When we first set off for our travels through Mexico, we had never even heard of Mazunte. Thanks to a couple of people that we crossed paths with on our crazy journey, we decided to make a stop at this tiny beach town. Thank goodness we did because Mazunte completely blew us away. And as much as I would love to keep this place a secret, we’re sharing a complete guide to Mazunte and hope you’ll decide to experience this little gem along the coast of Oaxaca.
We were travelling to Mazunte from Puerto Escondido and it’s a fairly easy if you’re up for an adventure. At the ADO bus terminal, buses to the small town of San Antonio leave hourly and we paid $38 pesos each for the 45 minute bus ride. Make sure to let the driver know that you are going to Mazunte because that bus continues to Pochutla and you have to get off at San Antonio. We got off at the stop right off the highway in front of an OXXO. No station. No bus stop. Cabs from here were charging $60-$70 pesos for a ride to Mazunte but we knew we had to wait for a colectivo or pasajero (shared van) to take us to town because that is only $10 pesos per person. The van ended up being more of a pickup truck and we hopped in the back, held on tight and hoped for the best. It’s a bumpy 20 minute drive to the town of Mazunte and we got off at El Rinconcito street which is where we started the uphill trek to our room for the night. These pasajeros come from Pochutla and are easily distinguished by their blue hood (others are green or orange).
Where to Stay
We normally book all of our hostels over at Hostelword but, in a small town like Mazunte, it was slim pickings for accommodations within our budget when we were searching online. Once we got there, we saw SO many signs advertising affordable dorms and rooms for rent so there are definitely plenty of options once you get into town. We travelled during the off season (late April of 2016) so if you’re not yet willing to show up to a new town with zero accommodations, then don’t.
What we normally do is book one or two nights at accommodations we can find online and then scope out the scene in town once we’ve decided we want to stay longer (which is very probable in a town like Mazunte). The plus side of this alternative is that you can ask to view a dorm/room in person and avoid being fooled by exaggerated photos on the web. Secondly, since most hostels and inns in small towns don’t advertise online, you may find the prices in person to be wayyy cheaper than those for places that are listed on popular booking sites. Double win!
We stayed at Casa Huijazoo Nature & Balance because we were able to book our stay with points earned through Expedia. The room was spacious and the views were great but I wouldn’t recommend nor would I stay here again. Though it was affordable, there wasn’t always staff on site. So when the water went out in the middle of the night, our only option would have been to wake up one of the managers by calling them on the numbers they had posted in the waiting area.
If you want to be close to the action, look for a place near El Rinconcito street. For a quiet stay with amazing views, there are places near the cemetery (close to Punta Cometa) that overlook the bay and are away from the main streets in town.
The Best Pizza in Mexico
Is there anything better than authentic Italian pizza?! We couldn’t post a guide to Mazunte without telling the world about our favourite pizza of the trip. We patiently waited for this place to open one night and ended up having the best pizza we’ve had in Mexico so far. The owner is from central Italy and makes pizzas from scratch before letting them cook to perfection in his wood-burning oven. He may or may not be wearing a shirt while he cooks.
We’re still kicking ourselves because we don’t know the name of the place and of course it’s nowhere to be found online (it was not La Dolce Vita). But if you want great pizza and good service, head to El Rinconcito, close to the beach across from a cute ice cream shop. His pizza place is right beside another small restaurant called La Guera and he’s got a blue surfboard at the front gate that says something about pizza on it. Be sure to try his homemade chimichurri too!
For sunset, sunrise, great views or if you’re just wanting some peace and quiet, head to Punta Cometa. We missed it the first night but (thanks to our favourite pizza maker in town) we made sure to take in the views the following day before heading to Zipolite. We weren’t able to stay for sunset but it was about 4pm when we reached the top and there was no one else in sight. It really is a special place. Many locals and hardcore travellers do this hike barefoot (HOW?!) but I struggled in my flipflops and would recommend running shoes. If you plan on staying for sunset, I imagine a lamp or flashlight would be useful as the path is not lit. Like, at all. Apparently it can get pretty crowded during peak season too but it’s well worth the experience and a great way to start or end any day.
There are paths to Punta Cometa from the main road and from the beach. If you’re in town, head to the cemetery and you’ll see various trails start from there. You can also start down by Mermejita beach and make your way up from there.
Activities in Town
Head to a bulletin board in Mazunte on any given day and you’ll likely find an event or festival or movie or market happening in town. We were there at the start of the tango festival and spent the night watching talented couples dancing the night away right by the beach.
Mazunte is also well-known for it’s annual Jazz Festival. Held over a weekend in mid-November each year, the jazz festival has concerts and activities throughout Mazunte attracting tourists from Oaxaca and beyond.
Other activities nearby include the Ventanilla Lagoon, National Mexican Turtle Centre (see below) and local experiences like yoga, cooking and Spanish lessons.
National Mexican Turtle Centre
Right at the main road, on the east side of town, is where you’ll find the National Turtle Centre of Mexico. During our visit to the turtle centre, we learned a great deal about the history and importance of turtles in this part of the Oaxacan coast. Prior to a government ban in 1990, the main industry in Mazunte was sea turtle hunting. As the town grew, a slaughterhouse was built close to where the turtle centre stands today and now the town is raising awareness and promoting ecotourism in the area.
I would recommend visiting for those that have time in Mazunte and are interested in learning more about turtles and their life cycle. Most information displays were also in English which was helpful (and not found everywhere in Mexico). We had a great time as you can see in our video 😉
We visited in April of 2016 when admission was $31 pesos and the Turtle Centre hours at that time were:
Wednesday to Saturday: 10am to 4:30pm
Sunday: 10am to 2:30pm
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance
Travelling to San Agustinillo, Zipolite and Beyond
We definitely could have used an updated guide to Mazunte to help us travel between these small towns. This part of Oaxaca has several modes of transport to help you explore the beaches and they suit all sorts of budgets. To travel the coast, a taxi would be the most comfortable and most expensive means of transport. Be sure to agree on a price first. It’s safe to say that we didn’t travel the coast via taxi!
Colectivos are shared taxis and they look like every other taxi. To ensure a colectivo rate, you’ll have to specify that you want to take the taxi as a colectivo meaning the driver is free to pick up as many people as he dares to fit along the way. The rate depends on your location but would be significantly cheaper than a regular taxi.
Pasajeros are the cheapest (and most fun!) means of transport in this part of Oaxaca. You’ll see several pickup trucks with coloured tents driving up and down the main road. Most circle from Pochutla and are an easy way to navigate and explore San Agustinillo, Zipolite, Mazunte and Pochutla. Rates vary based on distances but can be between $7 to $15 pesos per person. You can pay your driver once you’ve reached your destination.
How to get to Huatulco
With a bit of patience and planning, you can get to Huatulco from Zipolite for under $50 pesos. Board a pasajero with a green or orange hood that is headed to Pochutla. It is almost an hour ride and only $15 pesos per person. We told the driver we were headed to the Pochutla bus stop and he let us off at the last stop. We crossed the street and walked past all the vendors and taxi drivers calling at us and kept heading towards the main bus terminal in Pochutla. The company SUR has frequent departures to the town of La Crucecita (main town in Huatulco) for $29 pesos.
In total we paid $44 pesos each to get from Zipolite to Huatulco and it was a bit of work but you could also take a taxi. For $450 pesos.
If you’re planning a trip to this tiny beach town, we hope our guide to Mazunte will help you explore this beautiful place. We’re already dreaming about the pizza we’ll have at our next visit!