Mexico: beach experiences and indigenous people
Puchutla Road 175, from Oaxaca to Puerto Angel
The Pochutla road is 230km long, winding and scenic - over 6 hours of cornering, one after the other. Small towns with countless speed reducers and picturesque views of the Sierra Madre. Parking places to enjoy the view or to stop for photos are in vain. Few houses are built on stilts on the slopes.
This road is dangerous because of the heavy traffic on such a narrow road. It leads mostly through dense jungle to 2.580 m.a.s.l. and down to sea level. In some sections the road is too narrow to cross with an oncoming truck. Scenically it is however very attractive.
The police, your friend and helper?!
In San Pedro Pochutla we parked in front of the shopping center. The place was heavily parked, but there was still enough free space around our vehicle for maneuvering. When we returned with our fully loaded shopping cart, a police pickup truck and six policemen armed with rifles were parked behind us. They watched us loading our shopping, but then left before us.
After we drove about a kilometer away from the shopping mall, a taxi with an excitedly waving tourist overtook us. We stopped and the tourist got out and pointed at our slightly scratched front bumper. He informed us, the the police guys with their car hit our vehicle. The damage was minimal, as our massive towing hook stands out strongly. Depending on how the police car hit our vehicle, their damage on their car must have been much worse.
We had no other choice than to continue driving. We could not report the hit and run crash to the police!
Overlander Beach Camp Don Taco, Playa San Agustín
Several times the spot was recommended to us as a fantastic place to relax. Our planning was to spend a few weeks on this site and just enjoy. Since the 13km access from the tarred road was described to us as terrible, with the recommendation to stock up on food beforehand, we drove to the beach full of expectation. We didn't find the road conditions there so bad. It was amazing how even big coaches struggled to get to the beach via the rather bad, partly very narrow road.
What we found was a place with a magnificent view to the Pacific Ocean with super sunrises, 2 perfectly clean toilets and 1 shower. Spontaneously we paid for one week in advance.
The complex reminds us more of a comfortable backpacker lodge than of a camp site. It would be perfect as a backpacker lodge, if there would be a generally accessible refrigerator for the people with tents.
As the 5 parking spaces for the overlander vehicles are very narrow, one and a half meters lateral distance to the neighbours are already luxury, so the neighbor does not only hear the own snoring at night! Despite all its super qualities, the site is not really suitable for demanding off-road long-term travelers. Our advantage was that our truck camper entrance is at the back. So, if there are really 5 vehicles parked next to each other, when getting out we wouldn't have jumped into the living room of our neighbours.
Electricity is only available to charge telephones and laptops. For "obvious" reasons, we did not put our air conditioning into service. The voltage from the host would have been too weak anyway, and our own generator would have been undesirable.
The note in the showers that you should shower with a friend to save water seems a bit petty, when the campsite owner Frans hosing down the many wooden chairs with his high water pressure machine to clean them, or washing his pickup truck with pation.
At over 30 degrees and high humidity you look for shade under the pergola, as long as the shady places are not occupied by tents in the high season.
Sand fleas = No-See-UMS are unfortunately very active, and despite Frans evening smoke control bitingly present.
Alex, the masseur understands his job and massaged us on his portable massage table several times extremely inexpensive and perfect.
Playa San Agustin has 54 restaurants, the owners of which are almost all related. During the day, tourists who come from Huatulco from Hotel Resorts with large excursion boats and buses will enjoy beach-life for a few hours.
From the beach, the many restaurants look very romantic. It is better not to look behind the scenes. The sanitary facilities leave a lot to be desired. If you go to the toilet during the meal, you have to be pretty hard-boiled if you want to finish your meal afterwards!
But fortunately, this is not the case in the very good fish restaurant El Capi.
In summary: A bargain for travelers with tents. A must for water freaks. The beach is a dream in the morning! For travelers with own vehicle because of space and freedom lack only limited to recommend! For the above mentioned reasons we continued our trip after one week stay.
San Cristobal de las Casas
The town is situated in the central highlands of Chiapas at an altitude of 2'100m. After the hot and humid climate on the beach, the temperature here is around 10 to 15 degrees. In the mountains, indigenous people live their culture and trade in the city of San Cristobal. We visited the magnificently decorated churches, the colourful markets and enjoyed the beautiful and interesting city. Over 2'000 accommodations and more than 1'000 restaurants are waiting for tourists.
In the pedestrian zone there is also an Argentinean restaurant. Outside there is a life-size figure of a football player in Argentine dress. Tempting pieces of meat are displayed in a glass display case. We asked the waiter where the meet comes from? He answered without batting an eyelid: From Canada!
We visited the village San Juan Chamula, an independent and autonomous Tzotzil community and Zinacantan. More about this in the next travelog.