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In pursuit of more waves: Barra De La Cruz to Popoyo

November 30, 2011

Barra De La Cruz was a wonderful experience. The town is tiny, the locals are fun and friendly, we ate some extremely tasty tacos (the best chicken tacos I think I’ve ever had!) and surfed some of the longest waves of our lives so far. A big part of the charm is that the town is still quite undeveloped. It’s a 2.5 hour bus ride plus 40 minute taxi ride from Puerto Escondido. There’s one internet place in the town, and it’s only open from 6 pm to 9 pm (hence, the lack of posts during our stay there). Weirdly, the house connected to the internet shop had four deer in their front yard. They were friendly, but there was something a little strange about people keeping deer as pets.

We stayed at Pepe’s Cabanas, one of the more popular spots since it’s listed in Lonely Planet. 150 pesos (about $10.50 US) gets you a cabana for 2 or 3 people, or you can stay in the dorm cabana for 50 pesos per bed. There are shared toilets and showers with cold water (though it’s so hot most of the time, we can’t imagine wanting hot water), and a small restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are a few other places to eat in town as well, and it’s all very reasonably priced.

The town of Barra is tiny, but the surf spot blew up in 2006 when the WCT held the Rip Curl Search contest there. However, development is still pretty non-existent, I believe mostly due to the community reigning it in and preventing outsiders from moving in and building. There was a rumor that Pepe, the owner of the cabanas where we were staying, was offered a million dollars for his land, but he turned the offer down.

The waves weren’t huge while were there: only about head high on the best sets, but up to 150 yards long! The swell we were hoping for never got as big as predicted, and the swell direction was a little off, so that the wave was quite slow. But with a long, slow wave, you have time to try new moves and get a lot better. We both improved quite a bit just from one week of surfing Barra. We can only imagine what that wave would be like on a good south swell! And we are definitely going to come back more than once in the future, in order to find out…

The beach is a 15-minute walk from town, and you have to pay 20 pesos per person to enter every day. We mostly did the walk at the crack of dawn. We were tired, but dawn was only at 6 am. We’re used to getting up at 4:30 am in the summer for Rockaway dawn patrols!

We spent some flat-water time hiking the rocks at the tip of the point break. Here’s the view of the next bay south of the break:

We also visited a waterfall; the one called El Chorro, which is known as the small one, and is a 20-minute car ride away. Apparently, there is another series of four waterfalls that is much larger, but it was a bumpy 90-minute ride. The El Chorro fall leads to a river where you can swim.

In the background of the above photo are Sammy, a snowboarder and surfer from Switzerland, who’s travelling with his girlfriend Corinne, and… Robert and Matt from Rockaway Taco! We ran into the guys (and girl) from Rockaway Taco — Andrew, Matt, Robert and Sarah, as well as Zach from Rockaway’s AND Coffee — in Barra De La Cruz. Sarah cooked up an amazing vegetarian Mexican-influenced Thanksgiving dinner, to which we wrangled an invitation, and we saw a tarantula during the course of the evening at their lodgings.

We had such a fun time in Barra, largely due to the great people we met and hung out with. The aforementioned Corinne and Sammy:

Dany and Edoardo, from Portugal:

The Rockaway Taco crew (just Sarah pictured here, third from the right, with me, Dany and Corinne):

And quite a few other people that we would see in the water, and inevitably run into at one of the three restaurants in town where we would eat each night.

When the waves totally died, we decided to begin the three-day bus ride towards Popoyo, Nicaragua. We arrived here in Managua via four different buses totalling 38 hours on the road. The price difference between the extremely cheap Central American buses and plane tickets is enough to make this  journey by land very worthwhile. We stayed in Managua for one full day (two nights) and did some looking around. But I’ll save that for another post…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Marisa permalink
    November 30, 2011 10:30 pm

    I accidentally happened to drive down your ex-block yesterday and it was kinda sad (that you’re gone and I miss you) and kinda happy (that you’re LIVING THA DREEEEEEAM!).

  2. December 1, 2011 4:45 am

    popoyo is great! check out the break just after the rivermouth at the end of town
    i believe its called popoyo… nice long left… also the turtle preserve has a nice beach break think its called chacacinte… have a great time!!!

    i surfed san diego for a week with emilio, rex and jamie. waves were small but got to surf black’s, cardiff, d street, trestles…
    then spent the last week in makaha, oahu…nice long rights and bit of a brooklyn vibe
    got to north shore 2 days ago and surfed backdoor yesterday head high
    amazing super clean
    today went out at rocky point and gas chambers and it got to double overhead
    little bit scary but really fun easy take offs … need a bigger board
    tomorrow is supposed to be triple overhead so i’m probably going to watch the contest at sunset…
    it is amazing out here. don’t know if you are going to pass thru but its well worth the trip…
    buenas olas!

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