Chacahua, Mexico: Tropical Surfer’s Paradise and Hidden Gem
Chacahua is a hidden gem on the Mexican Pacific coast. Just a few kilometres south of the famous surf spot of Puerto Escondido you can find this island of pristine empty beaches. It is located in a national park only accessible by boat, which makes it all very special. Here are my travel tips for this beautiful island.
In Chacahua you’ll watch the most beautiful sunrises on the sea and you’ll walk barefoot most of the time. You can see baby turtles being released on the ocean almost every sunset and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll see a big one coming to lay its eggs on the beach at night. Also if you are a surfer this is the place for you, with perfect long waves, even if you’re just a beginner.
On the other side of the island you have a beautiful salt water lagoon perfect for a high tide swim.
You should definitely pay a visit to the lighthouse to watch the sunset and have a overview of the island – don’t forget insect repellent!! To get there, there’s a boat that costs 10 to 15 pesos.
Chacahua Travel Tips: All Day Surf, Turtle Spotting and Sunsets
I felt so good surrounded by all this beauty that I decided to stay longer here; my friends left and suddenly I found myself with loads of free time and waking up with no purpose so I decided to get a job.
The first problem I encountered was the salary. Jobs on the Pacific coast are very underpaid and they’ll take all of your freedom. The second was to try to make a serious arrangement with the people. This made me settle for volunteering/a work exchange. I gave five hours of my time in exchange for lunch, a place to sleep and cook. That’s how I met Martha, the lovely restaurant owner, and two Spanish girls, Nuria and Rai. I was working as a waitress but there wasn’t much to do so I actually got a life upgrade and felt like a lazy tourist eating fish for lunch facing the sea. What more could I ask for?
Martha taught me how to make mole (I burned all my fingertips peeling all those chillis), how to cook ceviche, and all different types of dishes with tortillas, from enmoladas to sopes and enchiladas.
I spent my free time with the girls practising yoga, experimenting with yoga nidra, trying and failing to surf and play an occasional sunset volleyball with the rest of the crew that we called La Banda. I had the chance to meet a lady who showed me how to make notebooks from the coconut palm tree. This plant is insanely resourceful and tasty, I guess soon I’ll have a coconut overdose if that’s a thing.
Christmas Day in Chacahua
Christmas Day was arriving so we agreed on celebrating it with a dinner and exchange of presents – no money involved (because we are all bunch of broke travellers). This opened our horizons on the vast possibilities we had around us. At dinner everyone showed up with very creative and meaningful gifts all wrapped in banana leaves. Zero waste and seven happy kids!
Chacahua is the perfect place to take a break from the outside world and relax. The people there have a very slow rhythm and you’ll feel it.
Chacahua Travel Tips: Don’t Miss the Glowing Plankton!
You can go on fishing trips, whale watching, turtle spotting or on a bioluminescense tour. Watching the glowing plankton was one of the coolest experiences in my life, I felt like I was in Avatar. Although I’ve seen bioluminescence other times, in Chacahua it was definitely the best. I recommend you going during the new moon phase because the total darkness is the best time to watch it.
How to Get to Chacahua
- From Puerto Escondido take a van/colectivo with the TUR agency, say Chacahua and they already know where to go. This will be about 55 pesos per person.
- The van will drop you on a crossroad where there are other vans/taxis/colectivos that will take you to Zapotalito – 15 to 20 pesos per person.
- Then there take a boat and a van/colectivo that will take you to Chacahua – 50 pesos each, total of 100 pesos.
- There is an option to take a boat directly but it’s quite expensive.
- The last colectivo to reach Chacahua leaves at 5pm so plan wisely as it can take two and a half hours to get there from Puerto Escondido.
For accommodation I definitely recommend the Chacahua Surf Camp, if you don’t mind camping or sleeping in a hammock. It’s 50 pesos per night, on the beach, and has a kitchen and WiFi.
If you need a comfy bed you can stay at Lia del Mar which has an amazing restaurant. The mamacitas cook with all the love on a wooden stove.
My time in Chacahua was great and I made awesome friends and spent almost no money. In the end doesn’t matter where you are but by whom you are surrounded. Chacahua is a chilled paradise, a good place to awake the lazy person in you. At night join a bonfire on the beach; after a few days everybody knows each other and what’s best than spending an evening enjoying some nice conversations and beers around a fire? Give it a try!
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