It was on my way to Zipolite when I caught my first glimpse of magical Mazunte. As the Pasejero drove through the slightly dusty streets that held local, family owned restaurants and shops either side, I knew that I wanted to come and explore this place.
Mazunte is a small, sleepy town (if you can call it that) framed by Mexican green palm trees. It has a relaxed hippie vibe attracting a real mix of tourists from around the globe due to its beautifully serene cove shaped beach and tepid sea that allows for swimming. The town is comprised of one long main road that travels all the way through the length of Mazunte and onto San Agustinillo. There are also some small dirt roads that stem off of the main strip taking you to the beach and it’s here you’ll find a whole range of hostels and cabanas, restaurants, natural products and even places to do your laundry.
Not only is Mazunte a must visit if you’re in Puerto Angel but prepare yourself to fall in love and extend your stay – we ended up initially booking for one week but quickly extended this to two.
How to get to Mazunte, Mexico
I travelled from Puerto Escondido to Mazunte which ended up being a fairly painless and quick journey. Usually I have anxiety about taking public transport with my large backpack but this was not a problem. To get to Mazunte from Puerto Escondido, you can catch the hourly bus to San Antonio from the ADO bus station in Puerto or there are a few points along the main highway depending on which part you are staying in. The bus costs 45 pesos per person (April 2018) and took approximately 50 minutes. Be sure to let your driver know you’re going to Mazunte or that you need to get off at San Antonio and they will let you know when you are arriving.
San Antonio is not signposted and isn’t much of a stop but you’ll find yourself outside of a large OXXO shop. From here, Mazunte is only 7km away or a 15 minute drive but a taxi will try to charge you around 40- 50 pesos per person which is fine if you have a group of you but will cost at least 150 pesos alone. I would suggest getting the Pasajero which is basically a pickup truck with two wooden bench strips on either side in the back. The Pasejero you need to look out for have blue hoods and will have come from a place called Pochutla. They are fairly frequent costing 8 pesos per person and there is usually space for your bags but hold on tight as the roads are fairly bumpy! To flag one down, hold out your hand with your fingers signalling to the driver how many people want a ride and they will pull over and let you jump in. Just like a modern bus, there’s a bell in the back to signal to the driver where you wish to stop. You pay once you reach your destination.
Things to do in Mazunte
Whilst there are a range of things you can do in Mazunte, my advice would be to immerse yourself in the chilled atmosphere, grab a beer and a book and find a hammock to relax in! My time was spent on the beach – walking, tanning and swimming. I did also enjoyed lounging in the hammocks in my hostel and managed to read three whole books but that’s not all I did!
There’s a market that’s held every Sunday and Wednesday in Mazunte next door to La Empanada and Cabanas Abril on the main strip. It’s great to browse as there is music and traditional Mexican dancing plus lots of handmade and natural goods to buy.
You can also find handmade necklaces, bags and other trinkets on a daily basis outside of Posada Del Architecto. This is not a market per say but the makers usually setup little stalls or layout their items on large blankets here. Be sure to haggle a fair price with them as they usually start higher than they are expecting to receive.
Turtle Conservation Centre
Before the Government ban in 1990, Mazunte was known for its sea turtle hunting and held a slaughterhouse. Now to raise to raise awareness and promote eco-tourism in the area this has been replaced by a Turtle Conservation Centre. These guys now work hard to breed and conserve the turtles, releasing them into the wild when they are ready. I would highly recommend a visit to the Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga which is located on the main road towards the East side of town. There are information boards in both Spanish and English so you can learn a great deal about the importance of the turtles in Oaxaca.
Boat trips from the beach
There’s a bunch of Mexican guys with boats that walk along the beach and around some of the cafes nearby offering boat trips for the next day. I didn’t actually go on one of these but have been told that you can see turtles, crocodiles and lots of other wildlife in their natural habitats on one of these tours. There’s more than one option to choose from; some are just half day boat tours with snorkelling included and there are others that are full day mangrove tours plus night time swimming tours where you can swim in the water with the sleeping crocodiles to see the glowing plankton.
Pueblo Magico Mazunte Beach
You don’t really need to be told that you should visit Mazunte beach during your stay! The sun is constantly shining in this wonderful place so make sure you spend a few days relaxing on the beach and go for a swim. The sea initially looks choppy but it is ok if you can get past the first break and then you can float and swim in the water as it’s the perfect temperature to cool you down. You can also pay to hire chairs and umbrellas on the beach so that you’re not constantly in the UV rays, and the hiring guys will bring you anything you wish to drink or eat!
Yoga at Posada Del Architecto
Yoga is held at a few different places in and around Mazunte. There are regular classes at Posada Del Architecto which is right next to Mazunte beach but be sure to stop by and check out their timetable as it frequently changes. Another place to check out is Hridaya Yoga as they hold yoga, meditation and silence retreats.
