Puerto Escondido – A surf haven
Puerto Escondido is a pretty special place, and it turns out for many; an addiction. It’s not immediately obvious why. Sure when you first get into the city, you have that long tan sand beach, with huge white water waves crashing against it, and you’re viewing it from 100 feet up, and it’s exciting and beautiful. Yes, it’s different, but every place is different. Different doesn’t necessarily mean special. But you spend a few minutes walking around, then a couple days, then a week, and it all starts to click.
What makes this place special is that despite its growth and appeal to foreigners, the main attraction is the sea, and specifically the waves. This is a surfer’s paradise. It’s cheap *well, relatively), it’s pretty, the waves are world-famous, the people are cool and unlike much of the Yucatan, it’s not hyper developed yet, so you don’t have massive buildings, ridiculous hotels, and you don’t have the aggressive salesman culture that you find in Playa or even Tulum. You don’t get hassled on the main beach stretch or walking through the city. People are laid-back and generally seem happy. There’s a rich beach life here, not just for foreigners but also for locals. While the 2 groups don’t necessarily frequent the same areas, it’s mostly for practical reasons. The locals prefer a more peaceful alcove where the waves aren’t as heavy and swimming is permitted (like reasonable people). Especially on Sundays, the place is packed with families of all generations. And they’re not just sunbathing, they’re swimming, they’re bodyboarding, they’re having picnics under umbrellas, buying meals from the seaside restos. On the other side of the rocks, prices are higher and places cater more to the foreigners who come to PE to surf, to surf, and to surf. Whether it’s regular surfing or body boarding, PE attracts professionals and passionate amateurs from around the world. Different times of the year bring in droves of different nationalities. At a certain time of the year you’ll get Argentinans, others Australians, you get your Brazilians, and your Americans. Surf culture defines the foreigner contingent of PE. The long blond hair, the surfer shorts, the tanned and toned bodies, the bare feet everywhere and of course, the scores of stores selling surf gear all seem to remove any doubt that this is a little, as of yet, unspoiled surf Mecca. It likely won’t stay this way much longer. You can feel the tides changing, development taking over. As with Guate and the rest of Mexico, there’s a huge upswing, a massive middle class growth that is bringing huge opportunities to large numbers of people. Who knows that this place will look like in 10 years, but for now, while it doesn’t have all that much to offer in terms of variety, it has what people who come here are looking for. Surf, good food, cheap accommodation, a warm populace, easy access to the required shopping needed, a limited but existent nightlife, and a laid-back atmosphere worthy of surf culture. You might not find all the activities that Playa can offer, partly because this place just isn’t as commercial and doesn’t attract as wide a range of people, but if you look you’ll find more than you expect after a first glance. Scuba diving, releasing wild sea turtles onto the beach, tours of bio-luminescent beaches, lagoon exploration, fishing tours, dolphin and whale watching, and of course surfing lessons, sea-doo, etc. Just don’t expect people to come up to you to offer it all. It’s much more low-key around here, and that’s what we like.
It’s close enough to some interesting places as well, like the town of Mazunte to the south and the Lagunas de Chacahua to the north. It boasts glorious sunsets, brutal heat, and did I mention surfing yet? We took 2 days of lessons at Carrizalillo beach with the guys from Puerto Escondido Surf Lessons, who were recommended to us by an awesome Kiwi who had moved to PE many years prior, and the guys there took great care of us, gave us all the necessary tips, helped where needed and let us go when not. All in all, they were 2 great days of perfect weather in water that was shared equally by turtles coming up for air and surf students. It was my first time on a surfboard, and it officially became an activity I knew I’d repeat again. So for that, and for just a great relaxing time, I’m quite grateful to PE.
PE IN ALL ITS GLORY