Everyone in Mexico loves Oaxaca for its beaches, food, crafts and Mezcal. Writing about everything we saw and did there would take too long so here’s the top three buzzes.
Chacahua is an island in between a lagoon and the ocean. It’s only accessible by boat, and is the closest thing to paradise I’ve ever seen.
The daily grind
I didn’t wear shoes for three days. I didnt need them, it was amazing. You wake up in the morning, put on board shorts and a sleeveless frisbee jersey. And that’s all you need for the rest of the day and night. We spent two nights in a beach cabin with our new pal Gautier. The daily programme was swim / surf, eat, hammock, repeat. The first day we surfed for a good solid 4 hours managing to catch plenty of waves but the paddling took it out of us. One afternoon we were able to help release new born turtles into the ocean.
Most of our time was spent in and around one of the beach bars Lias de Mar. They were the only bar that also rented out camping spots under the shade between the tables meaning there was always life there. The waiter was a young fella of 18 called Isaias who was helping out his uncle and aunt who ran the place. In the kitchen was Tía Ana who fed us amazing seafood multiple times daily specifically fresh fish Mexican style, ceviche, fish Quesadillas and pancakes.
This was the most relaxed places we’ve been and all the people we met, both locals and travellers were on the same buzz. As well as our travel buddy Gautier we also met with three other former residents from the Buena Onda, Noe, Michelle and Marian along with a couple characters from Andalucía. The craic was mighty and it was great to be in a group of new friends.
The highlight was the night time boat trip to the lagoon to see the bioluminescent Plankton. It was like the start of a bad joke. Two frenchies, two Argentinians, a Spaniard and and Irishman get into a boat. Our captain was Cirilo, who claimed to be the blackest on the island and tried to sell us weed when we first met him. We chose him because he was the only tour for a row boat instead of a motor. We left at 9:30 pm, somewhat tipsy and spent almost three hours in the water. The Plankton lights up like little mini glow sticks when moved. I’ve never seen anything like it and rows our way silently through the darkness was amazing. We took a route through the mangrove trees that was unreal. Despite our best efforts no crocodiles were spotted and after a quick dip in the shallow waters Cirilo navigated us back to the island. Amazing night.
We could have stayed there for easily a week if not more and honestly we hope to make it back.
Our pal Mario from Mexico City took some holidays with his friends in Oaxaca which happened to coincide with our plans. We joined them in the coastal town of Mazunte which is best described as hippy – chic (Barefoot, dreadlocks, tans, acroyoga and vegan burgers). The six of us shared a cabin with views of the beach. We chilled on the beach and got mashed in the crazy waves during the day, watched the sun set from Punta Cometa before hitting the gaff for the usual beers and tunes in the house with the gang before heading out. We liked it so much we spent an extra night, to explore the next town over and head to a hopping concert at the mezcaleria. On our last night we slept in the outdoor beds. 9 hanging beds with mosquito nets with views of the stars and the two beaches on either side.
Hierve el Agua
We drove for the first time in Mexico on our second day in Oaxaca. The day trip was to see the ruins at Mitla and then Hierve el Agua, which are natural swimming pools and rock formations with stunning views in the middle of nowhere. There are a couple of springs that fill the natural pools and shape the cliff face all the way down. We had the deep pool all to ourselves, making it even better. It was a spectacular spot, we worth the dodgy roads to get there.
Mezcaloteca in Oaxaca city – a bar where we did an indepth and fascinating tasting of 4 Mezcal and the whole process.
Buena Onda Hostel – a very chilled hostel in Puerto Escondido with mostly European guests. Only spent one night, but could have stayed longer.
- The story goes that Chacahua was founded by African slaves who escaped from the Spanish. To this day the population is a mix of black and indigenous Mexicans.
- Oaxaca’s reputation for crafts is justified. I can confirm because we checked every shop and stand.
- We say the world’s fattest tree in Santa Maria del Tule.
- I still can’t tell the difference between the different Mezcals but I know I like them.
- 7 hour night bus with a driver listening to mexican music at full blast doesn’t fit.
- There are public bathrooms everywhere, you pay 2 – 5 pesos (10 – 23 cent euro) but they’re clean and it eliminates the need to piss on the street.
- Collectivo buses are great and cheap and push the limits of how fast a minivan full of people can go over speedboats.
- Cold coconuts and eating in markets is key.
- Thanks to Antony at the Iguana Hostel for giving us a couple of beds when we arrived at 6:45 AM after our trip in a night bus.
- I’ve discovered a genre of music called Banda. I’ll try to write about it soon.