Puerto Escondido, in Afterthought

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

Two days after the robbery, we dared to venture out from the security of our apartment. At once, the excursion down our simple sand street to the commercial center of La Punta felt ordinary yet reckless. We had walked this road several times before, but now we did it with deep suspicion of all we passed. The small children dragging their sandals to kick up dust, the old man on his daily walk with his goats – we watchfully kept our distance from them all.

With hands clutched, we rushed to our destination. It was still broad daylight, a bit too early for dinner, but as late as we wanted to be out. We settled into the hard plastic chairs of the open-air taco joint and surveyed all around. There was one other couple dining, but our attention was drawn down the small street to the beach in front of us. There were plenty of people around enjoying the last light of day, frisbees were being tossed and sand castles were being built. The long fingers of thin cloud were just starting to pick up the colours of the descending sun – pinks and purples were set to burst soon.

As we savoured our food we found ourselves savouring our surroundings as well. Even after what Pete had just been through, he was the first to comment how quickly the easy-going and friendly nature of the neighbourhood was already loosening his resolve. This is pure paradise, we both thought and he said aloud.

After our meal was complete we walked hand-in-hand back down to the beach for the first time since the incident. Pete pointed out where he had been held up and we stood for awhile, staring. It was going to be our last time on that massive and alluring beach, probably forever. Had the robbery not occurred, I could have seen us make regular pilgrimages to our wonderful refuge in Puerto Escondido. But it happened. And even though we hold no ill will against the town itself, it will now always be known as the place where that happened.

And so, our last glimpse…

Even after what Pete had just been through, he was the first to comment how quickly the easy-going and friendly nature of the neighbourhood was already loosening his resolve.

Beach-Puerto-Escondido
Puerto-Escondido-Popcorn-Clouds

Puerto-Escondido-Side-Street
Surfing-Puerto-Escondido
Watching-over-Puerto-Escondido

Playa Carizalillo
Mexico-pink-sunset
Puerto-Escondido-Mexico

Sunset-Mexico
Beach-pebbles
Palm-Tree-Sunset

Smooth-Water-Mexico

21 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • April 14 2014

    WOW these photos are breathtaking!!! I especially love the palm tree with all of those clouds!

  • April 15 2014

    I definitely understand your need to move on. It would be very hard to shake off negative feelings after being held up at gunpoint. I was robbed in Guatemala, albeit passively, and it really gave me mixed feelings about my experience in that country. Looking back now I have a much more positive picture of my time there and I hope that when you look back on your time in Puerto Escondido in the future, you can more clearly remember the positive. Thanks for the great post πŸ™‚
    Katie Bell recently posted..Last days in Vancouver

    • April 17 2014

      For the two weeks before the incident, we felt like we had found a true paradise, and are just crushed that one guy brought our utopia down. Hopefully time will heal.

  • April 15 2014

    Stunning photos. It’s really a cool place despite the incidence you guys experienced.
    Jeff recently posted..Weekly Roundup – 4 Main Factors to Consider When Choosing a Flight

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    April 15 2014

    A lovely farewell tribute to a place that certainly put you through the wringer. I definitely understand what you mean about not wanting to hold a fluke negative experience against a place, but also knowing that nothing will ever be the same there for you after it nonetheless. I guess the upside is that Mexico seems to have no shortage of beautiful, wonderful places for you to explore, so although it’s adios to Puerto E this just opens you up to find a new piece of paradise.

    • April 17 2014

      So true Steph. Our time here overall has been so amazing, it really is such a shame that we carry this one major blemish.

  • April 15 2014

    Such a beautiful place, but such a shame what happened, and I completely understand why you’d never plan on returning. Hopefully the good memories and beauty of the place stay with you rather than the other thing.
    Sam recently posted..How to Reduce Stress While Travelling

    • April 17 2014

      Thanks Sam. Maybe with time, it will be a place we could return too, but it still stings pretty good right now.

  • April 15 2014

    So sorry this happened to you and that it understandably tainted you experience of Puerto Escondido. We have been traveling through Mexico and Guatemala for the past six month and have been blessed to only have experienced petty theft of non valuable items from the beach. However we met with Tim of Marginal Boundaries the other day, he has lived in Mexico for several years now and he says that cel phones are one of the most stolen items as they are so very expensive here. Crime can happen anywhere but it helps to know what the most common crimes are in whatever location you’re visiting. After reading your story and speaking with Tim we will definitely be keeping our cel phones hidden when out and about. Hope the rest of your travels through Mexico are as fabulous as ours have been.

  • April 16 2014

    It is a pretty little place. It’s a shame it will never be the same for you, but that just means your paradise is still out there waiting for you to find it. πŸ™‚
    Heather recently posted..Touring the U.S. Capitol and Library of Congress

  • April 16 2014

    As a frequent visitor to Puerto Escondido, I was sorry to hear about the robbery. I , like many others, have traveled all over Mexico and spent months in Puerto without ever experiencing a robbery or even the threat of one. That said, it happens. One of the worst aspects of all this is that the police are not your friends. This is especially true in Puerto where the police just do not care. Part of this is due to the complex politics of Puerto Escondido which is not a city in its own right but an agency of two rural towns where corruption is rife. The other sad aspect is how this type of incident drives tourism down and this really hurts the hundreds of honest hardworking people who’s livelihood depends on visitors. Puerto needs to find a way of taking control of its crime problem.

    • April 17 2014

      Thank you so much for your comment Peter. After the incident, we heard the same thing, that visiting the police would be a giant waste of our time. It is a real shame, because every other second of our time there was pure bliss. I hope PE can figure it out for the benefit of all.

  • April 16 2014

    Wow! Great shots. These pictures inspire me to hit a beach soon!

  • April 16 2014

    Love the long exposure photos! Technique and vision is getting better and better by each post!

    The sun may have set on Puerto Escondido for you guys but the sun will rise on another beautiful place.

    • April 17 2014

      Thanks Jeff. As always, your comments mean so much to us. πŸ™‚

  • April 18 2014

    Bummer that you guys had to go through that. πŸ™
    These pics are gorgeous, though. I love the last one especially.

  • April 19 2014

    That f*#@ing… ugh, I’m out of swear words for that pathetic specimen who inflicted those painful memories upon you both. Such a shame that PE is now tainted by that awful experience {sigh…} Gorgeous photos, comme d’habitude. Good luck and safe(r) travels!
    Lunaguava recently posted..Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Antigua Guatemala: Penitence

  • Proud of you for going out despite your nerves and apprehensions. What a pity that the robbery tainted PE for you guys. Hopefully you can still look at your gorgeous photos with some measure of fondness and recapture the bliss you felt before.
    Steph | A Nerd at Large recently posted..That Time I Was Chased By Zombies Through the London Underground

  • April 30 2014

    They can take away your cell phone, but they can’t take away these beautiful pictures of Puerto Escondido that you shared with us.

    I’m glad you shared Pete’s experience b/c it makes other travelers aware of the risks involved with travel in some destinations.
    Nancy D. Brown recently posted..Horseback Riding Morro Bay, California

  • May 13 2014

    Great sunset shots. What a beautiful spot!

  • Beautiful photos of a beautiful place! I’m so sorry for what you experienced. I hope you will only be able to remember the good times when you look back.
    Vanessa @ Green Global Travel recently posted..MALAYSIA: Bornean Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre

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