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I never want to see another Topes

Or a reducer either

Today we rented a car so that Fred could revisit Puerto Escondido where he had been nearly 40 years ago. Puerto Escondido is about 97 miles north of Huatulco but we took the long route so we could visit a couple of other small towns on the way.

The road north of Huatulco goes through a huge national park. The area is dry brown scrub with a few small homes scattered about and not much sign of agriculture. The road is pretty good although quite windy. It’s often 1½ lanes in each direction. In Mexico there is an interesting system where the shoulder is paved and the solid or dotted passing line indicator is between the main travel lane and the shoulder. When a driver wants to pass, the car that is being passed and any on-coming cars go to the shoulder and the passer goes down the middle. Seems to work. In other places the shoulders are pretty much non-existent. Fred and our Renault Elf did just fine.

To slow drivers down around villages in Mexico they build topes or here they’re also called reductors – speed bumps, serious ones. They sometimes come in groups of 2 or 3 – on each side of the village. They are well signed and marked. After while just a yellow line on the road can make one brace for the bone jarring experience.

Our fist destination was Puerto Angel a fishing village on the coast with a beautiful bay. The road from the main road to Puerto Angel is very windy with a good collection of topes. Fred thought he’d been there once upon a time but decided it wasn’t the place. There wasn’t too much going on, few gringos, few of anybody really so after a stop for coffee we carried on. Just up the road is a turtle sanctuary and it would appear that town associated with it has received serious funds to get fixed up. People were working the streets, mudding the buildings, and cleaning up. I think it may also be a popular surfing destination as there were young surfer-type gringos wandering about. Looks like it will be a nice little town one day.
Onward up the windy road, over a bunch more reducers, with the tummy get a bit queasy, eventually getting to the main road that is straighter and few topes. Not a lot of traffic for the last distance to Puerto Escondido


Puerto Escondido is one of the most important tourist attractions on the Oaxacan coast. It caters to a more downscale and eclectic clientele than neighboring Huatulco, mostly surfers, backpackers and Mexican families. The bay was known as Bahia de la Escondida (Bay of the Hidden Woman) due to a legend associated with this place. The story states that a fierce pirate anchored his ship in the bay when the area was completely uninhabited, to rest for a few days unmolested by authorities. Some weeks before, he and his crew kidnapped a young Mixtec woman from the village of Santa María Huatulco and took her prisoner. While in the bay, the woman escaped the cabin in which she was being held, and being a good swimmer, jumped overboard to get to shore and hide in the jungle just beyond the beach. Since then, the pirates referred to the woman as “La Escondida” (the hidden one) and every time the ship returned to these waters, the captain ordered his crew to search the area around the bay, however, they never found her. Hence, the area became known as the Bahía de la Escondida where today 45,000 people live.

Puerto Escondido turns out to be more like what we thought Huatulco would be like; a couple of long sandy beaches fringed by fish boats and restaurants under palapas with hotels in behind going up the hillside. The town had grown substantially since Fred had last visited when there was only a few dirt roads, a couple of small restaurants and hotels for young backpackers. The surf was very big so only a few swimmers and surfers were in the water. Sadly, the main street in the tourist area was full of low-end tourist stuff and few tourists. Don’t know who ever buys it all.
Having had lunch and a nice stroll along the beach, then back thru the tourist section to our car we drove back to Santa Cruz, the shorter, straighter, less bumpy way, to be home before dark. Tonight was our night to eat in the Italian à la carte restaurant and we didn’t want to be late.


Posted by backtomexico 10:02 Archived in Mexico

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