Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bus To Puerto Escondido, Surfing and Swimming Beaches

Zicatela Beach is Puerto Escondido's famed surfing beach

     OCC and Sur buses run the Coast Road, Route 200, for the 40 miles from Pochutla to Puerto Escondido and Oaxaca's surfing, swimming, and eco touring.
OCC Bus (link)
Puerto Escondido offers shopping, ecotouring, swimming, 
diving, and surfing.
Estrella Blanca and Alata Mar Buses also run south from Acapulco to Puerto Escondido.
The destination for many travelers is the surfing on Zicatela Beach  (link) .  International competitions are held in August and November at Zicatela but even non-surfers visit to see where the legend of the Mexican Pipeline began.  The November surfing competitions brings surfers, skateboarders, parachutests, bikini contest watchers, and a good supply of international tourists who arrive to party.

Zicatela Beach hosts August and November surfing competition
Puerto Escondido Surfing Competition
     Playa Zicatela is Puerto Escondido's surfing beach where surfing competitions are held in August and again with the annual Zicatela Pro in November.
These are International tournaments that can attract over 100 competition surfers.  During the event,  tandem skydiving over the beach, bikini contests, skateboard exhibitions, and music concerts will add to the excitement.
     Zicatela Beach is open to the ocean to the southwest and can, in hurricane season, produce 20+ foot tube waves.  Zicatela will regularly produce  8-12 foot waves with an offshore wind blowing northeast and this makes it one of the worlds best. 
      If you are not an athletic swimmer, it is best not to take on the waves of Zicatela without first checking with the lifeguards regarding the conditions. At times swimming is an option at Zicatela but there are three other protected, small-wave beaches nearby that have gentle surf and little undertow or rip current.

Swimming at Play Marinero offers small wave
Playa Marinero
 If you walk to your right as you face the ocean at Zicatela you will climb over some rocks and come to Playa Marinero, a protected beach with small waves.  This beach is a good place for the beginning surfer.  Other beaches are at Carrizalillo Cove  and Puerto Angelito. Both are in protected coves northwest of the village center (3/4 mile)  Taxis from the center will reach these beaches and you can arrange for a later pick-up.

Tour boats stop at the Chacahua crocodile refuge

Puerto Escondido Diving
     Puerto Escondido has a PADI dive shop at the center of Play Principal. They will provide all equipment, lessons, local info and boat trips. Protected cove beach dive spots for snorkel are Playa (beach) Carrizalillo, and Puerto Angelito.

Puerto Escondido Camping
     Tent camping and RV camping  (link)
Two campgrounds are located in the center of Puerto Escondido.  Palmas de Cortez offers full hookups.  The nightly rate is 45 pesos per person plus a charge for the vehicle.  The total could be around 100-150 pesos or about $7.50-$10 USD.  Ask the manager, Rubin, (he speaks English) about a discount if you will be staying for a month or more.

     From the Palm de Cortez campground it is a short walk to the beach where the wives and families of the fishermen have set up tables to clean fish.  You can ask for a fillet to go to cook at your campsite.
     The best fish for grilling or frying is the Dorado, what you might know as the Mai Mai   They make a nice fillet.  Another popular fish on the coast is the Huachinango or Red Snapper.  These are usually grilled or broiled whole after evisceration.
      You can ask for a red snapper fillet,  if you will cook it yourself.  The campground provides grilles and you can find wood charcoal in the market adjacent to the campground.   The market stocks everything you will need for preparing a complete meal including produce, meat, spices, beer, and wine.

Puerto Escondido Lodging
Puerto Escondido offers lodging for every budget. Along Calle del Morro (street)  running parallel to Zicatela, you can find upscale lodging  (link) at the four star Hotel Santa Fe   (link)  (aerial view) with AC and amenities starting at (March to Mid December)  $80 for two and running to $130 (and up for master suites)  to the more moderately priced lodging at the Arco Iris ( $60 USD double) Near the other beaches you can find a $20 dollar or less Posada like the Shalom and many other posadas.  There is great variety of lodging in Escondido.   Inquire in the center of town and you can find a simple room for even less.
     Considerations to keep in mind will be air conditioning or ventilator, noise, (how close are you to the disco) and beach proximity. Most hotels are near the beach but there are some located on the hills above the village or on the west side of town where you would need to walk ten or fifteen minutes to reach a swimming beach.   Another consideration is proximity to the surfing beach.  If you are a surfer you will want to be in a hotel along Zicatela.

When to Go
There is no good consensus as to when the best time to go for the surfing at Zicatela.  Some say the winter storms between November and April produce the best swells on the south facing beaches of Mexico's Pacific coast.  Others peg the season as April to November.  Others say that August produces the best swells and can bring 20 foot waves.  If there are storms at sea, any month can be good.  Most experts agree, however, that beginning in May, the swells start to appear.  By August surfing is at its peak and continues into November. August to November is the best bet; both these months have competition surfing at Zicatela.
     December waves average 8-12 tube breaking right and left.  Surf Photos Puerto Escondido  (link)

Eco Touring
Puerto Escondido offers access to the Chacahua  (link) and the Manialtepec Lagoons where bird watching boat tours are available.  During the winter months migratory birds such as stork and roseate spoonbill nest in the mangrove islands of these lagoons.  Tour operators in Puerto Escondido can arrange kayaking, crocodile tours, and bird tours on the lagoons. 

Chacahua Lagoon is winter home to exotic birds
ADO Bus (OCC Bus, Oaxaca) (link)

Photos: Chacahua Lagoon, Puerto Escondido Eco tours (link)

AltaMar Bus (Acapulco) (link)
Alta Mar Bus 
Av. Oaxaca Esquina Cuarta Poniente Fraccionamiento Agua Marina
 Puerto Escondido, Oax. C.P. 71980
Tel. 01 954 10 4 25 81            The Alta Mar  Website does not function

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