Along the Southern Coast of Mexico lies the beach community of Zipolite Playa or Playa Zipolite, depending on who you ask (Mexican or Gringo!) Both names are acceptable! This community is situated in the visually-stimulating state of Oaxaca, which, as you know, I can’t say enough about this region’s culturally rich charm. For instance, a visit to the city of Oaxaca, trying the local smoky drink of Mezcal, a visit to Hierve el Agua and the remnants of the Zapotec and Mixtec cultures found at Monte Alban are all a DO NOT MISS! But if you are looking for a beach and exploring the area, keep on driving south to the sea. As there is one thing you should know about Zipolite Playa: It only has a population of fewer than 1,000 people, so you can imagine it is pretty laid back and quiet. It can certainly bring out the inner hippie in you too if you let it! But if you already put out hippie vibes, then you will fit right in!
Zipolite Playa’s Main Focus is The Beach
The main focus of Zipolite Mexico is the beach at Playa Zipolite. With a beach that is less than a mile and a half long, one may wonder what is there to do at Playa Zipolite? Those who visit this close-knit community are drawn in by its quietness, blue raging waters, and beautiful sunrises. As these are truly unique qualities in this hippie-style town. But this admittedly-rustic seaside town makes its claim to fame as one of Mexico’s nude beaches. (Shhh! Better not mention THAT to your friends!). As of 2016, Playa Zipolite is the only legally nude beach in Mexico, but don’t let that detour you, as there is more here than what meets the eye! (Pun intended). Personally, I was a little shocked when I first got here, as I had no idea, but after a while, you just don’t look, as there is not that much to look at!
Playa Zipolite Has Frothy Blue and Thunderous Surf!
One of the BIGGEST pulls to Playa Zipolite is to surf! So you can imagine there are plenty of surfer dudes and dudettes in the area, thus the hippie-like atmosphere. The rough waves have been a great attraction to them, but have also given a fright or two to others. The best way to experience the waves of Zipolite Playa is probably to book a surfing lesson so you know what you are doing while you are out there! And there are plenty of surfers to teach you how, so just ask around for a guide. Playa Zipolite, which has been nicknamed, the Beach of the Dead, has strong rip tides and dangerous undertows. So it is important to make sure you know what you are doing when you attempt to surf in Zipolite Mexico!
Zipolite Mexico is for Those Who Like To Swim and Snorkel!
Surfing may be adventurous and fun, but while at the beach why not go for a swim? Swimming at Zipolite Playa is just as adventurous yet calming at the same time if that makes sense. Those who go for a swim in the warm water will certainly want to go for snorkeling. The sea water is so warm that you may think you are in your personal bathtub. The crystal-clear and warm water of Playa Zipolite is a great treat for those who like to snorkel. But if you just want to lie on the beach, it has some gorgeous gold-colored sand.
Playa Zipolite’s perfect Swimming Pool at El Aquimista
But sometimes, all you want is a gorgeous swimming pool and the Hotel El Aquimista has that for you with its gorgeous negative edge-style infinity pool with the most amazing bougainvillea’s surrounding it. As the sun begins to come down in the sky, it is best to escape to the crystal clear refreshing waters of this infinity pool! With oversized lounge chairs and palm tree shade, it is the perfect escape in Playa Zipolite.
Is there a Need to do Anything in Zipolite Mexico?
If you are getting away from a busy home life then do nothing while in Playa Zipolite, that’s one of the best parts! Since this resort town has few tours and events, try relaxing for a bit and see how doing nothing feels! Honestly, it is a hot and lazy beach in the summer. And siestas are not only for Europeans hanging out on the beach as the Mexicans do it too. Why not join in on the hype and take a mini break from your busy day and relax in a hammock along Playa Zipolite. Not much has changed from the hippie days of the 1960s and 1970s. Just so you know, the use of marijuana is legal in Playa Zipolite and many people utilize that here. There is a melancholy atmosphere. So, if you want to do nothing while feeling extremely relaxed, then smoke some weed and enjoy the sea view. (I personally don’t partake, but many do!)
Where is the Best Place to Catch a Sunset? Punta Cometa!
