We love it when we get recommended places to go by people we meet, and often find that they’re the ones we end up loving the most. Mazunte Oaxaca is the perfect example of that. Though it’s extremely tempting to keep this town our little secret, instead we’re gonna let you in on just why it’s so magical. We’re also gonna spill the beans on all of the best things to see and do in Mazunte during your visit.
We had a vague plan to spend Day of the Dead in Oaxaca City before heading to the coast to hit up some of the famous Oaxaca beaches. During our time spent in and around Oaxaca City, we kept hearing whispers of this enchanting, laid back hippy haven called Mazunte.
This sleepy little beach town on Mexico’s Pacific Coast is actually one of the countries Pueblo Mágicos (Magical Towns), and yet it’s still relatively unknown.
It’s got a laid back, welcoming vibe and you quickly come to understand that it’s the kind of town where people come to visit and just never leave. In fact the very first guy that we met was a shirtless, shoeless Italian dude walking his two dogs down to the beach.
We were trying to find our Airbnb and obviously lost, and as he walked past he asked us where we were trying to get to. As soon as we told him the name of our host he said “follow me, I know Nico” and began marching off down the red dirt road in the direction we’d just come from.
Along the way he told us how he’d been living there for almost 20 years and referred to himself as a “caveman” who used to travel way back when but didn’t bother anymore, stating he’d probably die there. He’d just found Mazunte and never felt the desire to move on again. We soon found out that far from being unique, his story was pretty standard here. That’s just the kind of place it is.
Things to do in Mazunte Oaxaca
Part of the beauty of Mazunte is that you’re not overrun with things to do. It’s more of a “horizontal” town, so definitely don’t come here if you’re looking to party and go wild. Just to give you an idea, you could probably walk around the whole place in little more than half an hour.
The WiFi is notoriously patchy at best, there are very few street lamps so when it gets dark it’s pitch black, and opening times are more of a general guide than a reliable guarantee. All of this makes Mazunte the perfect place to totally unplug and properly chill out, but there are some things you definitely shouldn’t miss.
Head to Punta Cometa Mazunte for Sunset
Punta Cometa is probably Mazunte’s most famous landmark. This mini peninsula extends out into the Pacific Ocean and is the southernmost point of Oaxaca State, providing unrivalled and uninterrupted views of the surrounding scenery.
It’s hands down the best vantage point in Mazunte, and each evening people make the pilgrimage out to witness the spectacular sunset. Golds, purples, oranges and yellows flood the sky as the sun makes its remarkably rapid descent below the shoreline.
Getting to the end of Punta Cometa is a 15 to 20 minute hike along a rocky, and in parts steep trail. Make sure you time it right to allow for how long it takes to walk there as we saw a number of people arriving after the sun had already set.
The trail is well marked out so you can’t get lost, but remember to bring a torch or have a charged phone with a bright light on it for the walk back as, unsurprisingly, it’s dark.
Punta Cometa is also a great place to watch the sunrise in Mazunte which is equally as spectacular.
Drinks at El Copal Mazunte for Sunset
El Copal Mazunte is one of the more well known restaurants and hotels in the town, and that’s largely down to the spectacular views it has out over Mermejita Beach. It’s located a little way up into the hills and is a bit out of town, but it’s definitely worth the walk.
To find it, head towards Mermejita Beach and take the last road to the left before you arrive. It’s signposted from there and you may even be met by a security guard or member of staff who will guide you up to the restaurant.
The food here is a little pricey at around 150MXN (£6.50GBP, $8.80USD) for a main dish, but the portions are huge and it’s of a high quality, particularly the delicious seafood. If you don’t want to eat then just head up for drinks, beers are around $25MXN (£1GBP, $1.35USD) and they’re fine with you not eating.
At sunset you get a wonderful panorama over the largely undeveloped Mermejita Beach where you’ll spot people doing yoga, meditating, and frolicking in the surf while taking in the last of the light.
Hit the Stunning Mazunte Beaches
All along the Oaxaca coastline you’ll find arresting beaches, each with their own charm, and Mazunte has a couple of the finest along this stretch. Overlooked by green mountains, and facing towards craggy outcrops of rocks that pepper the rough Pacific Ocean, they’re covered in soft golden sand.
