Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido: The scenic road over the mountains through San Jose del Pacifico.

This a trip I’ve taken a half dozen times or so in the last decade. It can be absolutely magical, or it can be you stuck in a cramped eurovan with people puking out the window. I don’t think there is a rhyme or reason. But the views from San Jose del Pacifico, so named because you’re supposed to be able to see 120 kilometers to the ocean from the top of the mountain, make the drive worthwhile. You can fly if you want, but don’t believe the nonsense about a “big highway under construction to the coast”, connecting Oaxaca city to Puerto Escondido. This is bullshit, they’ve been talking about it for a decade or so, and if it eventually happens, it will ruin some of the appeal of Puerto Escondido by mobbing the small city with crowds of local tourists.

You can catch minibuses from any number of companies, all of which leave pretty early, stop a bunch on the way, and have parking garages where they depart a few blocks from Oaxaca’s centro.

Oaxaca is a beautiful city, so if you never want to leave, don’t bother. But there are parts of Puerto Escondido, especially around Las Puntas that have great, laid back, zero fucks beach vibes.

If you’re driving yourself, you can stop in a few towns known for art, black barro negro ceramics and alejibres are both made in Oaxacan villages. There isn’t much too see on the road before you hit the mountains, but most drivers will stop somewhere for a snack, usually fruit or packaged goods, maybe a home cooked meal at a stand. Through the mountains, if you don’t get swallowed up in the frequent fog and the torrents of rainy season, there will be gorgeous vistas peaking out from hairpin turns and switchbacks that cut up the ascent.

There are regular pick-ups and drop-offs, as many of the villagers this far south in the state don’t own vehicles, and have to rely on the transports to get to work, or to go into town for doctors, markets and any kind of entertainment.

As always, all my illustrations are available for purchase as prints. If you see one you like, contact me. Thanks for reading, and get in touch.

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