The best place to view the sunset or sunrise in Oaxaca is Punta Cometa. This amazing peninsula has been a best-kept secret of the locals for years. There are no street indications on how to get there and the locals would prefer it that way (but it is only 15 minutes from Playa Zipolite). With that being said, locals would be happy to point you in the right direction of Punta Cometa to view the best sunset of your life, so just ask. Another way to watch the sunset is to go on a local fishing trip that concludes with a stunning sunset Cruise.
Go Shopping in the Downtown Area of Playa Zipolite
Right down the main street is where most of the action is in this town. From local restaurants to shopping, this is the main drag. The local shops offer handmade creations and souvenirs that you will not find anywhere else. Much of it is locally made. While shopping in Playa Zipolite, take note that there are only a few ATM machines at Playa Zipolite, so be sure and bring some cash. I didn’t see any currency exchange places, but most places accept US dollars.
How to get to Zipolite Playa?
Getting to Zipolite Playa is the most difficult part of your journey. Depending on where you are coming from, a plane, train or bus ride into Mexico is needed. From your arrival destination, it is best to take a trip to Puerto Angel, Mexico and then make your way to Playa Zipolite. A car or taxi ride will take roughly 1 hour, while the bus route using Bus ADO can take up to 1 hour and a half.
Another way to get to Playa Zipolite is to fly into the airport in Puerto Escondido (PXM) and take a taxi or car ride into town. Be careful to note that the road to this town is narrow and winding, so take extra caution when driving. The ride is about an hour and 25 minutes. However, you can also fly into the smaller Huatulco airport (HUX) which is about an hour away. Either way, it is not that easy to get here!
Where to Stay in Playa Zipolite?
One of the best hotels to stay at in Zipolite, Mexico is Hotel El Alquimista (admittedly the options are slim). But I stayed here and did enjoy it. Guests can choose from 17 different ocean view cabins that are equipped with beds, ceiling fans, mosquito nets, bathroom (including hot water) and a safety box. If you are looking to splurge, then the King Size Bed Cabin with a pool is the way to go! You will be able to lounge in a hammock on a private terrace that overlooks the splendid sea. These rooms also have air-conditioning, which is a must in the summer! Some of the other rooms don’t have air conditioning, so be sure and ask.
They also have a top-notch yoga/spa area that allows you to book massages, facials, and natural body scrubs at great prices. Guests can be one with nature while taking a yoga class with a first-class view of the ocean. Literally! In the middle of getting tanned and relaxed, you should probably find time to eat.
A little further up the beach is Baha de Luna. It is a hotel, restaurant, and is beachfront as well. It has single, double, and full house cabanas to rent!
Best Places to Eat in Zipolite Mexico:
The best places to eat in Zipolite Oaxaca is La Providencia and most likely it is THE BEST PLACE TO EAT in all of the state of Oaxaca! I can’t say enough about this amazing gem of a place. It was completely unexpected in this hippie atmosphere town, as it is simply gorgeously decorated and the food was exquisite! This friendly Mexican restaurant offers fresh seafood, gluten-free meals, and vegetarian-friendly options. I had the empanada appetizer and the coconut shrimp with the mango salsa! It has a full bar, outdoor seating, and a unique atmosphere. It is located merely a block from the beach. Chef Paco and Host Javier are the best hosts ever! Be sure and check out their new location which is bigger, cooler, and has more parking!
Another restaurant to visit while in Playa Zipolite is the restaurant at Hotel El Alquimista, where I stayed. They serve delicious breakfast with coffee and freshly squeezed juices. They have traditional cheeseburgers and fries as well as salads. And don’t forget the drinks!
If you are craving an omelet or bacon, then try Orale Café. It has a stunning garden view and warm atmosphere.
I tried all of these restaurants and they were all delightful!
Being a part of a local community is heartwarming. Regardless of how long you are visiting Playa Zipolite, Mexico, you can feel a part of something larger than you. The people are friendly, the beach is beautiful and the sunsets are to die for. This is the perfect place to be yourself and relax. Casual dining, a relaxed atmosphere, and blissfulness are all included in a trip to Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, I was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purposes of review by Cantimplora Travel. While it has not influenced my review, PointsandTravel.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. All Photos were taken by the author/or were given permission from the photographer. Affiliate links may be located in this article.