DRIVING TIME: 8 hours
HWY: CA 200
Okay, you’re on your way to Pinotepa Nacional. When you first leave Acapulco, the sensation is one of confusion as to whether you have chosen the correct road because there are no signs, and you will pass through several small towns. Yet if you turned off the main highway and followed the Pinotepa N. sign, you have nothing to fear except for the fact that the roads are wicked for several hours after Acapulco, but after Pinotepa, they improve greatly. This is a straightforward drive, about 8 hours with lots of potholes.
Hotel & Eats
In Pinotepa Nacional, there is the Motel Carmona right at the entrance to the city. The place is always full, and the big doors are shut tight until the morning. There is a cafeteria located at the motel. Time permitting, walk downtown and spend some time in the central part of the city – it is a fantastic place to pass the time.
PE is a great coastal town, and those with some extra time might want to check out the gorgeous beach at Puerto Angel, about 45k south of Puerto Escondido. These are some of the most beautiful beaches in southern Mexico. If you’re not a strong swimmer, be extra cautious while swimming at Puerto Escondido. The surf is strong, and the undercurrents are intensely powerful. PE is known as the Mexican Pipeline. This is a popular surf location; I urge you to spend some time here whether you surf or not. It is a truly magical locale.
Hotel & Eats
Puerto Escondido has many nice hotels and restaurants, look around, and you won’t go wrong. When you first enter the town, you will come across many roadside hotels. For the same price, you can stay in a beachfront bungalow, so check your options.
Use extra precaution; you’re now in the state of Oaxaca. Just outside of Pinotepa Nacional, I was followed for several miles. The car behind me shone an extremely bright spotlight on my vehicle as I left the town. Needless to say, I was concerned that I was in danger. It was 11:00 p.m. on a Friday, and I was driving alone in the heart of Oaxaca.
My Toyota pickup reached elevated speeds and made perilous corners that I thought were only possible in a small sports car. Something was watching over me this evening. After several miles, the car following me had a stroke of bad luck, and thankfully, something rendered the car useless. In my rearview mirror, I saw smoke spouting from the “bad guys” engine compartment. I can honestly report that I didn’t travel at night for the remainder of the trip. I later ran into a couple that was chased in this same area and robbed at gunpoint. Don’t drive at night.
A Fork In The Road
At Puerto Escondido, you may follow the coast to the Guatemalan border, or you may enter from the mountains near San Cristobal de Las Casas. If you are not returning with your vehicle to North America, you must travel to the border entry points at Talisman or Cd. Hidalgo to process your Mexican vehicle paperwork.
Fill your tanks in Acapulco. My 18-gallon tank almost ran out of gas before reaching Pinotepa Nacional. This particular area has virtually no regular gasoline stations, be forewarned. For those desperate for gasoline, some private enterprises along the route fill up a gasoline container at a cost 50% higher than usual.
Next Section of Drive
Puerto Escondido – San Cristobal de Las Casas (Route 1)