Puerto escondido

I didn’t plan on going to the beach. The beacheest piece of clothing I owned was a t shirt, red and white striped and even then it was a little hot wearing that. But I met a few friends in Oaxaca who were heading that way and because I was also pretty tired of looking at buildings, I jumped on the Puerto Escondido bandwagon.

Sunset on La Punta beach

La punta beach, amongst the many beaches in Puerto Escondido, was my preferred one because it had the most relaxed vibe. The beach itself is beautiful and quite long, the waves got pretty big and probably more popular amongst surfers instead of swimmers, but it’s definitely the choice for most backpackers in terms of accommodation. There are more hostels here with very communal vibes. There are also nice places to eat at, not too expensive like on Zicatela beach. Most people walk around barefoot and gather on the beach for sunset every evening

Puerto escondido is on the coast of Oaxaca. You could either take a flight there or a sleeper bus from oaxaca. Its a 10 hour journey and you wouldn’t get much sleep because of the windy roads but i found it bearable and probably better than the day bus that’s for 6 hours but even more winding.

Playa Angel. Small and swim-friendly but not the easiest to get to by foot. Heaps on small restaurants though. Views from the cliffside hotels would be great here
Playa Carrizalillo. Probably the coziest and most swim-friendly beach amongst all of the beaches in Puerto escondido
Early morning surfers on La Punta
Sunset glow on sandy feet

8 days in Puerto Escondido felt too little! Hostel Akumal definitely made traveling solo alot easier. The crew gathers together for shared dinners, volleyball games and sunset evenings, then go out to party together at whichever bar is hosting the mega party of the night. The sunsets steal the highlights of the day because they’re so breathtaking. You start getting used to them but then leave Puerto and start missing them.

Time stops in Puerto Escondido and worries are taken away when you’re surrounded by people with good energy, fresh food to eat and the ocean’s lullabies.

Oaxaca City

Wedding festivities spilling out onto the streets

Oaxaca City is a vibrant collusion of food, mezcal, culture and art. There’s always something brewing around the corner and the sight of tourists is common. Many go through oaxaca before going up north towards Mexico City or down south towards the Yucatan peninsula. Some just make a dedicated trip to Oaxaca for its beauty and abundance in Mezcal.

I had no concrete plans coming to Oaxaca and so, booked a hostel for a few nights. Little did I know, Oaxaca would be the place to lead me to even more beautiful places (Puerto Escondido and Chacahua). Oaxaca was also where I met 3 very good friends whom I’ll always remember and keep in touch with. Oaxaca’s magic was not lost on me.

Mezcal cup
Oaxaca market

In the city, everyone gravitates towards the market at some point. One of it is just for food and the other sells goods. You can find lots of oaxacan-made products, mezcal, sombreros, lots of spices, handmade souvenirs etc. Vendors are not known to haggle well, but they weren’t expensive so I just didn’t bother much. I got some mezcal cups and a few bottles of mezcal, worm salt and a magnet. All for like $30sgd.

Hierve El Agua

I stayed at Casa Angel Hostel which was great. There was a communal kitchen with free breakfast every morning and also a rooftop bar where everyone hung out at night. You can get cheap shots and beer. Sometimes there’s salsa, sometimes pizza night. Sometimes everyone goes out to bars together. That’s where I met my 2 friends who eventually convinced me to go to Puerto Escondido, one of my fav places in the world now. I paid $16sgd per night for Casa Angel. Beds were clean, room was big for the 10 bedder. And communal bathrooms were clean with strong showers. Location of the hostel was 10 mins walk to the centre of town, convenient access to the market and bars etc.

That’s it for oaxaca City! Only spent a couple of nights there but it’s a great place to stop over before going to Mexico City or puerto or anywhere else really. Oaxaca is definitely one of my highly recommended cities to add to your trip. Adiós.

Guanajuato

I walk by this cat everyday to get to my airbnb

Guanajuato is arguably one of the prettiest towns I’ve been to. Its not so much that it was colourful, it was the combination of the one way streets, cobbled stone walkways and most importantly, the smiles that people exchange while they pass by each other. When I walked around with my hosts from airbnb experiences, we would stop every few hundred metres or so because we bumped into his father, or she saw her classmate or they’re all meeting up later for a party.

People knew and cared about each other. In this seemingly small town, there was a familiarity that roped you, even as a stranger, in. The waves, the hellos, the warm smiles…..I remember meeting an old lady that I bought some handmade cups from. After picking out 4 unique different designs from different artists that they represent and wanting to pay for them, she looked at me sweetly and picked out a 5th cup, putting it in my bag. “something for you to remember me by…..” she said.

I met a guy from Florida who spoke fluent Spanish and said that he would spend 4 months in a year living in Guanajuato just cos he felt more at home there than where he actually came from. Guanajuato is a place where it would be slightly difficult for new businesses to pick up, but comfortable for people living there because things won’t change too drastically in a short amount of time. Guanajuato is where you can find comfort in.

From Pepila viewpoint. The amazing colours… I saw here on a bench for 3 hours just reading and occasionally taking photos for tourists.
I took a collage class from a girl who chose to stay after her college graduation. She does this for a living now. It was a lovely 2 hours, us sitting in her cafe, piecing papers together and sharing thoughts
Learnt to make Mexican floutas from a man who is an engineer by trade but a passionate cook. He opensup his home kitchen, treats his guests like family and it was lovely meeting his wife and young baby too when we all sat together to eat.
I couldn’t resist but go for a mezcal tasting session. I tried so many types of mezcals and learnt the way of sipping it. The hosts were so nice to invite me for an extended session the day after too.

It isn’t difficult to navigate around Guanajuato. I walked to the town square from my airbnb everyday, clocking in about 12,000 steps. It was easy to memorise paths because almost everyone had to pass through the town square to get somewhere. The city was lively at night too, with theatre groups launching into song and dance to promote their shows. At 9pm, the city is crowded with tourists walking to dinner or drinks. The town had quite a European vibe, but very sincerely and genuinely Mexican too. Its safe to say I will definitely be back in Guanajuato, the city where I first travelled solo to.