East Side Bays
Bahía Chahue, about a mile from both Crucecita and Santa Cruz, is wide and blue, with a steep yellow dune above the beach, stretching to the marina jetty at the east end. With waves that break quickly near the shore, and recede with strong undertow Playa Chahue is not good for swimming, boogie boarding, or surfing. Some hotels and restaurants, and a few bars and hangouts are sprinkled along the main Boulevard Benito Juarez, but Chahue beach, three blocks beyond the boulevard, is uncrowded even on weekends and holidays and nearly empty the rest of the time.
About four miles farther east is the breezy and broad Bahía Tangolunda. Although hotels front much of the beach, a signed Playa Pública public access road borders the western edge of the golf course (turn right just past the creek bridge). Except for its east end, the Tangolunda beach is steep and the waves break quickly right at the sand. Palapa restaurants at the public beach serve food and drinks; or, if you prefer, stroll a quarter mile along the beach for refreshments at the luxurious poolside beach clubs of the Barceló and Club Gala Resort.
Over the headland about two miles farther east, Punta Arena (Sand Point), a forested thumb of land, juts into wide Bahía Conejos. Three separate steep beaches spread along the inner shoreline. The main entrance road arrives at high-duned Playa Punta Arena. Playa Tejoncito (Little Coatamundi) is beyond the rocks far to the right; Playa Conejos (Rabbits) is to the left on the other side of Punta Arena. A few palm-frond ramadas for shade and a saltwater flush toilet lavatory occupy the Playa Punta Arena dune. Trees behind the dunes provide a few shady spots for RV or tent campers. (Playa Conejos is a rapidly developing residential zone. By the time you read this, most of the accessible wild dunes and beach may be occupied by houses.)
Beyond La Bocana, near the mouth of the Río Copalita, less than a mile farther east, a long, broad beach with oft-powerful surfing rollers (novices beware) stretches for at least a mile east. Beachfront palapas serve drinks and very fresh seafood and rent surfboards for about $14 per day. A spring-fed lagoon above the beach (bring your kayak) appears ripe for wildlife-viewing.
After La Bocana, the road bends inland, paralleling the Río Copalita wildlife sanctuary, perfect for adventurous exploring. Several operators guide visitors on river ecotours: José Aussenac, owner of Posada Michelle (tel. 958/587-0535), organizes and guides outdoor adventure-tours. Options include bird- and animal-watching walks along riverine forest trails, kayaking river rapids, rafting, and mud baths at a riverside ranch.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition