The Pacific Ocean displays her many moods here on the Oaxacan Riviera, from soft waves scalloping the shore of our tranquil bays to the giant waves that build and curl and pound into a frothy spume from rocky points and headlands.
With 9 bays and 39 beaches along 26 kilometers of jagged coastline, there are lots of points and headlands jutting out into the ocean. At the most easterly point of Bahias de Huatulco lies the little village of La Bocana de Copalita, the last official bay of the area. East of the Rio Copalita and stretching all the way to Salina Cruz are a string of beaches which are widely recognized as some of the best surf beaches in Mexico.
La Bocana: Just 15 minutes from La Crucecita, La Bocana is the easternmost development in Fonatur’s jurisdiction. In the last year a series of storms have sculpted the beach and eroded a fair amount of sand. Locals say that soon Mother Nature will reverse this cyclical event, citing Hurricane Pauline which didn’t hit the area directly, but spilled massive amounts of sand onto the beach from the rivermouth. Bocana Surf School (958-111-4276) under palapa restaurant Los Güeros rents boards and gives lessons. Here is what www.wannasurf.com says about Bocana. “If there are waves in Puerto Escondido, La Bocana’s breaking.”
Where to Stay: There are two villas on the beach available through local property managers, and the Santa Clara Restaurant has a few rooms upstairs.
Where to Eat: There are a couple of restaurants right on the beach serving Oaxacan specialties and cold beer. Restaurant Santa Clara and Los Güeros are favorites.
Playa el Mojon: Heading east on Highway 200 past Copalita, slow down around km 271. The road to the beach is basically unmarked. There is an open metal gate and a fairly well graded (during dry season) road for about 2 km. Playa el Mojon is booming with construction, but it enjoys a huge wide stretch of beach, so never feels crowded. The break is on the right side of the beach, which is marked by massive rock formations.
Where to Stay: There are a few houses that let out rooms, and there are a couple of high end villas to rent. It is only 20 km from La Crucecita, where accommodation is readily available . A hotel is mid-construction on the beach, should be available for the 2012/2013 season.
Where to Eat: Botanas and cold beer are available in a palapa restaurant right in front of the break. Closest restaurant is in Copalita. El Chacal on the highway is famous for river crayfish known as chacales. Newly opened is La Palapa de Andres right down in the village, serving up delicious micheladas (a spicy beer drink) garnished with a plump camaron, delicious chacales and robalo fresh from Bocana de Copalita.
Barra de la Cruz: Corona has made sure that this road is well marked. About another 7 km down Highway 200 from El Mojon you will see the big Corona sign. Turn right and travel on a great concrete road all the way into town, and a good graded road from town down to the beach. At the crest of the hill before the final drive descending to the beach, stop for a minute and take in the spectacle below: to the right, a rocky point with consistently big waves curling into a crystalline green tunnel before smashing into a foamy explosion; below, a pristine stretch of sand punctuated by a few driftwood poles, a palapa roof and a viewing tower. Nothing else. This is what www.yosurfer.com has to say about Barra: “Long, shallow, dredging, hollow, right-hand pointbreak that has been rated as one of the best waves in the World by many of the top 44 pro-surfers who competed here in the 2006 Rip Curl Search contest.” Five stars out of five.
Where to stay: This is a surf village, and there is lots of accommodation, mostly casitas and rooms for rent. A little more upscale, 10 minutes away, in the nearby town of Zimatan is a house that rents by the week. www.theriverhouse-huatulco.com
Where to Eat: The village of Barra de la Cruz maintains the surf beach, and provides showers and bathrooms, parking and a restaurant which offers inexpensive local specialties and seafood. There is a $20 peso per person fee to use the beach. You don’t have to be a surfer to appreciate the majesty of the immense waves and the athletic ballet of the surfers who ride them.
Here on Riviera Oaxaca, in the land of endless summer, the mystery of surf culture unravels slowly, one beach at a time. It might take a while…
Kathy Taylor arrived in Huatulco in 2007 by sailboat. Her passions are food, sailing and Mexico. She writes about life in Huatulco on http://www.lavidahuatulco.blogspot.com