For two weeks we basked in the sun (sol), dug our toes into the sand (arena), and played in the waves (olas) as we traveled over 1000 miles down the Pacific coast of Mexico from Mazatlán to Puerto Escondido.
Our first stop was near the little town of Teacapán, where we had a lovely campsite right on the beach. Alas, there were no waves, but the water was warm and we were visited by some egrets and treated to a lovely sunset.
Along the road to Teacapán we passed field after field of chilies and tomatoes. The chilies were dried on tarps in the sun right along the side of the road. The farm workers were all very friendly and smiled and waved as we drove by.
On the way to and from Teacapán we passed through the busy little town of Escuinapa, where we stopped to buy some groceries and snap a few photos. Here’s a taste of some typical street views in small-town Mexico.
Hobie is a great traveler, he knows when it’s time to go and hops into his little nest of blankets in the back of the van.
We spent one night in the cute little town of San Blas, which is known for its lively town square, nice beach, and swarming masses of jejenes, or no-see-ums. San Blas is right next to a large area of lagoons, which are full of birds and crocodiles, and make the perfect breeding grounds for insects. We managed to get pretty lucky and camped for free right out on the public beach, where there was enough of a breeze to limit the jejenes, and our bug nets took care of the rest.
But still no waves, so we moved on down the coast. We stopped at the very popular gringo backpacker and surfer hangout of Sayulita and finally saw the perfect sized waves for the longboard, but unfortunately everyone else saw them too and the lineup was totally packed. We boondocked for the night in an alleyway between fancy yuppie American houses in the nearby town of San Pacho, caught a few waves in the early morning before they were too crowded, and then kept heading south.
Finally a big southern swell hit. We asked for waves and boy did we get waves! The first day of the swell brought in enormous overhead breakers that thundered down on the beaches and sent huge towers of spray up into the air when the returning waves collided with the incoming ones. We had a perfect vantage point to watch these beasts wrap around our camp spot on a small point near Playa Chalacatepec.
Two days later the swell calmed enough for Tim to brave the waves, and we found ourselves at the surfer mecca of La Ticla. Unlike crowded Sayulita, La Ticla was just the peaceful spot we were looking for, so we stayed for three days.
On Tim’s birthday we woke up to the perfect-sized waves and Tim spent hours in the water with Señor Platano.
Heading further south we got some spectacular views of the Michoacán and Guerrero coastlines.
We spent a few nights at two more well-known surf spots, Nexpa and La Saladita, where Tim caught more fun waves. At La Saladita we happened to camp right next to a very nice family from Colorado, who have been traveling in Mexico for the past six months and were great to talk to, with many useful tips and suggestions of where to go.
At this point it started getting really hot. During the days we were either driving with the windows down or hanging out in the shade or the water, which wasn’t too bad, but now the nights were starting to stay almost as warm. If we were lucky enough to have a good breeze blowing through the van then it was pleasant, but on the calm nights we tossed and turned in the stuffy air. We tried using our fan, but it’s loud and a power hog. By the time we reached Puerto Escondido we were grumpy from long sweaty nights and bug bites, so we turned north into the cool, rainy mountains of Oaxaca.