The Magic of Puerto Escondido, Mexico

Puerto Escondido is a port town in the municipality of San Pedro Mixtepec on the Pacific Coast in the state of Oaxaca. The name roughly translates to “hidden port.”  Surfers have been making their way here for the renowned Mexican pipeline, one of the top ten surfing spots in the world. 

I arrived in Puerto Escondido hoping for the perfect place to relax and unwind from Los Angeles. It’s a harder-to-reach spot than the more common destinations such as Puerto Vallarta or Cabo, mainly because the closest airport to Puerto Escondido is domestic and not filled with hoards of tourists.

I took a short three hours and ten minute flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City, where we were greeted with pouring rain. I took this as a good sign, as it had been unbearable dry and hot in Los Angeles.  From there, it’s a quick one-hour flight to the small airport in Puerto Escondido, and then a 20-minute taxi ride to my destination:  Casona Sforza. The last few minutes of the dirt road leading up to the entrance told me I was in for a taste of magic. 

Casona Sforza was the dream of Ezequiel Ayarza Sforza who had traveled to Puerto Escondido wanting to give back to the community. Thus Puebla del Sol was started. Puebla del Sol is a community project in the Sierra of Oaxaca to preserve the artisanal traditions of indigenous Oaxacans. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Casona Sforza go back to Puebla del Sol. The touches can be seen all over the property, from the monochromatic texture-rich furniture to the grey daybeds made of cotton and natural wood on the beach for watching the ocean, to soaps made with 60% honey, even to the coffee mugs and coffee.  

Just eleven neutral hued, scalloped suites were designed by Mexican architect Alberto Kalach, and each room has staircases leading down to the sand.  The chef, Oliver Martînez, creates the farm-to-table cuisine. 

All photographs appearing on the http://www.hannahkozak.wordpress.com blog are copyrighted and protected under United States, Canadian and International copyright laws. The photographs may not be reproduced in any form, stored, copied or manipulated without prior written permission from hannahkozak.com, the copyright holder. A derivative work is the use of any of these photographs as the basis for, or part of another photographic concept or illustration and is in violation of copyright.

Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without the expressed written consent of Hannah Kozak.
Casona Sforza bedroom suite
The pool is so dreamy that I included two angles.
Breakfast at Casona Sforza
Tostado de atún marinado en salsa macha de tamarindo con aquacate, cacahuate y semilla de calabaza 
Tuna tostado marinated in tamarind macha sauce with avocado, peanuts and pumpkin seed
All photographs appearing on the http://www.hannahkozak.wordpress.com blog are copyrighted and protected under United States, Canadian and International copyright laws. The photographs may not be reproduced in any form, stored, copied or manipulated without prior written permission from hannahkozak.com, the copyright holder. A derivative work is the use of any of these photographs as the basis for, or part of another photographic concept or illustration and is in violation of copyright.

Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without the expressed written consent of Hannah Kozak.

The morning after my arrival I ventured out to Playa Principal, where the fishermen gather to head out for the day’s catch. My next stop was Playa Carrizalillo, a small beach in a sheltered cove where 157 steps and a view that made me smile brought me to the local hideout. I took in a bit of sun and made some photos with my Nikon F4S film camera, and Kodak Portra 400 film. I photographed only film on this journey, no digital including this photo of a surfer girl, as this is the place for beginning surfers to learn. 

All photographs appearing on the http://www.hannahkozak.wordpress.com blog are copyrighted and protected under United States, Canadian and International copyright laws. The photographs may not be reproduced in any form, stored, copied or manipulated without prior written permission from hannahkozak.com, the copyright holder. A derivative work is the use of any of these photographs as the basis for, or part of another photographic concept or illustration and is in violation of copyright.

Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without the expressed written consent of Hannah Kozak.
Playa Carrizalillo
Surfer girl midway down the 157 steps.
All photographs appearing on the http://www.hannahkozak.wordpress.com blog are copyrighted and protected under United States, Canadian and International copyright laws. The photographs may not be reproduced in any form, stored, copied or manipulated without prior written permission from hannahkozak.com, the copyright holder. A derivative work is the use of any of these photographs as the basis for, or part of another photographic concept or illustration and is in violation of copyright.

Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without the expressed written consent of Hannah Kozak.
Surfer Girl – Puerto Escondido
All photographs appearing on the http://www.hannahkozak.wordpress.com blog are copyrighted and protected under United States, Canadian and International copyright laws. The photographs may not be reproduced in any form, stored, copied or manipulated without prior written permission from hannahkozak.com, the copyright holder. A derivative work is the use of any of these photographs as the basis for, or part of another photographic concept or illustration and is in violation of copyright.

Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without the expressed written consent of Hannah Kozak.
Two sisters – Playa Carrizalillo
"We aren't asking you to clean the beach. We are only asking that you don't leave it dirty."
“We aren’t asking you to clean the beach. We are only asking that you don’t leave it dirty.”
No dejes mas que huellas – Don’t leave more than your footprints. Llevas tu telefonica?
Tu cartera Tu basera. Did you take your phone? Your card Your trash.

I made my way to Playa Zicatela one evening to have dinner at Chicama, a Peruvian restaurant with a floor of sand. This adorable dog greeted me. I ordered Savignon Blanco, papas hervidas acompanadas con nuestra tîpica salsa Peruana con queso fresco, aceitunas negras y huevo duro. That’s boiled potatoes with typical Peruvian sauce with fresh cheese, black olives and a boiled egg. 

Self Portrait – Playa Zicatela
All photographs appearing on the http://www.hannahkozak.wordpress.com blog are copyrighted and protected under United States, Canadian and International copyright laws. The photographs may not be reproduced in any form, stored, copied or manipulated without prior written permission from hannahkozak.com, the copyright holder. A derivative work is the use of any of these photographs as the basis for, or part of another photographic concept or illustration and is in violation of copyright.

Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without the expressed written consent of Hannah Kozak.
I loved how present they were together. Playa Zicatela
I met these two young men who run a surf shop in Playa Zicatela.

Kindness is everywhere in Mexico. Playa Zicatela
I saw these three young women sitting together in front of a store. I got out of the car that took me to this part of town and walked all the way back hoping they were still there. I asked them in Spanish if I could make a photo. Playa Zicatela

There are all kinds of activities to do in Puerto Escondido, including releasing baby turtles into the ocean, as turtle conservation is an issue. Next time I visit, I will plan for this. There is a massive waterfall near Puerto Escondido called La Reforma that I’d like to venture out to see next time, too.

From its location on a private beach to the caring service, Casa Sforza was magical from beginning to end. It’s a unique experience where tiny touches include the honey-infused soap, shampoo and conditioner, fruit drinks, and even a hand-woven straw beach bag in the room for bringing your book, lotion and camera to the beach. Not a detail is overlooked.

Playa Zicatela
One of my favorite novels. The last time I read it I was traveling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Even better on the re-read.
If you’ll notice the bookmark is a Polaroid SX70 film cover.

Each person who works at Casona Sforza cares about making it an unforgettable experience. Upon checking out, I found a note written on my little takeaway box along with a smiley face filled with a custom-made pizza for my flight home and a note from reception letting me know that people like me make the job worthwhile. From awakening to the sound of crashing waves, roosters crowing, birds singing, I felt the stress leave my body.  To say that traveling to Mexico always connects me with heart-centered people may sound cliché, but it’s true. 

 

Beach in front of Casano Sforza
Self Portrait Puerto Escondido, Mexico

2 thoughts on “The Magic of Puerto Escondido, Mexico

  1. Sounds like paradise/ hopefully we will get there one day – love your writing as we were there with you – great photos!

  2. wow, such a wonderful experience. seems like people really love what they are doing even though tourism is not too massive there as you said. it’s very difficult to stay on this balance of not becoming overwhelmed and losing this touch of doing something really from the heart.

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