We limped Diego into Puerto Escondido where we found refuge at an old hotel just off the highway where overlanders can camp under coconut trees (at their own risk, of course). For less than $10 we had wifi, washrooms and a pool to give us reprieve from the intense afternoon heat. We were setting up our kitchen when we heard voices rise, a fist fight nearly ensuing between the pool owner and the hotel manager we had just paid. As it turned out, the pool actually belonged to the neighboring hotel and they had some un-agreed upon agreement to share it! In either case it was a bad vibe from the start. We took a quick dip after the pool owner stormed off on his motorcycle and then got to work ordering the parts for the van.
A famous surf town in the state of Oaxaca, Escondido is best known for the “Mexi-Pipe” at Playa Zicatela where waves can reach up to 6m in height. But if you’re not brave enough to get barrelled, you can check out The Point where beginners and novices battle for waves. Go early to avoid the crowds. We happened to be here over Semana Santa, Holy Week, when most Latin Americans head to the beach. We walked down to the strip to find the city buzzing with a large night market and a busy entertainment district. Restaurants, bars and beach raves were all in full swing with reggaeton beats booming out of speakers in every direction.
After our night on the town we felt we’d seen enough of Escondido for now, knowing we’d have to be back to pick up the parts the following week. Not too far away were two beaches that had been highly recommended by a fellow traveller back when we were in the Baja: Mazunte and Zipolite. Both are hippie paradises complete with marimba and bongo beats, organic vegan fare, street markets and nudist beaches. We soon found ourselves at the end of dusty dirt road looking out at a secluded white sand beach with frothy waves lapping up and we couldn’t be happier.
We stayed for several days hiking around the point to snorkel, watching sunrises and sunsets, catching up on writing and exploring the little town packed with great restaurants and live bands playing salsa and cumbia tunes.
One night we even stumbled upon a circus show!
But, every time we looked back at the map we felt drawn to go to another place that’d been scribbled down by a fellow traveller, a point break not far away. We still had several days before the parts came in and were ready to see a little more of the coast so we packed up and headed South. It was a surfers paradise (especially since there weren’t many surfers there). With a stunning point break, cheap cabanas and delicious pizza, we were set for days and completely unplugged without any wifi. It was exactly what we’d been searching for.
The days rolled by with morning surfs, hammock reads and sunset seshes. During our time spent here we met some great people, some questionable characters, and some legends. We shared stories over cold ones under the palapa in the afternoons waiting for the tide to change for the next surf sesh. One old timer shared the story of building his Toyota surf-mobile, complete with hidden storage for a quiver of four boards, built in mosquito nets, a waterproof cab and living space and weather proof undercarriage that he could drive straight into the water and have it drain and dry without rusting! In his words, “a vehicle to only roam where coconuts grow!” It was pretty impressive and he did all the work in Escondido. He shared with us some contacts and even drew us a map to get some upgrades of our own done when we were back in that busy town.
Another gem we met was Paul, a kiwi who shared our love of mezcal and surf hideaways. Headed the same direction as us, we piled his boards on the roof and set off to see Zipolite, the other hippie paradise on the coast of Oaxaca. We splurged on hillside cabanas, people watched in the street market and put back a few margaritas and mezcal.
After a few days of rest and yoga at the beautiful eco-inspiring cabanas at La Loma Linda it was time to make our way back to Escondido. This place and family inspired us immensely in how to live beautifully next to nature keeping a small footprint carefully conserving water, taking care of our waste and recycling. If you have the opportunity, we can’t recommend a visit to La Loma Linda enough!