A little about Playa Zipolite, The Beach of the Dead . . .

Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Southern Mexico, on the Pacific Ocean. A little bit about my favorite little get-away on this small world of ours.

Zipolite, a sweaty 30-minute walk west from Puerto Angel, brings you to Playa Zipolite and another world. The feeling here is 1970's - Led Zep, Marley, and scruffy gringos.

A long, long time ago, Zipolite beach was usually visited by the Zapotecans...who made it a magical place. They came to visit Zipolite to meditate, or just to rest.

Recently, this beach has begun to receive day-trippers from Puerto Angel and Puerto Escondido, giving it a more TOURISTY feel than before.

Most people come here for the novelty of the nude beach, yoga, turtles, seafood, surf, meditation, vegetarians, discos, party, to get burnt by the sun, or to see how long they can stretch their skinny budget.

I post WWW Oaxaca, Mexico, Zipolite and areas nearby information. Also general budget, backpacker, surfer, off the beaten path, Mexico and beyond, information.

REMEMBER: Everyone is welcome at Zipolite.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Jambands in the Yucatan, 2017: Ideas and Advice by Ted Campbell

Jambands in the Yucatan, 2017: Ideas and Advice

by Ted Campbell

Jambands in the Yucatan, 2017: Ideas and Advice

The word got out: The Mayan Riviera is an awesome place for multi-night concerts at all-exclusive resorts. Widespread Panic has played the Hard Rock Resort five times already; Phish is coming back for a second time, perhaps starting a tradition; and early next year you can add two members of the Grateful Dead to the list of jamband luminaries throwing a party on the warm beaches of the Mexican Caribbean coast.
Tulum ruins
These three- or four-day events, played by bands that don’t repeat songs from night to night (just in case you aren’t familiar with jambands), sell out pretty quickly, and they aren’t cheap, that’s for sure. Other bands may or may not be on the bill; My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday has Gary Clark Jr., among others, while Phish is the only band performing at their second Mayan Riviera fiesta, which is the norm for Phish festivals.
If you’re coming, then a clearly-marked shuttle bus will pick you up at the Cancun airport and take you straight to your hotel. The Hard Rock, Barceló, and the rest are enormous all-inclusive resorts, with pristine beachfronts, big swimming pools, and several all-you-can-eat-and-drink restaurants and bars. You could never leave the resort and still have a great time.
If you do want to leave, however, these resorts are surrounded by the beautiful natural areas and wild party towns of the Mayan Riviera. Most are between Playa del Carmen to the north and the seaside Mayan ruins of Tulum to the south.

Getting Around the Mayan Riviera

Your resort should have a shuttle to take you where you want to go (maybe free, probably not). Or, if you don’t mind paying a little more money, you could have your resort call a taxi, although public transportation is cheap and easy to use.
Simply walk out the front gates of the resort to the highway and wave down any passing bus or white passenger van (called colectivos). Not all will stop, but when one does, tell the driver your destination and watch for signs so you’ll know when to get off. Colectivos are cheap: most trips will be around 30 or 40 pesos, which with a very favorable exchange rate is between one and two U.S. dollars.
Colectivos going south take you to Tulum, first passing the Tulum ruins and then going into town. The town has some good restaurants and a pleasant atmosphere, but not much else, and it’s far from the beach. To get to big, beautiful Tulum beach, take a taxi from Tulum town, or make the long walk through the jungle from the Tulum ruins.
Colectivos going north take you to Playa del Carmen or beyond to Cancun, although to get to Cancun you’ll probably have to transfer in Playa del Carmen. In Playa, the area where the colectivos stop is two blocks from Quinta Ave (5th Ave., the main pedestrian street full of bars and restaurants), with the beach only one block beyond.
Downtown Cancun isn’t too exciting, but it has some interesting markets and nice parks. Look for the ADO bus station across the street from where colectivos let you off. From there you can get buses to Chichen Itza and beyond, though infrequent ADO buses also leave from Playa del Carmen. Check the website for schedules.
To go to the beach in Cancun, take a local bus to the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera), which is a long, thin island of white-sand beach and big resorts. Another nice day trip from Cancun is to Isla Mujeres, where laid-back beaches with views of the mainland await. Take a taxi to the ferry terminals in Puerto Juarez just north of downtown Cancun, though a more expensive ferry to Isla Mujeres leaves from the Hotel Zone.
Finally, all around all the resorts, short colectivo rides can take you to less developed beaches (Xpu-Ha, Maroma, more), big adventure parks, and cenotes, which are underground caves and sinkholes with fresh, clear water for swimming or scuba-diving.
You’ll see the adventure parks advertised everywhere, with their funny names like Xcaret, Xel-ha and Xplor. Along with big buffets and ziplines, these also have cenotes, but the smaller cenote parks between Playa del Carmen and Tulum are much cheaper, such as the Dos Ojos Cenote, Cenote Cristalino and Cenote Azul.
Shameless plug: I wrote a guide to the region that describes all of these places in detail. Click on the book above for details. If you just have a quick question, I’ll answer it in the comments.

