I am currently traveling for a year through Mexico, Guatemala and South America. This is the first of a series of blogs that I’ll be writing about my travels.
Acapulco to Playa Zicatela
After a 9 hour picturesque bus journey from Acapulco on winding roads through the mountainous hills and small villages of Oaxaca state in Mexico, my boyfriend and I ended up on the west coast at a beach called Playa Zicatela in Puerto Escondido. After eating mostly tacos (awesome Mexican daily food) and buffet breakfasts for a week at the Anarchapulco conference, Carl and I needed this much welcome change. We found a restaurant serving lots of green juices and vegetarian food. The long stretch of beach was full of beach huts and cocktail bars. There is a sleepy vibe where people just hang out. We moved accommodation to the end of the beach and stumbled upon a very funky smallish area called La Punta Zicatela where the surfers and the yogis hang out. Juice bars, more cocktail huts and restaurants.
Chilling, cocktails and cabanas
At La Punta Zicatela, it’s all just dirt roads and cabanas with a few hotels dotted around. I can see that there is much collaboration here between the folks. A busy network of local Mexicans and foreigners have come to this place to stay - working to drop off supplies and services to the shops and local businesses, running cafes, cocktail huts, launderettes, juice bars and giving surf lessons. Dotted amongst all this buzz are local families that live here either selling arts and crafts to foreigners or running local food places that serve the regional cuisine.
At breakfast, a woman walked in selling huge bottles of honey. No brand, no logo - she sold it to the woman who made our breakfast. I found a variation of my favourite breakfast which is avocado on organic bread - Mexican style with a delicious mango, tomato and onion salsa on top. With some tasty frijoles (black beans) on the side. She made it outside and in front of us - with a very basic kitchen set up. My boyfriend and I discussed the notion of or lack of health and safety with the setup. This would never happen in the UK yet we had a wonderful breakfast made outside and right in front of us.
I think when the next financial crash happens, this little beach will probably not even really experience it. Because they are totally connected and engaged with each other on a very local level. Next stop is Playa Zipolite. I hope there are still tacos and salsa verde on the menus. It has become a bit of a staple diet for me!
The big white bus to Playa Zipolite
The guy who ran our accommodation told us to stand on the motorway and flag down the big white bus to Pochutla. So when the big white bus flashed its lights we stuck our hands out to say “stop”. And very efficiently the driver stopped on the side of the road, jumped out and stored our bags in the hold. Off we went on our way to Playa Zipolite.
Swinging in hammocks
We found our lovely place Castillo Oasis at the far end of Playa Zipolite. This beach was long and lined with cabanas, hammocks and smaller shacks that were actually bars that people hung out at. Amongst all of these were also many restaurants - some were family-run Mexican eateries and others were restaurants that were part of hotels. We spent many days walking down this beach - mostly to find food, have a drink, go for a swim and lie in a hammock. Halfway through our stay, we found out that the beach was also called Playa de los Muertos. That translates to ‘Beach of The Dead’ because the currents are so strong and people have died at this beach. But most people were careful to go into the sea only waist deep and stay quite close to the shore.
The Zipolite street that came alive at night
We also spent time on the little street behind the beach area which was the main hub of Zipolite. Quitely sleepy during the day with a few cafes and food places - transformed into a market street with artisanal stalls, music and tables where you could have dinner out on the street at night.
The best Margaritas in town.
In Mexico, the quality of margaritas can range significantly. The worse ones are quite often made with a processed flavoured mixer called 'Margarita mix'. So it pays to always ask if they use this or if they make it naturally with just freshly squeezed limes. After drinking margaritas from the start of our trip in Acapulco and all the way to here, I found the best margaritas in town at a place called Entropia. The tamarind margarita was by far the best in my opinion.
The other beaches around
We did a day trip to Mazunte one day which was two bays over from Zipolite. There was another lovely swimming beach. We also went over the small hill to Playa del Amor. These beaches were all nude beaches so anything and everything was out (if people chose to). People came here to spend days, weeks, months just hanging out.
Towards the end of our trip, we met some folks staying at El Peyote a beachfront spot lined with hammocks and tents and sandwiched in between was a beach hut bar. It was really nice to hang out here and find out what people were doing in their lives. Why they came to Zipolite and why they were compelled to stay. They came from all over the world. In just a few days, we met an Austrian, a Spaniard, a kiwi, two Finns, a few Canadians, a Brit, several Americans and two Mexicans... what a melting pot. We met a lovely guy called Jeff and even though we only hung out with him for two days we really enjoyed our time with him. What a nice fella!