Puerto Escondido 2023

Puerto Escondido a beautiful place!

I have been coming here for nearly a decade almost on an annual basis and I have used it as my jumping off point for other destinations both within and without Mexican borders. The natural beauty in Puerto is unparalleled with tropical plants, aromatic scents wafting in the night air and an ocean breeze that lifts the oppression of the heat. Spirit quenching sunsets and cliff top ocean views or beachside restaurants magically conclude every day. These are the things that drew me to Puerto and kept me coming back.

But….and there is a but. Puerto has been “discovered” and the number of people crowding into this area is phenomenal. Unprecedented building and development on top of already overburdened infrastructure and public facilities means crowded beaches, plane loads of tourists from as far away as the Netherlands, (KLM now books to Puerto through Mexico City), giving rise to the usual controversy for the locals. Is development good, bad or indifferent? Opinions vary but one thing is clear some will benefit and others will not.

Puerto has been amazing over the years and some of my highlights have included excursions and day trips up and down the Coast highway that takes you to a variety of beaches, towns, lagoons, wild-life sanctuaries and mangroves, all with a backdrop of the Sierra de Sur mountains. Over the years I have visited the spectacular mangroves and lagoons of Chacahua National Park to the north of Puerto. To the south I have made trips to Mazunte, a hip kind of beach town, Zipolite a town known for it’s nude/gay friendliness, and further south to Hualtulco, a resort town popular with tourists due to daily direct flights from places like Vancouver. Also in that area I have stayed in and visited the town of Tonemeca where I have friends.

Not day trips, I have ventured up into the Sierra del Sur Mountains to visit the capital of the state of Oaxaca, Oaxaca City and also to the alpine town of San Jose del Pacifico home of alpine adventures, such as drop zones, zip lines and cliff top swings!

In Puerto itself there are several beaches, starting at the southern most part of town, there is the surfer beach La Punta with restaurants, bars and night life. Hard to swim if you’re not a strong swimmer but easier and safer than Zicatela beach which is north toward the center of town and a great place to sit in the sand or in a restaurant to enjoy the sunset, but not a swimming beach with wild waves and rip tides. The next beach is the main beach and toward the southern end it is swimmable and well used by locals for both swimming and anchoring fish boats. Around the point there is Manzanillo and Puerto Angelito beaches, favourites with locals as they are safe, swimmable and can be accessed easily, whereas the next beach, Carazillo has a ferocious set of stairs which going down at the beginning of the day are far less daunting than climbing them at the end of the day. And rounding the corner the final beach in Puerto, Bacocha, is truly beautiful but again the rough surf makes swimming difficult but an interesting site on the beach is the sea turtle sanctuary with a release program once the eggs hatch and the turtles are ready to take to the seas.

On this particular winter respite in Mexico I have paid more for my apartment, with granted, a lovely garden and pool which blessedly is rarely used by anyone but myself, than I have ever paid anywhere in Mexico. Is Mexico becoming too expensive for me? Will I need to look elsewhere for new places to discover and wander? Is it that a place too frequently visited does not remain frozen in time and is subject to the same changes that are rolling across the landscapes of this post-modern world. Not sure when I will return, as I have other plans for next year, I dedicate this post in the memory of my friend Rangel Cruz Valencia, and I leave you with my favourite photos from 2023 Puerto!

Mazatlan Sinaloa Mexico

First time in Mazatlan….and much better than I expected. Normally I don’t frequent the big name resort towns in Mexico but I accepted an invitation from friends to join them in their ocean front condo just outside of Mazatlan. Recent news has been pretty grim from the state of Sinola with violent activity between cartels and government forces but in Mazatlan there wasn’t any visible sign of the trouble.

Mazatlan has beautiful long beaches, resorts, condos and a party area called the Gold Zone if you’re interested in night life. Off the roads that run along the shore is where the locals of Mazatlán live, work, shop and play. There are large malls with expensive stores, lots of cinemas, restaurants of every type and plenty of cabs and DiDi cars to get you around quickly and safely. The airport is way out of town so traveling to your accommodation can be expensive.

My favorite parts of Mazatlan were the Historic Centre and Isla de las Piedras. Since we were staying a ways out of town we had to head to the other side of Mazatlan to get to the Isla de Piedras boat launch. We liked it there so much we went twice and both times were rewarded with the antics and festivities of local families.

Isla de la Piedras – in truth a peninsula not an island but getting there by boat is faster easier and very inexpensive.
Antics, music, family day and fun on the playa….note in this video the women mostly bailed!!!

One of the best things about Mazatlan, besides the cooler weather than in other parts of Mexico, is that someone has had the foresight to keep the old city intact and as a result Mazatlan has a soul, unlike other resort towns, for example Cancun. Many good restaurants and night life to be found in El Centro Histórico, much more my thing than the Gold Zone (party central) but it’s great that you have a choice.

Nighttime in the old city is magical. Music, lights, clinking of glasses, and the rattle of dishes fill the happy air as diners enjoy food, drink and each other’s company in the Plazuela Machado (main square). Just for the cool night air, the long beautiful beaches and El Centro Histórico I would consider a return to Mazatlan over other resort destinations in Mexico.

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