Day 43 - Hippie Town Mazunte

A day to unwind, catch up, and do nothing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

After Nick and I decided that we wanted to stay in Puerto, we realized that our lease would not start for 3 days. We had no hotels booked, and no where to stay, so we thought it would be fun to check out the southern beach towns of Oaxaca. Besides, we needed some celebration time for finding such a sweet place to land, after such a long trip. Since we were totally stoked on our first AirBnB experience with Angie, I decided to book a room in each town along the way down the coast.

Our first stop was going to be Mazunte; a place recommended to us by the locals, because it was supposed to be super mellow and beautiful. We decided to take minimal stuff this time, only taking our backpacks, as this trip would require a lot of walking. We were also warned that we'd have to take some collectivos as transportation, which were essentially pickup trucks with a canvas cover over the bed; not the best thing to be lugging around heavy bags in. Angie said that it was cool if we left our stuff at her place, so it worked out perfectly. Our biggest mistake was trying to figure out how much money to bring; since I had already paid for the rooms, we only brought a little bit of cash and our card. Later, this would turn out to be a huge miscalculation, and a big pain in the ass!

We set out on foot, early in the morning, walking down the streets of Puerto, trying to find the collectivo pickup spot. We had never been on one, nor did we know where they were. Eventually we heard a guy on a corner shouting "Mazunte", and a couple of other cities. We noticed that he was directing people towards a small bus, and we decided that this was way better than riding in the back of a truck. So, we paid him $3 each, got on, and hoped we'd find our way there.

Since we had been lost trying to find our way before, we were super careful of not letting that happen again; I took pictures on the iPad of the addresses from AirBnB, the step by step directions, the overview of the route, etc...etc. It was because of this, that I knew the bus was not going to us drop off, all the way into Mazunte; it had been traveling along the hwy, and the the road to the town split off toward the coast. I had no idea where to get off, or what we were going to do when we got there. Luckily, the bus driver stopped at our appropriate destination, and told us that we needed to get off.

We were dropped off in the middle of an empty highway, with only a few little small shacks, and an Oxxo convenient store. Nick asked around for rides from taxis, and they all shunned us off; none of them were heading in our direction. The only option left was go on foot, so we grabbed some hydration and started walking.

It didn't take long before we heard a honk, coming from behind us; to our surprise, it was the long awaited collectivo we'd heard so much about. We were totally stoked to be saved from the heat, and jumped in the back without question. It was, quite honestly, the funniest thing we'd been in so far. However, from that moment on, we started our long lasting relationship with the collectivos.

Nick and I finally arrived at Mazunte, and were greeted by dreaded hippies, and European expats walking along the roads. It seemed simple, quaint, and very safe; Nick joked that the town seemed like it was meant for beading and braiding hair. We were eagerly pointed in the way of our hostel, by a French girl selling bread in the street, as she told us to walk down to the beach, and turn right. It seemed simple enough, but when we arrived to the sand, there were no roads at all. We started walking along the beach, and eventually found our hostel, which was located right on the beach.

The hostel was very simple, and had an amazing view, as it was only steps away from the water. For most of the day, we played in the calm ocean cove, and Nick tried to teach me how to body surf; it was a concept that I could not grasp for the life of me. We also swam our butts off, and shared a small piece of snorkel gear to see some fish below. It seemed as though, the only thing to do there, was to hang out in the ocean or lay in a hammock. It was pretty romantic, simplicity at its best.

I guess that's why we Nick and I started talking about our future while we were there. Mazunte gave us a chance to clear our minds, and focus on each-other for a day. We went over the possibilities of when we'd have kids, what parents we'd be like, and what challenges we would face. Some of it brought up some uncomfortable issues for me, as I am a lot more scared of having children than Nick is; my childhood was not so stable, so it's hard for me to know how to correctly raise a human being. I voiced all of my phobias to him though, and he was very positive with had a great understanding to where I was coming from. I think that we came to some really great conclusions that day, because we both decided when we'd want to start our long awaited family.