The main beach here is the imaginatively named Mazunte Beach and is almost split into two. The larger part is lined with bars, restaurants and cabanas where you can easily while away your time lounging around and playing in the sun. At the far end of Mazunte Beach is a smaller alcove where you’ll find fishing and tour boats and a few restaurants and places to stay set back slightly from the beach.
The other main stretch of sand is Mermejita Beach, a more secluded, undeveloped part of the coast that’s as pretty as it is peaceful. Don’t expect bars or shops nearby and come prepared with everything you need otherwise you’ll face a steep walk back into town for supplies.
A word of caution, take care when you’re swimming in the sea here. The waves are huge and the current is strong. There are lifeguards on at peak times of year, but take care at all times and don’t go out of your depth.
Go Dolphin, Whale, and Tortoise Spotting
There are lots of tours that run from Mazunte Beach, and if you’re there at the right time of year from around November to March you can jump on the dolphin, whale and tortoise spotting excursions that run daily.
We paid $250MXN (£10GBP, $13.50USD) per person for a tour that started at 7.00am (although we were given various start times between 7 to 7.30 – as I said earlier, Mazunte works on its own time zone) and finished at 10.30am to avoid the midday heat.
The captain took us around a few local landmarks, explaining to us about the colonies of birds that made their home there and the views back towards the shore were breathtaking. We then headed out to sea to look for the dolphins, whales and turtles.
It started slow, and after about half an hour of seemingly aimlessly drifting slowly towards the horizon we were getting a little disheartened at not having seen a single fish, let alone the other sea animals we’d been promised. Then seemingly out of nowhere we spotted a manta ray on the surface, and then some huge turtles lazily coming up for air.
Shortly after the boat was surrounded by scores of dolphins, effortlessly flying in and out of the water and playfully swimming alongside us. It was nothing short of magical, and we’d highly recommend this tour as one of the best things to do in Mazunte.
The captain explained to us that he used to be involved in the business of catching turtles but had changed to running tours once the ban on turtle hunting came in (more on that later). This gives another reason to support these tours, as you’re also directly helping with the conservation effort by providing turtle hunters with an alternative income.
Top tip – if you get sea sickness, take some pills before you set off. Sarah gets it real bad, but due to the early start time didn’t have a chance to take any. Big mistake! She spent most of the time vomiting over the side of the boat, and she wasn’t alone. Another lady was also chundering over the other side of the vessel, so their mornings were somewhat tarnished.
Get Involved in Some Yoga
Yoga is everywhere in Mazunte and you can’t go 5 yards without stumbling across a yoga school, bumping into someone with a yoga mat slung over their shoulder, or seeing someone doing a downward facing dog on the beach.
You can find classes for virtually any brand of yoga that you like and prices start at around $60MXN (£2.40GBP, $3.25USD). Even if you’re not a yoga enthusiast, this is a great place to give it a go as many classes accommodate beginners as well, so when in Rome!
Alternatively if you’re an experienced practitioner, just head down to the beach and crack on with your own routine. This is a popular thing to do at sunset on Mermejita Beach and we saw plenty of people doing their own thing, from deep meditation to late afternoon sun salutes.
Where to Stay in Mazunte Oaxaca
You’ll find everything from beach cabanas and hostels to high end hotels in Mazunte, although getting somewhere on an extremely tight budget is unlikely. We opted for an Airbnb which was a private room with a bathroom and a shared social area about a two minute walk from Mermejita Beach and paid around $420MXN (£17GBP, $22.50USD) per night. Wherever you are in Mazunte will be within walking distance from the beaches and town so don’t worry too much about the specific area.
How to Get to Mazunte Oaxaca
Getting to Mazunte obviously depends on where you’re coming from, but this should cover it for the majority of visitors.
How to Get to Mazunte from Oaxaca City by Bus
The quickest way to get to Mazunte from Oaxaca City is to catch one of the small busses that run multiple times daily. There are a few companies that service the route, but the one we went with is called Atlantida and the terminal address is Atlantida La Noria 101, Colonia, Centro, Oaxaca. We didn’t pre book, we simply turned up about 15 minutes early and bought our tickets there and then for $220MXN (£9GBP, $12USD).
