Gringos Guide To Driving Mexico, Central America & Costa Rica
Acapulco - Pinotepa Nacional - Puerto Escondido

Acapulco – Pinotepa Nacional – Puerto Escondido

DRIVING TIME: 7.7 hours
MILES: 242
HWY: CA 200

Acapulco – Pinotepa Nacional – Puerto Escondido

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 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 many 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.

Puerto Escondido

PE is a great coastal town, and those with some extra time might want to check out the gorgeous beach at Puerto Angel, about 45 km 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. You will come across many roadside hotels when you first enter the town. You can stay in a beachfront bungalow for the same price, so check your options. 

Learned Lessons

Use extra precautions. You’re now in the state of Oaxaca. Just outside of Pinotepa Nacional, I was followed for several miles. As I left the town, the car behind me shone an extremely bright spotlight on my vehicle. Needless to say, I was concerned that I was in danger. It was 11:00 p.m. on a Friday night, 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 that evening. The car following me had a stroke of bad luck after several miles, and thankfully something rendered the car useless. I saw smoke spouting from the “bad guys” engine compartment in my rearview mirror. 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 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. 

Special Directions

Fill your tanks in Acapulco. I almost ran out of gas before I made it to Pinotepa Nacional, and I had an eighteen-gallon tank. This particular area has almost no regular gasoline stations, be forewarned. For those desperate for gasoline, private enterprises along the route will fill up a gasoline container at a cost 50% higher than normal.

Next Section of Drive

Puerto Escondido – San Cristobal de Las Casas (Route 1)

Puerto Escondido – San Cristobal de Las Casas (Route 1)