I waited a long time to post about my Christmas trip to the beautiful, small beach town of Mazunte, Oaxaca, maybe because during the trip and even now, months later, those days retain a dream like quality.
Down the coast from the better known Puerto Escondido, Mazunte is a small town nestled in a wide bay. With a sweeping sandy beach and the green rolling hills behind, it really is the very definition of idyllic.
Known for having a kind of ‘hippie’ vibe, Mazunte is 100% laid back. Life here is slow and the natural beauty is appreciated. You’ll find yoga classes, handmade jewellery and local and travelling musicians at every turn.
Playa Rinconcito, at the North end of the bay, is the best place to swim and find something to eat, whether is be a delicious empanada from the ladies selling them on the beach or a fish taco in a beach-side bar. Watch the surfers, play in the waves and relax. One week in this sleepy, un-spoilt village on the breathtaking Oaxacan coast is enough to relax even the most stressed of us to our very core.
It was the wildness, the utter natural beauty, that blew me away. After a long time working long hours in busy and less-than-green Merida, it was like arriving on a different planet. Don’t get me wrong, Yucatan has natural beauty in abundance, as witnessed in the pages of this blog, but Oaxaca’s untamed beauty made me nostalgic; from time to time it caught me out, making me believe I was on the English beaches of my childhood. That might sound crazy considering I was actually in a tropical paradise at 30 degrees, but the wild seascapes and cliffs made me think of Cornwall.
Across the headland from the village, down a dusty track, you’ll find Playa Mermejita. Wilder and quieter, this beach is absolutely stunning. Although you can’t swim there due to very strong currents and crashing waves, there are a couple of rustic places to sleep and eat and we spent a couple of afternoons wiling away the time and watching the sun set over the Pacific. This is un-touched beauty at its finest.
There are a couple of well looked-after hostels in town, including the popular Posada del Arquitecto. We wanted something a bit different and we were lucky to find the most perfect house, perched high up on the hill overlooking the bay. It was a palapa house with no real walls, which meant falling asleep and waking up in the coastal jungle, hearing the sea, animals and rhythms of the town drift up on the wind (we found our place on Air B&B – there are a few great options).
Mazunte is also home to a lovely turtle sanctuary where you can find all sorts of turtles – big, small, sea, land…. Before turning to eco-tourism, Mazunte’s economy was based on the sale of turtle meat and eggs. Now that those practices have thankfully been banned, the town has set up this wonderful sanctuary which educates people about these curious little creatures. To find it, walk to the far end of the main beach – its definitely worth a visit.
Another favourite activity do to from Mazunte is to rent a boat and go out to sea to spot marine life. On Christmas Day as the sun rose we took a boat trip and we were so lucky to see lots of dolphins riding the waves with us (unfortunately no photos due to an unforeseen sea sickness disaster!!). It was a the most heavenly sight for a Christmas morning.
Whilst you’re in Mazunte you should also walk up the headland to Punta Cometa to watch the sunset. The walk through the forest and the views you get of Mazunte are worth it in themselves, but then you see the sunset and….just wow!
All in all, Mazunte recharged my batteries and surprised me everyday with its ragged natural beauty. There are so many great places to eat, friendly people, beach-side bars and breathtaking sunsets. It was the absolute perfect Christmas fairytale!