The Atlantida bus schedule is as follows:
7:00am, 9:00am, 11:00am, 15:00pm, 23:00pm
The journey takes around 6 to 7 hours and there are stops for toilet breaks and refreshments. The bus we went on was brand new, had air con, was comfortable, and was in great condition.
We read some info on the web suggesting that this route was a bad journey with winding roads that make everyone who braves them sick. While the roads are definitely winding as the route goes through a vast mountain range, we had no issues with sickness and really enjoyed the scenic drive. We also read that you can’t go direct but have to go to Pochutla and get another bus from there, but Atlantida go all the way to Mazunte with a stop in Pochutla.
How to Get to Mazunte from Oaxaca City by Coach
An alternative to the bus is to get a larger coach run by the national provider ADO. They take a slightly different, less windy route, which is also longer, taking anywhere between 9 to 11 hours. You can also get an overnight bus with ADO, but we’ve travelled overnight on these coaches and didn’t get a great night’s sleep so opted against it.
Note that they don’t go all the way through to Mazunte, but stop in Pochutla. From here you will need to catch another bus or a pasajero to your final destination which will add another half hour or so to your journey. Check out times and prices for ADO coaches here.
How to Get to Mazunte by Plane
While we didn’t arrive in Mazunte by plane, we did leave on a flight. The best nearby airport is Bahías de Huatulco International Airport (HUX) where you can catch flights both internationally and to numerous airports within Mexico.
The airport itself is newly built/refurbished and is really beautiful and easy to navigate. To get from Huatulco Airport to Mazunte you should get a taxi which will cost you around $550MXN (£22.25GBP, $29.50USD) and take around an hour at most.
Nearby Oaxaca Beaches and How to Get to Them
How to Get Beyond Mazunte Beach
Mazunte is just one of a whole string of magnificent beach towns along this part of the Oaxaca coastline, many of which are easily reached. The best way to get from town to town is by a bus type vehicle called a pasajero.
They’re basically pickup trucks with a large tent on the back that do endless loops along the Oaxaca coast, transporting mainly Mexican locals. But they’re far cheaper than taxis and are also a fun way to get around.
There’s no need to wait at a bus stop, just head to the main road and wait for something that looks like a pasajero. You can hail them down from anywhere and they’re quite frequent, going at around every 15 minutes (but remember this is Mazunte time).
Journeys cost between around $7-15MXN (£0.30-£0.60GBP, $0.40-$0.80USD) and depending on how many people they pick up and drop off take virtually the same as a taxi to get from place to place.
Beaches and Towns to Visit Nearby Mazunte
Zipolite – Famous for being home to Mexico’s only nudist beach, it’s also got a great reputation as a surfer’s haven thanks to the big waves. Another hippie stronghold with a chilled out atmosphere.
San Agustinillo – Based around one main road and a long, wide stretch of beach with cabanas and bars built onto it, many people stay here rather than Mazunte which is just a 5 minute pasajero trip or twenty minute walk away. You’ll find some nice restaurants and cafes to make it worth the short trip from Mazunte.
Puerto Angel – Probably the least touristy town along this stretch, it’s a sleepy fishing village with a couple of beaches and some stunning scenery but not much else. Come here for a complete escape and some great, rustic seafood restaurants.
Mazunte Restaurants – The Best Places to Eat
Listen up, if you eat in just one place in Mazunte, please, please, please let it be La Pizzeria. Now I know you’re probably thinking “But pizza is Italian and you’re in Mexico you douche?!”. But trust me on this one, this is easily the best pizza I’ve eaten. Full stop. And yes, I’ve been to Italy before you start.
The owner is Italian, he lovingly hand makes each pizza right in front of your eyes before using his long pole to place them into his dizzyingly hot wood fired oven. Watching him at work is part of the fun, but the pizza that arrives in front of you after just a few minutes of cooking to perfection is nothing short of mind blowing. Prices are between $80 to $130MXN (£3.25-£5.25GBP, $4.30-$7USD) per pizza, but really who cares when you’re getting a taste of heaven?
Please, go there, try the pizza, and come back here and leave me a thank you note in the comments. I’m waiting.