Day 39 to 42 - Puerto Escondido Here We Come

The start of our anticipated trip to Puerto Escondido!

Friday, April 8, 2016

We woke up early on our long anticipated traveling day, to find out that we had a free breakfast waiting for us at our hotel. From there, we started walking 6 blocks down the street; C-Boo had a huge smile on here face, as she was finally rolling, and not dragging, her new luggage bag. We strolled up to an almost empty small van leaving, asking if we were headed for "Puerto Escondido". I gave the driver a thumbs up, threw our luggage in the back, and set off to what we hoped would be a great place to stay; at least longer than a week or two. The van ride was extremely long, but was filled with exciting new terrain throughout the entire trip. We clocked the ride at 6 1/2 hours, as the driver took a little bit longer than expected due to multiple stops; we were much happier anyways, because of the bathroom breaks, lunch, and the occasional candy for C-Boo/ cold beers for me : )... Once we arrived in Puerto, we paid the driver $12, jumped into a taxi for $1, and arrived at our Air BnB spote (Casa Marymas).

We were happily greeted by our soon-to-be friend, Angie; a nice, down to earth, Italian mom in her 30's. She was very kind/hospitable, and as happy as ever to help us out. She gave us a tour of her lovely home, and showed us our room (which had a/c and a nice deck with a view of the coastline). We spent the whole afternoon talking about the town, her lifestyle in Puerto Escondido, and tips/tricks on getting by there. W also learned that Angie was a surfer, a Spanish teacher, and a property manager for homes around the area. We were so thankful for her time and energy, and her willingness to help us out. We had already learned a considerable amount on our first day in Puerto Escondido.

During our 4 day stay at Angie's place, we really wanted to take full advantage of the area; we yearned to see the culture, beach life, and cost of living around the area. Our second day in Puerto was filled with many adventures/highlights; we decided that we wanted to take a walk across the whole town, and stop at selective stops along the way. La Punta, which was on the very southern tip of Puerto Escondido, would be our destination. It was about a 6 mile adventure through streets, beaches, and a fishing harbor.

We started our walk down to a cove called Playa Carrizalillo; this beach was beautiful all in itself. It was lined with beach cabanas, and was great for snorkeling. C-Boo loved it, because it was a great place to swim around and relax. It was very reminiscent of what we would assume Thailand would be like.

We had seen enough of Carrizalillo, so C-Boo and I jetted up the 200 sets of stairs that led back into the town, and walked to another inlet called Puerto Angelito. This cove was a little easier to access, and had many locals playing in the calm water. We took a couple pictures, and realized that it wasn't worth stopping at for long, so we kept going towards the next cove. After much walking, we soon found a cove called Manzanillo, which contained a stone walkway that connected to the next beach; Angie had spoken about this the day before, so we knew we were going the right direction.

After walking across the long stone path, we eventually hit the main section of Puerto Escondido. Zicatela (or people of the clouds), which is also referred to as "The Mexican Pipeline", is known for its huge powerful swells and perfect sandbars. As we walked the downtown strip, there were little to no tourists nearby (well, maybe there were a couple of Canadians). we did notice that there were many restaurants, surf shops, and souvenir stores along the way.

We stopped at a local restaurant nearby and decided to relax; we had lunch paired with a Margarita and a Screwdriver, while watching the small amount of people pass by. We were tired, but knew we were only half way to La Punta, so we filled our waters up and took off; this time walking on the beach the whole way there.

Eventually we arrived to the small hippie community, that reminded me of some of the towns in Costa Rica. The beach is also known for its left hand point break, and has many beginners spread along the rocky point. Becoming hot and tired, we took a taxi back to Angie's; when we arrived, she was just about to leave, and pick her daughter. She told us to jump in, so she could show us some of the houses for rent on the market.

