If you’re ready to brave an airplane and looking to REALLY get away from it all with a truly socially distanced vacation, look no further than the beaches of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Not to be confused with Oaxaca city, a mecca for foodies around the world, Oaxaca’s beaches are a solid 5+ hours from the city center.
You’ll fly into Puerto Escondido or Huatulco airports, each a short flight from Mexico City airport and about a 45-minute to one-hour taxi ride to the coast. It’s a bit of a trek, but once you arrive you’ll be rewarded with a truly authentic Mexican experience that is a far cry from the crowds and tourists of Cabo San Lucas, Cancun or even Tulum.
What to Do
Relax, Relax, Relax
This is not a destination for extreme water sports or community events. It’s a place where you come to lay on the beach, have a beer or kombucha at a bar or in a hammock, and fall asleep to the sound of the crashing waves and nothing else. Bring a book, someone you don’t need a distraction from, and wind back the stress of 2020.
There are several beaches and little towns near San Augustinillo, where I stayed (and thus where these hotel recommendations lie). Taxis are inexpensive and easily hired for the day if you’d like to venture
There’s only one wine store and one mezcaleria and boutique in San Augustinillo, but both are worth a visit. You’ll find beautifully crafted clothing, gifts and travel friendly bottles of local mezcal, all at very fair prices. The wine store imports a small but well-curated selection of wines from around the world, perfect for pairing with your home-cooked fish feast when you tire of margaritas.
While you won’t find resort-style dining or upscale ambiance, you will find some pretty fantastic food in this sleepy little town. Even in the year of COVID, El Navagante serves up local specials that change daily and are far more impressive than one might expect from the unassuming appearance.
Where to Stay
An Open Air Bungalow Above the Sea
When you’re craving space for you and your crew, book this rustic home without external walls to embrace the epic ocean views from every room. Staff is available to make sure you’re still well looked after.
An Instagram Worthy Boutique Hotel
Like a Pinterest board come to life, Monte Uzulu is brand new and spares no design detail. Think bathrooms with open air skylights where afternoon rain showers create waterfalls next to the tub.
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A Bohemian Retreat on the Beach
In the center of town and directly on the beach, Casa Aamori is as charming and stylish as the owner, Patti, who you’ll surely find puttering around the pool keeping an eye on her guests’ needs.
What to Know
Water Detox Trick
You’ve heard it before, but tummy trouble in Mexico is real. If you plan on preparing any of your own food, bring Microdyn (also found in most local grocery stores) and make sure to wash ALL produce at home before cooking with it. To be extra safe, avoid street food and confirm with restaurants that salads, etc. have been disinfected. And, of course, always drink bottled water only.
Bring Bug Spray
Much like Tulum or other areas of Mexico where the jungle meets the ocean, the summer gets humid and the mosquitos love it there as much as you do. Generally the closer to the ocean you are, the safer you’ll be from bug bites. Plus the winter months are warm but dry and temperate so bugs are much less of an issue.
More COVID-Safe Travel Recommendations?
Oaxaca is my favorite COVID travel destination, but what about you? The world is starting to open up, and we all desperately need to get out. Remember to stay safe, though!
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