We’re staying on Zicatela, one of the top surf beaches in the world – according to those in the know. It’s not for swimming that’s for sure, as the surf is often enormous with dangerous rips and currents, but that doesn’t deter the hordes of young surfers at La Punta (the southern end of the beach), hanging, as they do, around the sharp looking rocks, being dive-bombed by swirling pelicans looking for their early morning snack.
Again, with so few tourists or travellers here (being the ‘rainy season’), we’re often the only people on the beach, walking in the heat and humidity as we do from La Punta up to Zicatela proper. Mad dogs and Englishmen I hear you say…. and you’d be right.
Strange history here. According to local legend, this place was often frequented by pirates, and not just any pirates but English ones of course, raiding the local conquistadors who were too busy converting the Miztec and Nahuatl nations across to the Catholic church. Bells and Smells won the day…. Anyway, one of the said fierce pirates was a chap by the name of Andrés Drake – yep, that Drake, brother of Francis. He anchored his ship in the bay to rest up and hide for a few days away from the local authorities and in true holidaying Brit style, got familiar with the locals, taking one captive and who knows what. She eventually escaped and being a good swimmer, jumped overboard and swam to shore, hiding in the jungle, just beyond the beach – hence the name, ‘La Escondida’ (the hidden one) or ‘Puerto Escondido’ (the hidden port).
A few English stragglers remain, as spotted today at Bar Kuta on Zicatela, where they were loudly complaining about their ‘atrocious ‘eads’ and ‘I feel like I’m having a heart attack’, before falling into an unconscious stupour onto rope-suspended swinging mattresses. Party excess or conquistador’s revenge? Perhaps Thomas Cook is the new Andrés Drake. Heaven forbid!