Published January 2001
Mi estimado don Carlos,
You may or may not be pleased to know that I have dusted off my trusty old copy of the Peoples Guide and taken to reading it again during breakfast and quiet moments out at the latrine. It has been in hibernation for years since my first devouring of its pages in my late adolescence.
Back then I thought your book to be a bible of good words, wise advise and fine tips. But since I'd never travelled in Mexico, what the hell did I know. You could have been making it all up.
But now I've been living deep down in Mexico for a quarter of my life and I know a thing or two about the ways and by ways of the Mexican folks. And one thing I've learned well is the con job, slight of hand, bells and whistles and quick talking sale. And all of that the People's Guide to Mexico is NOT! I've been enjoying it all over again and finding it to be as full of wisdom as I did when I didn't know nada.
But, there are now decent hotels and restaurants between Oaxaca and Puerto Angel.
Generally what you want to do when you are on the road from Oaxaca to the coast is GET TO THE COAST. But, should circumstances arise, flat tires, late starts, etc. there are a couple of options worth considering for places to stay. I have not personally, by the way, tried either, as late start/flat tire or not, I always get to the coast before I set the handbrake.
Your first good possibility is a Hotel 6 with a sign, coincidentally, just like Motel 6 north of the border. This place is amazing and probably worth staying in whether you are coast bound or not. It is no Motel 6; it's actually an ex-hacienda, part of it crumbling down, but all whitewashed and quite grand. The main courtyard has been kept up and is lined with a dozen or so rooms. These are nondescript, typical budget hotel rooms. But they are clean, with bathrooms and ceilings twelve feet high. There is a large dining room as well, and they tell me they serve breakfast and lunch. The large courtyard and setting are very peaceful and relaxing. There is even a small swimming pool. As far as I could tell they don't get a lot of guests.
Hotel 6 is located on the south side of a quiet town called Ejutla (with a nice Thursday market) about 60 kilometers from Oaxaca city. It is on your left as you drive out of Ejutla heading toward the coast -- the first left past a fully preserved and occupied hacienda on your right called La Soritana. Their phone number is (in Mexico: 019-573-0350. A double was $120 pesos when I checked last week.
The next place to stay would be in San Jose del Pacifico up high on the mountain pass of the coastal range. Often cold and foggy. Amazing views when the fog is out. There are a couple of places in town that rent little cabins with fireplaces, and they look like they'd be interesting, if chilly, to stay in. Ask around.
San Jose del Pacifico is more or less the halfway point 'tween Oaxaca and Puerto Angel and therefore a convenient place to stop for lunch. There is a good restaurant on your right (down hill side), a bit before you come into town from Oaxaca. It has a large peaked roof and windows that look out over a long, steep valley. It's called Puesta del Sol and serves up decent hot food at decent prices. Also okay, is a place right in San Jose with wood walls and yellow trim. On your left if you are coast bound.
Lorena's Note: The Peoples Guide to Mexico Website is publishing a series of stories about Erics adventures in what he describes as the "back-cactus" of Oaxaca. Visit Eric's homepage for his latest tale.
Oaxacan Traditional Arts Workshops and Journeys
Eric Mindling leads journeys and workshops in "back-cactus" Oaxaca among potters, weavers and traditional artists. These trips go into the depths of old Oaxaca to experience pottery, weaving, hospitality and other arts as they have been practiced for 4,000 years. These are dusty road and crowing rooster trips into the fabulous yonder with eight participants and two guides who will take you off the map.
For more information visit www.manos-de-oaxaca.com (look for Workshops and Journeys) or write to Eric Mindling at <email@example.com>
© 2001 by Eric Mindling