7 Reasons to Visit Puerto Escondido
Join me on a tour of this rambunctious jalapeno of a surf town!
To Take a Foodie – History Tour with Gina
On your first full day in Puerto Escondido, if you really want get to know the town inside and out, you simply must take a walking tour with Gina Machorro. I was a little skeptical of this idea at first. Getting up at 7am to walk through these busy streets during the warmest time of year sounded a little daunting.
Thankfully, Gina put all of my doubts to rest shortly after we met for breakfast at one of the original structures in Puerto Escondido. Still owned and operated by one of the longest running families in Puerto Escondido, we were treated to a traditional meal that included grilled cactus (quite yummy!), refried beans, and tortillas.
The coffee, made from locally grown Oaxaca beans, was as good — if not better — as what you’d find at a trendy coffeehouse in the West Village of Manhattan. As we devoured our meal, we sat and watched the local fishermen return from the early morning launch to usher their spoils (tuna, snapper, etc) to their families so they could then sell them to the local restaurants. In fact, in Puerto Escondido, fishing is one of the primary means by which people support themselves. I was able to snap a pic with a few of the women during this transition.
From there, we moved north to visit one of the most frequented churches in Puerto Escondido to learn a bit about the local figures that locals travel miles on foot to visit. We were only days away from Good Friday, and you can feel the religious energy pulsing through this modest, yet elegant, holy place.
After paying our respects, we continued north to experience what was promised as the best mole negro in all of Oaxaca. Along the way, we sampled fresh limes from trees on the street (you won’t find lemons anywhere in Mexico!), pulled cashmere-soft cotton from cotton trees, smelled fresh herbs, and shared “hola’s” with the locals who seemed genuinely happy to see “gringos” traversing the local veins of their town.
We arrived at small local caterer’s house, a place you’d never notice from the streets in a million years. Beyond the old gates, and past the loyal/friendly guard dog, we met Doña Inez: the grandmother of cuisine in Puerto Escondido. She works with the women in her extended family to create delicious meals for local weddings and events — and a few lucky tourists, like us.
We just happened to arrive on a day when she had leftovers from an order the day before. To say the food we were given was mouth-wateringly delicious would be an understatement to the fullest. HOLY POLLO! The tamales and mole negro was out of control. Wrapped in banana leaves (don’t eat the leaves), we unearthed the spicy/sweet/savory goodness that nearly made us fall over.
Thinking we couldn’t sample anything even close to as good as this, we had our minds blown when we sunk our teeth into the creamy custard wrap. Think creme brulee and corn on the cob having a baby. They basically had to drag me outta there. I felt like a vampire on True Blood after tasting fairy blood.
To be honest, what followed was all a bit fuzzy, as I remained in a glorious food comma for the rest of the tour. In short, we visited a local woman that makes super yummy chocolate from local cacao beans, went to the Mercado (think Chelsea Market) to sample more delicious local food (I also bought a gorgeous hand-embroidered blouse for only $10!), and a made a few more foodie stops that seemed to blur together in a haze of delicious smells and tastes.
All I can say is that I was totally blown away by this tour, and most of all, Gina. She loves this town, the people in it, and makes sure you walk away with a profound respect and appreciation for Puerto Vallarta. Her tour was definitely the best 300 pesos ($20US) I spent on this vacation, and gave me a much deeper appreciation and colorful perspective of this fascinating town.