Here’s a tale about one of my favourite places in the world. I intended to visit for a couple of days just to de-stress and get some sun after the chilly nights of San Cristobal but ended up staying for a whole week. I could have stayed much longer had I not already committed to volunteering in Oaxaca City.
I took a night bus to San Pedro Pochutla and then a colectivo to Mazunte. A colectivo can really be anything, often a minivan or taxi but in this case, it was the back of a pickup truck. As more and more people piled in along the way, I was eventually squished next to two lovely older men and got to find out about what they did in Mazunte and they loved telling me about their families.
As we were nearing the coast and I could start to smell the sea air, we got stopped by a road block. The police were checking licences and it turned out our driver deigned not to carry one that day. We sat in the back of the truck for about five minutes as the passengers continued to make jokes and were in general good spirits even though we were about to be stuck a 20 minute walk from our destination.
Everyone eventually realised the police were not going to let us continue so we all hopped out and made our way down the hill to Mazunte. By this time it was seven in the morning and not much was happening. I heard this could be a bit of a hippy town and witnessed a few early morning locals going about their business but it was quiet otherwise.
Upon my first sighting of the beach I knew this was the place for me. I settled into my new hostel, Posada Del Arquitecto, which was right on the beach and started my new life in Mazunte.
There is really not much to do in Mazunte but everyday my friends and I would find ourselves declaring, “Another perfect day in Mazunte!” The weather is lovely, the people are relaxed and if you want to spend some time doing absolutely nothing surrounded by natural beauty then this is the place to be!
Eating and drinking
There are some genuinely great places to eat including a spectacular wood fired pizza place run by a real Italian, a fish and chip shop, a falafel place, an Italian gelato stand and a juice bar where you can get a litre of juice for 35 pesos! Due to the large expat community you will really be surprised by the variety and quality of food available.
Cafes and restaurants seem to open whenever they want to so you can't plan anything. It's like a nice surprise as you walk through town and find that your favourite places are open. The main street always seem new to me because of this phenomenon; there's always a different combination of stores opened on any given day.
You can also eat your way around the world just by laying on the beach as food vendors bring around a variety of treats for you to snack on. My personal favourites were the sushi lady, the pizza lady and the donut guy.
Most nights there's usually a movie night in one of the hostels. The organisers post a flyer up everyday with details of that night’s movie and location. Depending on the hostel they’ll offer some drink specials and even some dinner options. While I was there, they played a variety of movies from recent blockbusters (like The Revenant) and more classical movies from the 1920’s.
There's not much party life here so you could easily find yourself in bed by 11 so you can get a full night's sleep before you wake up for the sunrise or morning yoga.
If you do want to party, you can walk the streets and there’s usually a gathering of people outside the juice bar, where they offer 2 large mojitos for 100 pesos or the Mezcaleria is open Friday and Saturday nights with live music late into the evening along with free mezcal tasting.
Chasing the sunset
You can watch the sunrise right from the beach in Mazunte but need to walk to another beach to see the sunset. Every afternoon about 4:30 pm locals and foreigners alike start congregating on the beach to see the evening in. Those who are up to a walk start heading to the hill to do the sunset hike.
You start by walking through some local forest while gradually climbing up to a point looking back down to the Mazunte beach. There’s usually a lovely Portuguese lady selling some delicious chocolate truffles and other treats and you could stay here and witness the sunset if you’re not up for anymore walking (or you ate too many chocolate truffles!).
After hanging out here for while, you climb down to an almost deserted little beach where you can sit and stare as the sun sets seemingly right in front of you. Take a dip in the orange waters and fully immerse yourself in this spectacular time of the day.
After watching the sun set for a bit on this beach, everyone then heads up to the furthest point, Punta Cometa. You walk through some more forest, pass some spectacular rock formations and then come upon the point which takes my breath away every time.
The sunset is different every day and since you’re now on Mexican time and you take things as slow as possible then you’re always in a hurry to catch that last bit of sunset as you head toward the point, making it even more special.
From here, it’s all about sitting and staring in awe at the sunset and the otherworldly atmosphere of the beach below. There are huge rocks with some real personality and it almost reminds me of landscapes you encounter when traveling through Salar de Uyuni and South East Bolivia.
Once the sun sets, you still have another hour or so of dramatic orangey-coral landscapes to soak up so you can stay on the point or climb down to the beach below. Once there you can take another swim or head to the small bar located right on the beach for a very strong cocktail or some nibbles.
A Pacific Paradise
Of all the beaches I’ve been to on the Pacific coast this is definitely my favourite. During the day there are huge pelicans diving for fish and beautiful hummingbirds flitting around. Everyone seems to respect the peace and there is rarely any loud music blaring, at the most you might hear the strains of a guitar or drumming.
In Mazunte you can do yoga every morning for as little as 50 pesos. You can sleep in a swinging bed looking out into the coast for 90 pesos. You can eat like you’re in Europe or indulge in local Mexican fare. You can do nothing at all and still end the day with a contented sigh and a stupid grin on your face because you’re just so happy to be there.