Sneaking In?

Well, sorry to burst your bubble of excitement, but my first piece of advice is just don’t do it, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Although Mexican law states that all beaches are public land and therefore must be accessible to everyone, these resorts don’t seem to respect the rules, as their beaches are isolated and surrounded by jungle and rocky terrain. Yes, there’s gators in them streams (though actually they’re crocodiles, different from their Floridian second-cousins), and the resorts themselves are heavily-fortified compounds with tight security.
If you’re determined to sneak in, however, I have another piece of advice for you: Offer no resistance to the security officers if you get caught. Don’t try to run past them and don’t bother trying to talk your way out of it. Unless you’re prepared to offer a bribe (which they may take and still not let you in), do what they say and leave immediately.
In Mexico, especially as a tourist, you have zero rights. Although the security officers probably won’t rob you or beat you up—this part of Mexico is much too visited for that— they could easily have you arrested and thrown in jail. In fact, I heard that a few people went to jail for trying to sneak into Phish last year.
Again, despite beaches being public land, in practice you can’t really argue the finer points of Mexican law with six angry security guards tapping the guns and handcuffs on their belts.
Just save your money and go another time. Besides, it’s not like Phish, Widespread Panic and the rest don’t play your hometown or darn close to it at least once a year anyway.

Final Thoughts

This brings me to a common complaint about these shows: too expensive. For sure it would be awesome if Phish played a big festival in Mexico with regularly-priced tickets, like Vive Latino in Mexico City or Cumbre Tajin in Veracruz. Though Phish has few fans in Mexico, if they played a festival like one of those, they would instantly create tens of thousands.
But these festivals are in cities or in the middle of the country. I imagine that Phish and the other bands want to play shows in Mexico because they want to play next to the ocean, with palm trees swaying and the breeze breezing. Trey wouldn’t have written “Breath and Burning” otherwise.
Sure, these resorts are expensive—and they’re expensive even without a hugely popular foreign band playing there. And think about it, when Phish comes to play, it’s not just the band and a few guitars, but planeloads of gear. I mean, last year they had so many lights, including big ones over the ocean, that they had to bring in a second lightman, the guy from Umphrey’s Mcgee.
So of course these resort shows aren’t cheap. What do you expect? That these bands would find some empty beach nearby and set everything up themselves, and their huge fanbase (most of whom don’t speak Spanish) would find their own hotels and transportation to the shows? Sure, it’s possible, by why go through the headache, especially when plenty of fans don’t mind paying and look forward to eating whatever they want and drinking top-shelf tequila all day and all night long.
Well, whatever the price, the shows are happening and will keep on happening. I won’t be going to any this year (too expensive for my Mexican university teacher’s salary, hahaha), but those who do, you’ll for sure have a great time.
Here’s the list for 2017:

January 13-15

January 25-28

Los Muertos con Queso (Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann from the Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, more):

February 4-8

My Morning Jacket:

February 23-25

Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds:

February 27-March 3

Widespread Panic:

Final Tip

One last piece of advice. I recommend spending a few more days in Playa del Carmen before or after the shows. You’ve already paid for the plane ticket; hotels and restaurants are cheap; and there’s a huge electronic music festival — the BPM Festival — in the clubs and beaches from January 6-15.
You can find decent hotels a block or two from the beach for as low as $20 or $30 USD a night. The Mexican peso is really low right now against the U.S. dollar, meaning automatic discounts on everything.
You can find lots of suggestions in my guidebook to the area, and you’ll save its low price the first time you follow my advice for a hotel, restaurant, bus or colectivo:

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