I left San Cristobal behind on the 7.15pm bus- the earliest departing bus to Puerto Escondido my next stop. In the last hour or so of twilight the views overlooking the valley below as we crossed the mountainous roads were mind blowing. I was glued to the window until it turned dark and prepared myself for the 13 hour journey ahead. Again at the bus station I saw Spanish guy! It is becoming a habit now, but it is so often the case- there is a general backpacker trail with a few variations, and therefore you are bound to cross paths with some fellow travellers more than once. This familiarity in a foreign world actually becomes quite pleasant. I eventually arrived at Puerta Escondido (the journey ended up taking 16 hours) – a small beach town renowned for its huge waves which attract a lot of surfers, and made my way to the hostel. I don’t have long to spend here so I wanted to make the most of it and on my first afternoon went to the local beach – Carrizillo a pretty cove beach which is found at the bottom of a lot of steep steps with some newfound Mexican friends.
I had heard that on a beach around 20 minutes walk away there was a turtle conservation organisation, through which you could release a turtle to the ocean for the cost of fifty pesos (2 quid). Turtles here in Mexico are endangered, and only 2% of eggs will survive due to natural predators, natural conditions and even humans! Apparently turtle soup and turtle eggs are a revered dish here, although illegal. Various conservation groups work to ensure eggs are protected. Then when the eggs hatch (I guess as a money making/raising awareness scheme) they allow tourists to take a bowl with a baby turtle in, release it on the beach and watch it make its way to the ocean! You can even name your turtle if you so wish and encourage him/her to get to the ocean, a little gimmicky but cute. I guess you can even place bets with your friends turtles! You aren’t allowed to touch the baby turtles, although inevitably people will. I preferred to just quietly watch the sight of these turtles making their first steps to freedom. They were adorable- so tiny and wriggling to escape the bowl in which they were placed, we had to quickly make our way to a spot on the beach, put the bowl down and watch the turtle as it wiggled its way to the sea- they must hear the ocean, or sense it because they all knew the direction in which to head to await the waves to engulf them and carry them out to sea… poor turtles – the waves are so huge and powerful I really hope they survive! It was really heart warming watching all of these little turtles making their first steps in their journey to the ocean.
Later on that night it was drinking time- our hostel Casa Locadelli was pretty chilled – silence after 11pm perfect for those surfers who were up in the early hours, and so every night different places were recommended for nightlife. A few of us firstly went to a bar in another hostel to drink and meet others, we then moved on to a salsa bar… well you know my feelings of salsa by now haha! I spent most of the time stood outside chatting to various people! One an Irish guy whose moves were not cutting it with the locals was amusing to watch – a kind of mix between an Irish jig, salsa and general strange hip movements. They weren’t impressed much to his annoyance! His response was (in a thick Irish accent) “well i tried to teach them what I can do and they can’t do my moves, it works both ways you know”. Haha.
At around 1.30am I decided to make tracks and head back for some sleep. I was to be up by 7.30am for my beach horse ride- I’ve always wanted to ride a horse on the beach by the sea, I imagined myself sat on a beautiful unicornesque horse, hair flowing in the wind and knew that if I stayed out much later it would probably be me draped over the horse vomiting the contents of the night before- not a good look! When I found out I could do a beach ride here I was on the case immediately to get it organised! I messaged a guy on Facebook by the name of Salvador who ran horse riding trips with positive reviews. I received a vague reply about meeting him near some tower on the end of beach Zicatela at 8am. I tried to call him in the morning to check the location and that it was still happening but the phone number provided rang dead. After a late night, I was in two minds as to whether to even go- I didn’t really have a clue where it was and wasn’t feeling at my best. But I made the effort and took a towel and a book just in case the horse ride didn’t materialise, got a taxi there and after a few minutes of walking spotted a guy with two beautiful horses! On the horse I hopped and he recommended the two hour ride to a beautiful river. “Muy bonito, muy tranquilo” I was a bit disappointed – I had hoped for an beach ride after all but oh well it would still be amazing no doubt. He led me on a trail behind the beach and after riding for around 20 minutes or so I was ecstatic when the trail opened up to a huge open beach- with massive waves and completely void of people- it was like paradise! I soaked up the moment – this is a memory to be treasured. I was feeling so peaceful and content just enjoying the crashing of the waves on one side and the hills and greenery on the other. We rode until we joined the estuary- beautiful bright pink flamingoes were stood in the water which then flew away. Magnificent sight and even better as it was unexpected. I love the element of surprise with travel which is becoming more rare due to the internet, social media, guidebooks, other travellers etc.
