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.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Mexico's unique Zipolite retains its friendly ambiance Vancouver Sun This is friendly Zipolite, on Mexico's southern Pacific coast, about a 45-minute drive from the Huatulco airport. It's nude, gay, pot and even dog friendly.

Mexico's unique Zipolite retains its friendly ambiance
This is friendly Zipolite, on Mexico's southern Pacific coast, about a 45-minute drive from the Huatulco airport. It's nude, gay, pot and even dog friendly.

Mexico's unique Zipolite retains its friendly ambiance 

Laid back Zipolite boasts a lovely beach but the waves can be dangerous. TOM GIES
It was the classic Zipolite moment: while sitting in the town’s best beach restaurant, I listen to the crashing waves, gaze at the yoga enthusiasts in the shade to the right while body surfers frolick ahead and board surfers catch curls further out to the left. Two women stroll by hand in hand; the smell of pot wafts in the air.
A waiter with a full tray of drinks ventures onto the hot sand towards a table of naked patrons. Suddenly, he trips on a feral dog, his tray totters, and we hold our collective breaths. But he regains his balance, turns to the dog and mutters – an apology!
Classic Zipolite palapa restaurant and lodging. TOM GIES
This is friendly Zipolite, on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, about a 45-minute drive from the Huatulco airport. It’s nude, gay, pot and even dog friendly. It also features a sweet beach, amazing seafood, gorgeous but dangerous waves, yoga, cheap beer and a range of eclectic accommodation in the $20 to $100 CDN range.
It’s evening when we check into the treehouse-styled Hotel Noga – one of the few in town with air conditioning — and quickly realize our good fortune. We can hear the pounding surf and a two-minute walk from our rooms puts us on the west end of the beach. We’re not disappointed as we join dozens of other travelers and locals enjoying a moonlight walk. The beach is lined with open-air palapa restaurants, booze cans and hotel/hostels. A few concrete structures stand out like sore thumbs.
Shambhala yoga centre is a Zipolite institution. TOM GIES
After a 45-minute walk from one end of the beach to the other, we head to the short main street, where an eclectic scene features open air cafes, artisan tables and roving musicians, local and expat. The ambiance is a mix of middle-class hipster Mexican, greying Woodstock and dreadlocked Rasta.
The next day we fall into the rhythm of early-morning and sunset walks, with body surfing, hammock hanging, yoga and restaurant-exploring filling the hours. We do a day trip to Puerto Escondido, an hour’s drive away, and visit the campground where the three of us stayed during a 1975 road trip to Guatemala. Amazingly, we chat with a camper who was also there in 1975, although we didn’t know him then.

Another day, we do a four-hour boat trip where we view turtles. But that’s about it. There are no ATV tours, snorkelling,  ziplines, or mescal factories in Zipolite, although they can be found in Huatulco. 
Sunset at Zipolite. TOM GIES

We soon discover favourite restaurants. Cafe Orale serves up wonderful breakfasts: huevos rancheros, fresh fruit and yogurt, strong coffee and fresh squeezed juices. Many seafood lunches are taken on the beach at El Almequista, where we witnessed the classic Zipolite moment. Fresh fruit liquados are availabile everywhere.

For dinner, off-the-beach La Providencia, close to Noga, is simply exquisite. The menu featuring goat cheese phyllo, tomato blue cheese soup, shrimp empanadas and more, would not be out of place at chi-chi Vancouver restaurants, with one difference: entrees such as seared tamarind tuna cost a mere $12. Try as I could, there was no resisting the fresh mango mousse.
Another favourite is the beachfront Posada Mexico. This lively joint features a pizza oven, seafood pasta and live entertainment, including dancing to live reggae and salsa, drag shows and portraiture events (yes, nude portraiture). Patrons dance on the sand between the tables and, a few metres away, backpackers whirl in front of crashing waves under the moonlight, enjoying the free music.
New hotels are slowly replacing Zipolite’s classic palapas. TOM GIES

Hotel Noga is an absolute pleasure. Proprietors Sandra, who previously worked for human rights groups in Mexico City, and her husband Fero present an environmentally-friendly, small-scale operation that offers basic comfort to travelers who simply can’t deal with the heat and shared bathrooms common in palapa hotels. Rooms with a/c, wifi, two beds, hammock and bathroom are about $80.

I also spend a few nights at the palapa-style Lo Cosmico. A large, funky open-air room with three beds, two hammocks and shared bathroom costs about $40 for two. The beds have mosquito nets, but they aren’t needed in early February.

Warning: Noga’s Sandra warns us on arrival that the waves at Zipolite are very dangerous. If red flags are posted, only shallow wading is ok. When the yellow flags are out, good swimmers should be ok with body surfing and the buddy system. Board surfing the major waves is only recommended for the experienced.

Zipolite is slowly changing. With the Huatulco airport now offering direct flights from Canada and the U.S. and a new highway under construction to the provincial capital of Oaxaca, increased accessibility is expected to bring more tourists. The funky palapas are slowly being replaced by mainstream construction. There is at least one condo development on the beach.

Still, Zipolite currently has no all-inclusive or chain hotels, no chain restaurants, no glitzy nightclubs, no tour buses. For the near future, Zipolite will likely retain its unique, friendly, laid-back ambience.
If you go:
Hotel Noga
$80 (high season)

Lo Cosmico
$20-$40 ( high season)

La Providencia

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