Australians Go "Walkabout" In Puerto

by Sue Repanellis

Aussie Min.<br />Photo: Sue Repanellis
Aussie Min.
Photo: Sue Repanellis

Why at certain times of the year do we find that Puerto is inundated with Aussies? Well, there are many Australians who have spent a long cold winter working at the Canadian ski resort of Whistler, BC. For more than six months it’s mittens, ski jackets, winter woollies and long johns.

The season in Whistler finishes around the end of April, and there are quite a few Australians, being on this side of the world, who decide to spend the rest of their year abroad by exploring the wonders of Central and South America. They buy a car or truck or fly and bus it through the United States and end up in Mexico City. From there it’s what I, and many locals, like to call “The Gringo Trail”, also a route recommended by Lonely Planet.

Sue Repanellis is the owner of <em>El Lugar,</em> the Australian restaurant in the
Sue Repanellis is the owner of El Lugar, the Australian restaurant in the Punta.

From Mexico City they follow the path to Oaxaca, checking out the local markets and visiting Monte Alban, the ancient Zapotec Capital. After spending a few days taking in the beauty of the colonial city, they travel south through San José del Pacífico (stopping if it’s mushroom season) and visit us here in Puerto. Many of these Aussies come for the surfing, lifestyle, parties and the relaxed vibe. The Australians are known in these parts as being well-mannered, respectful and friendly. Maybe that’s why they are welcome wherever they go.

I’m not quite sure what magic Puerto holds for the Australians but they just love it here. They originally plan to stay for a week, and end up spending two weeks or even a month. You’ll find them in the water - surfing or swimming, on the beach tanning, in the restaurants, or out having a blast in the bars in Zicatela.

Photo: Hunter Pendleton
Photo: Hunter Pendleton

Australian surfers favor the Punta, with side trips to Chacahua. Aussies also like to fish or see the dolphins and turtles. Tours of the Manialtepec lagoon are a major draw, as is the phosphorescence.

After spending time here getting the most out of Puerto Escondido, the Australians strap on their backpacks and head to the cooler climes of San Cristóbal de Las Casas with its cobbled streets, markets and clubs. And then it’s down to the jungle of Palenque with its exquisite ruins and its cabañas in the jungle on the road between the town and the pyramids.

From Palenque, with stops along the way in places like Campeche or Merida, they make their way to Playa del Carmen and Cancún, with a few days of chilling out and scuba diving on the quiet beaches of Tulum.

Now the Gringo Trail takes them on to Belize or Guatemala and points south. But Puerto sticks in their mind, and many return year after year.


  • Learn about, respect and abide by local customs.
  • Do not put paper in toilets. The septic tanks and sewage system in Mexico aren’t built to handle it.
  • For your safety, do not walk on the beaches at night.
  • TIPPING: Tips are shared by waiters and kitchen staff. 10% is acceptable, but 15% shows you really appreciate their friendly service.
  • Talk to the locals to learn about the place and its people, things to do, and places to go.
  • If you are driving, make sure you have all the legal paperwork in the vehicle – just like you would at home.
  • Enjoy yourself!

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