Day trip to untouched Mexico: Roca Blanca Beach, Oaxaca
One of the top things to do on a visit to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca is to take a day trip to Roca Blanca beach north of Puerto Escondido. Big waves, fresh grilled fish and hammocks swaying in the breeze, it’s a taste of classic Mexico away from the crowds.
Why Take a Day Trip to Roca Blanca Puerto Escondido
On my first road trip to Mexico, a journey undertaken in a Dodge Sportsman camper van around 1988, I was armed with a sarong, some battered cooking utensils and a secondhand copy of The People’s Guide to Mexico: Wherever You Go– There You Are (10th ed) a compendium of stories big on adventure but skimpy on practical travel information.
If you’re looking for Mexico untouched by mass tourism, Roca Blanca beach offers a taste of “Wild Mexico” a spirit captured so beautifully in that hippie handbook. And it’s easy to get to on a day trip from Puerto Escondido.
This graceful beach northwest of Puerto Escondido is known as “Roca Blanca” or “White Rock” due to the quantity of bird guano on its offshore boulders but that shouldn’t stop you from appreciating its many pleasures.
And you’ll find plenty of seclusion – assuming you don’t run into a movie star or two. Although I haven’t been lucky enough to bump into Gael García Bernal, it’s not that far-fetched to imagine you might bump into a celebrity here. Roca Blanca was one of the filming locations (and renamed Boca del Cielo) in the 2001 drama Y Tu Mamá También.
This desolate stretch of coastline dotted with rustic restaurants still draws celebrities such as Diego Luna, camera crews filming Corona beer commercials, chef Rick Bayless ( see the episode of Mexico One Plate at a Time from Season 9) and documentaries such as Campo Abierto. Celebrated Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco even has a hilltop home that’s been featured in many international architecture magazines.
Things to Do at Roca Blanca Puerto Escondido
But the main attraction of Roca Blanca is doing nothing — it’s an ideal spot to go surf fishing, take a long walk, chat with the locals or just laze away the day in a hammock. Located 35 kilometres from Puerto Escondido past Manialtepec Lagoon ( the rare bioluminescent lagoon where you can go Swimming with the Stars surrounded by glow in the dark plankton), it’s a peaceful pocket of natural beauty untouched by development for now.
How to Get to Roca Blanca Beach from Puerto Escondido
Unlike taking a day trip to Barra de Navidad (read about it in the post Swamp Love ) the beach at Roca Blanca takes a little bit more work to get to. The easiest way to get to Roca Blanca is to imagine you’re back in high school and mooch a ride from a friend with a car. But if you’re in Puerto Escondido in the low season when few people are around, or you can’t find a friend, it’s still possible to get to Roca Blanca by public transit.
Take a microbus from the terminal Transportes de Pasajeros Unidos de Rio Grande (corner of 1a Poniente and the Costera Highway). You’ll be sharing the microbus with others so try to get a seat near the front so you can watch for the signs and avoid motion sickness. Get off 40 minutes later on Highway 200 at KM 102 at Cacalote. There is also a sign posted “Roca Blanca” so you can’t miss it. Fare was 30 pesos per person the last time I took it but take pesos in small denominations in case the fare has increased. Pay when you disembark.
Once at Cacalote, you’ll hop in one of the taxis parked at the roadside concession stands. If there are no taxis, just wait as they may be on their way back from the beach. Your taxi fare should cost no more than 25 – 30 pesos ($2 USD) to the beach. If you’re feeling energetic you could make the very long walk (30-45 minutes) down to the beach. Stay right when you come to the fork in the road. If you turn left you’ll be at the Roca Blanca Mission Base, a Christian Bible School.
Best Restaurants at Roca Blanca Beach
When you arrive at Roca Blanca your top hang-out choice is Roca Blanca Restaurant & Bar, the first palapa restaurant at the entrance to the main beach. It’s my favourite spot (and not just because its the place with the highest likelihood of seeing Gael Garcia Bernal).
Owned by Pro fisherman José Galán and his wife Zoila Lourdes Garibo Bustamente, you’ll enjoy a lively atmosphere (check out the wall of celebrity photos), the freshest fish and the cleanest washrooms.
When it’s time to call it a day, ask Zoila to call you a taxi for your return back to the highway where you can flag down any of the passing microbuses marked “Puerto Escondido.” If you decide to stay the night at Roca Blanca beach, simple and rustic rooms are available for 300 pesos (2 people).
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Travel Guide Roca Blanca Puerto Escondido
Email at Roca Blanca Restaurant is email@example.com
954 559-8979 or 954 114-1510
Where to Stay at Roca Blanca: Hotel Escondido, the stylish (and pricey) beach bungalows by Grupo Habita, are located relatively near Roca Blanca beach if you want to stay for a night or two.
And that’s not the end of things to do in Puerto Escondido! Read our Essential Puerto Escondido Travel Guide for more information on hotels, beaches, things to do, day trips and more in Puerto Escondido.
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