Sunday, January 6, 2013

Road Trip Pacific Coast, Mexico, Oaxaca

Road Trip Coastal, Oaxaca City to Nogales

Southern mountains between Oaxaca City and Puerto Escondido
Oaxaca to Puerto Angel/Zipolite

 Driving Oaxaca City to Pacific Coast
    Driving from Oaxaca City to the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca can be done over three different Routes: Route 175 to Pochutla, Route 135 to Puerto Escondido, and Route 190 to Huatulco.
On each of these mountain roads you will have incredible scenery in the southern mountains.

  • Route 175

For  Routes 175 and 135 (131 on some Maps,  Puerto Escondido Road on other maps) take the road towards the Oaxaca Airport,  Route 175.  This road splits into 175 to the left and 135 to the right after the airport.
Follow Route 175 to Pochutla if you will go to Puerto Angel, Zipolite Beach, San Augustanillo, Ventanilla, or Mazunte, or go right to Route 135 (131 on some maps) to Puerto Escondido. The crossroads comes up shortly after the airport (OAX) turnoff.

  •     Puerto Escondido

You can reach Puerto Escondido on Route 175  as well and it is a better choice for several reason. The road is better maintained for one, and at times Route 135 could be congested with religious pilgrims traveling by bicycle to the mountain town of Santa Catarina Juquila.
The pilgrims travel in large groups supported by vehicles and can be difficult to pass.  During November and December there can be many groups from all over the country biking and walking on the roads to to Juquila.
 The festival in Juquuila is a fascinating event and well worth the visit.
  • Reach Puerto Escondido through Pochutla 

Reach Pochutla on Route 175 and drive Route 200 northwest 40 miles to Puerto Escondido

  • Pochutla for Zipolite, Mazunte, Puerto Angel

 If you follow Route 175, you will go through Ocotlan, a town with market day on Friday, then you will enter a broad valley on the way to Ejutla and, eventually, Miahuatlan.
     Once you pass Mihuatlan, you start up into the mountains. The road narrows and the hairpin turns test your patience. (and your brakes)
This can be a five to eight hour trip , although the distance by road between Miahuatlan and the coast is only 90 miles.  The road twists through untold peaks and valleys of the Sierra Madre Del Sur.  (8 hours from Oaxaca)

   If darkness comes upon you before you clear the mountains it is best to park for a while until the heavy traffic subsides. The dangers are the buses and vans that shuttle to and from the City to the coast. The drivers push the limits and often hog what little road is available.
     There are hotels at a few of the mountaintop towns and you can pull off the road for a nap at the cleared spaces in front of the few roadside restaurants. Otherwise, there are few amenities on this stretch of mountain road.
     While driving over the many switchbacks, you make about 15-25 miles and hour headway.

  •         Vans serve the Pacific Coast from Oaxaca City  120-150 Pesos, six hours

One interesting village at the three quarter point of the mountain trip is the coffee producing town of Pluma Hidalgo. The turnoff is 121 miles out of Oaxaca City. Pluma Hidalgo has a small hotel run by a former coffee broker. Find the hotel at the end of the one street village. The coffee co-op roasts its coffee near the main street. follow the smell of roasting coffee to visit and watch the process.
    December and January are the coffee harvest season.  Ask at the co-op if you can work as a volunteer picker for a few days, a great experience for a coffee lover.
     The mountain road Route 175 will eventually flatten out as you approach the town of Pochutla where you will find the crossroads for Coast Road, Route 200.  If you continue on 175 and cross the main highway, (Route 200) you will come to the coast and the fishing village of Puerto Angel after six miles. Route 175 ends in Puerto Angel, having gone about 320 miles and crossing Mexico east to west over two mountain ranges while going from Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico to Puerto Angel on the Pacific Coast

At the Pacific Coast end of Route 175 you find several interesting coastal villages:  Puerto Angel, Zipolite,  Mazunte, San Agustinillo, and Ventanilla.  Find hotels, posadas and camping at these villages.

  • Route 190 To Huatulco Pacific Coast Oaxaca

An alternate route to the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca is Route 190, the Pan American Highway.  The route leaves the City of Oaxaca heading southeast towards Tlacalula / Mitla and goes over the mountains to Tehuantepec and then Huatulco.  This can be a ten hour trip to Puerto Escondido.

OCC Buses serve Huatulco with connections to Pochutla and Puerto Escondido.

Next Puerto Angel, Zipolite, Mazunte

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