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The Hidden Port on The South Pacific Coast

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05/10/2008: We were looking forward to continue our journey to the south coast of Mexico and in the morning took a mini bus (fare 130 pesos pp) for Puerto Escondido (The Hidden Port). The journey of 300kms, through mountainous rustic country took exactly six hours. We left Oaxaca city at 9.30 in the morning and reached our destination at exactly 15.30 in the afternoon. Th day was hot and when we arrived at the bus station and climbed down from the bus, the heat hit us like a blast from a furnace.

We consulted the Lonely Planet and decided to stay at Mayflower Hotel& Hostel. The choice proved to be good. Our bus companions were a young man from the U.K and an Austrian girl from Vienna who told us that they also were going to stay at the same hostel. So we all walked down the road and in about ten minutes were at the Mayflower. The two travellers took a bunk bed each in the hostel section of the Mayflower (100 pesos each) and Alex and myself decided to take a double bedroom with attached bath (350 pesos).

The Mayflower is a nicely furnished clean hotel, rooms on three floors, with small balconies. Our room was on the third floor, with an open sitting area with sofas, a white piano sitting prettily in the middle, a book shelf and a small balcony with a table and chair, with a view of the sea. What a delight it was to hear the waves breaking over the rocks, fishing boats lolling on the waves. The night before our arrival it had rained and our arrival I found rain clouds gathering in distant sky.

Almost all my adult life I have lived close to the sea, I know its many moods. I have watched, thousands of times the angry sea foaming and frothing, its thundering waves breaking over the rocks, or calm wavelets lapping the shore or coming rushing to the beach and then in a slow motion spreading itself gently, soft soothing breeze calming the mind.

We chucked our backpacks in the room and ran down the stairs to have a look at the beach and the sea and breathe the fresh salty air of the Pacific. We came out of the hotel, walked down a flight a steps and were in the main street of the puerto and a few steps further down was the beach. I immediately saw that the sea at Puerto Escondido was heavy, the waves strong and did not allow an easy swim. But it was wonderful to stroll on the beach ,to lie in a hammock and sip ice cold cuba libre and a mojito and later drink a cold dark beer (Negra) and eat olives. And it was completely relaxing.

Looking at the map of Puerto Escondido, you will see a long streach of beach strip about l00kms long. Its turquoise waters heaving in the wind, I found, were suitable only for surfing and although I tried, at various points of the beach to swim, it was not without danger of getting dragged inwards. Even the seagulls hovered carefully over the waves. The fishermen had already hauled in their boats and when we went down, they were selling their daily catch. Bonito, small shark, snapper, bream (mojarra) lobsters and prawns are caught and sold to the locals and to the restaurants.

There are three large beaches, Playa Principal, Playa Marinero and the Zicatela, the long stretch of sandy beach which you can see from the Playa Principal. But the beaches are not for swimming and during our stay there, we saw a few tourists, only some travellers. We wre told that it was low season and we thanked God for it.

Posted by The Islander 07:58 Archived in Mexico Tagged mountains beaches churches boats landscape bus monuments backpacking air-travel Comments (0)

Mexico-Mexico-Here We Come

Travelling in Mexico

sunny -35 °C
View Vamos a Mexico. (Mexico Here we Come) on The Islander's travel map.

Key words: travel, tourism, food, sightseeing, places to see, hotel accommodation, places to stay, Mexico City.

In October 2008 I travelled to Mexico with my son Alexander. Now I found the diary where I had written down about this trip and I reproduce the same now, five years later. I hope it is of some interest to readers.

29/09/2008. We travelled to Mexico City on KLM flight No. 0685 from Amsterdam (Holland) in the early morning. The flight was 15 minutes late in starting and once we were on the tarmac, waiting our turn to be airborne, the captain informed the passengers that there was a problem with the system of refrigeration and he was taking the plane back to the terminal.

The flight was delayed for another 1hr 48 mins (total 2hrs.03 min). The plane was full of Mexicans returning home, I saw less than fifteen passengers who looked like tourists going to Mexico. During this long delay, no further communication was made, we sat in the heat of the plane, without any refreshments or water. When I asked one of the cabin attendants for a glass of water, he told me that the water was sufficient only for the flight and I could not have any. The flight time to Mexico City was 13hrs, with a time difference of 7hrs. We reached Mexico city totally caput.

While the plane was descending to land, I could see the shimmering city lights, stretched to such a vast area, that it was very difficult to imagine where it ended, how its teeming millions lived. But I have seen it in India and in Thailand, in Hong Kong and in Singapore too. The vibrant societies, the hustle and bustle, business activities and the simple joy of living. And I thought, why should Mexico city be different?

On landing at the airport, when the doors of the plane were opened (only front exit), the passport and customs officials blocked the exist and I saw Policia Federal totting rifles, surrounding the entrance. I was asked to show my passport, how long I was planning to stay in the country. When we came out of the plane, our hand luggage was searched. We found ourselves in a large lane full of people, full of shops, money exchange bureaus, restaurants etc.

The airport at Mexico city (DF) is modern, and very busy. Most of the Mexicans were coming from or going to the USA. We strolled along this long passage, following other arriving passengers and at last going down the flight of steps, found ourselves in the passport control and immigration area. A vast hall, full of arriving passangers, forming long lines. It took us two and half hours to clear the passport and customs. It was totally dark outside and very late.

In the terminal building, again a huge hall, there were many offices of bus and taxi rentals and although sitting next to each other, their tariffs were different. In one of the booths, offering accomodation, we booked ours at Hostal Isabel, calle Isabel la Catolica, No.63, in the Historic Centre of the city.

This hostel was the residence of Señor Lucas Ignacio Alamán y Escalada, the Mexican scientist, politician, historian and writer (born October 18, 1792-died June 2, 1853). He was born in Guanajuato and died in this house, which was converted into a hostel in 1920.

The interior of the hostel, as we entered, was wide, the reception desk at the very end and various doors on the sides and behind the counter. This wide empty space gave me the impression of being in a warehouse or a cargo terminal on a warf. My immediate thought was that at any moment, the wall on my left would suddenly open up, revealing Spanish Galeons, berthed and surrounded by sailors, merchants, and porters loading or unloading cargo. And the smell of tobacco and rum and sweaty bodies will engulf the warehouse. Nothing however, happened.

After the dealy of a few minutes, a man in his sixties appeared from the door behaind the counter, followed by a young man of about 25 years. We registered as guests and paid 350 Pesos for the night for a double room, and followed the young man up the stairs on the first landing. The room had a high ceiling, was carpeted and with two single beds in it. The beds were clean and comfortable. We were so tired that without a thought of washing or showering, we peeled off our clothes and jumped in the bed.

Sleep was however, difficult to come. The heat in the room was making us sweat, outside the window, there was a constant movement of people passing to and fro, there was no security grill on the window and any body could have climbed in the room as the window was waist high.

Murals in Mexico City

Murals in Mexico City

Posted by The Islander 04:11 Archived in Mexico Tagged beaches trees boats landscape bus monuments sunsets air-travel packpacking Comments (0)

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