El Copal Mazunte
I’ve covered this earlier in the post so I’m not gonna go over it again, but it’s best to time your visit for sunset.
This has got a really nice location at the cut off end of Mazunte Beach, and has something of a reputation for producing “life changing” breakfast sandwiches. Admittedly they’re pretty good, although I personally wouldn’t put them into this category (that’s reserved for the pizzas at La Pizzeria).
They also do tasty natural juices and decent coffee at Siddharta, and sometimes the WiFi is OK. Sometimes.
This is next door and upstairs to Siddharta, so shares a similar vantage point but from a floor up.
The food here is solid Mexican fare, and breakfast in particular is outstanding. They do an $80MXN (£3.45GBP, $4.30USD) package which include a breakfast dish, a fresh juice and a coffee and the portions are mammoth.
There’s a happy hour which runs from 3pm to 11pm where you can get two cocktails for the price of one, but they’re very much below average so don’t be tempted. WiFi also works here from time to time.
This is probably where you get the most bang for your buck in Mazunte in terms of price versus quality. The bowls are delicious and you can get deconstructed sushi bowls or yakimeshi bowls for a good price of around $50-80MXN (£2-£3.45 , $2.70-$4.30USD).
They also do a good line in fish tacos here (go for the prawn over the white fish ones which were a little overcooked) and also churn out burgers and fries if you’re craving that kind of thing.
This is a popular restaurant in a prime location at the corner of the two main streets in Mazunte. They back it up with good food though and it’s also reasonably priced.
Don’t expect your mind to be blown, but you can get a ham torta for just $20MXN (£0.80GBP, $1.10USD) which is good value anywhere.
Mazunte Weather Guide
The weather in Mazunte is hot all year round with an average temperature of about 30°C (86°F) and very little fluctuation. It experiences higher rainfall from around May to September though it’s usually limited to an hour or two per day in the late afternoon. It’s also hot and humid at this time of year and has occasional tropical storms during this period as well. The rest of the year is hot and generally dry.
The National Mexican Turtle Center
This may be slightly controversial, but we actually regret going to the National Mexican Turtle Center. We’d heard that it was one of the best things to do in Mazunte, and the reason behind its existence can’t be argued with. And yet we left sorely disappointed.
Mazunte used to be the turtle hunting capital of Mexico, where turtle meat was a common delicacy and thanks to the prevalence of turtles around here, they were able to supply the demand. However, by the late 1980’s, thanks to chronic overhunting there weren’t a huge amount of turtles left.
Come 1991, in response to the rapidly diminishing numbers of turtles the Mexican government banned turtle hunting altogether, and in a symbolic move established the National Mexican Turtle Center near to where the main slaughterhouse was in Mazunte.
Conservation was introduced to replace the hunting industry, and many hunters switched from hunting to helping to grow numbers, profiting from the increased tourism.
So far, so good. However, the National Mexican Turtle Center in my view is now a bit of a relic, and rather than a center for conservation seems like a money spinning tourist trap where the turtles in captivity aren’t kept in the best conditions.
We were really excited about our visit as we were keen to learn about the conservation effort and see what the center’s involvement was. In reality it’s little more than an aquarium where the various turtles are displayed in tiny glass fronted tanks, many of which seem far too small for their size.
I don’t want to lay into the place too heavily, but in hindsight we wouldn’t have visited at all, and our excitement quickly turned into dismay at what we saw. We hurriedly made our way around the center and left feeling deflated.
60,00 people go through the National Mexican Turtle Center’s doors each year, and no doubt it does some good. So by all means go and make up your own mind, but don’t expect to be blown over with details of the conservation project.
Other Useful Info on Mazunte
ATMs – Despite what you may read elsewhere, there are three cash machines in Mazunte. One is a Santander ATM and the other two are private. It’s still advisable to take cash with you in the event that they are out of order, two of them were when we were there and we had to pay a large fee to withdraw a lower amount than we wanted from one of the private machines.
Other Amenities– There are a number of reasonably priced shops in Mazunte so if you’re planning on cooking for yourself you can pick up fresh vegetables etc from these. There is also a bakery, a few pharmacies and a couple of medical centres in the event that you need one.
Have you got any more questions about Mazunte? Ask away in the comments.
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