Many people who travel to Oaxaca travel down from the city via an overnight bus to get to the thriving beach town of Puerto Escondido. We chose to fly on AeroTucan because we didn’t have a lot of time and I basically have PTSD symptoms from mountain bus rides. I was curious to stop in a mountain town and stay at Refugio Terraza de la Tierra where people are really into magic mushrooms and yoga but that will have to be another trip. Although there are several beaches we chose to stay off Zicatela at Casa Dan because, in my experience, surfer towns usually have lots of vegan food at this proved true. Zicatela is one of the main surfing breaks in Mexico, but there are several other beaches that you can walk to our take a cab to. The most beautiful is also the most difficult to pronounce if you are not a Spanish speaker, Playa Carrizalillo.
One of the highlights of the trip was taking a night cruise out to a lagoon where we got to swim with phosphorescent algae. It was like having a fairy princess super power as you creates sparkly glitter in the water has you moved your hands and body. Although I’ve enjoyed the bioluminescence in Thailand and Washington I’ve never seen it so intense as in Laguna de Manialtepec. I highly recommend you take the tour if you are planning a trip.
For food it was hard to go wrong. At both our hotel’s restaurant Dan’s Cafe Deluxe and down on the beach at Mana del Jardin we had chilaquiles for breakfast, we liked both but the view and the beach swings at Mana couldn’t be beat so we went a second time to try their dinner. They had an Italian sandwich with olives that sounded amazing. Indeed, Italians settled much of the are on the beaches of Oaxaca and so we ate lots of really delicious Italian food. We also tried the gorgeous Hotel Santa Fe but, although there were some very vegan friendly options, it was probably the most disappointing meal of the trip. I had better food on the beach and here it was really overpriced. Somehow I never made it to the tot themed Papa Tots but I did have an amazing soy ceviche and acai bowl at Spirulina, which was right across the street from our hotel.
The highlight of our trip to Puerto Escondido though, and, for sure, a life highlight was getting to release baby sea turtles into the ocean. Because of poachers, predators, and development the turtle populations has dropped almost completely. The Leatherback sea turtle (and the subject of this awesome documentary on Netflix A Turtle Journey) is on the endangered list and so the government gave a little bit of money to a project with the university to dig up turtle nests, protect them, and then release them when the babies are hatched. Less than 1% of leatherbacks and only 1% of green and black turtles make it without the help of this project. Now, they have a 50/50 shot as long as they make it past the predators in the ocean. We release them at sunset when they have a better chance. I told my turtles to swim fast and not eat any plastic. I hope they are ok out there.