Saturday, May 11, 2013

Back on the Pacific Coast

Parque Nacionale Lagunes de Chacahua

A new playground for the locals
My next camp was in the tiny fishing village of Zapotalito on the edge of some extensive coastal lagoons east of Puerto Escondido. I was quickly the centre of attention for a group of local kids and before I knew it they were in and all over the car. They were particularly fascinated by my books and spent ages looking through my bird book, atlases and spanish language books. 

Exploring the mangroves of Laguna Chacahua
The following morning I threw a few things into a backpack and headed off across the lagoon by boat with Antonio, one of the few people here who had a bit of english. We motored through “the labarynthes” - tunnels through the mangrove forest, past islands with many nesting birds and finally arrived at the small coastal village of Chacahua - a spot popular with surfers who obviously settle into the cabaƱas here for much of the season, taking advantage of what seem to be very reliable, and quite sizable waves. 

After a couple of nights here I then took the local “bus” (a rickety pickup with wooden seats) back along the coast road with a bunch of the locals - much cheaper than the boats that seem to be priced for tourists, thereby precluding their use by the residents. 

Chacahua Beach
On returning to Zapotalito, I went for a cycle with Antonio and his son, firstly around the village and then across to a neighboring coastal village at what used to be one of the entrances to the lagoons. The building of a huge rock wall into the ocean effectively blocked all the sand that used to move along the beach with the current and deposited it in the estuary, blocking the channel and impacting on the water quality, fishing and health of the mangroves. Apparently the government has agreed to do something about it - this time by building a new stone wall on the other side of the estuary, rather than removing the offending one - will be interesting to see the consequences, assuming it actually happens. 

My biking companions
Some engineer presumably thought this was a good idea..
Another idyllic view from my camp
From there, I made my way into Puerto Escondido, a bit of a resort town, but very laid back and low key with some funky restaurants along the beach front. While much of the waterfront now is directed towards tourism, it hasn’t completely destroyed the local flavor as is the case in the bigger resort towns. 

Beach at Barra de la Cruz
Heading eastwards, a detour down a side road towards the coast brought me out at the beautiful beach of Barra de la Cruz - a very tidy little beach managed by the locals, with palapas and a restaurant but all accommodation back in the adjoining village, giving it a nice, isolated feel. Another great surf here - apparently this location has been used for international surfing competitions. 

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