One of my favorite places in the world is Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
Maybe its the fact you will never conquer that beachbreak. Maybe it’s the people and the warm smiles people give you as you stroll along Playa Zicatela. Maybe as the more you go down there, you start to understand how the place works, who you should know and what you should do, which ultimately comes from experience.
Puerto has taught me so many lessons about life and surfing. #1 Puerto will always kick your ass, no matter what the size. #2 if the waves don’t kick your ass, a local very well could if you get out of line. That’s what I love about Puerto, its a flashback to the days of the surfing wild west. It’s really not about airs or new school moves, as we all know Puerto is about packing big fat barrels. It’s about bigger boards and making the drop. It’s also about waiting your turn. Over the years, I have seen a couple big shots face the grim reality of stepping out of turn and have their whole trip come crashing around them. I guess i kind of like that stuff deep down inside. It’s nice knowing there are places where its not only about your ability but as you get to know some of the boys, they will share and urge you to go ( sometimes not on the best ones) but never the less, it’s a good time and your bonding with some really cool people and amazing surfers. Say Hi to Oscar Moncada, Lucano Hinkle and Edwin Morales. Give boardshorts to Celestino and the lifeguards. Give an extra tip to the nice lady when you are getting your morning coffee at Cafecito.
I recently went down there with a couple good buddies and great guys to travel with, Jesse Columbo and Marty Magnussen. My idea of the ideal travel partner are guys that you can make fun of, have thick skin, are easy going and can roll with the punches. I’m not looking for any pre- madonnas or guys that are too dead set with taking a particular path. Surf travel is always evolving and you have to be able to roll with the changes and adapt. I’m not just talking surfing, it could be where to eat, what activity to do etc. Also rule number 1 of deciding whether not to travel comes down to one simple question. Can they take a heckle? If not, then it’s no dice, plain and simple.
When I go down I stay at Hotel Ines. It’s right across the street from the main zone of Puerto and is a historic mainstay. It’s family owned and operated and they are the nicest people ever. The food is awesome and one of the things they do which I like the most is you settle up the bill at the end. It’s so much more relaxing to not have to deal with money while you eat your meals. Then you are not worrying about currency conversion, waiting to get your check and all the other things that go with paying. Sometimes you just want to eat, get up and stretch out in your room where the AC is ice cold. Ice cold AC is the best, especially after being outside for awhile. Little pleasures like that are things you may take for granted anywhere else, but down there its like you found your own little igloo amongst the humid hotness of southern Mexico.
Enclosed are some pics of my buddies and I. Puerto is a magical place. Remember the pride runs deep and rightfully so, these men have based their lives around surfing this wave and you need to show the respect they deserve. The people are nice and I can’t tell you enough that showing reverence and being humble goes a long way. Also bring extra board shorts for the lifeguards. They don’t make a lot but will risk their lives to save yours, so make a friend and do something nice for someone. Ask around about local restaurants. There are other spots to surf around there too. You can go to the Punta at the end of the beach. It gets good, sometimes pretty crowded but I find sometimes its cool to mix it up in between swimming all day at Zicatela.
So, here is some down and dirty info you for your next trip to Puerto Esondido:
1) how long does it take?
Getting to Puerto at least from either SF/ LAX is a pain in the ass. you basically catch a red eye and generally have a 4 hour layover in Mexico City. Then you grab a connector to either PXM or HUX.
2) What time of year? Spring/Summer- so basically it starts around April and can go to November
3) Ideal Conditions? Harder the south the better. Offshores basically necessary, especially when it’s big.
4) Boards? Bring a short board for small Puerto and the neighboring points. As for the big stuff- you need more board than you think. Trust me.
5) Local Services- Puerto has everything you need- if you are looking for photos or video there are plenty of people that take photos. Support them. They are artists doing what they love to do and being a photographer isn’t cheap, Support the local economy. Guys like Edwin Morales and Lucano Hinkle’s work are often see all over surf media publications and are very cool people.
6) Favorite Places to stay? These are some of our favorite listings in Puerto that we personally use, http://www.surfbreakrentals.com/listings/2352, http://www.surfbreakrentals.com/listings/1811
7) Other activities? At Hotel Ines there is a dive shop. You can hook up with them and go scuba diving. There are also really cool places to go snorkeling and if you just like exploring beaches, rent a car and cruise around
Puerto is a magical place. Using www.surfbreakrentals.com makes life easy as we have a lot of the core places to stay all over the world at your fingertips. In the future, we will be looking for surf travel correspondents to share their stories too. Stay tuned for more on that when we figure out the format.
Thx for checking our first travel article out. If you have anything you want to say, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org