The beauty of travelling for a more than a couple of months is the luxury of time. The ability to settle in the one town for more than just 24hours; to explore the furthest reaches and to live like a local.
With a total of five days in Puerto Escondido, I was able to spoil myself with (what was meant to be) a day trip to one of the surrounding beach towns that I had read so much about. Considering logistics (which ended up being a fail anyway), I chose the cheeky Zipolite, famous for its hippy lifestyle and nude beach culture.
Too worried about my lack of Spanish to catch one of the local collectivos – a cheap as chips transport, resembling a ute in which people pile into until there are limbs literally hanging off the back – I hopped on a bus from the main bus stop that was making its way to San Agustinillo, where I was meant to get off one stop before the terminal and catch the collectivo. But things don’t often go as planned when there’s a language barrier (thanks but no thanks local gentleman) and I ended up at the terminal.
A $25 taxi ride later (which could have gotten me there and back to Zipolite about 4 times) and I rolled in to the charming main street of town. Littered with basic restaurants, cute handicraft stores and your occasional homestay here and there, I was instantly in love. THIS is what I’d been hoping for when I arrived to Puerto Escondido.
After filling my belly with pasta (it had come to that point in my Mexican food journey), I waddled down to squishy white sand. And don’t be fooled if someone tells you its 70s free-love vibe is gone, it’s very much still a nudist beach. Now I ain’t no prude, but public nudity is not something I would personally practice, even within such an open environment. So I settled for a little tops off time as a compromise 😀
It was during this ‘free the nips’ that impulsive Taryn welcomed herself into my life. You see, I’m a planner. I love knowing where I’m going, how I’m getting there and what I’m going to do when I get there. But for the first time in my travel life, I let caution to the wind – a trend that continued on during the trip – and decided I would stay here the night. I wanted to be that free spirited, beach bum, lounging in a hammock, with cocktail in hand as the sun went down.
It didn’t matter that I only had with my a towel, sunscreen, a book and a change of underwear. And it didn’t matter that I had to walk almost to the next town to withdraw extra funds to support this flash of madness. It was time to finally live in the now.
This is mind, I went and scored myself a little private room – read concrete box – at one of the beach front hostels. And I couldn’t have been happier. For the first time on my trip I felt liberated, like the stress of the last couple of years no longer mattered and I was the master of my own destiny.
I spent the rest of the afternoon upping my melanin production, sipping on pina coladas while watching nudists tango on the beach to a mariachi band, and assisting in the release of 50 baby turtles back into the ocean.
Come night time, Zipolite truly shines. The one main street gets closed off and a market spreads its way down the strip, featuring everything from hand crafted local jewellery, food and a pet pig or two. The vibe is electric and engaging and the locals so so friendly. If only I’d known earlier! Next time!
The next day, I regretfully packed my things – which mind you only consisted of bathers, towel and sunscreen – and found the CORRECT collectivo back to PE.
To note: If you have time, also dip your toes in at Mazunte – I could only wistfully gaze on from atop the collectivo – but it looks just divine!
Unfortunately I can’t remember a single thing I ate or where I stayed but that’s the joy of Zipolite, none of it matters when you’re living free and easy.