As I said before, Zipolite has two sides to it. Its up to each to decide which one to take when visiting. This is a list on how to get there; places to stay; and where to eat.. and of course where to drink.
To get there from Oaxaca City….
The nearest Airports from Zipolite are roughly two hours away in Huatulco and/or Puerto Escondido. Two places I don’t know much about. But traveling from Oaxaca City the easiest thing to do is to take a “Burban”, as what the locals call them. They are comfortable vans that fit around 10 people and travel faster than the buses. The cost is about 300 pesos (20 dlls). There are many van companies and most are taken from downtown Oaxaca. One thing that southern Mexico has is a wonderful transportation system, so don’t worry if you are not familiar. The trip is from Oaxaca city to Pochutla. The van makes one major stop at the Sierra in the town of San Jose del Pacifico. From Pochutla you usually take a taxi or you go on a “colectivo” truck, (I personally like adventure and to save money so I suggest the “colectivo” truck). The cab will cost around $150 pesos ($9 dlls), and the collectivo around $40 pesos ($2.50 dlls). One very important word of advice is to take out money from the ATM in Pochutla!!! There is one ATM machine in Zipolite and it was out of order most of the time I tried to use it. Remember, there are no chain hotels so it is mostly cash exchange everywhere you go.
Where to stay….
I would personally suggest three places. My two favourite are “Las Casitas” and “Villa Escondida“. Las Casitas is a great option if you want to be closer to the beach and has a great view of the ocean; not to mention this is the place where La Providencia is located, truly one of the top restaurants in all of Mexico, (I will elaborate more). Las Casitas is truly beautiful but Villa Escondida is also great if you want to be farther from the ocean.
If you don’t mind the rowdy crowd on the beach and you are on a budget ($150 pesos/night), I would suggest “El Colibri“. It is run by a super cool Chicagoan named Kevin. This place offers a front side view of the ocean and you can always enjoy a beer at his bar!
Where to eat…
If you are planning a longer stay like the one I did and enjoy cooking, you travel to the market in the city of Pochutla; (email me if you want more info on this).
One thing about Zipolite is the vast amounts of Italian food restaurants. This is due to the huge immigrant population from Italy that live in Zipolite. I have nothing but love for Italians and their food, as I was lucky to live in that amazing country! However, if you want to experience phenomenal Mexican cuisine, your choices are limited but great! There is “Sal y Pimienta” which is a Mexican seafood restaurant with huge dishes and reasonable prices. There is also one wonderful restaurant that is located at “Las Casitas” cabins called “La Providencia“. I might be biased since I am friends with Javier and Paco, who run and own it, but this place is truly special. I wouldn’t be the only one that thinks this way since it is on many of the lists of the top Mexican restaurants in the whole country (google it on LonelyPlanet)! I suggest you see for yourself what I am talking about and you won’t be disappointed. Tell Javier Valerie sent you and he’ll give you a free Mescal! (Kidding!!!). This place has amazing ambience as you are surrounded by Javier’s personal touch in everything from decoration and the paintings that surround you. The musical playlist is also amazing. Paco is just a surreal chef that you will savour each and every bite of his dishes! Zipolite is truly lucky to have these two amazing artists!
What to do & see…
Apart from the fact that you are away from the usual big building, big hotel crowd there is a lot to see in this area.
I personally enjoyed going to various places to practice yoga. There was the yoga studio across Villa Escondida, which I hear now offers temascales, (adobe made sauna’s that are heated with hot stones). There is also “Rancho Grande“, run by Mario. This place is located in the middle of Zipolite and San Agustinillo Beach. It is a little harder to get to Rancho Grande, but definitely worth the trip.
Go tot the surrounding beaches…
- Mazunte– Another hippie haven but a little more upscale and the ocean is not as violent as in Zipolite.
- San Agustinillo– One of my favourite beaches. You can always take surf classes with David, a very nice frenchman. And if you want to eat one of the best “chilaquiles” go to the restaurant “Mexico, Lindo y Que Rico”.
- Puerto Angel– Take a tour to see the turtles and take a dive from one of the cliffs. Looks easier than it is ;)!
- Punta Cometa– It is located right by Mazunte beach and it is known to be a place of immense energetic powers. It is the southernmost tip of Mexico and legend has it that it was used by the Zapotec as a place of worship. Some say it has healing powers and a place of sanctuary. A wonderful spot to see the spectacular sunset!
Zipolite is a wonderful place. But like most places in the world, it depends on what you want. It can be a great spiritual haven but also a place to lose yourself. The answer is on what it is you are seeking…..