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Puerto Escondido Top Ten

December 14, 2011

It’s taken a while for us to get our act together and write this post, and we’re doing it from Nicaragua, but here is our list of top ten favorite things we experienced in Puerto Escondido (besides the waves, of course!). We feel like we stayed long enough in Puerto to really get a feel for our favorites. We would highly recommend these to anyone planning to visit:

  • Wood-fired oven pizza at either La Pulcinella (top of the hill on the Adoquin, before the big  intersection — closed Mondays) or La Hosteria (Calle Del Morro, beside Barfly). These two pizza joints have amazingly tasty pizza, and we visited both of them more than once. La Pulcinella had a better crust: crispy on the outside, but thick enough that it was chewy on the inside. La Hosteria’s crust was a little too thin, so it was only crispy and not chewy inside, but they used parmesan cheese and not just mozzarella, so their toppings were slightly tastier. We liked the pizzas with vegetables, tomato sauce, cheese and garlic. We still miss Saraghina, in Brooklyn, but this gave us a good taste of home.
  • The fish tacos at Dan’s Cafe Deluxe (attached to Hotel Casa De Dan). They only serve the fish tacos on Fridays and Saturdays, and are only open until 4 pm. The tacos are Baja-style: once piece of fish per taco with a nice, even breading and then deep fried, served with a smattering of shredded raw cabbage, and pico de gallo, spicy mayo and guacamole on the side. Best fish tacos I’ve had in my life!                                   
  • Gelato at Vivaldi (on the Adoquin, beside Estrella Del Mar). Authentic, rich Italian gelato. Who would have known you could find that in Puerto Escondido?!
  • Las Margaritas (previously mentioned here)
  • La Juquilena – our favorite authentic local restaurant after las Margaritas. Great set lunches and delicious pitchers of aguas frescas as well. Don’t make the mistake we did, and go to the impostor restaurant deceptively named Las Juquilenas on 8th Street, one block away from the Benito Juarez Market. The food there is terrible, and that restaurant is taking advantage of the fact that it’s located in the original Juquilena’s spot — the authentic La Juquilena is located behind the soccer field that’s behind the market.                                        
  • The footpath on the cliffs around the lighthouse — called the Andador. Breathtaking views onto the water and across the bay to Zicatela. Best undertaken in the early morning, before the sun is too high and too hot. We were amazed that more people didn’t mention this as a great sightseeing walk; we only found out about it by accident. Apparently, you can ask the lighthouse-keeper to let you into the top of the lighthouse for a great view, but we didn’t get to do it before leaving.
  • Mercado Benito Juarez – great for buying fruits, veggies, dried bulk foods, fresh aguas frescas to drink on the spot. Also, meat displays that will turn any steak-lover into a vegetarian…
  • Sunset happy hour at La Galera, the rooftop restaurant at the Arco Iris hotel.
  • The botanical garden at UMAR — we missed the period when everything is in flower (January to March), but the scientist tour guides are so warm and welcoming, and they walk you around for 2 hours and tell you genuinely interesting information about the plants and animals. Incredibly, the 2-hour guided tour is free!
  • Aguas frescas — You’ll find these almost anywhere you eat, but we love them so much that we had to add them as a favorite on our top ten list. Aguas frescas are made with fresh-squeezed juice, water and sugar. They’re so refreshing and easy to guzzle because they’re more diluted than straight fruit juice, but still sweet. A large pitcher of agua fresca at a restaurant like Las Margaritas or La Juiquilena will set you back a bare 25 pesos – not even $2. Dangerous! We drank a pitcher whenever we went to either of those two restaurants.
  • BONUS: the colectivo rides. Ride hanging on from the outside for extra thrills at no extra cost! 
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