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Ventanilla Beach and Crocodiles

Home > Mazunte > Beaches | Boating | Day Trips | Outdoor
by Ian Marshall (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on or
Published February 19th 2015
Crocs and iguanas in a prehistoric wonderland
Ventanilla means "of windows" because the rock formations here have holes in them that resemble windows.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca
Ventanilla 'window' rocks

The beach itself is long and wild, with waves crashing on the shore at regular intervals with deafening ferocity. It's not somewhere I would be encouraged to swim, although it might be good for surfing given the right conditions.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca
Beautiful Beach

The beach is made up of white and black sand the black sand being unique in this area and due to an ancient volcanic eruption. The black sand is made of several types of metallic filaments, something our guide enjoyed entertaining us with as he pulled out a magnet, pulled up a glob of sand and then placed it on his hand. Showing us it stand on end in reaction to the magnet under his palm was an amusing distraction as we mused how this might have beneficial qualities to walk on.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca
Black and white sand

The reason we took the short taxi ride from Mazunte, like most people, was to take the tour in the mangrove swamps surrounding the beach to see the local wildlife that is living in nature.

The back waters are incredibly peaceful and calm and the small boats that are used to navigate the channels are propelled by nothing more than a large wooden paddle that resembles a spoon.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca
Spot the croc

As we arrived at the landing, around 8 minutes walk along the beach, our guide immediately pointed out the tail of a crocodile that was laying underneath one of the boats. We were skeptical, the spikes of the tail looked like a split tire or some garbage in the water but when we moved to the front of the boat we saw the snout of the animal poking out.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca
There he is...!

It was quite disconcerting to come so close to such a ferocious beast, but he paid us the least bit of attention and we swiftly boarded our vessel among cries that we were "going to need a bigger boat".

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca
The backwaters

As we progressed down the waters among the mangroves there was wildlife all around. In total we saw 4 crocs, one huge one at the landing for a guesthouse in the middle of the swamp. It was there on the way out, basking in the sun to warm up it's body temperature, but on the way back it was nowhere to be seen. We watched in disbelief as an older couple who were staying at the house casually walked down to their boat, just yards from where the beast had been lying less than half an hour earlier.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca

Apparently the crocodiles have never eaten a human here, perhaps because there is plenty of other, more easily accessible food available. There were many species of birds, from cranes to parrots. We saw beautiful yellow-breasted ones perching on trees and small divers hunting in the water with great speed as well as large grey toucans hidden away in amongst the branches.

We had a real treat with the iguanas. First a small family was basking by the water and we got close enough to reach out and touch this female. Having thought this was spectacular we then spotted on the opposite side of the water this huge beast of a male who proceeded to shake his head at us in a motion of aggression. He had a group of females with him and was no doubt very proud when we eventually departed.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca
Hurricane hit Mangrove

The mangroves that these iguanas were resting on, like many in the swamp right now, were devastated in 2013 by a hurricane that swept through this area.

At the end of the way, when the water got so shallow we had to lead the boat through backwards, we entered a submerged coconut grove with the noise of thousands of frogs chirruping in the air.

Ventanilla, beach, rocks, crocodiles, oaxaca

The sounds of nature in the trip were a highlight throughout with the calls of many different birds competing to make their song the loudest.

We didn't see turtles but they do live here as well.

The tour is about an hour and a half long and well worth the 50Pesos per person around 2
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Why? Wildlife and peace
Where: Just a 15 minute taxi ride from Mazunte
Cost: 50 Pesos for the tour
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