22 Aug Mazunte: A Beach Lover’s Dream
As far as Oaxacan beaches go, everybody talks about Puerto Escondido. I didn’t want Puerto Escondido. I’d seen endless summer enough times to get the point. I didn’t want Zipolite, either. Not that I have a problem dropping trow, but anything advocated as nudist is a bit of a turn off. What I wanted was something in between. Small enough to camp out in my tent, yet big enough to seek out hidden spots: palapas with fresh seafood or coves with inlet beaches and not another person in sight.
When I arrived in Mazunte, I found a cliff-top spot looming over the beach with a hammock hangout where I could pitch my tent for cheap, a delicious eatery (which consisted of a picnic table and the owner’s personal kitchen) where the guests could chip in minimal funds to partake in a scrumptious shared meal, fresh aloe massages and a view to kill for (probably the best in town). It was Balamjuyuc, meaning jaguar, and it was a traveler’s jewel. Just the kind of place you want to stumble upon, far off the beaten path (up a steep ass hill) where you can follow the sound of laughter into the darkness.
Weeks before, I had been in Oaxaca city ooh-ing and aah-ing over the museums of pre-columbian art and world-class graffiti when I met this mischievous German / Mexican couple. He had Led Zepplin rune tats on each finger. (If you’re keeping up, you’ll know from my last blog that I bumped into them one hella rainy evening on the beach and we had a blast downing chelas.) One day we decided to go adventure hunting. We’d had enough of lazing under azure skies and shaking sand out of our bathing suits. We wanted action.
This Spanish chick named Lara, who was also staying at Balamjuyuc, came by my hammock cut and bruised, looking like she’d had taken a beating. “Que te paso, reinita?” (What happened to you, queenie?).
She proceeded to tell me about this amazing cove that only appears for a moment, when the tide subsides, but it’s not easy to get to and less easy to get out of (hence the cuts and bruises), but at just the right moment it makes a natural Jacuzzi. Completely worth it. Right?
So we set out, the bicultural couple, another American and me with a couple sixers and a flip-flopped destination. We worked our way through a forested trail, until we reached a clearing. Below, we could see a completely empty beach covered with shallow foam. Waves crashed on the rocks then slowly dragged themselves back out to sea. We were hoping they wouldn’t take us with them. The sun was beating down like a warrior with no sign of slowing up, and we used our towels as head and shoulder shields.
Soon we reached the rocky inlet where the (relatively) calmer water swirled into a pool, but to our dismay, it was covered with fist-sized crabs just waiting to take a pinch out of someone’s unsuspecting ass. We started out across the rocks, dodging pincers and slippery spots, to achieve our goal. Suddenly Pepe’s sandal flew out with the tide. Scrambling to retrieve it and nearly killing himself on the jagged stone, he returned busted up but victorious. Sunburnt and ever-so-slightly drunk, we saw the waves crashing harder against us and ran to take shelter under a ledge. It was time to head back and watch the sunset from a piece of beach where we weren’t likely to lose a shoe …or a toe.