Beach Secrets Best Kept
One of the best-kept secrets of Puerto Escondido is on the verge of getting out. The predominant beach in Puerto is certainly Playa Zicatela, with its sweeping, football-field width of sand, epic surf, and explosive sunsets. But down the beach to the south is a smaller, quieter stretch that is another world all its own. This is La Punta.
The coastline comes to a sharp, rocky point at the bottom of the bay. Here the waves are gentler (for the most part), the background noise nearly non-existent, and, if you can imagine, the vibe even more chilled out than farther north up the beach. La Punta is more evocative of a Thai backpacker town, where freshly cut coconuts roll lazily down the dusty, dirt road - the only road in the town. On either side of the street you’ll find small, dirt-floor restaurants or shady beach bars with more hammocks than tables. (Tip: Try Cabanas La Punta)
Still, over the last few years, as more and more backpackers discover La Punta, they have brought with them great interest, more money, and, ugh, change. Not all of it is bad. In fact, one of my most favorite spots to eat in all of Puerto is in La Punta - Lychee. This Thai restaurant is turning out some seriously authentic and fresh Thai food, right in the bottommost corner of Mexico. The ambiance swings boho-chic with custom-carved wooden tables, twinkle lights, and a central, circular bar. Still, it manages to evade all elements of pretense.
But as I’ve been spending more time there, I’m sorry to say that the clock on La Punta’s charm is ticking away. Enter: Restaurants with industrial-chic designs, trustafarians, and cold-brew. To be fair, La Punta’s demise is still in its infancy stages. And to add another point of balance, this is how travel evolves. Especially when you have writers and bloggers who do their part in getting the word out. (Guilty.) There’s nothing wrong with it, per say, it’s just disappointing to devotees of a destination when it does.
Based on the way Mexico works, and especially in a place like Puerto Escondido, there are still many years ahead of us before the boutique hotels start cropping up, pushing surfers and soul chasers to farther afield beaches. For now, La Punta manages to retain its sleepy charm. But nothing lasts forever, so get there while you can. Or, actually, don’t. Let’s keep it a secret for just a touch longer.