Paddle Boarding in Puerto Suelo

Paddle Boarding in Puerto Suelo

By Kristy Martin. Photos: Jarryd Bravo.

I place each foot gingerly on the floating white board and my legs immediately begin to wobble. Positioning my feet shoulder width apart, I make sure they are in the centre of the board, just like the instructor told me.

Using the tall paddle to push away from the shore, I’m immediately nervous at the thought of falling head first into the murky water. For a few minutes my legs are tense as I try to maintain balance, but soon I find my groove and can relax a bit.

I'm doing it! I'm paddle boarding!

I let the breeze wash over me and enjoy the calming experience of stand up paddle boarding on Manialtepec Lagoon, 16 kilometres from Puerto Escondido. It is an overcast afternoon, but the landscape is serene and the more confident I become at paddling while standing, the more I am free to soak up the stunning surrounds.

After this brief but fun introduction to the world of paddle boarding, our small group of international tourists piles into a motor boat and heads out towards Puerto Suelo, a little community on the lagoon made up of just five families (and one school house).

Paddle Boarding in Puerto Suelo

We stop to paddle board through a thickset jungle of mangroves, the branches so low that each paddler must remain on their knees rather than standing upright. In parts, the low-slung branches close in tight and it is like being inside some sort of thatched cavern; an upside down bird nest of intertwined branches. The trickling sound of our boards and paddles breaking the water’s surface is the only noise other than the far off calls of birds.

For the non-paddlers, this is a chance to relax on the moored boat, sip frosty beers and absorb the natural beauty of the lagoon and mangroves.

Paddle Boarding in Puerto Suelo

Not far from Puerto Suelo, the boat stops for a third time and a few of us step off for more paddle boarding. This time, our backdrop is a spectacular fiery sunset, glowing hot pink and orange from behind fluffy purple clouds and silhouetted palm trees. We paddle slowly, feeling calm and relaxed, making sure to take it all in.

Arriving at Puerto Suelo, we receive warm hospitality at a beachfront restaurant, where we are provided with cold beers and fresh fruit. I can’t help but think how lucky I am as I shovel the refreshing fruit into my mouth, guzzle my icy cold beer and watch the mesmerizing sunset before me. What makes this moment even more special is that when I turn away from the sunset, I can see dramatic storm clouds have gathered overhead and the occasional silver lightning bolt comes crashing down to the horizon.

As we make our way back in the boat in darkness, the fresh breeze tickling my face, I’m still in awe of this natural wonderland. Fireflies light up the trees like Christmas lights and the moon grins down at us like a silver banana. We scour the lagoon for crocodiles by torchlight and splash our hands around in search of the magical bioluminescence. This is nature at its finest.

For paddle boarding in Manialtepec and sunset in Puerto Suelo, book a tour with Javier Santos at
(954) 135 0188

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