Visit San Agustinillo
Only a 2 minute drive or 10 minute walk from Mazunte is San Agustinillo town. Even smaller than Mazunte, there’s a few places to eat, drink and even stay along the main road that follows through from Mazunte. San Agustinillo is much quieter than Mazunte and Zipolite with a small serene beach that houses a few restaurants along the front. If you like peace and quiet or just want a change of scenery from Mazunte, take a stroll and visit San Agustinillo for the day, you won’t be disappointed.
However, if you fancy somewhere a little more upbeat, then stay on the Pasejero from Mazunte or flag one down from anywhere in San Agustinillo and make your way to Zipolite.
See the sunset at Punta Cometa Lookout
Although this is a slight trek from the main strip in Mazunte, watching the sunset over La Cometa beach was probably my all-time favourite thing to do here. My tip would be to pick up a bottle of wine or some beers, some water and something to sit on before you make your way there and get there early so that you can make the most of the view. It takes about 15-20 minutes of walking up hill and around a cliff edge to reach La Cometa beach which is the best point to watch the sunset in Mazunte.
Accommodation in Mazunte
Usually I like to book my first night in advance using Booking.com before arriving at a new place but Mazunte only listed a few options on there that were slightly above my price range. I was advised by a good friend that had recently been to Mazunte that there’s an abundance of options if you just turn up, so I played it safe, jumped in a pasajero and searched the surrounds for a place to stay whilst I was still had a night booked in Zipolite. I recommend exploring your options when you get to Mazunte to see what suits your needs and price range.
Colin and I stumbled across La Empanada after walking the streets around the beach and not finding much that ticked all of our boxes. For us, we wanted a place that had a private room, shared kitchen and a lounge area where we can chill when were not at the beach with a private bathroom being an added bonus. La Empanada offered all of the above and more plus it was within our budget. The layout is like a fun house with random staircases leading up to more rooms and breakout spaces and had a free pool table on one of the many floors.
Our private room was cool and open with lots of natural wood, concrete and green plants dotted around where you felt like the outside was seeping in. To top things off we had our own personal hammock and fridge, all for 440 pesos per night. (you can now see why we chose to stay for an extra week!) Now, that may seem a little pricey for a lone traveller so there are dorm beds available which are double sized for a few hundred pesos less. The onsite restaurant is open 7 days a week between 4pm and 11pm and the food was the best we ate in Mazunte.
Some of the cheaper accommodation options can be found nearby and on the beach. There’s a few beach facing cabanas that are dotted along and above it.
If you’re looking for somewhere with a view that offers serenity and a beautiful view from up high, I would suggest walking up towards La Punta Cometa and you will find a few options including; Villa Luna de Miel, Celeste del Mar and Casa Mermejita. Be warned that the hills to get up to these places are quite steep but are well worth the view at the top.
Where to eat in Mazunte
For a small town, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat. Along the main road that runs through Mazunte, there’s options for affordable homecooked Mexican meals and the odd international joint. There’s also a few really cheap fruit and vegetable shops if you just want a light, healthy snack.
This hidden gem is right by the entrance to Mazunte beach. Kapricho offers fresh food from the menu including healthy salads and some really delicious fruit smoothies. I recommend the Cocoloco which contains coconut, cardomon and banana with natural yoghurt – crushed with ice it was very refreshing on the taste buds after a few hours in the sun.
Compared to the other restaurants and cafés, I would say that this place felt like it had more of a modern western spin with a beachy outdoor area containing wooden high stalls and tables, and comfy white cushioned lounge seats inside. This is definitely a place to sit and watch the world go by.
Now, if someone said to you, ‘go get a pizza’ whilst in Mexico, you would laugh right? But I can honestly say that the pizzas at La Empanada was some of the best food that I had the pleasure of experiencing in Mexico. The Hawaiian (180 Pesos) was my definitely my favourite. Big enough for two people to share and thin enough to not overdo on the carbs – make sure you drizzle on some of their chilli and garlic oil, it adds an extra layer of flavour. I found that a glass of their chilled Vino Tinto washes the pizza down nicely and it’s 241. Who doesn’t love a free glass of wine?!?
If you like traditional Mexican style food then Tania’s is the place to go. I assumed that its location would hinder the trade as its situated at the top of the main road as you enter Mazunte but this place was busy every night! The reason being that the food was delicious and the portions were oversized for the menial cost. Family run, these guys definitely look after you. They bring you complimentary nachos chips with 2 homemade dips whilst you wait for your order. Anything Mexican style is a winner here – the beef comes with tortillas, chips, and rice for around 75 pesos! To top things off, they host a movie night a few times a week where they project a recent release onto a large screen. This place is a must visit whilst in Mazunte – you’ll not be disappointed.
Getting around Mazunte
Due to Mazunte’s size, you can reach everywhere within by foot or bicycle. If you wish to go and explore the surrounds then you can jump on one of the many frequent pasejero’s which run to Zipolite through San Agustinillo and only cost around 8 pesos’ per person for a 10 minute ride.