Our Renewable Energy and Travel Blog's Profile Picture

Our Renewable Energy and Travel Blog

Loading Map...

8861 kms: Laguna Corralero and 9082 kms: Zipolite Beach

Written on: Tuesday April 22nd, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

We agreed to put in a long day of driving and at 4 oclock, start looking for somewhere to camp. I was reading in the back seat when I looked up and realized that it was already 4 pm and so I asked Rob to pull over so that I could look at a map and figure out a destination for the night.

We happened to be in the heart of the region known as ?Black Mexico?. When the Spaniards first came they brought many African Slaves with them. This particular region of Oaxaca State is now well known for its large African-Mexican population and its distinct culture.

Rob came to a stop and as I pulled out a map I heard a tap at the window. When I looked up, there was a military officer, riffle swung over his shoulder, peering into the window. We had accidentally pulled into the entrance driveway of some military establishment. I quickly opened the side door, apologized and asked if we could park here for 2 minutes. He saw my map, ?Where are you going?? he asked. ?We don?t know? we are looking for somewhere nearby to camp?, and I showed him the map. He pointed to a nearby lagoon bordering the ocean, ?Laguna Corralero is good, very quiet, you can camp and swim there?. He then gave me directions and wished us well. We followed a long dusty dirt road towards the coast for about 40 minutes, wondering what it is we would find. And, as we arrived we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful ocean beach, few small restaurants and lagoon on the opposite side. Driving along, a large black woman called out to us and then walked up to the van. When I told her we were looking to camp she indicated that we could camp on her property as long as we ate a meal at the restaurant. Good deal, and we agreed to camp at Lulu?s Restaurant. There were very few people at the beach, and I quickly deduced that they must not get a lot of foreigners because we were suddenly very popular. As Rob and Chris went to go check out the ocean I had 8 or 9 people peering into the van and asking me questions: ?How did you find this place? Who told you to come here? Where are you from??. After the twenty questions I was welcomed to Corralero and was offered some delicious little fruit. We each ordered a seafood dish, threw our bathing suits on and hit the desolate white sand beach. Lulu promised to yell at us when the food was ready. After being pulverized by the giant waves (although refreshing) we decided to try out the swimming on the Lagoon side. The lagoon was definitely more popular for swimming, and as mysterious gringos we were popular with the kids. They practiced their English by yelling out: ?My frrrriend? My frrriend!?, and when we turned to say hello back, the shy children would swim or look away. It was really funny and cute. We ate a fantastic seafood diner under some palapas overlooking the endless ocean and empty white sand beach and decided that this accidental destination was almost too good to be true.

We decided to stay an extra day. I got to know Devina (the large black woman) and her sister Lulu (a skinny black woman) quite well. Devina had a wonderful sense of humour. She was also very curious and asked me lots of questions about us. When she couldn?t pronounce ?Chris? quite right, I explained that it was short for Christopher. ?Chrrrrrristopherrrrr?, she could pronounce. When she discovered that Chris was single she spent the rest of the day trying to convince me that ?Chrrrristopherrrr? was certainly Lulu?s future husband. I?m sure that she would have spent more time trying to convince Chris directly, except for that he didn?t speak any Spanish and she did not know any English. Rob and I both found the exaggerated ?r? quite funny and called his brother ?Chrrrristopherrrr? for almost the rest of the trip.

After spending most of the day reading in a hammock, we hired Devina?s husband to take us in a boat across the lagoon to another desolate beach so that we could do some snorkelling. The snorkelling was quite good except for we had to be careful of the very strong currents near the mouth of the lagoon. It resulted in a fantastic flying-like sensation when floating in the water face-down with the snorkel mask. The current would just pull you along, no swimming required as the ocean floor, fish, crabs and other things rolled by below.

We sadly packed up and left our sweet off-the-beaten-track location the following morning, headed for Zipolite Beach, which had been recommended to us by travellers we had met earlier. After another long day of driving, we pulled into Zipolite and were immediately drawn to the ultra laid back feel to the place. After finding and parking in the empty campground we hit the 2 km long soft sand beach lined with interesting restaurants, shops and small hotels. It was a big change from our previous location, but nonetheless a great, laid-back scene? definitely a backpackers paradise. It also became evident that with the strong under currents and large waves, this beach was better for body boarding or surfing than for swimming. When I asked a young Mexican if he knew where we could rent body boards he offered to rent us his. Perfect. We all had a good laugh when another Mexican came by and offered us opium. When we turned that down he tried to sell us marijuana, followed by fresh fish, then he offered to get us squid, than shrimp. We were just waiting for him to say ?I?ll sell you my seestorrr for a quarrrterrr?.?. Chilling out reading a book in the sand as the boys body surfed, I realized that the beach was ?clothing optional? as two women paraded past me. Not five minutes later, they paraded past me walking back the other way. I thought nothing of it until another topless woman walked by, then walked by again in the other direction. And finally when some skinny white buck-naked dude paraded past twice I realized that I must be on the naked person parade route. Sure enough, those who wanted to hang out naked don?t just hang out. The thing to do is to parade down the whole 2 km beach, a few people at a time, and when they reached the rocky fašade that split the beach at each end, they would turn around and march back.