Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mexico's Hotel Santa Fe in Puerto Escondido

My favorite hotels in Mexico have that authentic Mexican ambiance found no where else in the world. You can enjoy French and Italian-inspired hotels in Mexico, but vice-versa? Sure, there are German towns in S. America. Where in the world can you find that wonderful Mexican "onda"? (Spanish slang for "vibe", onda literally means wave or ripple and "la onda" means "tune in".)

There is nothing more liberating than a week on the beach in a genuine Mexican hotel in a bona fide Mexican town with a perfect tropical climate, handmade margaritas, surfers gracefully riding great waves, and hippie expats mixing with long-time locals. Now I'm going to share one of Mexico's best-kept secrets, an act typically reserved for clients of "Changes in Latitude".

Puerto Escondido is home to one of the most extraordinary hotels I've discovered in Mexico. Should you ever find time to experience this bohemian surfer's paradise, stay at Hotel Santa Fe. The Presidential Suites are amazing if you really want to splurge, but the Master Suites are also fabulous. The restaurant is a vegetarian's dream, the grounds a lush paradise, and the hospitality is impressive even by Mexico's high service standards.

The hotel was founded 25 years ago by Robin Cleaver and his wife and friends. Robin's parents had retired in Guadalajara in the 60's and he discovered then-tiny Puerto Escondido while vagabonding about Mexico. The town has grown to 50,000 friendly residents but the costa chica onda remains. Indigenous Zapotecs and Mixtecs continue to live in the area ... in much the same manner as they lived 2,500 years ago, trading village-to-village, living off the land and the sea. Be sure to visit the villages neighboring Puerto Escondido on market day.

Puerto Escondido is a quintessential Mexican village ideally situated on a protected bay along Oaxaca's Pacific coast. It is home to coffee farms and fishermen. You can connect to a direct flight from D.F. to avoid the occasional political turmoil in Oaxaca City but allow 2 hours for your layover. While there, be sure to visit the Living Museum of Sea Turtles on Mazunte Beach. For news about forever peaceful Puerto Escondido, read the fabulous local web magazine El Sol de la Costa. Click here to learn more about Hotel Santa Fe.

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