Subject: Re: Re: Oaxaca
Laura wrote:

>Did you have any concerns regarding crime in that area?

My concerns regarding crime in Oaxaca reflect the same concerns for all my travels. Street crime in the city of Oaxaca is very low. There are reports of tourists being robbed while hiking in the hills above the Observatorio (Cerro del Fortin). It would be unlikely that you would head up there.

Puerto Escondido has experienced some muggings and robberies at night along the beach between Perez Gasga (the beach front street in the town proper) and Zicatela Beach. Especially around some rocks called the Marineros. The general rule is don't walk alone along this stretch.

I have quoted Geri Anderson's website in Mexconnect ( for the following passage:

Then in March '98, on Playa Zicatela, a former art college instructor was brutally beaten, raped, and thrown into the ocean where she drowned. Still reeling from bad press from big storms, Puerto Escondido was again in the headlines. Vacationers have known for years it#s not safe to walk along Zicatela beach after dark. The scary part of this incident, in addition to its raw brutality: it happened in the early afternoon. The attack made headlines in the the U.S.

In spite of this, I feel safe in Puerto Escondido. Every day, hundreds of visitors walk the streets and beaches safely, taking normal precautions. So, last April I returned once again to the hidden port. Along the Playa Principal were newly-installed lights. Three armed policemen patrolled Play Zicatela during the day. Lamposts lay along the street paralleling the beach, ready to be hooked up. Perhaps all this was the result of the recent tragedy?

Laura, I've been traveling in Mexico all my life. And I have been the victim of crime there ( had my pocket picked on a Mexico City subway). But I've had many more crimes befall here in my own country. My feeling is that crimes against tourists in Mexico are no higher (or lower) than in other countries but are definitely lower than in the United States. That said, I highly recommend you take this trip to Oaxaca. Once you've exposed yourself to what Mexico has to offer you'll be smitten for life.

>How often do they run the aero-taxi flights? (Is the schedule reliable?)

At least one flight a day each way. They increase the flights upon demand. The company is called Aerovega and they fly a 7-seat Cessna. To contact from the U.S., in Oaxaca Tel. 011-52-9-58-627-77; FAX 011-52-9-58-632-65. In Puerto Escondido Tel. &FAX 011-52-9-58-201-51. As I recall the costs were about $55 each way. Afternoon flights from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido and morning flights the other way.

>How would you compare your experience in Oaxaca to the rest of Mexico? It seems like such an interesting and well-preserved place, both physically and spiritually.

The wonderful thing about travel in Mexico is the unique character of each region. One can make dozens of trips to Mexico and feel as if each visit is to a different land. And when you add the bonus of some of the world's most beautiful beaches within a day's journey from anywhere within the country it spells P-A-R-A-D-I-S-E to me.

Oaxaca is special due to the beauty of the surrounding Sierra Madre Mountains, the existent indigenous cultures, and the strong historical presence of Spanish colonialism. Of course, these three elements are repeated throughout Mexico but seem to be on a grander scale here in Oaxaca. (I warn you a visit here will only whet your appetite. Next, you'll want to see Patzcuaro, then San Cristobal de las Casas, then the Yucatan...)

>And, just out of curiosity, how long were you there? Our time there will be pretty brief (just 5 days), so we're trying to make the most of it.

My first visit to Oaxaca was in 1979. I spent a year traveling through Mexico with my VW bus, my best friend ( a German Shepherd named Crystal), and my surfboard. I spent about a month in the state of Oaxaca that trip.

I returned in 1998 with my wife and a group of four other friends. This trip we spent 5 days in Oaxaca and 5 in Puerto Escondido. We've been traveling together to Mexico on an annual basis for the last five years. This year we're going to the Yucatán and Quintana Roo. Check out our informational website at: Last year's trip was to Michoacán:

>When we travel we enjoy staying in small out of the way places as opposed to resorts, as that is the only way to learn about a country, a region and its people. It seems that Puerto Escondido would be more suitable for this than Huatulco. Did you, by any chance, check out Huatulco at all? If so, what was your impression?

Nope, didn't go to Huatulco. I try to keep away from the megaresorts. They don't offer anything to me in the way of displaying the true nature of a country or its people. They all seem the same to me. So I avoid them. For the same reason this year we're staying on the coast of Quintana Roo about an hour and a half from Cancun.

Here are some more websites for you: About Hotel Santa Fe in Puerto Escondido:

A great all-around site for the Pacific Coast of Mexico, this bookmark is specific to P.E.

Rough Guides page about P.E.

Oaxaca's Dept. of Tourism website:

Mexconnect's section on Oaxaca:

One place to stay in Oaxaca:

Where we stayed in Puerto Escondido (a bit rough around the edges)

A nicer place for a honeymoon:

This ought to keep you busy for awhile. Don't hesitate to ask about any thing else. I'm always glad to help out.

John Rule San Diego, CA