I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running www.casadelcorazon.mx with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on www.bollocks2thewellingtons.com/
Published April 14th 2015
Perfect beach spot? Could be
7 Best Things to do in Mazunte Mazunte is a beautiful village on the Oaxacan coast which offers beach life and excursions aplenty. Whether it's lounging and eating, practicing yoga and juicing, swimming and exploring or drinking and partying you will have options aplenty here.
Yoga and Meditation
There are three main options for Yoga in Mazunte and the neighbouring San Agostinillo. I'll start with Hridaya Yoga, where I completed a three month Teacher Training Course. The Yoga of the Spiritual Heart focuses on meditation and offers month long courses which delve deep into spirituality. They always have a community of yogis around town and you should consider one of their sublime ten day silent retreats.
Secondly there is Om Shanti, based in the centre of Mazunte you can join them for vegetarian food at their restaurant Prasad or drop into a class at their yoga-shala daily at 9AM
On the way up the hill towards Zipolite, Mario has been teaching classes for many years. He is a well known character around town, he was mayor of Mazunte at one point!.
San Agostinillo beach
Mazunte has two beaches with Rincon Sito being a little quieter and tucked away towards Punta Cometa]Punta Cometa. On both beaches there are dangerous rip tides and some powerful waves so be careful when swimming here.
Boats in San Agostinillo
San Agostinillo also has a delightful beach and if you are looking for somewhere a little more relaxed to swim then the cove by Punta Elephante is slightly protected from the waves which can pummel the shore.
Other than swimming and hanging out you can also try snorkelling in some of the shallows, surfing, with a pretty reasonable level of waves for beginners and boat trips to see local wildlife such as dolphins, manta rays and, in season, whales.
View of the bay in San Agostinillo
Zipolite offers nude bathing on its wide expanse of sand which is a bit less homely as the other two spots and with even more dangerous water.
Zipolite beach scene. No nudes on display
Chairs on the beach
There are a plethora of restaurants in Mazunte and San Agostonillo. Along the beach fronts and on the main street as well as down Rincon Sito road, you have options galore.
Starting on the main street in Mazunte you have the bizarre combination of sushi, pizza and baked potatoes of the funky Empanada which is directly opposite Restaurant Tania which offers a fine range of local dishes and vegetarian options.
Among a selection of smaller places Los Traviesos is the most popular spot and holds a place for me as a first date venue!
Other options on the beach include Mexico Lindo, La Ola and Las Termitas for pizza.
A pretty door in Mazunte
In Mazunte at night you can often hear the sounds of a party somewhere hidden away and it is usually a matter of following the beats down a track to find what is going on. There are a number of mezcal bars and cocktail places to fire up the party spirit but finding the happening places is definitely about following your nose.
Mazunte really ups the ante a few times a year.
First the annual Jazz Festival sees up to 20,000 visitors and a large stage erected for bands to play a wide range of music (jazz isn't especially represented to be honest.) Along with many stalls and pop-up restaurants the town is buzzing. The spiritual community also got inovlved last year offering demonstrations and healing for the whole community.
Another annual event is the Circus Festival which sees the town overrun with carnival and hippy types (more than usual, I mean). Showcasing some spectacular performances and with free workshops around town this event really sees the place buzzing. Whether it's your cup of tea or not you can be sure to be impressed by some of the acrobatics.
Some months there is a full moon party just off the road leading out to the crossroads. These have not been as regular recently but keep your eye out for details and DJs and dancing in the nature are always fun.
For something a little bit more relaxed in the evening you can hang out at the shisha bar on the edge of town or look for the weekly movie night, which is run by a local woman who takes her laptop and projector around to various restaurants and shows Mexican and international films.
There is a lot of nature around Mazunte, you're surrounded by jungle after all. You will see spiders, iguanas, scorpions and all sorts of weird insects. There are loads of dogs around town as well and they all have their own personalities, if you stay here for long enough you are sure to make some canine friends.
For something more exotic you can take a trip to nearby Ventamillia where they will take you on a boat trip in the mangroves to see crocodiles, iguanas in their natural habitat, all sorts of birds and hear the noise of thousands of frogs.
If sea-life is more your thing then taking a boat trip into the ocean, particularly in season between November to March can be a great adventure and you can see turtles swimming alongside, manta rays jumping, pods of dolphins keeping tabs and maybe even whales. Find boatmen on the beach in San Agostinillo.
The town first came to prominence because it is the home of the Turtle rehabilitation centre. The beaches nearby have long been the location that the sea turtles would come in to lay their eggs. On a couple of nights each year, thousands of pregnant turtles swim in at night and bury their eggs and then the tiny babies hatch and make their way back out to sea on a journey which seems almost impossible when you look at the scale.
These animals were struggling in the 1990s because there was a longstanding trade in the eggs and meat. At the time this was the main source of income in the town so when the government banned the trade the rehabilitation centre offered alternative jobs and protected the animals. There is now a museum and you can see turtles being released back into the sea if you are around at the right time.
Since the days of turtle slaughter the town now makes its money from ecotourism and cosmetics with a cooperative of local families who opened the Cosméticos Naturales de Mazunte which has ties with the Body Shop after Anita Roddick found out about the work they were doing here with local natural products.
As well as the Hridaya yoga school, I also studied at the Instituto Iguana, a local Spanish school which has close links to the community. It's a great place to learn the language while you're at the beach with a breezy spot on top of the hill offering sublime views as you struggle over your verbs.
There is a circus school in town as well so if you get inspired by the circus festival - and they will have workshops teaching you to stilt walk among other things during the festival - then you can sign up for a longer course here.
If you prefer to stay on the beach keep an eye out for people offering surf lessons and you'll be riding a board in no time.
Sunsets & Sunrise
Signs to the Sunset
The coastline here juts out into the sea so that both the sunrise and sunset are visible from certain points.
Punta Cometa on the end of Rincon Sito beach is a delightful nature reserve which has the best spots for sublime sunsets.
Hotel Arigalan, where I was lucky to stay for three months has great viewpoints and the sunrise comes up directly in view of most of the rooms. I could see it from the window of my cabana as I was getting ready for meditation.