Puerto Escondido - Mexico's hidden gem
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a spontaneous person. Most of my trips are meticulously planned months ahead of time, complete with color-coded spreadsheets and Google Drive folders. Sometimes I think I should’ve been some type of freelance travel agent (is this a thing?).
But early January, my old co-worker emailed me about a super low-key yoga retreat she was hosting — basically a chance to do some yoga with nice people, create some things, and spend time on the beach. I brushed it off at first (what do you mean I book a trip for the end of January in January??), but the more I noodled on it, the more appealing it sounded.
Boston is just so dang cold.
So I committed — I booked the flights through my Chase Sapphire Preferred card points (so it was literally $0). The cost of the Airbnb and breakfast/dinner/coffee/tea/activities was less than $400 as well.
It seemed that things were lining up, and before I knew it, I was out of the Arctic Tundra and onto the sunny beaches of Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
It was the first time I had let myself fully disconnect from work but also give myself time to create and work on passion projects. I worked on the big things — creation — rather than the small things — answering email.
I met a ton of ex-pats and people who were living in Puerto for the winter months, and thought that was genius. I’d love to make it a tradition to go for a week or two to reset every winter (temps there are 80F+), especially as I stare at my already-fading tan…
It’s super easy to get around and navigate, and there are a ton of healthy food options mixed with traditional Mexican food. Wifi is pretty prevalent, so you can stay in touch with the world (if you want to), but the cost of living is SUPER cheap.
Brisas Zicatela/La Punta
The main beach of La Punta, it was a large stretch of golden sand, cabanas, volleyball courts, surfers’ coves, little hiking trails, and of course, ocean.
The waves are pretty strong, making it great for surfing (there’s a surf school in town you can take lessons at for cheap) or for swimming (if you’re a strong swimmer).
I spent a lot of time at this beach, swimming, sunbathing, walking, reading, writing… I recommend going for a sunset and sunrise swim to watch the colors of the sky while in the water. It’s magical. And since the water is pretty warm, you won’t freeze while you do it!
There are a bunch of beach vendors selling anything from massages, to magical brownies (you can guess what those are), fresh pineapple. They’re definitely overpriced (there was some vegan sushi that people were selling for a LOT), but these fresh pineapples are great if you’re hungry/thirsty and don’t want to leave the beach.
coco frío: cold coconut water
You’ll see these everywhere. Translated to “cold coconut,” it’s just fresh coconut water out of a coconut. After you finish drinking it, you can have them hack up the coconut so you can eat the insides.
Moringa: natural grocery store
Moringa is like Lassen’s or Cambridge Naturals — basically a small, hippie-ish natural foods store right by the beach in La Punta. They carry beauty products, local kombucha, all sorts of snacks, actual groceries (though not a ton of them), herbs/supplements, and local foods.
I stopped by here for some snacks on my last full day in Puerto and found that they had energy balls (!!!), so of course I had to try one of each.
Alaburger: gluten free + vegan pizza
Pizza in Puerto? Yes, it’s true. It was pretty on par with the gluten free / dairy free pizza in the States. The gluten free crust is made with corn and the vegan cheese is made with potatoes.
I got a Hawaiian style pizza (they use prosciutto instead of ham #bless) and proceeded to eat the entire thing myself.
Zarzaparrilla: breakfast + coffee
Breakfast tacos, hello! These aren’t like the ones in the States — they are literally just meat (I got chorizo) and salsa. You can get some guac or avocados on the side.
Amarisa: coffee shop (with wifi!)
Since I was doing a lot of writing and blogging, I spent a couple of hours in this coffee shop each day. I’d get their Americano and settle down to sip my coffee and write. The owner is super nice and they also make their own bread, which means the cafe smells lovely all day.
acai bowls @ a restaurant by the beach
I don’t remember the name of this restaurant, but it was on the main road that leads to the beach. They have all sorts of superfoods and smoothies; I got their Hulk acai bowl, which had spirulina, berries, hemp seeds, chia seeds, bananas, pecans, and golden berries.
We took a short taxi ride to Puerto Angelito, where there are a sh*tton of boats. And families. Where we proceeded to…
boat ride to see turtles + whales
…take a boat ride to see some sea animals! I usually get quite boat-sick, so I was grateful that this ride wasn’t super long (~1.5 hrs). It gets really choppy heading out sometimes, so if you’re sensitive to that, I’d take some medicine or stay away from the sides of the boat.
But we did get to see some sea turtles (close up!) and whales, as well as other parts of Puerto from the sea.
We walked over to Playa Carrizalillo, a nearby beach, to meditate and swim to end our day. There are 170+ steps (you’ll see some people running), but it’s worth the climb / descent.
The beach is smaller and more protected than La Punta, with less aggressive waves, making it more family-friendly (though there are a lot of people smoking on the beach just FYI).
We took a sunset swim and it was, again, one of the most magical experiences.
Palma Negra: ice cream, sorbet, paletas (popsicles)
What’s a hot day without some ice cream?
Palma Negra ice cream is sold in paleta-form (popsicles) throughout Puerto (and probably the rest of Mexico), and they have both dairy free and nondairy free flavors. I got the passionfruit and the Jamaica (like hibiscus) sorbets, and they were lovely.
We began every morning with coffee and / or tea and yoga up on the roof deck of Los Milagritos (our Airbnb). There were yoga mats, blocks, and blankets provided.
It quickly became my favorite place to do my own practice early in the morning and watch the sunrise as well — you have the ocean on one side and the sun on other.
We also ended off each evening with yoga and meditation before dinner, which was a good way to unwind after a day and stretch out our muscles.
cooking at our Airbnb (Los Milagritos Healing & Retreat Center)
We made breakfast and dinner as a group — we as in my fellow retreat attendees and I helped chop and cook eggs while the retreat hosts did the heavy lifting.
For breakfast, we had beautiful cage-free eggs, handmade corn tortillas, fresh fruit, coffee, and natural PB.
For dinner, we had vegan meals — gluten free pasta with homemade tomato sauce, hibiscus mole (the leftover flowers can be used to make hibiscus agua fresca), homemade Pad Thai with mung bean vermicelli, vegan tacos with black beans and avocado.
I mostly stuck to La Punta and had my routine of yoga —> beach —> coffee shop —> beach —> snack —> yoga since I wanted to maximize my beach and writing time, but there are more areas of Puerto that offer shopping, other beaches, and other food / restaurants; these are other areas our hosts suggested:
Zicatela: Another main strip of beach, lots of beach-front restaurants and shops, somewhat touristy, but low key
El Centro: The main city hub of Puerto Escondido, less touristy, large market and local shops
Overall, amazing experience. I was in Los Cabos (ish area) for a company retreat during this time last year and while that was lovely, it was a little colder (sad) and way further from everything else…
Already can’t wait to go back for this next year.
If you have other travel recommendations, let me know below!
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