Saturday, June 9, 2012

2012 Pacific Mexico Beach Review from One Couple’s Perspective (Part I)

Somewhere on the Pacific Coast of Mexico
From Colima we drove down to highway 200 that leads along the Pacific coast, a very spectacular drive. We headed Southeast and jumped from one lovely beach to another: Pascuales, La Ticla, Maruata, Playa Azul, Ixtapa and Zihuatanajo, Pie de la Cuesta and Acapulco, Chacahua, Roca Blanca, and last but not least Puerto Escondido. So far it was the most beautiful part of our trip; we highly recommend it.
We pulled into Pascuales only to find the most powerful waves. Slamming against the shore, breaking from different directions with no rhythm, the waves were making an incredible sound. We watched the ocean for a while, but could not understand its majestic strength. It was breathtaking…
At Pascuales is where we met John, Brent, and Fabi, three surfers travelling the beaches of Mexico in search of the waves. John is from California and doing a similar trip to ours; Brent is a surfing instructor from Australia, and Fabi (Brent’s wife) is a professional body boarder from Brazil. It turned out we were all going the same direction (South along the shore), thus we all got in our vehicles and headed for La Ticla as Pascuales was more beautiful undisturbed.
La Ticla
Our three vehicle caravan pulled into La Ticla and occupied a small Oceanside campground. John, Brent, and Fabi went straight for the water as Aaron and I watched patiently. The waves were smaller than Pascuales, but still too large for our beginner liking. La Ticla is definitely a hot surf spot with huge waves; at least we had to check them out. Later that evening, another American surfing couple showed up on the beach and we also invited them to camp with us. Their names were Ian and Alison and they live in Salina Cruz, Mexico.
The next day I was taking pictures while Aaron bravely attempted to catch a few waves. I got to admit, my husband does not give up easily. He paddled out there with the pros not intimidated by the “double over the head” waves. Even though he didn’t catch any, in my eyes he was a hero!
After a couple of nights hanging out with the other couples at the palapas, we moved down the coast to where the waves would be a bit easier.  
This stretch of the coast is the most beautiful that Mexico has to offer on the Pacific side.  It reminded us of the Big Sur coast in California.
Originally, we stopped at Maruata just to check it out and have lunch. Everybody told us there is a nice swimming beach with a much easier surf break which would be great for us. There are three beaches in Maruata and each of them has Oceanside camping. The first long beach is great for swimming and beginner surfing and there are very many restaurants.
The second, smaller beach makes quite an impression. It is one of the most beautiful beaches we have seen so far: great for swimming, clean water, and an amazing view. 
And then… there is the “hidden treasure” beach, the third beach. The third beach is where we set up our camp for two nights. Out of the way and with a beautiful setting was something we could not resist. For 25 pesos (about $2 U.S.) per person per night was the most beautiful setting we have seen yet. The campground was pretty primitive (no flushing toilets or toilet seats and no running water), but couldn’t beat the view.  
View from the boat of the beach we stayed at.
There we met two amazing couples and their dogs from Guanajuato (Paul, Ali, Steve, and Marc), who were taking a break from the mountains and getting their beach time.  
We ended up being able to surf, swim, and do a little fishing from a boat unfortunately with no luck.

Me and the girls stayed back and had a nice yoga session on the beach.  
 As we entered Maruata, we also entered the most dangerous route of our trip – highway 200 through the states of Michoacan and Guerrero. These states have a bad reputation because they have the most drug cartel activity. Driving only during the day, we experienced the opposite - the most beautiful coastline, the sunniest weather, and the nicest people. We are glad we did not avoid the Michoacan and Guerrero beaches. We heard that in the recent years violence along the coast has calmed down.
Playa Azul
In Playa Azul we could not wait to leave fast enough due to the unappealing scenery. We expected Playa Azul to be more exciting, but after spending time in Maruata it was hard to find a comparable beach. We are sure that Playa Azul can be fun, but a very commercial town with multiple hotels and restaurants was not something we were looking for.
We looked for a campground for a while. Finally, we pulled into a hotel that had a secure campground with a pool and hot showers. The hotel employee told us the price was 100 pesos for both of us. We set up camp, hopped in the pool, took hot showers, and started cooking our dinner. A lady in a big sun hat and even bigger sunglasses showed up; we found out she was the owner of the hotel. She told us that we needed to pay 300 pesos to camp there for the night. We tried to negotiate with her, but she wouldn’t drop the price. We ended packing up our camp and leaving in the middle of making dinner. At least we both have already had a soak and have taken hot showers…

We ended up camping for free at a small beachside restaurant and cooking breakfast for the restaurant owner in the morning. 

He was a very nice guy who worked in California, spoke great English, and we shared some great stories.  The restaurant was located on a laguna next to the ocean and we saw and heard men fishing in the laguna throughout the night. In the beginning I was freaked out. Old cars full of men were pulling up and parking along the water near us in the middle of the night. Were they here to get us gringos? Soon I realized, they were all just passing by and going to fish at the laguna. Funny, after all we were in Michoacan… one of the most dangerous Mexican states…

La Ticla

Approaching La Ticla

Campsite at Maruata


  1. Hey Guys it would be great to add you’re site to, please let us know or register directly on the site. Safe Travels

    Martin & Nicole

    1. Yes, we would love to do that! Thanks for offering; we will look into it soon.