Puerto Angel Mexico
Better known as “Little Jewel of the Bay”, Oaxaca's little flaunted Puerto Angel is one of Mexico's best kept secrets. Shrouded by the mask of lush, fruit laden hills and swaying palms, this prime slice of South Pacific paradise is yet to be dominated by the mega resort brands of Acapulco and Playa Del Carmen. Puerto Angel nestles within a tranquil horseshoe shaped bay carved out by mother nature, upon the sun-soaked South coast of Oaxaca State. Less than 9 km South-West from the vivacious colonial city of Porchutla, the bay along with Playo Zipolite is one of the most frequented weekend spots for city natives – yet rarely suffers overcrowding. Playa Zipolite offers a welcome contrast to the tranquility of Puerto Angel, famed for its aggressive coastline, rugged landscapes and prime surfing hot spots.
Little more than a fishing pueblo by nature, Puerto Angel is suitably picturesque given the beauty of its natural environs. Quaint cobblestone streets lined with bougainvillea and fuschia gardens characterize its largely residential personality, however one can find cultural solace within one of the many rustic tavernas and restaurants at its heart. Fishing remains the primary industry of Puerto Angel, influencing a rich and tantalizing array of local cuisine. Discover the Southern take on Mexican Red Snapper Veracruzana, escabeche (grilled and marinated dark tuna) and shark ceviche, enhanced with a picante or pepper sauce. The affordable menus also extend to delicious local conch, cayo and lobster infusions.
While comparably smaller than most beach getaways, Puerto Angel has embraced its ever burgeoning touristic influx with a few notable developments. Puerto Angel's gorgeous sandy beaches of Playa Pantheon and Playa Principal are now manned by a full time coastguard, extending the appeal of their clear, calm waters to families for swimming and scuba diving. In exchange for a marketing and sales boost with travel operators, several local activity providers have extended their offerings to boat tours and dive excursions along the nature-rich coast. Shark spotting remains a favorite past-time of the multi-generational families to Puerto Angel – its coast teeming with hammerhead and basking species, along with the aptly named Angel shark (often mistaken for a stingray because of its flat, winged body). Connected to Playa Principal via a cliff-side walkway, Playa Pantheon features a promenade lined with vibrant restaurants, bars offering table service and even an amusement arcade for family fun. Older visitors may enjoy a stroll along the recently renovated Pantheon Pier, although locals purport the best vistas are those to be had from the cemetery, just beyond the shady palm groves of the beach.
Since the restoration efforts of 1999, Puerto Angel has once again risen like a phoenix from the ashes. Great hurricanes of that year devastated the ornamental wooden facade of its 18th Century clifftop church and historic mooring pier, along with many restaurants lining Playa del Pantheon. Efforts have been made to extend Puerto Angel's touristic appeal to Mexo-Pacific beach hoppers, with AV parks and designated camping areas offering budget pitches for little more than a hundred Pesos per week. Puerto Angel remains a great base location for exploring the towns of Riviera Oaxaqueña, including the coastal communities of San Agustinillo, Mazunte and La Ventanilla – considered the jewels of the Mexo-Pacific coastline.