Eugene Weekly : Cover Story : 10.23.08


Winter Getaways

Welcome To a Mexican Beach!
Now go straight to hell  
Words and photos by Chuck Adams

The only thing better than an Oregon beach is a Mexican beach. The beaches in Mexico have all the same attractions as an Oregon one (Pacific Ocean, sand) but with just a little bit more to offer. Sun, for instance, and warm water. Fresh piña coladas. Beachside table service. Sunsets set to triumphant disco music. Cerveza Sol. These are the simple effects that make for a relaxing, refreshing winter getaway.

But so many vacationers ask for more than these basic staples. They demand air-conditioned buses, English-fluent tour guides, jet skis, wildlife safaris, whitewater rafting, cooking courses or anything else that will squeeze the value out of a vacation and make for a pleasant, if frenzied, two-week excursion to Mexico. Maybe with the economy in the crapper they won’t demand so much in the future? We can only hope.

And who is this ‘we’?

We are the hundreds of thousands of low-budget travelers who’ve been flocking south to Mexican beaches for many, many years, traveling slowly, lightly and skimpily dressed. We take offense when the New York Times labels a $195 a night hotel in Acapulco a “deal” or when a brand-new resort/golf course/yacht club built in Puerto Vallarta is described as “eco-friendly.” We are insulted by package tours and mini-bars, by wastefulness and gringo Realtors. Thanks to the crap economy, you might soon be joining our ranks. 

We are not happy.

Except when we travel to Mexican beaches, of course! Our latest discovery has been the coast of Oaxaca, where the most premium mezcal ­ a smoky version of tequila ­ can be cheaply consumed by the shot or bottle and some seriously charming artisans sidle up to you at breakfast to peddle their wares (“Beads? Hamaca? Fruta?”). Despite recent reports of civil unrest, gunfire and murder in the region, we’ve found that traveling to Oaxaca is safer than skiing down an icy Mount Bachelor. All the same, we are more than happy to cultivate a fear and paranoia that might stop you from going there and breaking ground on a new Shambhala nudist retreat. In fact, we insist that you stop building these.

But if you absolutely need to expedite global warming by flying to Oaxaca this winter for its spectacular coastline, may we suggest Puerto Escondido (for the surfing), Mazunte (for the sea turtles) and Zipolite (for those who enjoy doing the grapevine down the beach nude while tripping on every psychedelic drug known to man). At each of these places, the thing to do is let your body do the talking. If you’re hungry, have the pescado fresco with a bowl of sopa azteca. If you’re hot, splash in the surf. If you’re cold, drink mezcal. If you’re tired, nap in a hammock. If you want to explore, take a walk and use all the Spanish you know. If you’re bored, go home.

By following these simple steps, you are on your way to a nice vacation. By demanding the “trip of a lifetime,” however, you will be on your way to hell.

Any questions?



Winter Getaways:

Sunrise of the  Gods
The downlow on getting to Machu Picchu 

Welcome To a Mexican Beach!
Now go straight to hell  

A Year in the “City of Happiness”
Rotary Youth Exchange for South student 

The Basics Within a Day’s Drive






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