Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

In Transit

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Mexico

We are packed up and heading out of Puerto Escondido on route to Peru.

We have a flight back to Mexico City then down to Lima Peru then down to Cuzco.

We get in 7:00am on the 8th local time.

We have a couple of days to get used to the altitude before heading off on a 4 day trek of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

We’ll check in again from Cuzco.

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Road Trip

Posted: May 3, 2012 in Mexico

We have been taking it easy for the last 2 days, just having some beach time relaxing which has been great.  We met 3 Aussie chicks at the beach one day while Tina was surfing they were good fun but were leaving the next day so we hung out and had dinner with them before they moved on.  Tina has been going to Spanish class almost daily and is learning quite a bit, I’m picking up what I can off her.  We are now ordering any meals or drinks in Spanish, asking people how they are, how old they are etc just the basics but you seem to pick up new words every day.

Tina and the Aussies after a surf at Carrizalillo

So after a couple of days downtime we decided to head off out of town a bit and see some more country side and beaches.  Miguel ever so keen to play tour guide organised his friend’s car again for the day – who by the way, will never accept a tip, he just seems to enjoy hanging out with us.  We do get him lunch and shout him a beer whenever he lets his guard down.

Tina is still doing very well on the seafood frontier, seafood soup for lunch.

There are now 2 more Canadians that have moved into the Swiss – Ty and Lisa.  They are a bit older than us but seem like nice people so we dragged them along for the trip, Brandi also.

So we head off early morning again and straight to Agua Blanca a beach that I had surfed with the Kiwi’s Tom and Henry.  We thought we might get a few quick waves before continuing.  We arrived and the swell was huge, too big for it to work.  It was breaking on the rocks at the point then just closing out in huge sections the whole length of the beach.  Not being able to get in the water we decided to grab some breakfast and have a bit of a look around the beach before continuing on.

Relaxing at Agua Blanca

Tina, Brandi and Miguel playing on the beach.

Just down the road is an Iguana sanctuary that Tom, Penelope and Henry went to and highly recommended.  So we called in.  It was a similar setup to the turtle sanctuary that we went on the Lagoon trip – where 1 man lives amongst the trees and setups nests, cares for sick Iguanas etc.

It is just off the main highway and you park up the top then walk down a heap of steps into the trees.  There were Iguanas everywhere! at first we could hear them in the dead leaves on the ground, then you spot one sitting on a log, then you’d start seeing them everywhere.  They were all fairly dark in colour and ranged in size – nothing bigger than about 30cm.  At the bottom of the steps amongst the trees was an open area were the guy who lives there came to meet us.  He was by himself and had no english so Miguel spoke to him and he said he would take us around sanctuary himself and Miguel would translate.

First off he noticed us all looking the Iguanas on the logs and moving around under the trees – so he pointed up into the trees we look up and there are Iguanas everywhere in the  trees.  Some huge and bright green!  He explained that some will mainly live in the trees which is why they are green and other on the ground which are darker.  There were a heaps of cages on stands that house a lot of different coloured iguanas.  He explained that they are the ones that have hatched in captivity and they are hand reared until large enough to be released into the wild.

We had a bit of a look and they were feeding them at the time on what looked like bunches of shredded lettuce.  He explained that they will eat a variety of different things but really love papaya.  He then reached into a cage and grabbed out a small green female Iguana for us to have a closer look at.  He passed it around and let us all hold it then walked of towards the nest area.  I had the Iguana at the time, and he said you keep it.  I’m thinking what? I’d love a pet Iguana but I don’t think he’ll survive the rest of our trip….. Anyway Miguel then explains that what he meant to say was bring it with us while we walk around.  It was due for release anyway.

Tina and Ty playing with the little Iguana

Shaun and ‘Iggy’

In the nesting area he explained how they breed and nest in the wild and showed us the man-made nests he has set up.  Females start out laying about 20 eggs but increase the numbers each time up to about 80.  He explained that the Iguanas are not endangered however they do have nests raided by humans for their eggs and the Iguanas themselves get eaten – which Miguel said he has tried and it’s quite nice.  So his setup at the Iguana sanctuary is more of a research facility.

