08.01.2008 - 08.08.2008
I left Oaxaca City to head to the beautiful beaches in the south. My friends left a day early and I stayed behind to do shopping for my new import business. It was a great day of exploring, getting to know the unique local arts and crafts, talking to artisans, taking pictures and spending some money.
I got on a van and headed to Mazunte, a relaxed, tiny, hippy beach town with a fine, white, curving sandy beach. I found my friends at one of the posadas (hotel) by the beach with a spectacular view of the beach from high on a cliff. The place was borderline decrepit, but the view made it worth it at least to stay for a couple of days.
Sunrise on the hammock...
We spent our days in Mazunte relaxing, reading, swimming, writing and getting to know each other more. Our scheduled two days there quickly turned to eight. Mazunte and the surrounding beaches are addicting. We met a couple of new friends at a tour we took our of Puerto Angel beach who turned out to be great additions to our familia. Sarah and Justin, both from the U.S. joined us in Mazunte and we didn’t leave each other’s sides for some time after that.
Mazunte’s charm made it hard to leave, but we finally did and headed to Puerto Escondido, a surfer’s paradise with several beaches intermingling with one another. We stayed a few days and did a little more relaxing, great eating, took surfing lessons (I love this new sport!!!), explored the surrounding beaches (Carrizalillo, Zicatela, Puerto Angelito and more).
My favorite thing we did in Puerto Escondido hands down was a night trip to Laguna Manialtepec to see phosphorescent plankton, a magnificent occasional occurrence that comes and goes as it pleases. It was like tiny fireflies in the water. Like a galaxy of stars on the surface that ignited only with movement. Fish would swim by that looked like they were on fire (only the fire was green). We got to a spot in the middle of the lagoon and stopped and after only a ½ second hesitation, jumped in the water. It was such an odd feeling – plankton was all over us and glowing. It was alive! The more you moved, the more you saw it. We went underwater and opened our eyes and you could see it. We dove down deep and burst up to the surface and it was like some kind of scary movie. You could cup your hands and see it. We even peed in the water to see what would happen (yep, you could see it). After getting out, I moved my bathing suit and it was still there, clinging on. The experience was awesome. Being out in the middle of the night in a lagoon in Mexico swimming with phosphorescent plankton? Are you kidding me?? This was a good day…
Breakfast at the hostel
Life is good...
How can you beat swimming with phosphorescent plankton? Well, I don’t think you can, but a visit to Chacahua was a nice follow up to it. Our combi ride headed west from Puerto Escondido climbed hills and descended into several river valleys. We then took a speed boat that dropped us off to an ancient chevy truck with an equally ancient owner of the truck that drove us through the desert to Chacahua village. There, we walked into one of the campsites on the beach where you can camp for free as long as you consume there. And consume we did. The food consisted of freshly caught anything from the ocean only about 25 yards away, cooked by two plump and friendly ladies, both descendants of African slaves who escaped from the Spanish (just as much of the areas’ inhabitants).
Lidya, Sarah and I
We met a few locals that offered to take us on a tour of the area the next morning. We got up and feasted on fresh caught fish and squid and headed out into the lagoon on a small paddle boat. We paddled to another small beach where we had some coronas to refuel and then took a hike up to the top of a hill where there was a pretty lighthouse which we promptly climbed up to get a view from the top. The climb up the shaky and crumbly steps was worth it, as the view from the top of all of Chacahua both beach and lagoon was magnificent. The virgin beaches seemed to go on forever and the lagoon and it’s thousands of birds seemed to do a show for us down below.
After the hike, we went into the mangroves in the lagoon, looking for crocs and other wildlife. The best we found were tiny, fast moving ,fire engine red crabs, some cool looking birds and a couple of water snakes. The trip was fabulous though, as we helped our guide paddle through the vines and get out on the other side of the lagoon.
We never imagined Chacahua was going to be so beautiful and only planned to stay one night before heading back to Puerto Escondido to catch our bus to San Cristobal de Las Casas. Too bad, because we could have stayed here for quite a while. Swinging on our hammocks, reading, sleeping, swimming in the ocean and lagoon, drinking out of coconuts, eating fresh caught fish…one day is just not enough!
Back to Puerto Escondido and we’ve had enough with the party, surfer scene of this place and we’re headed to San Cristobal de Las Casas on a 12 hour overnight bus. We’re all excited to get to a city and to see what awaits us there. Our group has now grown to six people and we get along fabulously. We prepare for the trip by buying tortas, wine, cookies and pirated movies to watch on my laptop. Until next time!