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By Barbara Schaffer

Tropical beaches are amazingly similar - white sand, blue sea, palm trees. If you are in Mexico, add a few palapas and hammocks if the place is inhabited and not yet "developed". Either way, the photos on your computer all start looking the same and they all look like ads. What is startling, however, is the Pacific Ocean which is never the same. (This only counts as an insight for someone who grew up on the dependable beaches of Long Island and lived on the even more consistent Mediterranean.) The Pacific is more than half the world and geologically unstable. A distant storm, an earthquake or volcano many leagues under the sea, thousands of miles away, can send large swells on a sunny, windless day and knock you off your feet or get you running for your surfboard.

Agua Blanca:
On our first visit to Agua Blanca, Jorge Guerra and Rosa Arreola and I went to that part of the beach that is open sea and waded out to a submerged sandbar where we played monkey-in-the-middle with volleyball. Then we walked to the rocks where tidal pools form and little children splash in a few inches of calm water. A few weeks later I stood where those children had played and was pushed over backwards by waves rushing in between those rocks that took the sand from under my feet. This time the water was so cold that we didn't even attempt to enter the waters not trapped by the boulders.

One eats well in Agua Blanca. Not cheaply, but well. On our first trip, we had lobster fresh from the sea for 120 pesos at the furthest restaurant from the rocks. It was superb. The next time we tried one of the restaurants on the main strip of around a half a dozen eateries, most closed on a weekday, and had equally fresh oysters, 100 pesos a dozen. We even saw oysters in the water. Agua Blanca is also very hygienic. The bathrooms are on the other side of the road from the beach in cement structures. Everything is new, including the large house (or small hotel?) being built there.

A smaller, more secluded beach can be found in Puertecito. The attractions is a rocky cove, a small restaurant and, as we saw, the possibility of camping under the trees. But the 3 km dirt road is not gentle.

Roca Blanca:
It was a 45-minute drive and there were no oysters, because the sea was to rough for the oystermen, but a good time was had by all. It was a Sunday, there were a fair amount of people, including folks from Puerto, and there was a kind of relaxed, party vibe. We got there at noon, went in the water, played dominoes - we had brought a set with us - while we waited for lunch, and then took naps in the well-used hammocks. Then another dip and more dominoes and conversation with other visitors and with some local children.

The sea was as frisky as it had been in Agua Blanca, but it was a lot warmer. The tide was just starting to come in and we could wade out a fair distance as the waves hit us from left and right. I got hit hard in the stomach by a wave in two feet of water and there is a strong rip tide. Towards sunset, the waves got bigger and a group of surfers appeared from Puerto.

The turn-off for Roca Blanca takes you through the village of Cacalote and then through a wooded area. One unusual sight is the fiscus trees that grow around, and eventually consume, the coconut palms. Roca Blanca is also famous for its evangelical mission center, affiliated with the Victory Bible Institute of Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you reach the mission, you've taken the wrong turn for the beach.

Getting there: The turn-off for Agua Blanca is at the 172 km marker, on Highway 200, going east towards Pochutla, 30.6 km from Puerto. The one km dirt road to the beach is in excellent condition. Puertecito is a few kilometers before the Agua Blanca turn-off; the 3 km dirt road is rather bumpy. The turn-off for Roca Blanca is 37.5 km from Puerto heading west towards Rio Grande. The 2 km dirt road takes you through the village of Cacalote.

Sol de la Costa, May 2008


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