Mexican beaches in a few words: peaceful, lots of fine sand but also stones, sometimes big rocks, some very crowded but plenty with only few people walking (obviously depends on the time of day/year), and cheap compared to any beach in Europe or US. You’ll find lots of bars, pubs or sellers with food, but also plenty of surfing schools offering lessons for a quite low price.
The road took me first to Zipolite, then to the Natural park and lagoons of Chacahua for a night, to Puerto Escondido for a few days, to a small beach in Chiapas – Playa Vicente, and then to San Cristobal de las Casas.
Zipolite and Mazunte are two popular beach resorts equally for Mexicans and tourists. Therefore, I decided to skip them. But as I was boiling after the road, I decided to bathe in the ocean asap. And Zipolite was the closest resort in my way. I only spent a night there, relaxing and meditating on the beach until the sun went down, and then walked up and down the beach to the other end few km away. Can’t tell if this was a nudist resort or not, but the chances are high it was. It’s so liberating to bathe without clothes and having no worries to dry your swimsuit afterwards.
After Zipolite, I cruised to Mazunte and Puerto Escondido without stopping, just to reach the isolated beach of Chacahua, where I was meeting Alberto and Alisson, both of whom I met in Oaxaca de Juarez. The road to the Natural park and lagoons of Chacahua was not easy, and without a GPS I would probably be lost in coconut and other plantations. The dirt road was way better than many dirt roads in Romania, surprisingly flat, with rare bumps to wake you up. “Only” 30km to the little village of Chacahua. As I slowly drove through the main square, I got surrounded by 6-7 Mexicans, probably the welcoming committee. Stunningly, I find out this village has no exit to the ocean, no boats coming from other places, and also no hotels or cabins. I definitely thought I’m in the wrong place / the wrong Chacahua. However, the hunger kept me going to the lake where I ate a huge freshly caught fish with fries and a generous salad for about 5USD, without any kind of discount for being interrogated by the whole family about my whereabouts and my motorcycle. By the end of the meal I am told that the touristic area is on the other side of the lake, on the island, where the beach is. I leave my bike INSIDE the restaurant, and I take the 5min boat for .50cents to the island. Five big fat pelicans with red or yellow heads welcomed me along with 20-30 black bald eagles. The nature is overwhelming. I keep walking to the beach where a bunch of kids play football. There’s pretty much nothing going on. The beach is empty except for the kids and a couple of people laying down in the sun. That’s where I met my friends, hiding in the shade of the little restaurants.
The evening was very relaxing, with an equally delicious meal and we all decided to sleep in the hammocks on the beach. By the end of the night it was just me and Allison left, just to find out the main reason for that were the mosquitoes. I woke up covered in over 200 itchy bites. I spent the next day taking a boat with Alberto to see the mangrove forest and the crocodiles. We went the cheapest way: paddling in a small boat. And since the wild crocodiles were too far away, the guide took us to the crocodile and iguana hatchery, very poorly maintained, and with a lot of caged crocs and iguanas (no pictures or videos to be taken). While the crocodiles were almost inert, the iguanas, of many different colors were fighting for supremacy of the enclosure. This is where I saw iguanas run, and I bet they outrun a lot of animals, including humans.
Puerto Escondido was my home for the next 3 or 4 days, thanks to the welcoming place of Hecka, a very kind person who hosted me (thanks to CouchSurfing) and spent some time giving me tips or playing some PS3 games. I was happy to meet here again Joy and Jonathan, a happy Mexican couple I met in Chacahua. Not much time was spent at the beach, even though the surf lessons were only 50pesos per hour (3USD). Thanks to my healing tattoo for missing this experience! At least I managed to change Tinkerbell’s rear tire and install a new gasket I ordered in Oaxaca. The beaches here were also very nice and very lightly populated. I’ve only been to a small one where the surf was happening, Carizalillo, and the city’s big beach, Zicatella, where people were entirely missing and the waves were a bit aggressive.
I left Pto Escondido heading towards San Cristobal de las Casas, but as Hecka recommended, I stopped at Escobilla turtle beach/sanctuary, hoping to see the countless turtles nesting on the beach or swimming in the ocean. It was already 10am when I got there and I was told the heat drove them away into hideouts, so I won’t see any. Decided to carry on instead of driving that kilometer of sandy road to the beach. Passed by Mazunte and Pochutla, and arrived in Salina Cruz with the though of spending the night there. Unfortunately the city is a busy port with very little to offer, so I grabbed some food and set up my GPS to the nearest beach: Playa Vicente.
12km down a dusty road, where the wind almost blew me aside a couple of times, I reach Playa Vicente – a fishermen village of maybe 50 houses, 3 cars and 2 motorcycles. No stores, no hostels/hotels or anything touristy. I asked the first person I saw about accommodation and he instantly invited me to spend the night with his family. As I got to their house, the whole family gathered and started to eat a huge plate of fresh fish and vegetables, and I was invited to join. How I regretted eating an hour ago in the city. It was a windy and chilly night and I had a ‘pseudo-bed’ in the restaurant, but I had a very good rest from 8pm till around 5am, when the time was for everyone to wake up and go fishing for the daily needs.
I was happy to point my finger to that beach and meet Irving and his family, share some stories, and practice my Spanish with the locals. I would definitely repeat this experience! Till then, goodbye beaches, hello mountains. A short stop a few hours later close to Tonala, the place where my friend Luis comes from, and there I am, driving to Tuxtla. Took the fast and paid road by mistake, a mistake I didn’t repeat from Tuxtla to San Cristobal de las Casas. However, I was gaining altitude and the mountains are way colder. SanCris, here I come… and I am frozen!