Iguana Nests – each 1 is labeled with number of eggs and dated.

He showed us around some more, he had a few turtles and a small crocodile.  We asked what he was doing with the croc and he explained that he found it and liked it so he was keeping it until it got too big then he would let it go again.

Miguel with a turtle.

He then took us up path where there were some more trees and heaps of Iguanas in them.  These ones were huge!  There was a timber platform on the ground and he said take a seat.  So we all sat down while he grabbed a papaya and began to cut large chucks up and drop them on the timber platform.  As he did the Iguanas began to make their way down out of the trees.  They were a bit hesitant at first but then a real large one walked up and began eating.  It was pretty cool to see them up close.  The big ones seemed to move quite slowly but I was surprised how quick the small one moved.  They would actually run up and grab food off the large ones then run off again.

Coming down for a feed.

Lunch Time

Mmmmm papaya

That was the end of the tour so we grabbed a quick drink and kept moving.  Next place we were heading to was Mazunte – a fairly well know tourist destination because of it’s really nice beaches.  There is a turtle zoo there that Miguel said was worth checking out so we dropped in.  I had no idea how many different species of turtles there actually are – and I reckon these guys had pretty much all of them.  It was your typical set up of enclosures with all the different types of turtles walking around and swimming etc.  There was also a large indoor aquarium with all the sea turtles on display.

Sea Turtle

It was getting fairly hot and we were hungry so it was time to hit the beach again.  It was real busy around Mazunte so Miguel suggested going to San Agustinillo just down the road which he said was nice and should be bit calmer.  We all had feed and a swim to freshen up for an hour or 2.

By now it was mid afternoon and we wanted to get going and check out another place called La Ventanilla which so meant to be really nice.  It is a small little village on the beach and they do canoe rides up a river in and around the mangroves.  There is a huge amount of bird life and endangered river crocodiles, turtles and fish.  It is a 230,000 sqm protected area.

Cruising along the river in the canoe

So we take off in the canoe which can seat about 10 people.  It was a really nice river, starting at the ocean and heading in land, surrounded by mangroves.  We had not gone far when the tour guide pointed out the first croc.  none of us could see it to start with – I was looking up on the bank for it but then realised it was in the water!  It was against the bank with its body in the water and its head resting on the bank in the sun.  It was huge!  Our guide explained it was one of the bigger ones here – about 5m long.  Tina and I were looking at each other going I’m glade it’s over there because we had not motor it was just our guide with a paddle.  Then he starts whistling at it and I’m thinking no don’t stir it up, but he kept going, then got a bucket and began filling it up with water and pouring it back into the river to stir the water up!  Next it turns around and begins swimming towards the boat – this was not good.  So it swims up pretty close and he begins paddling – not with any urgency though.  The croc just cruised along behind us for a little bit then disappeared.

Large Croc resting in the sun.

Coming to check us out!

Further down the river we saw a few more much smaller crocs then we headed into the mangroves.  It is a really beautiful place and there were so many really cool birds, lots of them were nesting, we ever saw a really rear kingfisher and some more turtles.  We ended up getting some really good photos and it was a very worthwhile tour to do.

Into the mangroves

A bird enjoying the sunset on the river

Tina and Miguel climbing in the mangroves

As we got back the big croc was hanging around where they keep all the canoes.  We saw him as we were approaching but then he disappeared again.  We all just jumped out of the canoe and headed inland fairly quick – not sure where he was but we were definitely being watched!

Very nice river cruise

It was getting towards sunset so he made our way home.  It had been a long day so we dropped the car of parted ways with Miguel and headed back home for dinner and bed.

Tina has another Spanish lessons, yoga classes and a salsa dance class over the next couple of days so we’re staying around Puerto again until Friday when we are heading of on a yacht for the day to check out 4 different, remote surf spots, a bit of fishing and sight seeing.  Looking forward it!

