singing excellent versions of everything from Pearl Jam and the Meat Puppets to Led Zepplin and the Stones.

September 1996

From Brazil:

I returned last week from Puerto Escondido. It's the best place of the world, everybody is friendly, Mexicans are funny..

The hotel Arco Iris was marvelous, cheap and the staff love Brasilians. I knew La Punta, there are good waves there and Zicatela (the best beach, where I have surfed before). I bought some pictures of my waves from Mike and Norman.

It was the best vacation of my life, and because it was cheap and cool I'm saving money to return there as soon as possible.

Your HTML helped me a lot. There are good tips there that are really useful.

Richard Spirandelli Neto
Curitiba - PR

August 1996.

The Manialtepec Lagoon

Puerto Escondido is a wonderful, laid back place. We were fortunate to stay at Flor de Maria with Lino and Maria, originally from Toronto. The food in the restaurant was wonderful and the hotel is so very close to the beach. Took a wonderful tour to the Manialtepec Lagoon with Michael Malone, who believe it or not, is almost a neighbour. He hails from Kingsville, Ontario and winters with his wife in Puerto Escondido and runs the lagoon tours. Apparently, Michael was instrumental in persuading the Mexican government to make the lagoon a protected area. While on the tour, we visited a very deserted, beautiful beach which was later featured in Conde Nast Traveller as one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. I would highly recommend it as a great place to visit as long as you aren't into the exciting nightlife scene. It's a laid back place with laid back people but we loved it! The only drawback that I could see was having to ride the bus from Huatulco airport to Puerto Escondido after the flight from Toronto.

Pat Belanger
Pain Court, Ontario Canada.

August 1996

Puerto Escondido Touristy?

From the newsgroup rec.travel.latin-america:
mexplore@aol.com (Mexplore) wrote:

>We wouldn't call Pto. Escondido "touristy" in the Cancun or Acapulco sense
>although it has grown considerably in the last 10 years. The hotels and
>restaurants are still predominantly low key and low cost. No Planet
>Hollywoods or Hard Rock Cafes. But even more low key is Puerto Angel if
>you just want to kick back for a few days and can entertain yourselves.

>The Felsteds-publishers, Mexican Meanderings newsletter

I've watched Pto. Escondido "develop" for the past 20 years and I certainly agree with the Felsteds. Actually development has not meant a feeling of tourism and tourists except for one very small area along Zicatela Beach. For the rest, development has been limited largely to paving the streets, putting in an airport, and population growth in the non-beach part of the city.

Brian J. Larkin

August 1996

Driving from Mexico City

Your web pages - especially the maps - were indeed very useful for the tour, that we did in the 2 last weeks of June '96.

With a rented car we went from Mexico City to Oaxaca City (6 hours). It is really a beautiful and charming town. Also the surrounding places are worthwhile to visit. We found a public e-mail office one block west of the Zócalo [town square]. Further, climbing over the Sierra Madre del Sur we reached Puerto Escondido after 7 hours including a stop in Puerto Angel. Your map guided us on the picturesque road along the coast from Puerto Angel to San Antonio via Zipolite. In Puerto Escondido we stayed in the Hotel Posada Real, good standard. We enjoyed the beautiful pool area at the Playa Bococho but not the food in their restaurant.

As it is very easy and cheap (10 pesos) to go by taxi from the hotel to the pedestrian mall, we tested and enjoyed the restaurants downtown. La Perla Flameante was outstanding, at least for our European taste. The former La Palapa changed the name. It was also very good, very friendly service.

Our tour on the Laguna de Manialtepec started at "La Alejandria". A big Centro Turístico situated at km 125 on the Carretera Costera [coastal highway 200]. This is a wonderful and recommended place. We enjoyed the kind hospitality and the typical but very clean premises.

Following the advice of our travel agent we did not drive from Puerto Escondido to Acapulco along the coastline. They said raids had occurred in the last weeks?? So we went back to Oaxaca and this time we really had fun with the unique adventure of driving on such a road, admiring the breathtaking outlooks and the constantly changing vegetation. We really had two exciting weeks. The only negative was a policeman in Mexico City who "took" from us $90 U.S., pretending we had not regarded a red light. But he refused to give us a receipt. So the robbery was in the capital but not on the Carretera Costera in Oaxaca, where people are kind and open-minded.

Walter Kils-Huetten
Am Bonneshof 16
D-40474 Duesseldorf, Germany

July 1996

Living Cheap, Playing Hard

Puerto Escondido is such a charming little beach town. I hope it doesn't grow into a popular tourist destination. Something is funny about the cheese in Mexico though.

Was there in mid-May and lived cheap and played hard. Lots of international travelers staying, and passing through. The locals are very cool. Walking up to town on the hill is a neat experience. Get fresh fish, beans and rice when you restaurant - it is good and won't make you sick.

Does anyone know where Pasquali's is - It is a town some distance north of Puerto possibly even north of Acapulco?

Bob Tema
Krueger Wright Design

June 1996

What it's Like In Puerto Escondido

I just returned yesterday from Puerto Escondido and it was paradise. I highly recommend it to anyone. It's still a small, virtually untouched from modern society, town in Mexico. It's a true rareness to find someplace so terrific and still traditional.

