Costa Chica Region

The Costa Chica is one of two regions in Mexico with significant black population today, the other being the state of Veracruz on the Gulf coast. The Costa Chica is a 200-mile long coastal region beginning just southeast of Acapulco, Guerrero and ending at Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca.

The shaded area in the map above roughly represents the Costa Chica (although I should have extended it a bit more eastward!). The climate is very hot most of the year, and the summer rains can make transportation somewhat difficult, as the roads don’t generally hold up that well. There are few major tourist attractions in the parts of the Costa Chica where most blacks live, although there are a few pleasant local beaches: Playa Ventura and Punta Maldonado in Guerrero and the beach at Corralero in Oaxaca.

While the Costa Chica is home to many blacks, there are also many indigenous groups, as well. I have spent very little time learning about these people, and can’t speak with very much confidence about them. What I do know is that there are two major indigenous ethnic groups in the region: the Amuzgos and the coastal Mixtecs, (and to a lesser extent, Tlapanecos and Chatinos). What is also clear to me is that there is very little social interaction between blacks and indigenous people. Part of this is the issue of the language barrier, but I believe the issue is much more complex than that. There has been a long history of hostility between the two groups, and while today there is no open hostility, negative stereotypes abound on both parts.

The economic base of the Costa Chica, not unlike most of the rest of the countryside, is agricultural. These campesinos, or peasant farmers, concentrate most of their efforts in the cultivation of corn, almost exclusively in order to make tortillas for their own consumption. Other common crops are coconut, mango, sesame, and some watermelon.

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