Roca Blanca

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Mexico

We decided to go for a drive yesterday with Miguel, Adi and Miguel’s friend Gustavo.  For the first time since we’ve been have the surf was small and messing so we left the boards at home and just went to hang out at a beach called Roca Blanca – about half an hours drive from Puerto.

Miguel and Gustavo (or Tebo as he is called) chucked in a couple of bodyboards just in case.  We had to pick Adi up after work at 2  and none of us had eaten lunch yet so we got there and decided to get some food straight away.  There was the typical setup of some shaded areas with hammocks and a couple of women working a kitchen at each sitting area.  We pulled up a table at one and ordered a seafood plate for us all to share.  It was really good – fish, crabs, octopus, prawns etc accompanied by the usual salsa and Habanero chilli sauce.

Tina is really getting into the wonderful world of seafood (now that we know she is no longer allergic to shell-fish) in a big way.  She tried her first crab today and had a go at pretty much everything on the plate!!

After lunch we all went for a swim then as the tide changed, wind settled down and the waves got good.  Should’ve taken the boards after all – we blew it!!  We ended up sharing the 2 bodyboards and got some fun waves anyway.

It was late afternoon and we were getting ready to leave when Tebo thought her spotted something in the water – he started saying shark, shark in spanish, so we all run to the water’s edge to take a look.  There was defiantly something out there, we saw the fin come out of the water a few times just sorta cruising around maybe 100 – 150m off the beach.  I’m sure it wasn’t a dolphin.  It looked pretty small so I don’t think it was a problem…..?

Anyway it was a fun day at another of Mexico’s great beach’s.  We headed back to Zicatela while Miguel, Adi and Tebo went home.

 

Tina and I went for some sunset drinks at the restaurant across the road and ended staying for dinner.  Few Aussies turned up with a Pom and a Scottish guy so we got chatting to them for a while.  At some point one for the Aussie’s produced a Frisbee that had a changing colour light in it – very cool.  So we all ended up playing a huge game of night-time frisbee on the beach.

After we were all completely worn out (and my knee pretty darn sore again) it was home to bed.

The end.

Shaun’s Thought for the day.

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Mexico

Only in Mexico – A couple of chicks kissing and a another chick riding a bodyboard upside down! Classic!

Puerto Escondido

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Mexico

Ok so we’ve been offline for a while, the internet has been down and we’ve been a bit slack with updating this blog.

Anyway here we are in Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca.  It’s really cool here, very laid back and friendly.  We arrived at the end of the Easter weekend and have been staying at a place called Swiss Oasis.  It is a nice little place, only has 8 rooms and the owners live here in their house – Manuela and her husband Rene.  They are really nice people Manuela is fluent in Spanish, English, French, German and of course Swiss.  She is very helpful offering heaps of advice to us about the place, where to eat and how to get around etc.  They had travelled for years before falling in love with Puerto – so they purchased and renovated this place.

The rooms are neat and tidy with an en-suite, ceiling fan, front and rear balcony, no TV or air con but very comfortable.  Ours has a Queen size bed and then a small mezzanine floor with a single bed up there too.  There is a communal kitchen, pool, court yard / entertaining area and well maintained gardens.

Puerto is home to the world-famous ‘Mexican Pipeline’ on Zicatela beach – and Swiss Oasis is right across the road from it.  This is a crazy beach break that holds swell of up to 10m!  We’ve seen it at around 3m which is still like 12 -15ft face waves so 10m would be psycho!  The big wave season is later in the year around July / August.  The locals say you stand on the beach and feel the earth shake as the waves break.  Because it is a beach break it is only about 50m out to sea breaking on a sand bar about 2m deep – experienced surfers and fools only!

There are so many other good waves around however.  I have been surfing La Punta which is a left hand point at the south end of Zicatela.  It’s a fun wave but can get really crowded and you have to fight pretty hard some days for waves.

Tina has been surfing Carrizallio which is a really nice beach.  Its setup like a small bay with perfect long board waves breaking on either point.  She has been getting at least 3 lessons a week and has moved from an 11ft mal down to a 7ft mini mal and is surfing really good.

