I’m somewhere between tanned and sunburned right now, drinking a smoothie made with almond milk, coconut, pineapple, banana and mint. I believe the name I’m looking for is coco-fresh. I ordered it from the bar downstairs, which has a sandy floor with about 5 stray dogs sleeping in the shade. It’s the afternoon slump for everyone here. I can see the waves from this beige couch and hear the hens and turkey outside. It’s Thursday, and the coworking space upstairs is filled with foreigners typing away in their laptops, either barefoot or in flip-flops. That’s where I have been spending most of my days, putting in extra hours after taking a one week vacation with Bradley.
Three weeks ago I was in Mexico City, flipping off a truck driver that cat called me as I crossed the street, sweaty from climbing the subway stairs, and with my last string of patience for city life. I love cities, though. Cities have so much life in them. Still, I was in profound need of a break.
The flight to Puerto Escondido was rocky. Not even my Florida roots could prepare me for the dense, humid air as I got off the airplane and my face began melting off in sweat. “Not wearing make-up for the next 5 months – or clothes,” I thought.
Our plane was the only plane at the Puerto Escondido airport, which is essentially divided into 2 rooms: baggage claim/security and the waiting area. There are about 2-4 flights a day and they are far from full. This is the perfect place to disconnect if you live in the U.S. or Canada.
Bradley came a week before me to get a head start on the worst part of moving: apartment hunting. We had very specific needs and wants when it came to our new place, starting with the internet. Internet connection and electricity can be unpredictable in Puerto Escondido, which is quite detrimental for digital nomads that depend on wifi to sustain their adventurous lifestyle. We got our internet installed by a guy Bradley met randomly while apartment hunting, and his work happens to be setting up internet for businesses that need better than average connection (which means we got hooked up with quite reliable wifi! Woohoo!).
When setting up internet in Puerto Escondido, it is not enough to find a good internet provider. You also need to be aware of the signal reach in your particular neighborhood and street as this varies greatly. In the end, we chose an apartment in Costa Chica. This is a more residential neighborhood, and a 20-30 minute walk from the beach called Carrizalillo. If you are a beginner surfer, this is the best beach for you to learn! Intermediate surfers go to La Punta, and the professionals go to Zicatela.
While I was hoping we could live right on the beach, it made a HUGE difference to live 20 minutes away on the other side of the main road. Rent can go down as much as 50% if you are willing to give up an ocean view, which means: more money for surf lessons and yoga classes. This was not my ideal scenario, but we also happened to find a spacious 2 bedroom apartment where we can welcome guests and have plenty of office space to work from home.
Another huge factor into this apartment hunt was being near to the main and only supermarket in town. Bradley and I cook most meals. We knew that having to get on a bus to go to the supermarket would eventually make us cranky. We are a 15 min. walk away, and it is glorious. You can still find small markets and stores spread around here and there, where you can get your fresh fruits, eggs, and veggies. But we definitely prefer the luxury of a fully equipped supermarket.
If you are looking to move here, I would say life is easier for the digital nomad that can work from comfortable places like the Selina or home. It is so incredibly humid and hot. Air conditioning is rare, and fans will barely keep you from dripping sweat. I soak through my clothes so quickly, there is no point wearing more than a bathing suit every day. I cannot imagine coming here as a school teacher or any other job that isn’t being my own boss – which takes me back to telling you more about the Selina.
The Selina is a place you should know if you are moving here with remote work. You can rent their co-working space, and they have all kinds of amazing classes like yoga at sunset. They have a great bar, restaurant, coffee shop, and live music. Their wifi is the most reliable from all businesses in town. This is where Bradley and I have been working from for the last 2 weeks while we wait to move into our new place. The staff speaks English very well, and they also offer different types of accommodation. We probably won’t be spending as much time here once we move into our new apartment, but it’s a great place to get your bearings when you first arrive.
There are a few things I wish I had known before moving here, like how many animals and bugs there are. I expected the very many stray dogs and mosquitoes, but lately I have been seeing quite a few rats, mice, and iguanas sneaking around somewhere (including the ceiling of the co-working space…that’s right, I see the 2 sneaky mice run across the wooden ceiling at 6:00am when I turn on the lights and there is no one in the office yet). The dogs generally mind their own business, and now that we have been here a few weeks, I even think they know us.
When I first arrived I was woken up at night by a bird that sounds exactly like someone is tapping on your window (insert that 3 a.m. panic). We believe it could be a woodpecker, so just know that as you drift off to bed. The sound of the waves can be so loud and potent, you might think it’s thunder during your first few days here.
We’re officially one month in! Puerto Escondido is a fabulous place to unplug, learn how to surf, and live a happy beachy life. Because the beach is the main thing to do, you will also find yourself with more time to work on something you have been needing more time for (like working your network marketing business, writing, growing your social media, or taking an online course).
There is still a very touristy side to this place, so the prices range a lot depending on where you are. I would not necessarily recommend this place if you are looking to truly immerse in Mexican culture. There are far too many foreigners to truly learn Spanish, and the food can be adapted to the expat’s palette. To my surprise, I feel that Mexico City, though very cosmopolitan, is filled with more culture than Puerto Escondido. There is something authentically Mexican in the country’s capital, which also has a solid foreigner’s community. However, Puerto Escondido is very much worth the trip, and probably a better choice over the ever popular beaches in Cancún.
Have you ever been to any coastal town or city in Mexico? Let me know in the comments below.