This Underrated Mexico Town Is Great For A Beachside Camping Adventure

Nestled into a Mexican national park is a tiny beach town, located at the mouth of a stunning lagoon, where you can surf while surrounded by mangroves. This rustic town is Chacahua, and it's a great place to lose the crowds while working on your surfing skills. Its remote position in Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua also means that beachside camping is possible without having to worry about safety.

Life is so slow in Chacahua that it operates on its own time, which is one hour behind that of the mainland. As travel here usually means multiple forms of transport, most travelers don't bother, adding to the laidback vibe of this beach town. Chacahua is geographically blessed with views of the lagoon, the Pacific Ocean, mountains, and mangroves. The journey here may be rough, but it is certainly one you'll be glad that you decided to take for a beachside camping experience.

How to get to Chacahua

The closest international airport to Chacahua is Puerto Escondido, although it mainly handles domestic flights. To get here from the U.S., it is easier to fly to Mexico City and catch a connecting flight to Puerto Escondido. Otherwise, it is possible to fly to Oaxaca and get a connecting flight or drive from there. Oaxaca is often overlooked, but it is a top-ranked city to visit by travelers. If you are carrying heavy camping gear, this may influence how you get to Chacahua.

The fastest way to get to Chacahua from Puerto Escondido is to go by taxi to El Zapotalito and get a direct boat from there, which takes 45 minutes for a beautiful journey through the mangroves. A cheaper way is to get a colectivo bus to the intersection after El Tanque next to the La Bamba Hotel and get a shared taxi from there to El Zapotalito. From El Zapotalito, you can get a boat to the other side of the lagoon and then another colectivo to the beach. However, this is a bumpy journey that doesn't save you much money. Colectivos don't set off until they are full, so this route could take longer, which may not be what you want after a busy travel day.

What to do in Chacahua

For such a small place, Chacahua has plenty of things to fill your days. If you're here for the surfing, then head to Chacahua Surf Camp. The staff there can provide lessons or lend you a board so that you can catch the breaks yourself. Cabañas Terra Tipi offers beachside camping right next to the surf shop, so you can get up and go surfing right away. Some of the other hotels will let you pitch your tent if you buy your meals or tours from there.

Aside from camping and surfing, most things to do in Chacahua naturally involve going on boats. You can cross the spit on a short boat ride to get to the pathway for the lighthouse (El Faro) viewpoint where you can watch the sunset. If you haven't seen the mangroves or lagoon on your way in, you can tour it by boat for a better look at the culture and wildlife here. Going out to sea you can see dolphins, turtles, manta rays, dolphins, and even whales from November to March. Further up the coast, Baja California is also a great place to see whales

At night, it is possible to see bioluminescence (luminous plankton), which is truly an otherworldly experience. Whatever you do in Chacahua, you're guaranteed a relaxing experience — far from the crowds of Puerto Escondido.