There are a few other beaches we’ve managed to surf and are starting to learn which winds suit which beach.  Tina’s instructor is a local surfer named Miguel and he has turned out to be a champion bloke.  He is 30 years old and just loves the ocean.  We have been hanging out with him quite a bit.  We’ve had a couple of meals with him and his wife (Adi) and friends.  It seems as though he has made it his person mission to take us around and surf all of his favourite waves in the area – hell we’re not complaining, like I said top bloke!

We’ve met quite a few other travellers as you’d expect. When we turned up to Swiss Oasis there were a Kiwi couple from Wellington – Tom and Penelope staying here.  A few days later another of their friends Henry arrived.  They had all just spent a season snowboarding Canada and had made their way down here for some sunshine.  They all surf.

So we’ve hung out with those guys a fair bit.  Along Zicatela there are heaps of beach bars and restaurants that look out over the ocean.  We have found some really good food.  Puerto in spanish means Port and at the end of Zicatela is a headland that forms a protected bay were all the local fisherman operate out of.  So there is an abundance of fresh seafood which we have been making the most of.  You can find some really cheap but good meals around and there is also the top places to eat at – most of the large resorts have fine dinning.  However we have come to realise that the best food is mostly the cheaper places that the locals frequent.

There is a small Cafe called Mangos about 30 seconds walk from Swiss Oasis that do the best fruit and veggie juices.  The food is real good too.  Tina and I have often walked away from there completely satisfied and still have change out of 200 pesos (less than $15).  We usually head there each morning with the kiwis early for a juice and check the surf.  We have found a couple of other little favourites that we seem to keep returning to.

While in Mexico City we met a guy from Adelaide named Dan.  He moved in to the same hostel a night or 2 before we left.  He was heading off to a couple of different place to us but was heading to Puerto eventually also.  Anyway he tracked us down on Facebook and let us know he was in Puerto.

We arranged to catch up with him for a feed 1 night at a place down the fishing boat end called Grottos.  Manuela recommended this place and we were not disappointed.  It was predominantly a seafood place and I ordered a half pineapple filled with seafood (brilliant!) Tina ordered a chicken Mole’.  Mole is a dish local to this area there are a few different varieties, the 1 Tina had was very dark (Mole’ is the sauce) it had like an almost chocolate taste to it.  Maybe not our favourite but well worth trying.  We’ll have to give the others ago too – I think they do a red and green 1.

After dinner that night we were all real full so we decided to work it off a bit and walk the beach on the way home – about 15 mins via the sand.

We have had a few drinks at a little bar on the beach that we call the Skull bar (not sure of its real name) it has a skull out the front and a couple of coffins around the back on posts either side of a deck.  The bar itself is just a small round bamboo and timber structure with a rickety old deck and palm tree leaf roof.  It is in amongst some fairly nice restaurants but this place has two large speakers and just pumps rock and metal music all night!  It’s funny as, while these couples and families are eating their meals this small little bar is pumping out Guns n Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue etc right next door!

Anyway as we’re walking back along the beach that night we get to the skull bar and figured we’ll head in for a beer to break the walk up.  There were 4 white people sitting at the bar and with hopes they weren’t gringos in we went.  We were in luck they were 4 Aussies from Merimbula – Clay, his sister Tess, his girlfriend Emma and their friend Steve.  All had and awesome night with these guys they were real funny and very much like us.  They had all made their way down from Canada snowboarding through the US to Mexico for a surf.  It was cool to hang out with some Aussies and hear about their travels, but they were all heading off in a couple of days so we knocked around with ’em for a couple of days before they headed back to OZ.

There are a few tours for tourists to do around Puerto.  We organised to go on a turtle and lagoon tour.  By this stage Dan had moved into our room up on the mezzanine for his last few nights – which worked out good making it a little cheaper for us.  A Canadian girl named Brandi had moved into the Swiss Oasis too and she was a biologist over here to study Spanish and do some bird watching or whatever.  There is also a Dutch lady Coco that has moved into the room below us.