Angie drove us to the central coast region of Puerto Escondido, and said she had an offer we couldn't resist. She introduced us to Casa Mocha, a nice collection of condominiums located just minutes from the beach. They had a pool, restaurant, and a bar; all of them were ran by an awesome guy named Luis. He had tenants split on 3 months of paid rent, in a room called "Las Estrellas" (the stars); it was half the price each month, because of the situation.

After our introduction to the room, the response was a "hell yeah!" It was four stories up, overlooked the whole coast, and was topped with a palapa for observing the sunset. Breakfast, cleaning, laundry, and a/c were added bonuses; C-Boo and I were totally stunned at our luck in finding this place. We were also ecstatic of the availability, appreciative of Angie/Luis, and happy to find a place for longer than a week. That night, Me and C-Boo talked it over in more detail: rent, location, prices, and safety. We came to the conclusion that we were happy to find a place to be landlocked for a while, and finally settle down.

The lease was going to start the following week (on April 15th), so we had quite a few days to blow before our big anticipated move. We traveled around more of the town for a couple of days; partying with Angie, checking out the scene, meeting mew people, working, and relaxing. It was an amazing time for both of us, as we got to know the area, and familiarized with the new town, in which we were about to live.

Our reservation at Angie's was coming to an end, so we decided to check out more of the Oaxaca region. We went back online to find new places to stay, and decided to travel by bus down to Huatulco; hitting small surfing towns along the way. Next on the plate, was Mazunte, Zipolite, and Puerto Angel.

Day 27 - Uvita Bound

Goodbye city; welcome to the jungle.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Nick and I woke up on Easter Sunday, amping to finally get out of the city. We'd been there for 5 days now, and had not seen any form of nature/life. I couldn't wait to see the lush green jungles that I'd heard so much about; not to mention some animals too.

Our rental car company, National, sent shuttle to pick us up early. When we got to their office, we ran into some issues with our lack of credit card; I never thought I'd be punished for not having a shitty piece of plastic. We had already booked the absolute cheapest/smallest car available, which still costed $800 for 15 days (about $53 a day). Most of that was insurance, as Costa Rica requires an insane amount of coverage! So when they told us that we needed to spend another $180 on additional insurance, and put a deposit of $400 on the car because of our issue, we were pissed. But what else can you do in a situation like that; reject the car? Reluctantly, we sucked it up (because we just wanted to get the hell of of there), paid the counter, and proceeded to grab our miniature Suzuki Celerio, that was smaller than Nick's "clown car" back home. This turn of events made us a little bitchy with each other, causing more fighting.

Once we were on our way, Nick had to rely on me for directions, as I was the navigator in a country that I'd never been too. I had a very confusing map with a million different roads on it, and no names. Plus, I had a navigation device that we bought at Walmart, which I'd never used before. Nick needed a route from me, and I tried my best to make it happen; punching all kinds of bullshit into the gps, and getting nowhere. It was taking us all over the place, and we ended up in some sketchy little neighborhood in San Jose. I told Nick to pull over so we could regroup, and we finally figured it out; after 30 minutes of driving chaos, we were en-route to Uvita!

We were so annoyed with our morning, that we picked up a bottle of Costa Rican "Guaro" for our trip. It's pretty much like vodka, without the weird hangover; I hate using alcohol as a tool for relaxation, but this was crucial. We also took deep breaths, and vowed to lighten up and enjoy ourselves. The countryside was awesome, but packed with cars. It was Easter, so everyone and their mom were either going to church, or heading home from a long weekend. We had fun with it though; playing good music and taking lots of pictures. After about a 4 hour drive, we finally made it to our destination.

The place we stayed at was called "The Green Forest", and seemed to be ran by what I called the "Israeli Alliance". They were a group of guys from Israel, all very different in their own way, but all tied together in some form of business. The hotel was located in the middle of a jungly area, and had tiny little rooms scattered about the grounds. It was a fun little spot, and super hippied out; having signs all over the place saying things like "Plant seed, and sing song". It was a super random spot, but Nick and I enjoyed our time there: roaming the area, talking with the Israelis, and drinking "Guaro". You could say it was a different kind of Easter.

