central Oaxacan coastline is totally beautiful. Instead of getting
to famous Puerto Escondido which is much more commercialized, get
to the area of quieter, less touristic and more relaxed slowly
paced spots like Mazunte, San Agustinillo, Zipolite and Puerto
Angel. They suit the backpackers mind and budget much more, and you
will absorb much cooler atmosphere.
The Pacific coastline is wild, with strong crashing waves all around and sometimes the strong undertow in this area can make it dangerous for swimming, not even mentioning snorkeling.
The gateway to one of these beaches is Pochutla which is an active regional business center but not tourist oriented. You have nothing to look for in Pochutla itself except for changing buses. There are vans going in circles, dropping passengers at the entrance of the beaches.
– Zipolite is a
tiny beach town along Mexico's south central Oaxacan
coastline. Zipolite is well known more than the other beach towns
in the area as a backpacker's heaven with no large hotels and
resorts as in other Mexican coasts. Its beach is almost
with perfect soft sand. There are plenty small restaurants and
places to stay on and near the beach. The main section of the beach
in Zipolite is called Roca Blanca and the undertow at this
beach is dangerous as evidenced by regular
Zipolite is most famous for having the only official nude beach in Mexico called Playa del Amor. It is located around the hill at the east end. There you will find a small closed bay with a secluded beach and moderate waves, enjoyed by nude bathers.
Another recommended, a bit less secluded but beautiful beach is Playa Camarón - a rocky bay at the west end of Zipolite behind Shambala.
Mazunte - For those
who look for more privacy or solitude, Mazunte can be a better
option. It is much smaller and quieter beach than Zipolite, only
several kilometers down the road.
In Mazunte it is all about relaxation, sea and sun so it became a backpacker "refugee camp" from all the fuss you usually get in Mexico, and a center of attraction to ones seeking for tranquility and amazing natural beauty.
Puerto Angel - Puerto
Angel is a rural little fishing village that lies in a picturesque
bay surrounded by rocky hills and sandy beaches.
As you enter Puerto Angel, the first beach you see is Playa Principal.
At the west end of the beach, a paved walkway curves along the rock cliffs connecting to Playa Panteón, named for the cemetery located nearby.
Both beaches are suitable for swimming but Playa Panteón is perhaps a little more sheltered and offers better snorkeling around the rocks.
There are several good restaurants along both beaches – try the fresh fish arriving straight from the sea.
What to do?
- Tours of Laguna Ventanilla (small window Lagoon). They take you on a small boat in the lagoon to kind of water safari. You may see crocodiles, iguanas, birds and other wildlife. The tour lasts approximately an hour and a half and you finish in a wide beach that some rocks made a natural shape of a small window and that's the reason for the name. The tour costs about 4$ per person and it is nice if you want to change the regular daily routine of the beach.
- The Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga at Mazunte beach is an impressive turtle museum that displays numerous varieties of live turtles and fish kept in huge aquariums, besides photos and other exhibits. It serves as a turtle shelter as well and they raise endangered species for release and try to reestablish the turtle population of the area. If you are lucky, you can be there when they release turtles and give a helping hand.
- La Puesta is the local dance bar of Zipolite. Sometimes there are live bands playing. Most of the people are locals from Pochutla, Puerto Angel and Mazunte. This dance bar is the only nightlife option except the many restaurants that usually work until late.
- Very recommended restaurant in Zipolite is El Alquimista, located near Shambhala on top of the cliff with great view and breeze. The food is great but not so cheap comparing to other restaurants in town. Definitely worth the extra few bucks, especially at night when the only lights you'll see are the moon and candles.
Where to stay? (Zipolite)
- Posada Buena Onda – A great little hostel with 3 cabañas and 2 rooms with a nice family atmosphere. Willy and Valentina are the nicest owners in town. Like many others in Zipolite, they are Italians. Part of the posada is a very tasty Italian restaurant. 18$ for double room. 13$ for single room.
Cristobal – Basic
rooms with fan, restaurant with excellent food.
20$ for a double room.
- Shambhala is one of the oldest hostels in Zipolite located on the west end past the rocks. This is maybe the only place in Zipolite with dormitories and shared bathrooms. Private rooms or cabañas are also an option. Hammocks are spread all over the place and the view is beautiful because it is higher than the beach itself.
Where to stay? (Mazunte)
- Carlos Einstein Hostel - A beautiful ocean view and a laid back atmosphere at this beachfront paradise. The legendary owner Carlos who runs the place is a nice (sometimes horny) elder hippie who looks like Carlos Einstein. There are hammocks to relax in all day and a late night bar on the terrace. The rooms are very basic and not a "treasure" but it is inexpensive (about 15$ for double room) and the atmosphere worth it.
- Nearest bank and ATM machine are in Pochutla, so get to the beaches with cash money on you.
- Wherever and whenever you leave, book your bus tickets From Pochutla's terminal few days in advance. Don't buy it in the last minute because the bus might be full.
- Last transits going from Pochutla to the beaches are at 18:00. If you go to make any arrangements in Pochutla, take this under consideration, because a taxi back to the beach you are staying will cost 10 times more than a regular transit fee.
- The recommended plan if you have time is to pass few nights at every beach because each one has its own uniqueness.
Zipolite is famous for (after its nude beach) its 60's style drug
We don't encourage any use of drugs, but if you do any drugs, do it indoors because there are undercover cops wandering around.