It’s a thoroughly unenjoyable seven-hour ride from Oaxaca over the mountains south to Puerto Escondido. The views are great, but it’s impossible to enjoy them through tinted windows as you cross over your 5000th speed bump and the driver is careening around every corner at 3 Gs. The only thing worse would have been to do the journey at night, but if you want to save money on accommodation, that’s what you do as a backpacker.
Puerto Escondido is nicer than I expected. I thought it would be like a poor man’s version of Puerto Vallarta or Cancun, but it has a charm that made me want to linger a few days longer, or it was the evening sea breezes that hypnotized me. Not many others felt the same way as I saw few other travelers, but it’s super-low season and very quiet. The best thing I did was swim and laze by the beautiful bay at nearby Playa Carrizalillo.
Simple but very true advice: if you have a choice, always go with an older bus driver over a young one.
The Hostal Monte Cassino just above Playa Principal is 240 pesos for two or cheaper if you pay for a few days in advance. All the beautiful people stay there. I ate street food every day and almost every meal. By doing so, meals averaged about 25-30 pesos.