The next day we decided to explore Uvita, and tried to visit their beach; there's not much to the town at all, and the beach costed $16 dollars to see it. It was a total rip-off! They did, however, have a waterfall that we wanted to swim in, because we were dying from the heat. So we came up with a plan to check out Dominical first, which was only 15 minutes south, to see if we could stay there for the night. If we liked it, we'd head back, grab our things, jump in the waterfall, and head back towards Dominical to stay the night. It was a lot of driving, but we wanted to make sure we had a place to stay.

Once in Dominical, Nick definitely liked the vibe better; there was a bit more to see, and we scored a cheap hostel. We then decided to tell the guys, back at the hotel, that we were checking out. I was totally dying of heat exhaustion and starving for some food, so we ate a little restaurant in town, before we went back to grab our things. The food was semi-decent, but insanely expensive. However, we enjoyed our meal, and left for the Green Forest again.

As we were arriving back to the hotel, I soon realized that I had left my purse at the restaurant; luckily It had no money in it, but did have our expensive new camera. I immediately started freaking out, and begged Nick to haul ass back over there, before someone stole it. I couldn't even talk, I was so pissed at myself for being forgetful; I thought that I could never live this one down. Nick was extremely calm, as always, but I knew he was pretty nervous inside. Luckily, we were stoked to find out that the waiter had put it behind the counter, and I could finally breathe again.

Once again we headed back for Uvita, and eventually found the long awaited waterfall. I couldn't wait to jump in, because I needed to refresh myself after all of the stress we had. The place was super lush with nature, and had huge vines coming down everywhere. The waterfall was amazing too, and felt great to finally get in. It had a large slide at the top that was shaved out of the rock, and Nick was more than happy to try it out. We were at our first moment of zen, and I didn't want to leave. We also had our first, and only, monkey siting there; they were sleeping in the trees, dangling their tails off the branches. We eventually left the hidden paradise, and I started to feel a lot more stoked on Costa Rica.

Day 19 - Playa del Carmen

Re-discovering a new town.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The next portion of our trip was about to be the most chaotic by far, as we were visiting 3 different towns in 3 days; one of which was on an island. I had been to Playa del Carmen before, when I was about 12; sadly to say that was 21 years ago! Jesus where does the time go? All I remember is that it was on a dirt road, with a few small timeshares lining the beach, and there were villagers playing basketball in woven baskets. In my mind, we were going back to that special memory again.

We boarded our ADO bus again, this time having a remaining bottle of vodka in hand. Nick and I got plowed, while people were sleeping all around us. It was probably the funniest bus ride I'd had the whole trip; I guess alcohol can do that. We made fun of some shitty movie that was playing on the screens, tried our snorkel gear on,and laughed so hard we started crying. I told Nick we had to keep it together, as we had no idea where the heck we were going. We were getting a little too drunk to be traveling through a new town.

We eventually started to enter the "city", and I was astonished at how much things had changed. There were buildings everywhere, and the roads were all modern. As were were dropped off, we were bombarded by taxi drivers, and parades of people in the streets. We hopped in the first taxi we saw, and again we were ripped off; the guy charged us 150 pesos, and it should have costed 30.

Another note: Do not take taxis from airports, bus terminals, or any other commercial transportation drop off. They are way more expensive than normal ones! Even though this fact was thrown at us everywhere we went, we still forgot, and we still got scammed. You'd think we would've learned after the first 10 times, but that hasn't been the case.

We finally arrived at our destination, Apart Hotel Casaejido, and immediately fell in love. The inside courtyard was beautiful, and the girls were very helpful. Across the street, was the pool and kitchen. It was the most beautiful setting. We roamed the yard, shooting pictures of everything, as we wanted to capture it's zen-like presence. You would never have thought such a place existed, in the neighborhood that we were in.

