After making the hour and a half drive further up the Pacific Coast we finally pulled up outside Vivo Escondido, the hostel where we would be volunteering for the next three weeks. We were greeted by warm and welcoming volunteers Kate, Clau, Gab and Bruno, and given a quick tour of the superbly laid out and equipped hostel. Each wall was covered in the most amazingly beautiful works of art, a memento from the volunteers that came before us. The hostel also had three levels to spread out over, along with the all important beer fridge, hammocks, pool and ping pong table. With only a minute’s walk to restaurants, shops and the beach, it truly was a backpacker haven.
That Sunday we got involved in our first weekly pot luck, an eagerly anticipated event where volunteers and guests would each make and bring a dish to share with each other. Given that everyone got behind the idea and there were around 15-30 people in attendance each week, it made for a seriously good feed and night together. It was there that we also got to meet the laid-back and very friendly hostel owners Ross and Jas for the first time.
Not long after we arrived, Kate, Clau and Gab moved on and in their place arrived new volunteers Tommy, Milena and Josh. So many guests who came through would immediately become good friends, with some even extending their stays from a few days to a few weeks. The days would almost always involve endless laughs, cold beers, loud music and pool volleyball, so much so that most of the days seemed to just blend together.
Despite the great times holding us in we did manage to pull ourselves away from the hostel every now and again. One night a large group of us ventured to Laguna de Manialtepec to experience the phosphorescent plankton, a type of magical, natural glitter that appears when the lagoon water is disturbed. I think most of us felt the same when our boat ventured out into the darkness. We weren’t overly enthused about jumping into the dark, mysterious and murky water but we did anyway, and although below most of our expectations thanks to exaggerated advertising it still was quite a cool experience, splashing about as glowing sparkles followed our every movement.
Another evening saw a group of us walk down to Playa Bacocho for the nightly baby turtle release run by a team of conservationists. You were able to watch for free or get involved at a small cost which went back into conservation. Anita and a few others opted for the latter and excitedly watched on as their new friends were released into the ocean, ignorning the sad fact that only very few actually survive.
And so the good times kept rolling. We ate impromtu restaurant quality lunches courtesy of Damo and Jonas, laughed as we listened on to Benny’s almost unbelievable tales, drank piña coladas while getting caught in the rain, enjoyed celebrating guest Matt’s birthday with a last minute barbeque and handmade piñata courtesy of guest John, endured a serious day of drinking in the lead up to the AFL grand final, and listened as guest DJ Pieter seamlessly span his choice of party jams to keep the good vibes coming.
But all good things must sadly come to an end, and as much as we didn’t want to it was time to continue our journey. A massive thank you to Ross, Jas, all the volunteers and guests we had the pleasure of spending time with. It was you that made our time in Puerto Escondido so very enjoyable and we look forward to catching up with you all again one day soon.
Next stop, the serene town of San Cristobal de las Casas.