So 4 of us (Tina, Dan, the Canadian and myself) headed off on this tour.  It kicked off at 6:30pm and we headed straight to a beach where this Mexican guy lives for 7 months of the year collecting turtle eggs from all over, then hatching them on the beach in man made nests then releasing them.  When we arrived we found out the turtles he was due to release that night had died.  Apparently they had some how been starved of oxygen in their nest.

He did have a tub with about 25 -30 baby turtles in it for a school group to release the next day, however sensing our disappointment he decided to get 5 out for tonight.  So we took them down the beach to the water’s edge and he drew a line in the sand – the five turtles were set down on the line then the race was on.  They all headed towards the water and were getting pounded by the waves, but one by one were washed out into the ocean.  Turtle man (I can’t remember his name) was telling us that only 25% that make it to the water will survive.

After that we headed to the lagoon.  It was interesting, our tour guide named Job was just talking on his phone the whole time in spanish so we just talked amongst ourselves.  Anyway we got to the lagoon and Job grabbed a spot light while we read a bit of info on the lagoon, which is called Manglar lagoon and has an amazing amount of bird life living in the mangroves that surround the water.  There is also a huge amount of fish and some crocodiles living there too.

We all got into a boat and headed of.  Job was driving the boat and spotting birds with the torch for us.  It got real funny because he just kept on pointing the same bird – Great Blue Heron.  Every bird we saw was a Great Blue Heron, Tina and I were laughing so hard at him, then he got back on the phone so he’s driving along and talking while spotting the birds and every 30 seconds or so yells out “Great Blue Heron”.

It was now completely dark and Job finally puts down the phone and asks us if we’ve seen the movie Avatar? We all say yeah and he says “look in the water – Avatar!”

We look over the edge and next minute there is a green / yellow glowing flash.  Then another and then I noticed the splash that the boat was making was all glowing too.  It was  Luminescent Phosphorescence, which is a sparkly plankton which has entered the lagoon through its connection with the ocean.  It was crazy to see, every fish or little critter in the water would create a glow with every movement.  We could put our hands in the water and it would all start glowing then when you pull your arm out all the water would be glowing as it beaded on your skin – unreal!

Next Job cuts the engine and says “jump in”.  After he assured us that there were no man eating crocs in the lagoon we got in.  This was freaky! as you swim around your whole body glows.  We could swim at each other under water and you’d just see this big glow coming at you, it was really something else!

After that we headed back to the shore, on the way we were lucky enough to see some Great Blue Herons! Hahahaha.

We organised a fishing trip with one of the local fishermen the next morning.  He had caught a 3.5m , 250kg Marlin a couple of days earlier.  We were out of luck that day however, we were out for about 5 hrs and got nothing!  We did see heaps of turtles and the Dolphins were hanging around the boat playing which was really cool – probably scared all the fish off.  When we got back to shore it seems it wasn’t just us but hardly any of the fishermen had got anything – must have just been one of those days.

Next it was back to the ever reliable Miguel for a road trip.  He had been telling us about a surf spot worth checking out called Chacahua. So he organised a car from his friend and at 6 in the morning Tina, Brandi, Coco and I joined Miguel for the day at Chacahua.  To get there we had to drive about an hour to another lagoon then jump in a boat and cross it, through the mangroves to the coast on the other side.

This was another great spot.  It is in a national park, so there is not much there apart from a fishing village.  There is a break wall along either side of the river that connects the lagoon to the ocean.  Waves break off the wall to the right and run about 200m along the beach.  It was a long paddle out but I got some really good long waves so it was worth it.

We had lunch had a sleep in the hammocks and just hung out there for the day.  It was pretty cool and I think we may head back again before we leave Mexico.

Anyway that brings us up to date so stay tuned.

Tina’s thought for the day

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Mexico

The only thing Moni would like most about Mexico is that she is average to above average hight over here! 🙂

transit

Posted: April 8, 2012 in Mexico

currently in transit between san blas and puerto escondido log in as soon as we can … photos to come

love us xxx