Puerto Arista is a quiet place to kick back and enjoy a seaside getaway. The beach is ashy, volcanic sand and the surf is heavy enough to make you want to grab your surfboard and enjoy some waves.
You won’t find luxury hotels at Puerto Arista and you won’t get lost in this one-street town! The main road is referred to as El Boulevard but also goes by Avenida Mariano Matamors or Boulevard Zapotal. In fact, the town is so small that addresses are listed as either east or west of the main intersection where the road from Tonala connects to the boulevard. The town is set amid citrus and palm trees, a hot and sleepy retreat during the weekdays and a haven for tourists looking to cool off on the weekends.
Jose’s Camping Cabanas is one place that you can stay if you’re on a budget but don’t want to rough it by camping. The cabanas are small but comfortable, clean and bug-free. Jose is actually from Canada; tired of the cold, he traveled to Mexico in the 1960’s and found his paradise in Puerto Arista.
You can partake of the communal meals cooked by Jose for an extra charge and mingle with the other guests. About 200 yards from the beach, you can easily walk down at any time and enjoy the miles and miles of ocean and the beautiful mountains in the background. This charming establishment is a great place to relax in good company and enjoy the warm waters of the Pacific.
You can rent a canoe from Jose’s very reasonably and explore the mangroves and all the local wildlife. As you glide through the water you’ll see egrets, kingfishers, herons and hundreds of other exotic and brightly colored birds. The wildlife itself is well worth the trip to Puerto Arista!
If you prefer to stay someplace more conventional, the Lucero hotel and restaurant is a nice hotel across from the beach with a friendly staff and four swimming pools if you prefer not to swim in the ocean. They have cheap drinks and gated parking to make your stay a pleasant one and the restaurant on the beach serves good, simple food.
The beach is a wonderful place to surf, windsurf or swim but don’t be stingy with the sunscreen! Even if you choose the highest rated sunscreen you can find you will probably burn after more than fifteen minutes in the sun, even if you are sitting in the shade. Despite the heat, it’s worth your while to wear long sleeves and pants if you’ll be outside any length of time. You might even find this a good opportunity to try out the light-weight ultraviolet-resistant apparel that has become so popular.
Further down the beach is a turtle sanctuary. If you are there at the right time of year you can watch the turtles lay their eggs at night. Please do not disturb them!
You can get to Puerto Arista by bus from major towns during the holidays of Christmas and Easter but otherwise you’ll have to take a taxi.
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