Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Puerto Escondido Ecotouring, Pacific Coast Oaxaca

Ecotour From Puerto Escondido, Pacific Coast Lagoons, Oaxaca

Sunset at Playa Marinero, Puerto Escondido
       In January we went to the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca to see the lagoons where exotic birds such as stork, roseate spoonbill, grey and white pelican, teal, egrets, heron, and frigate bird winter and nest. 

Zicatela Beach, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

     From Oaxaca City we took an OCC night bus to Huatulco where Sur Buses and local buses run north and south along Route 200 with stops in Pochutla, Mazunte crossroads, and Puerto Escondido.  We left the bus at Pochutla for the beaches of Mazunte, the turtle museum, and Ventanilla where our lagoon tours would start.

Ventanilla Lagoon Crocodiles

     A collective cab took us to the village of Ventanilla where a tour by boat through the lagoon got us a look at several crocodiles sunning themselves on the beach. 

     My companion on this leg of the trip was David Rice who had just backpacked from Antarctica to Prudhoe Bay and seen his share of wildlife along the way including penguin, grizzly bear, and wolf so as you might guess he wasn't too impressed with a few basking crocs.    
 See David's Book at Amazon

Our guide told us that the crocs don't
 hunt humans, they prefer stray dogs.

     On the way in to Ventanilla on the access road I saw a dog sniffing along the shoreline and thought that the edges of the croc lagoon is probably not a good place for a dog to be prowling. Sure enough the tour guide later told us that dog was one of the favorite foods of the 70 or so crocs that live in the lagoon.
These photos are from several trips to the lagoons over the last couple of years

     The crocs don't hunt man, the guide assured us, as we approached a few big crocodiles that were sunbathing on the shore. When we got close they would just scurry off into the water.

Puerto Escondido Lagoon Tour Chacahua

From Ventanilla we headed by taxi to the Route 200 crossroads and caught a Sur bus for the 35 miles northwest to Puerto Escondido to meet a friend from Europe and tour the lagoons of Manialtepec and Chacahua.

Sunset at Zicatela Beach

Clubs and restaurants on Zicatela Beach are great for sunset watching

Puerto Escondido,  Playa Marinero and Playa Principal
       In Puerto Escondido I met up with Renata and we did our swimming in the calm bays of Puerto Angelito and Play Marinero.

Puerto Escondido is known by most travelers for the surfing on Zicatela Beach and even travelers who don't surf visit to dip their toes into the Pacific beach where the legend of the Mexican Pipeline was born.   The previous year we arrived in time for the November surfing competitions and saw lots of wildlife but not of the animal kind. bikini contests, skateboard competitions, skydiving and of course the three days of surfing kept us busy. 
Puerto Escondido Camping  

Playa Marinero at Puerto Escondido is a small wave beach

Puerto Escondido Surfing

     We were visiting this time for the ecotours in the lagoons but watching surfers on Playa Zicatela is always fun on Puerto Escondido's surfing beach. 
Surfing competitions are held in August and again with the annual Zicatela Pro in November, an International competition attracting over 100 competition surfers.  

Zicatela surfing
     Zicatela Beach is open to the ocean to the southwest and can,  in the peak swell period of mid July through the August and September hurricane season produce twenty-foot tube waves.  Zicatela will regularly produce  eight to twelve-foot waves with an offshore wind blowing northeast and this makes it one of the worlds best surfing beaches. 

      Not being athletic swimmers we avoided the waves of Zicatela and stuck to the small-wave beaches at Playa Marinero and took taxis to the Carrizalillo and Puerto Angelito coves located in protected bays a mile northwest of the village center.

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. Cove beach dive spots for snorkel are Playa (beach) Carrizalillo, and Puerto Angelito.

Lagunas de Chacahua National Park

Chacahua Lagoon Tour

After a couple of days of beaching we booked an all-day, Chacahua Lagoon  tour that included a guide, transportation, boat tour, and crocodile farm tour, for 500 pesos.

Our guide explained that over 150 species of birds 
inhabit the Chacahua Preserve
There is also a crocodile nursery located inside the 
Lagunas de Chacahua National Park

The boat captain knew where to find the birds and how
 to get us close for photographs 

Brown pelicans in Chacahua Lagoon

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