Puerto Angel, Mexico: Sea life, beaches and good vibes

We are staying in Puerto Angel, Mexico, for a week as we continue to explore the Oaxaca coast. Prices here are a little lower than Huatulco, but it’s not as developed. Puerto Angel is a small fishing community on the coast about an hour north of Bahias de Huatulco, and an hour and 15 minutes south of Puerto Escondido. There are no huge grocery stores, no Walmarts or other chains. Perfect.

There are hotels, restaurants, small mom-and-pop grocery stores, a juicery, and essentials like a dentist. As I write this, my spouse Tedly is at the dentist getting a cleaning ($22.50 USD with no insurance).

There are two beaches around the town proper, Playa Panteon and Playa Principal, the latter is the main beach, but we’ve spent most of our time at Panteon because our hotel is up the hill from there. A paved path at the bottom of a cliff along the ocean connects the two beaches.

It’s great swimming on this part of the bay. It’s calm with virtually no waves. A little bit of coral, with many rocks and fish. The center of the bay is deep and dark and I nearly swam across from beach to beach with no problem. Just be mindful of the fishing boats – there are many.

Colectivos, or shared taxi rides, look different here than in other parts of Mexico. Instead of a van, colectivos are pickup trucks with shade covers. We were told by a local the price from Puerto Angel to the nearby famous beach Zipolite is only eight pesos. We ended up taking a cab for 50 pesos, however, because we were in the noon-day sun and the one colectivo that passed us was so full there was no way we were getting onto that ride (and we’ve been crammed into colectivos before, so we know how it works).

Speaking of nearby Zipolite, we had fun playing in the waves at the surfing end to the far west on a red flag day. Zipolite a long, wide beach known for being the only true nudist beach in Mexico. (Mexicans are generally modest because many are Catholic.) We first went on a Saturday in February, and we saw a mix of people in the buff (mostly retired gringos) and people fully clothed. It’s whatever you are comfortable with – whatever feels good for you, and I like that concept of freedom.

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The town of Zipolite is cute, with many restaurants and shops. You can tell it’s a heavily-traveled tourist area. Prices seemed a bit higher than Puerto Angel.

Another beach in the area we’ve hit is Estacahuite. That, is a cool beach. There’s not much sand, but the snorkeling is awesome. You step into the water, put your face in the water immediately and you’re off. The coral is mostly brownish with green just a couple of feet under the water’s surface. The fish are exotic, colorful and plentiful.

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Our first time at Playa Estacahuite was during an ocean tour to see whales, dolphins, sea turtles and go snorkeling. This was a fantastic tour I highly recommend. It was four hours long, and cost $12.50 USD. (Plus we tipped the captain, who was awesome and chased the whales for us to keep us close to them, but at a safe distance.) It leaves from Playa Panteon at 10:00 a.m. Our boat was the La Perla Negra.

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We liked the snorkeling at Playa Estacahuite (es-tech-ah-wheat’-a) so much, we went back. A cab from town was $1.50, it’s only a few minutes drive. Useful tip: make arrangements for the driver to come back to get you, like we did – we never saw any taxis come down the road looking for a fare, so we were happy when we saw our driver return at the agreed upon time. It would be a long, hilly walk back to the main road.

We are staying at Hotel Capy in Puerto Angel, and it’s perfect for our needs. I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t need or want cable or air conditioning. Our room on the third floor has a wonderful view, and we’ve seen whales from our balcony.

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If you are dependent on wifi, you may need your own mobile hotspot. Wifi hasn’t worked well during our stay, but this is a common problem at many other places in Mexico that aren’t on the main tourist circuit. However, so far today, the wifi is working great.

The location is perfect – right off the main road through town at the top of the hill on the way down to the beach. It’s quiet here at night with just a couple of roosters nearby. Our ceiling fan keeps us cool, and overall the hotel is clean and tidy. Our room has no hot water, but I don’t need it or miss it. The workers are kind and pleasant as well. And the owners – wow! They have an incredible story. If you come here, take the time to talk to Alma. She speaks Spanish, English, Italian and French. She is an incredibly intelligent and kind person, with plans for another beautiful property a few minutes drive from Hotel Capy.

The hotel has a good deal for breakfast – fruit and yogurt, bread and coffee for just 50 pesos, or about $2.50 USD. There also is a cooler in the main public area with beer and water for sale.

We are paying roughly $26 a night at Hotel Capy, which is a dollar more than we paid in Huatulco, where we had air conditioning and cable, but in Huatulco, we had to take a cab or bus to the beach and here we simply walk down the hill to the ocean. Also, who wants to watch depressing cable news when you’re in paradise?

There are several other beaches in the area and we plan to visit a few more over the next two days. After that, we’re off to Puerto Escondido for seven weeks – another new area for us to explore.

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