The hotel informed us that our room was not ready yet, so Nick and I ventured off to see the surrounding area. We quickly realized that walls were graced with art, and the schools were filled with music. Despite it's first appearance, the neighborhood was actually very eclectic. We found a taco stand in the middle on nowhere, and ate the most amazing food. The place was so small, it didn't even have walls or a sign in front. We were also by a Walmart-like supermarket, so we grabbed some provisions, and went back to see if our habitacion was available.

Once in side our room, we noticed that they were big and very modern. They came fully equipped with a kitchen, futon, dining table, huge comfy bed, and cooking gear. It was all fine and great, until they asked for my credit card to cover incidentals. That seemed harmless enough, until I read the laundry list of charges if ANYTHING got messed up. I mean, they wanted it extremely perfect when you left; not to mention that everything was white in the room. The sheets, the comforter, and the towels were all white; each one costing 300 pesos ($18) to replace.

We didn't think much about the charging thing, until Nick and I got a little frisky. We were doing some post-coital relaxing, when I looked down at the bed and saw blood spots on the comforter; Nick's knee had a scab that opened up. I immediately freaked out, seeing dollars signs all over our hotel bill. These people were going to rake us over the coals for this shit. I started to get frustrated with Nick, even though it wasn't his fault, and frantically searched for a solution. We then researched how to get blood out of white fabric, and got ready to go to the store for supplies. Before we were about to leave, I thought it might be good to soak the stains a little, so I put some cold water on them. Little did I know, it lightened up the stain drastically. I had an electric toothbrush handy that swirled in circular motions, so I grabbed that sucker, and put it on each stain. Within minutes I got all of them out, and we celebrated our ingenuity. Needless to say, I threw the toothbrush out!

Our trip to Playa del Carmen was short, and was mostly spent inside our room. We were burnt out from Cancun, and we needed to conserve ourselves for the days ahead. I can honestly say that I would never go back, and I will always miss the special place, that it once was.

Day 12 to 19 - Our Honeymoon in Cancun

Relaxation in paradise makes everything nice.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

We decided to lump the time that we spent in Cancun together, because our days were very similar there. We spent our whole time in an amazing hotel named Casa Maya, that was a gift for our wedding (a place that normally costs about $150 a night, and only costed us $210 for 7 nights).

When we arrived, we were greeted with drinks, and a service that we were definitely not used to. They took care of everything, as we looked over the pool from an indoor bar. This was the paradise of our Mexico adventure, as we did not have to worry about a thing. There were 5 pools overlooking a white sandy beach, 3 bars, 3 restaurants, a gym, laundry service, beach cabanas, and many outdoor activities. We were totally speechless, and we're trying to get used to our sudden change of luck. Just one day prior, we had been staying in the frikin ghetto with no food in any proximity, and absolutely no sign of humanity.

Our room was not ready when we arrived, so we decided to check out the DT area, and grab some groceries for the room. We estimated that everything, at this hotel, was going to cost a fortune! The concierge informed us about the bus system, which stopped across the street, but that didn't stop us from wondering around aimlessly again. We soon found the stop, and hopped on, only paying about 7.5 pesos each ($0.50).

Once we arrived at out stop, we soon realized that the downtown was insane; people were everywhere, as it was the epicenter for spring breakers. We roamed the bar walkways, while being approached by promoters for places like Coco Bongo, The City Nightclub, and Senior Frogs; each club only costing a measly $80 to get in (ya right). We soon found an entry to the beach, and noticed the breakers in full swing. Nick took a swim in the bright blue water while I just sat and admired. My bug bites where nice and pussy by this point, so I declined to agitate them.

After we were way too hot, and ready to go enjoy our room, we went shopping for some food and managed to grab enough for a week. This meant stuffing our backpacks full of crap, carrying two bags on each arm, and hopping on the bus again. Nick told the guy to stop at our hotel since we had so much shit, but this asshole kept going. He dropped us off a million miles away, and we had to schlepp our groceries all the way back in 100 degree weather. We were cursing him the whole way.

