After our overnight in Mexico City we hopped a flight to Puerto Escondito, a coastal city in southwestern Oaxaca. Mark came here four years ago for a short week after studying Spanish for a month in the city of Oaxaca and always raved about the beautiful beach, great food, and cheap accommodations. So we figured it would be a good place to recover from the brutal cold of Boston. (It wasn’t actually brutally cold, but compared to our norm…) Mark is studying Spanish for two weeks while I’m going to the beach.
We’ve been here for a week now, with one more to go. Ultimately there’s not a lot to write about since he spends four hours a day or so studying Spanish and I spend most of my spare time (and yes, all my time is spare) reading at the beach. Here are our impressions so far.
Mark had always described Puerto Escondido as a place where kind of skanky (spell check wants to correct that to “swanky” which is a pretty big change) Canadians come to spend their winters. Wikipedia is a little kinder; it simply describes the tourists as a “downscale and eclectic” crowd. Either way, it’s a major part of the attraction here; it’s just a beautiful beach with a small city of maybe 20,000 and some tourist infrastructure but nothing fancy. Quiet, warm, with great water and cheap beach restaurants.
There are a variety of beaches in Puerto Escondido, with the easternmost – Zicatela – a wide, long, world-famous surfing beach. Our favorite is a the much smaller Carrizalillo, all but hidden in a little cove on the western edge of the city. There are several small beach restaurants that provide chairs, umbrellas, and some pretty good seafood for lunch. Because there are 169 steps down to Carrizalillo (and, perhaps more daunting, 169 steps up from Carrizalillo after your beach time) it’s never too crowded here. Food, sand, warm water, umbrellas: yeah, that’s what we look for.
My favorite parts so far, besides the beach? We have a great little hotel, Villa Lili, maybe six or seven rooms at most, just a 10-minute walk from the beach. Our room is huge, with windows on three sides for great ventilation and a big hot tub. Cool lighting, a pool in the public area, nice owners, and all that for $99 a night. No AC, which worried us, but between the natural ventilation and some great fans in the room it hasn’t been a problem.One nice thing about Villa Lili is that it’s the sort of place where you are almost forced to meet the other guests so we’ve gotten to know Scott, a Canadian sociologist who’s spending his two-month sabbatical here. (One of his primary research topics is people who read self-help books and what they get from them. Fascinating conversations!) And Rob & Antonia, a 30-something Vancouver couple with a little two-year-old, trying to figure out how they can quit working and just live someplace like this. And trying to figure out how to get their cute little boy to stop SCREAMING. He’s impressive.
And … while we’re a 20-minute walk from the main tourist area, there’s a nice little strip of tourist restaurants and small bars just a couple minutes from the hotel. So we have a little place where we can enjoy a shot of Mezcal before choosing Mexican or French options for dinner. Another highlight of the area is two – count them, two – laundry services where we can drop of clothes and for an embarrassingly small amount have our laundry done. That is luxury.