I highly recommend staying somewhere off of Zicatela Beach if you want to save money and still be within walking distance of the "Downtown". When I first arrived I stayed at the Posada Real, which ended up being too far away from the restaurants and bars for me. I do recommend it for the elderly tourist or honeymooners because it is secluded and out of the main stream. You can get a room off of Zicatela Beach for around 45-60 Pesos. With the exchange rate at 7.35 US it comes out to be around $10 a night. You can't beat that.

I found the best restaurant in all of Puerto Escondido to be Bruno's. They have the most versatile menu and fantastic service. If anyone hasn't been to Mexico before you should know that you can sometimes wait 20 minutes just to see a menu and another 35-40 till your food shows up at your table. Bruno's has a theme night every day (except Monday'sthey're closed). Tuesday is sushi night and a not miss in my book. They serve breakfast, with a fantastic selection from Eggs Benedict at 21 Pesos, to yogurt/granola over fruit at 12 Pesos. Every meal there is great. If you stop in Bruno's have one of Debra's Margarita's and feel any tension leave your body as the waves crash at the beach in front of you.

If you're a traveler such as I you pack to be prepared, so these are a few essentials I either found handy or forgot to take that will make your trip to Puerto Escondido tensionless.

Puerto Escondido reminded me of a cross between Haight Ashbury and Gilligans Island with a zip of Mexico thrown in to give it a charge. I wish anyone who's going a great time. I just got back and I'm planning to return in 3 months. [
did that] You just can't get enough of this town or it's people. Puerto Escondido is a must! Feel free to e-mail me with any questions.

March 1996

Read about a Oaxacan Bus Adventure

Another Bus trip to Oaxaca

I have made this round-trip journey 5 times, three by regular 1st class bus, once by deluxe 1st class bus, and the last time by airplane. Trust me... by far nothing beats the plane trip for ease or time. If you plan on taking the bus, either take lots of Dramamine or maybe a plastic bag, or both. If you don't need/use them, one of your neighboring passengers will (probably on that special occasion when the bathroom is out of service). You sure can't beat the bus for economy (from $8-12 US) but chancing a 7-9 hour journey (longer if there are rains or a flat) just isn't worth it. The airplane ride, though a little bumpy, is very scenic and touches down about 40 minutes after takeoff.

Once there, don't eat it if you can't peel it, boil it, cook the hell out of it, etc. And try to buy bottled water produced in Mexico City or some other big place, not from a local water bottler (bottled water from Oaxaca City is usually OK). I have always returned from the Escondido sick with something, but I've never really followed my own advice. Watch out for the undertow. Oh, and have a great time :-)

M. Brian Riley
January 1996

It's Hot Here!

A lovely town but very very hot (at least for us Northern Europeans!). Body boards available at reasonable rates in surf shops on the Plaza Gasga, and great fun if you're a total beginner. If traveling by bus from San Christobal allow time for road blocks (the 12.5 hour scheduled journey actually took 27 hours!)

Pamela Currie

Tino, the fishing guide:

Twenty six years ago while camping about 20 miles north of Puerto Escondido on the coast, my wife and I got very sick. We were helpless and if not for the kindness of the local villagers I do not know what would have happened. A particular young man took special interest in me personally during this episode and over the years we have developed a friendship between us.

My friend's name is Tino. About 15 years ago he gravitated to Puerto Escondido where he now captains his own fishing boat and supports his family as a sport fishing guide. Photo of Tino.

Tino is much more than a fishing guide, his personality exudes friendliness and he is the most patient Spanish teacher that one could find. His boat can be contracted for sight seeing, hidden beach swims or sunset cruises as well as fishing. If you can think of it Tino will do it.

This person grew up an oyster diver and advanced to this captain position. He seems to have crawled out of the sea.

The name of his boat is Ava Maria and anyone on the Puerto Escondido beach can get you to him. Leave directions to where you are staying and any of the fishermen will see that he finds you.

Richard Malmed

Driving in from Oaxaca:

We stopped in to Puerto Angel on the way to Puerto Escondido as we drove over the mountains from Oaxaca. It was an unbelievable trip! 7.5 hrs on the main road. The return trip on the (mostly) dirt road took us 10.5 hours. On the whole, a pretty rough trip, but I'm glad we did it. No gringos in those mountains!

Anyway, Puerto Escondido remains a lovely place to hang out at the beach and have a laid-back vacation. I recommend the Hotel Santa Fe very highly. We stayed in the adjoining Santa Cruz bungalows (two rooms w/kitchen) and ate most meals at the Santa Fe restaurant. In the morning, we had lovely pastry at the French bakery up the beach.

Be sure to take the walk along the coast north from the town (at the end of the beach). The paved pathway goes on for miles and it's very well done.

Next time we're there, we plan to stay a couple of days in Puerto Angel. It's still a very nice, funky town.



Tom - I was there about four years ago and I sit here with a smile on my face. Yeah, world class surf, world class babes, and excellent accommodations @ $15 a night beachfront. The one suggestion that I tell everyone, Take spf 40 sunscreen and an umbrella. There are people there from all over the world and the locals can rip. Also pack the surfstick well. Really pad it! -I'll be in touch.


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The Pacific Coast of Mexico www.tomzap.com Tom Penick:  tom@tomzap.com