Travel Blog 23: Oaxaca’s Pacific Coastline: Huatulco
Leaving Zipolite, I spent two days observing the waves in Mazunte and San Augustinillo. In a frightening reality, the beaches are being eaten by the intensity of the Pacific Ocean. A few courageous people swam in the charging waves, but it sure didn’t stop a local teenager from throwing his board to the sand as he ran into the wave to turn around and ride it back to shore. The young man was incredible to watch. I learned he’s the son of the beach restaurant owner and has been riding these waves since he was a little boy. The waves had a violent aggression. Right as people thought they were safe from getting wet, a massive wave soaked everything in its path as it pounded the shore all the way to the restaurant. Blankets, bags, books, and cell phones became at risk while people with their eyes comfortably closed felt a rude awakening when their body was submerged by the Pacific Ocean.
Heading south, I hopped back on the main road for a fifty mile drive to Huatulco. Continuing the theme that every beach town has its own vibe, Huatulco takes it one step further by every beach having its own vibe. Huatulco has over 30 beaches to explore. I visited Playa La Entrega, Playa Santa Cruz, Playa Chahue, Playa La Esperanza, Playa Tangolunda, and slept in the parking lot beside Playa La Bocana.
While the locals don’t tend to reach the beach until 4pm, the few gringo travelers wandered the beach for a morning swim. Two particular individuals, one from Sweden and one from Austria had some specific choice words for me in our separate conversations. The Swede wrote a mantra in the sand for me to always remember and repeat as I meditate. His words, “Don’t fall for the sh*t. Everyone out there is feeding you sh*t. Everything that matters is on the inside. Meditate, breathe, and keep living the way you’re living. Connect yourself to Mother Nature and don’t listen to the people you don’t know. Listen to your heart.” A day or two later, the Austrian said, “They want me to be cooped up in my home by myself. I choose to be on the beach, still by myself. My hotel is totally open outside. I walk all day. I eat healthy food. I’m not going to listen to those European rule makers. They’re all dictators trying to control my life. I am in control of my life.”
While walking around Huatulco’s city center looking for somewhere to eat, I felt a presence staring at me. A guy said something in Spanish but I didn’t understand. The pizza restaurant staff member translated, “He says he met you in Zipolite. You watched the Super Bowl together and played frisbee.” My excitement jumped up to see my friend from the beach. We did watch the Super Bowl together on a tiny tv in his friend’s beach bar, the only place I saw showing it. Our excitement level jumped through the roof when we reunited, leading to an authentic Mexican dinner in which he ordered all the food. Omar’s energy is beyond enthusiastic. He spends his weekends working in Zipolite and weekdays with his family in Huatulco. Our night continued to a Whiskey Bar we random saw while walking me back to my hotel. Tasting fabulous flavors from my past led to a game of darts which ended with me throwing a Bulls Eye, blowing Omar’s mind. I’ve never seen so much energy from one individual; I just wish I could understand what he was saying. Language barrier did not stop him from talking and speaking his mind. I just nodded and let him say his peace.
Walking another beach, I spot another familiar sight; Chicago Cubs beach towels. I must say hello. This gringo couple lives down in Huatulco for six months and up in Rockford, Illinois for the summer six months. They love their penthouse suite on the peninsula, and I loved drinking beers with them, laughing about life. There’s nothing better than being outside all the time, breathing in fresh air from the Pacific Coast.
Huatulco certainly has a reputation for being the upscale, high end, retirement beach community in Oaxaca, which also means it has the first real cheeseburger I’ve eaten in months. Due to catering for the old wealthy gringos, the food options are on top of their game.
One final fabulous interaction was with a local police officer. Before I found a hotel to stay in for $15 per night at the Delphinus Inn, my travel app led me to a beach parking lot where I could watch sunset, walk the soft sand, and sleep in Blaze. I saw the officer and did what I never do in asking for permission. He gave me the go ahead to park and sleep for the whole night, saying “I am guard all night. You are safe here.” I brought him two oranges from my giant bag, securing my connection with the man. He was baffled to see a gringo sleeping in his wheels, but loved hearing that I was slowly driving across his country he loves so much!