22 Aug Mazunte: A Beach Lover’s Dream
Mazunte’s warm crystalline waters and golden sand, jungly mountains reaching close to shore, relaxed community vibe and abundance of small, locally-owned eateries make it a hard place not to love. The waves are gentle and good for swimming (on most days) and the water itself oscillates between turquoise and emerald depending on the rays of the almighty sun. Named after the blue crab that is found in many areas of the island, the name comes from the Náhuatl phrase “maxotetia” which means “please lay eggs here.” As a main food source for its inhabitants, the crabs made a name for themselves in Mazunte.
Mazunte has been my favorite beach location in Oaxaca for over 10 years now! It seems crazy to say that out loud. When I first visited, it was still relatively unpopular, consisting mainly of locals and a small band of international bohemian beach-loving misfits. Now, it’s become more mainstream – not like Puerto Escondido mainstream, mind you. There are no condos or anything of the sort. It’s still kept its small town charm – only the variety and amount of health food eateries has grown, there are more beachy bungalows, many still eco-friendly , and more visitors, but overall its still quiet and relaxed. Camping is still permitted in some areas, like people’s personal garden spaces. The magic of Mazunte is the harmonious melding of rain forest and beach, a perfect pairing of two exquisite elements, all held together by an eco-friendly community that cares for their village.
When I think back to that time, I remember that there were crabs everywhere. You couldn’t escape them. They were running over the forest paths and I recall walking down steep stairs from my cliff side retreat directly to the sparsely populated beach that it overlooked, dodging their scurrying bodies all the way down. There are far fewer crabs now, though that’s not the only animal cohabitant that the community has been inspired by. They have a long and intimate relationship with the sea turtles who use the beaches of Mazunte for their annual spawning ground. The Mexican Turtle Center has a living Turtle Museum with a central aquarium and hatchery pools, as well as a beautiful virgin beach dedicated to caring for the turtles in their process of spawning.
Another thing we love in Mazunte is the collective that makes eco-friendly bath and beauty products in Mazunte. An all-female collective, they make lovely natural products from mosquito repellent to shampoos, soothing creams for sun-burnt skin, lip balms and more. Perfect for days of sunshine and potential buggy evenings, these products work well and support a worthy organization.
Playa Familiar and Punta Cometa
The main beach is dotted with various local restaurants and small bars. The small bay at the western end of the beach, likely where you will first arrive, is called Playa Familiar (the family beach). Above you, to the west, you will see a large outcropping called Punta Cometa (Comet Point), also known as the Sacred Hill. Interestingly, this is Mexico’s most prominent mountain in the South Pacific. An invigorating hike up the mountain will lead you to some divergent trails for exploring (the starting point being about halfway down the road that leads from the main street to the beach). Expect spectacular views of sunrises and sunsets, jungle plants, fresh sea breezes, and further out, intense sun. This is a great place for bird watching, and even whale watching in the winter months, without disrupting the whales. The biodiversity of the region is impressive and the ecologically-minded community makes efforts to support that.
In pre-Hispanic times, it was a place of healing. During Spanish colonial times, it was a stronghold for pirates, offering increased visibility of incoming ships. To this day, pilgrims visit to ask for healing and place offerings. We like Punta Cometa for the hike, the vista, and the neighboring virgin beach that the trail gives access to, Playa Mermejita.
Playa Mermejita and Punta Ventanilla
While this beach is known for having rough breaks, its fantastic for watching a sunset or taking a walk. It is a clothing optional beach, though few visit here, so you hardly notice (unlike it’s popular nudist counterpart, Zipolite). Some adventurers have built “Robinson-Crusoe style” houses here from local materials. A walk down Playa Mermejita will lead you to Punta Ventanilla, known for a rock formation that appears like a window (the next beach over is Playa Ventanilla). You could pause and take in the view or stretch and do some yoga. At its easternmost point, Torón Rock, an outcropping to the extreme east of the beach, is a great place to spot dolphins, whales, and orcas that swim close by in the open ocean.
Where is it?
Mazunte is a small town on the Pacific coast in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is located 22 km southwest of San Pedro Pochutla on the coastal highway 200, about 264 km south of the capital of Oaxaca.
If you travel by commercial bus…
From Oaxaca City you can board, in the first class terminal (Calz. Héroes de Chapultepec No. 1036) board the “Cristóbal Colón” line to Pochutla. The other option is to choose one of the two 2nd class bus lines (Central Camionera, Margarita Maza s/n. Col. Cosijoeza), board Oaxaca- Pochutla.
Once in Pochutla, you can go to Mazunte in one of the taxis or buses that cover the route Pochutla – Mazunte.
A great vibe, great food, and a great beach, this is an ideal place to chill and soak in some beautiful surroundings. Actually, can we go back already? I’m ready to hike up Punta Cometa and watch the sunset.
Have you been to Mazunte? What were your experiences? Would you like to go? Please share your questions or comments below!