We arrived quite early in the morning in Puerto Escondido after a relaxing (really!) nightbus from Acapulco. The bus network in Mexico is simply stunning. Maybe a little more expensive than other Latin American countries, but you get more in terms of quality and comfort.
A friend told us to stay at Hostal Shalom in Puerto Escondido, which we did, but just for one night and we wouldn’t recommend it any further. The hostal seems to be fairly run down, dirty rooms, not working fans, no guets kitchen (even tough they advertise it) and a pool full of bugs. I guess some years ago it really was a nice place to stay, tough.
We then changed to a cleaner, same priced, better located hostal called “Buena Onda” which seems well known arround backpackers and surfers, since it is always full. It has got a really nice vibe and there is a guest kitchen, too. We paid 230 Pesos for a cabana, dorm beds cost 100 Pesos each. There are way cheaper options at Playa Zicatela, the tourist center of Puerto Escondido, but they aren’t as close to the survivable Point Break “El Punto”.
I guess there are 3 reasons to visit Puerto Escondido. One is for sure to surf the crazy heavy and big tubes of the main beach, Playa Zicatela. They say, each year die arround 6 surfers in that wave and once you have seen it, its pretty obvious why. Most of the waves just close out, but some deliver quite long rides in barrels and with a bit of luck they don’t close out and you might get out of it safe. As a matter of fact, lots who surf that wave are not even wearing a leash. Since the wave directly breaks onto the shore, it is safer to let the surfboard float away onto the beach and just swim out of the impactzone somehow.
Another one is to watch the big wave surf from out the beach, lying in a hammock, enjoying a good drink. Which is exactly what we were doing with a couple of friends and some drinks for about an hour. In that time we have seen a couple of broken boards, 2 americans trying to surf the wave but not even getting out of the impact zone and nearly drowning, a broken shoulder and some nasty whipeouts, too. It is tragic to see such stuff, but it is for sure more intense than watching TV!!
Last but not least there is the point El Punto on the left hand side of Playa Zicatela. The wave there is not as dangerous as the one at Playa Zicatela, but way more crowded. There is a big local groove and you often surf with some professionals, which doesn’t make it easy to catch a wave for yourself..
In fact, we had in a couple of surf sessions not more than 10 rides, most of them short ones which came to an end because of a close out.
Even tough it is not as heavy and dangerous as the main wave in Puerto Escondido it still is more dangerous than most of what we’ve been into on that trip. In the days since we have been here, 2 friends got injured, a swiss guy messed up his knee and Jackson, a Californian friend who has travelled with us to Chacahua, just broke (or badly dislocated) his feet, while doing a floater. Then there were several snapped surfboards, broken leashes and minor injuries, too. It changes the point of view quite a bit, when stuff like that happens.. For us it is a sign to move on to another wave, better suited for us..
But before that, the next blog entry will be about our journey to Chacahua, an island just 2 hours north of Puerto Escondido..