Those in search of the undiscovered
Mexican tropical hideaway often settle, happily, upon Puerto Escondido.
Accessed by small plane or a grueling 12 hour, mountainous bus ride from
the capital Oaxaca, the town is a haven for the adventuresome. In the mid
1980's, Fonatur, the Mexican Government tourist office, decided to pass
the town by in favor of the nine pristine and relatively unpopulated bays
of Huatulco, 69 miles down the coast. Between these two casual resorts,
some of the most enchanting tropical experiences are there for the asking
- no matter the size of one's pocketbook.
Puerto Escondido itself remains
rooted in a relaxed, beach-combing frame of mind. Some of the original dirt
roads may have been paved and a few more hotels added, but the big development
push is, for some, gloriously absent. A colorful shop/restaurant zone arcs
around Playa Principal which is known for its palm groves, swinging hammocks
and small fishing boats. With the discovery of Zicatela Beach by the world's
surfing community, Puerto Escondido attracts world-class surfing competitions
that take place annually in August and November.
As previously mentioned, Huatulco
shares this tropical coastline and encompasses nine bays and some 34 beaches
on 124,000 acres - of which 75% are dedicated as an ecological preserve.
When Fonatur announced the development of the next "Cancun", the resort
heavyweights quickly staked their claims to Huatulco. Presently, many guests
arrive at their destination, often on Tongolunda Bay, and find no reason
to wander from the fine restaurants, wide array of watersports, an 18-hole
golf course and deluxe amenities.
Other visitors enjoy touring
the relatively untouched bays. Accessed only by boat, you can be dropped
off for a day of coral-reef snorkeling, fresh fish beach-side barbecue and
lazy exploration of the charming coves and inlets.