Two ladies sitting in the sun explained that their group of ten or twelve was from different parts of Canada. We asked, “How did you Canadians discover Puerto Escondido?”
“A few years ago we were on a cruise ship stop-over in Huatulco. We came back to Huatulco, eventually making our way to Puerto which we liked best. Puerto Escondido is now our favorite vacation destination.”
A vacation spot where home’s harsh winter weather is left behind.
Today this group of Canadians are sunning in a small beach area located 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Puerto. Puerto Escondido translates to “Hidden Port”. Roca Blanca (white rock) could be called “Playa Secreto” (Secret Beach) as it is even further hidden. Here taking the short drive, those in the know escape the hustle and bustle of Puerto’s beach community.
Hammocks and oysters, and a luxurious Pacific Ocean beach await those that venture here. Competition for clientele is fierce. Before we could park our car several hawkers nearly prostrated themselves across the hood of our Jetta.
“Aparque aquí!” Beckoning for us to park there at their drink and eateries’ edge. There were a few signs warning that parking was only for patrons. We saw a row of about five palapa covered, open-air establishments. We tried to park in an uncommitted location – a woman was at my door explaining we could park across the way and enjoy her facility. We headed to the beach to have a look-see.
The pelicans seemed to own the small island just beyond the beach – indeed they have made it a white rock edifice that breaks up the nothing but ocean view – next stop south is Antarctica. A beach where the Skipper and Gilligan might be seen hunting for civilization. One fishing boat lays high and dry tethered to restaurant’s edge.
We tracked back to the first restaurant in the row; where we saw the table of 12 Canadians, figuring this is where the patrons seem to be gathered.
We had been told that perhaps eating oysters out of Puerto’s bay might be dangerous to the gastrointestinal tract. But up at Roca Blanca – safe enough and scrumptious. Being a little squeamish we opted for the breaded oysters guaranteed to have been gathered right here.
The gentle flavors of fresh oysters were threatened by the green salsa that would surely make its presences known – hot lips! Here in this idyllic beach setting with a cold Corona and warm coastal waters – well it was easy to see why these traveling aficionados from the Great White North were hiding out here.
Our host Señor José Galán greeted us taking time from his working on a long harpoon. Overhead were a series of hooks waiting for the day’s catch. He explained that he had been fishing these waters for more than 35 years and operating the restaurant for 17 of those.
Galán calls to his wife Lulu asking about a magazine article. “What was that magazine?” The New York Times Travel section just last December had a feature on Puerto that included a visit to his restaurant:
“For José Galán, a fisherman who owns the local seafood shack Restaurant Y Mariscos in Playa Roca Blanca, the area’s appeal is quite simple. Galán, who has been living shirtless under the sun for so long that his skin looks like it’s been stained a deep mahogany, can chat about anything: fishing trivia, surfing wisdom, regional politics. “I’ve been out here for 17 years, fishing and running this restaurant, and the government never did anything to help us when times were bad,” Galán says. “But Puerto Escondido always provides, and even when the season is low and the customers aren’t here, you can get by on waking up to this every morning.”
A fifty mile round trip from our casa in Colonial Zicatela to Roca Blanca will be a regularly scheduled event for the Calypso Couple. If you make it as far as Huatulco or Puerto Escondido you will be happy to go the extra miles and visit Roca Blanca. Stay Tuned!