After around 45 minutes- an hour we headed back to the first beach Playa Zicatela where I got some pancakes and fruit for my desayuno (breakfast), and then sat on a sunbed on the beach and passed the afternoon drinking coconut water, cocktails and watching the waves. For lunch I ordered fish tacos- these were incredible and came with heaps of the most amazing fruity salsa. I really savoured every bite! I had heard that the fish tacos in this morning region was fantastic and I wasn’t disappointed.
Later that evening was my trip to go and see the bio luminescent phytoplankton in the lagoon! A boat took us out in the still of the lagoon after dark. It was pitch black with no light, but a glow fromthe millions of stars above- this was a beautiful sight. Once the boat pulled up we could reach over the side and place our hand in the water – with every movement there would be a glitter of light from the plankton. It was mesmerising to swirl your hand and arm and watch the kaleidoscope of patterns caused by the light of the plankton in the black water. As you lifted out your hand or splashed your arm with water that would glow too. We could also get in the warm warm water and swim creating a glow around us. I also enjoyed floating on my back looking up at the stars. It’s so rare I get to see stars like that due to light pollution and general pollution. It was a beautiful night and I thought how amazing it would be to just go for a night swim and accidentally stumble across the glowing plankton. That would be so magical – whoever has experienced that is very lucky! Nevertheless being out under the stars, and above the plankton and dark water was one of those moments where you realise the power, beauty and force of nature, and how rare it is in the modern world to actually spent time to appreciate it. I’m glad I had that moment and the nature in Mexico has been the best part of my trip.
The next day me and one of the others had decided to head to Mazunte- a nearby beach place. We got a rickety local bus – which zoomed so quickly over the bumpy road I was almost thrown out of my seat. After an hour or so it took us to a crossroads where we could catch a collectivo (a shared van) which would get us to Mazunte in around ten minutes. However a guy in a pick up gestured for us to jump in the back so we got the ride for free. Our first task was to find somewhere to stay, however we couldn’t find hostels only very basic rooms without as much as a fan never mind AC. We had a wander and eventually found a place where we could get a tent and pitch it up. Noel the guy I was travelling with had a hammock with him so he tied it between two posts and that was his bed for the night! We tried to check out the nightlife but despite it being a Friday there wasn’t any… there was one cool mezcalaria which had hundreds of varieties of Mezcal. Mezcal is a drink made from the agave plant. It’s strong and you get a small amount – sometimes a shot glass size but you sip it. These varieties were really nice especially the chocolate one! I didn’t fancy the ones with centipedes or scorpions in though!
Noel (from Tijuana in Mexico although studied and now works in USA) was a bit upset he couldn’t party, and we decided to head back to Puerto Escondido the next day. He seemed a little grumpy the next morning. He went back to Casa Locadeli but I chose to go to the Punta la Zicatela beach area where I was introduced to my horse – a popular surf beach full of great cafes and restaurants. I definitely prefer travelling alone- otherwise I have a tendency to do what the other person wants instead of dancing to my own tune. So I will stay here a night or two before moving on again! Last night although there were some parties I was so exhausted (my night in the tent wasn’t the best or most comfortable) and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was gone! I think I need a recovery and relax day to recuperate.
Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.