Huatulco, Mazunte and Zipolite are small villages on the Pacific coast in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The region has beautiful beaches and stunning bays that are protected by a national park. The tourism here hasn’t fully developed yet and so it gives a special feeling to the area. Most of the visitors are people that seek places off the beaten track and are a bit more alternative, especially in Mazunte.
We flew to the airport of Huatulco, which is small but a very cute airport just off the main road running along the Pacific coastline. We rented a car and spent the first night in Huatulco to go to the Bays of Huatulco (Bahias de Huatulco) tour the next day. After the tour we drove to Mazunte and stayed there for the remaining two nights.
We rented a car from Hertz and AGAIN had a horrible experience. NEVER USE HERTZ! They are extremely dishonest and provide and absolutely horrible customer service. I don’t know if that only applies to Mexico, but I really don’t recommend using them under any circumstances!
Huatulco and its bays
Several parts of the area are referred to as Huatulco, but the main tourist areas are: La Crucecita (a village slightly inland), Santa Cruz de Huatulco (a harbour and cruise ship terminal), and Tangolunda (area with the big hotels). Since we arrived late on the first night and had a day tour planned for the next day, we just chose a simple and cheap hotel in La Crucesita. After arriving we went for a walk and a dinner. There is a small zocalo with several restaurants.
The next day we were picked up and taken to the harbour in Santa Cruz where we boarded the Diosa del Mar boat for our day-trip. The tour guides made announcements both in Spanish and English and they were very nice. There are 9 bays in the Huatulco national park and we cruised by 7 of them. The scenery along the way was stunning and the bays are really beautiful.
The fist stop was at the beach called Playa la India, where there is a coral reef just off the beach. So we took our snorkelling gear and spent about 1h snorkelling and then maybe another 20 minutes relaxing on the beautiful beach.
After that we headed to one of the most developed bay of the national park – Bahia el Maguey, which has a road leading to it and several restaurants on the beach.
Upon disembarking we were rushed to the El Camarón Gigante restaurant, where we had lunch. The food was good and the prices slightly higher as expected for a beach restaurant. The downside was that we were almost forced into the restaurant and it took a long time to be served, so at the end we didn’t have much time left.
After the lunch we spent some more time on the beach. Unfortunately, there are no beach chairs here, everything is just restaurants. But since we were left with little time, we just put our stuff in the sand and went into the amazing water.
We returned back to Huatulco around 17:00 and the agency dropped us at our hotel. We pre-booked the tour with Paraíso Huatulco agency and they provided a decent service. Initially they were a bit disorganised, but the tour was nice. For $550 pesos the tour included the snorkelling gear and 4 beers per person. However, they didn’t bring enough beers and we didn’t get the 4 each 😦
We took our car and drove to Mazunte, which took about 1.5h as the road is not very good.
Mazunte and Zipolite
Both are tiny villages along beautiful beaches. In general, the whole area seems like stuck in the past and full of alternative tourists. On the way to Mazunte we stopped at Zipolite beach for sunset, which was really nice.
The next day we returned to Zipolite beach for the day. It is the only nudist beach in Mexico, but not everyone takes their swimming suits off (but you can if you want). The waves are quite strong, but they are also fun to play with. The beach was quite empty, so it was really nice.
In the afternoon we spent some time on the Mazunte beach in front of our hotel, but that part of the beach gets quite crowded though.
We ended the day with a beautiful sunset at Punta Cometa – the rocky peninsula next to Mazunte. You get there by walking up the hill, passing by the cemetery and then walking though a small forest. It is a very popular spot for sunset and it gets quite crowded, so get there early to get a good view. It is really worth it!
On the last day we went to explore the beaches on the other side of Punta Cometa. There are several small bays with not many people at all. We stayed at Playa Cometa, which is the first bay after the peninsula, and had the beach completely to ourselves. There is an abandoned beach bar so you can take cover in the shade and enjoy the beautiful beach in peace. However, as at most beaches in the area, the waves and currents are really strong so caution is needed, especially since here there is no life guard on this abandoned beach.
Food and restaurants
The good thing is that this area offers plenty of Oaxaca specialities, but the downside is that there is not much seafood on offer (like ceviches). We thought that this beach paradise would have some great seafood, but unfortunately that’s not so much the case. The best thing though is that they have mezcal everywhere. Som eof the places we visited and enjoyed:
Casa Mayor, La Crucesita: A simple place on the zocalo with a terrace overlooking the square. They have a nice selection of mezcales and typical Oaxaca food. We only had a tlayuda and it was delicious.
Estrella Fugaz, Mazunte: Nice food and nice atmosphere with live music on the first floor balcony. The Mazunte platter comes with free mezcal. However, the service is extremely slow (we waited more than an hour for main dishes), but as we later found out it is a typical thing in the whole region.
Siddharta, Mazunte: A decent lunch place right off mazunte beach. The ceviche was good and chicken steak as well.
Doña Meche, Mazunte: Super simple local restaurant. You can notice it by the comal over open fire by the side of the road and a table with all the guisados (fillings for quesadillas) you can choose from. We had 4 quesadillas and a tlayuda and a couple of beers for $135. The food was amazing and people were super nice. Highly recommended!
La Mezcalería, Mazunte: Seems to be the most popular bar in Mazunte. It opens at 7pm and until 10pm they have free tastings of mezcal. You go to the long bar full of mezcal bottles and try as many as you like before you buy the one you want. They also serve beers and have live band and performance in the palapa. Really nice atmosphere.
Heladería los Duendes: An Italian run ice-cream shop. The ice-cream was very good and they so nice combinations with fruit.
AM Hotel, La Crucecita: A very basic motel style hotel. However, it was very cheap and clean and that’s what we needed for for a night. The breakfast was not included, but they charged only $40 for a very basic selection of food.
Posada del Arquitecto: In Mazunte most hotels are very basic, most don’t have aircon for example. This Posada offers really nice cabañas (bungalows) and they look amazing. We stayed in cabaña called Ebano, which was quite big with two beds, a hammock and a terrace with a kitchen. The downside is that the cabaña doesn’t have glass windows, there’s just a mosquito net. It was a great experience for two nights, however, I wouldn’t want to stay more. The breakfast was very basic, only toasted bread with marmalade and coffee. You could order extra dishes that were quite good though. However, the worst thing was the girl at breakfast, she was EXTREMELY slow. We waited for 1h to get the toasted bread at all, so don’t go hungry. At least there’s a stunning view from the cafe and bring a full bag of patience.