|Tricolored Heron - click for larger image|
We have survived Semana Santa down here! And, the only way that can be done is to venture to the nether regions of Oaxaca...sounds like a trip to Chacahua Lagoon National Park is in order.
Located about 45 minutes to the west of Puerto Escondido is one of the largest salt water lagoons in Mexico...Chacahua.
The drive from Puerto Escondido is very straight forward, save for the odd unpainted tope (speed bump) which will send your transmission to the curb faster than you can say "tope". Aside from that, expect an easy excursion to a military check point which marks the turn off to Chacahua. We were politely asked to exit the vehicle while they inspected our car for the standard illegal paraphanalia. Having discovered nothing more than the odd chewing gum wrapper, we were on our way!
Created in 1937, the park is home to some 3000 inhabitants and is administered by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas. Some 55 square miles in size, the Chacahua Lagoon has park programs which include natural-habitat recovery, management of forests and agricultural lands, regulation of fishing, eco-tourism, rural planning, a crocodile-recovery program, and protection of the marine turtle population.
|Green Heron - click for larger image|
Chacahua has an interesting history and a large part of the population is Afromestizo. These African-Mexicans are descendents of African slaves who were brought to the region hundreds of years ago. It's said a slave ship headed for the Americas ran aground here and this is where they stayed.
Our guide Ebi had arranged for a local panga boat to take us through the maze of mangroves, eventually spitting us out at the ocean again. As we weaved our way through the national park, we spotted numerous bird species including osprey, pelicans, boat billed heron, great heron, snowy egret, vultures, cormorants, and host of other species...some 189 species of animals, and 246 species of flowers make their homes here. Be sure to have your camera ready!
|Chacahua Lagoon National Park - click for larger image|
We finally made it to the beach and awaiting us was 11 kilometres of arcing, white sand that seemed to never end. To the west were the palapa restaurants and the waves peeling off the point, with only a handful of surfers to be found. To the east lie nothing but empty coastline. A place like this anywhere else would have been over run by Easter break tourists. Thank god, our escape!
Without describing every single detail, I leave the rest to your imagination. This is a beautiful place, I hope you add this to your bucket list.
Be sure to visit the gallery where I've posted 10 new photos from Chacahua Lagoon.