After arriving at the hotel again, and dying/ panting from our walk, we were eventually taken to our room which had a balcony that overlooked the beach; we had struck gold. We celebrated with shots, and bounced on the beds for joy. Not to mention the many nights of great sex that followed! Oh man it was great :)

Like I said before, the next couple of days were very similar, fun, crazy, and relaxing. We played beach volleyball, laid out on the beach becoming lobsters, swam in the amazing ocean, drank our asses off, checked the party scene (which is a blog in itself), broke open coconuts, went to the gym, worked, and enjoyed our solitude. Most of the days we just enjoyed each others company, and lived life like we were at home; making food in the room, talking on the patio, and getting that alone time that we needed. We didn't want it to ever end, but like anything else, when it did we were ready to move on.

Day 8 and 9 - Exploring Sayulitas

2 Days of traveling the small surf town of Sayulitas.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The rainy morning started by Christi and I walking with ponchos out of our mini hostel in San Pancho to the bus stop. We were soon startled by a cute little Mexican couple in an old Chevy pickup giving us the thumbs up for Sayulita. We quickly jumped in and we were off to the small surf town.

Upon entering Sayulita, the storm quickly became worse going from rain to all out downpour and small rivers soon flooding the streets. We gave the couple each a beer and jumped out of the truck to find some breakfast in disarray. Looking to the adjacent corner was a cool looking cafe that was bound to have at least coffee. We ended up downtown Sayulita, two blocks from the beach, in the middle of a storm in 5 minutes for 2 beers.The food was great and decent price, each plate of breakfast was around $5 with coffee and a plate of fruit.

Walking through Sayulita, we literally saw thousands of tiny shops selling the exact same thing; clothing, hats, all kinds of jewelry, and an assortment of useless souvenirs. The town also included hundreds of restaurants and cafes on almost every street corner and random surf shops here and there. The people within town were very unique with their own style of clothing, tattoos, piercings, attitudes, and everything in the middle. It was a very mixed crowd with local and expats, and the occasional family looking to find a good buy from anyone.

Finally getting to the beach, where we wanted to check out all along. There were half dozen beach bar restaurants lined up with tables and recliners stretched out all the way to the water. These restaurants were surrounded by surfboard rentals which includes hundreds of Wave-storms (foam tops) and SUP's (stand up paddle). The surfboard averages around $5-10 per hour or $25 per day.

After the rain blew over, we strolled down the beach looking at the waves on a low tide. The beach had a nice setup with a sandy beginner break on the south end. The middle of the beach had the beginning of a long extended reef which extended out to the north end. The reef was very soft and slow with many sections depending on the tide and direction. The surf was windy and small with few surfers in the lineup.

Continuing our adventure down the beach, we ran into some amazing beach houses surrounding the town. Each house had their own style, color, and landscape. Each of them being more beautiful then the next. We turned around at a natural rocky point heading back to town looking for a drink.

We stopped at a nice beach bar for margaritas, and a couple games of rummy against each other. We ended the afternoon with a shot of fine Cien Anos tequila, and a toast to a great day even though we never surfed. We decided to get a taxi instead of wait for the bus because of the schedule and the on and off showers. The taxi was about 5 minutes for about $5 and we were back to our hostel in San Pancho.

That night an even bigger storm hit taking power out to all of San Pancho. We left swiftly in the morning with good swell reports and sunny skies ready to finally get some surfing in. We went straight to the beach off the bus and still found stormy surf leaving us with just tanning on the beach with a couple of cold beers (tough morning). We eventually found ourselves in another storm after a couple hours running rapidly to a taco bar on the outskirts of town. We ended up playing cards, eating tacos costing less than a dollar each, and a salsa bar with an assortment of veggies and salsas. We left the town that afternoon still filled with smiles even though we did not surf in the Surf Town of Sayulita.