One of the better organized lodging options around Laguna Manialtepec is Las Hamacas, at the lake’s eastern end near the Kilometer 126 marker, about 10 miles (16 km) west of Puerto Escondido. The owners have gotten off to a good start in creating their version of paradise, with a mini-farm of ducks, goats, sheep, cattle and rabbits, a lakeshore palapa restaurant (entreé $3–8), kayak rentals ($20 per day), and lagoon tours.
One kilometer farther west is the sleepy little family-run pocket Eden of La Alejandria, (local cell tel. 044-954/550-2873, $10–15 RVs, $15 cabañas), which nestles along its 100 yards of lakefront, shaded by palms and great spreading trees. It’s so idyllic that the Tarzan TV series picked La Alejandria for its setting, adding a rustic lake tree house (now destroyed by hurricanes) to the already gorgeous scene. Embellishing all this is a homey restaurant/bar, screened-in from bugs, decorated with animal trophies, and reminiscent of an old-time East African safari lodge.
La Alejandria rents about six palm-shaded RV spaces with electricity and water (be prepared with your own long extension and hose) for about $10, $15 with electricity. Camping spaces also go for the same prices. They also rent some very rustic South Seas cabañas for about $15; check for mildew and see if everything is working before moving in, however.
Another kilometer west of La Alejandria is lakefront restaurant and dock Isla El Gallo (tel. 954/588-7280, 954/588-3650), perfect for a day or a week exploring the lagoon. At least stop for lunch at the restaurant, then follow up on more local options, such as snoozing in a hammock, volleyball, swimming, kayaking, and bird-watching along the mangrove-decorated shoreline, launching your own canoe or boat ($5), or hiring one of El Gallo’s boatmen to take you on a lagoon excursion from the dock.
If you decide to linger, Isla El Gallo offers 18 modern, invitingly furnished lakefront hotel rooms ($46 s or d, $50 t, $55 q). The lower rooms’ windows, unfortunately, don’t open for fresh air. Ask for one of the upper-floor rooms, with doors opening to private balconies and lake views. Tariffs include hot-water shower-baths and a/c.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition