Round trip to the universe. Oaxaca, México.

By Marco Ramírez

Oaxaca, in the southern part of México, is what I believe the perfect place to go backpacking.

It all starts in the capital of the state, Oaxaca City. Once you get there you can notice a different vibe in the atmosphere right away. A cozy city, with small and colorful buildings, that excels for its incredibly delicious food. I, as a Mexican who has been to 29 of 32 states in the country, can tell you that the most delicious food in the country is served in Oaxaca.

Mercado 20 de Noviembre is a local market where you can find typical food and should be the place where to start off your trip. Tlayudas, mole negro, tasajo, and the most delicious chocolate beverages I´ve ever tried will be the perfect recipe to charge energy and start the journey.

As a backpacker myself, I think what it´s worth to visit nearby the capital, is a place called "Hierve el Agua". A wonderful place in the mountains which is unique thanks to the petrified (minerals) cascades you can find over there. Since it´s about 1 hr out of the city and with not many public transportation options I recommend to take a tour that also includes stops in other emblematic places of the area, just like hand-made carpet factory, mezcal (typical beverage of the state) factory, and some prehispanic ruins that could be Mitla, or Monte Albán. The principal economic activity of the state is tourism, so you can find easily many tour options. The complete tour (about 7hrs, no food included) must be around $15 to $20 USD. You will find tons of hostels as well in case you decide to stay longer than a day in the city. (in July there´s a festival called "Guelaguetza" which is also worth it attending)


Once you are done with the capital it´s time to move to the shore!(Pochutla is the name of the municipality where you need to get in order to get to the beach) A 6 hr trip through the mountains is waiting for you, yuupi! (sarcasm, one of the toughest free ways i´ve ever been on). There are at least 2 lines of buses that take you there. 3 hrs on the road you will be on top of the mountain and you can stop in the town, San José del Pacífico, to have a meal or spend a night in a cabin beneath the stars, which for sure will be amazing. Also famous in the raining season for the hallucinogenic mushrooms you can find there.

Once you get to Pochutla you need to take a truck that takes you to the beach. The 2 principal beaches over there are Mazunte and Zipolite. The second one a nudist beach where freedom is on it´s maximum display. You will be greeted with a joint and a spectacular beach, which is perfect for surfers due to the waves. Accommodation ain´t an issue, many hostels are right on the shore with really cheap rates ( $10 to $20 USD a night)

As I mentioned, those 2 are the principal ones but as many things in life, the small and hidden ones are the greatest, and here it comes the secret: Mermejita and Ventanilla are out of this planet.

Mermejita is a dessert beach, no hostels, no commerce, nothing but the sea and yourself. If you want to live an unforgettable night full of stars this is the right place, no light pollution at all gives you an incredible view of the universe, I´ve been there 3 times in different moments and each one has been out of this planet, getting tired of counting falling stars and enjoying millions of start above myself.

Meanwhile Ventanilla´s beauty resides on the mangrove and the lagoon that is right next to the beach. An ecologic organization is in charge of the area. They guide you through the mangrove so you can get to see crocodiles and iguanas in their wild life environment. The sunset is spectacular to watch seating next to the lagoon.

Among all this incredible places in Oaxaca you can get lost there 1 week, 1 month, 1.... who cares how long! Just make sure to enjoy every single second of it. How long it last will be up to you...




Don`t forget

  • Huatulco is close to Pochutla and it´s beautiful as well but is way more commercial and crowded than Pochutla.
  • Try as many different meals as you can. They are unique.
  • Go to see the stars at least one night to Mermejita



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