Mazunte is one of Mexico’s more off-the-beaten-path destinations for travelers looking for some sun and sand. As far as tourism infrastructure goes, Mazunte might be as barebones as it gets. That might turn some travelers away, or it may be be a huge draw for others. For a stunning beach town that has yet to be discovered by the international travel scene, Mazunte is the place to be.
I first visited Mazunte back in 2018 and absolutely loved it. Mazunte has started to grow a bit in popularity, partially thanks to the boom of tourism to neighboring Puerto Escondido. Inevitably, people were going to spread to Oaxaca’s other coastal paradises. However, Mazunte is still Oaxaca’s premier beach destination for travelers looking for peace and quiet in contrast to the party scene of Puerto Escondido.
I came back to Mazunte in January 2021, and will admit that it’s changed a little bit. Like many beach towns in Mexico, Mazunte’s rapidly growing popularity is difficult for its infrastructure to keep up with. As of January 2021, it still maintains a rustic vibe, although the main strip has started to resemble other beach towns like Tulum. It is still infinitely more tranquil than Puerto Escondido, and even neighboring Zipolite. If you’re looking for something more barebones, Chacahua is the new alternative among my fellow traveling hippies.
How To Get To Mazunte
From Puerto Escondido
Puerto Escondido is like Mazunte’s more popular older brother. However, Mazunte was bound to follow in big bro’s footsteps. Word is beginning to spread that Mazunte is the place to be, and it undoubtedly will continue to grow in popularity in the coming years. For people who aren’t entirely into the touristy party scene of Puerto Escondido, Mazunte is an even bigger draw.
The ADO buses can take you from Puerto to Mazunte for pretty cheap but if you are looking for even cheaper, you can take local camionetas or pasajos and work your way towards the coast. A colectivo from Puerto Escondido cost 50 pesos for the hour-long ride, but didn’t drop us off directly in Mazunte. We had to take another taxi to our accommodation, which cost 150 pesos between the five of us for a 10-minute ride.
If you want a quicker, more direct route, a taxi can get you from Puerto Escondido to Mazunte (and vice versa) for 600 pesos. You can haggle it down to 550 pesos if you are persistent but you likely won’t be able to go any lower than that. The ride takes about an hour and might be the ideal option if you can split the cost with other travelers and can get dropped off right at your accommodation.
From Oaxaca/San Jose del Pacifico/Pochutla
To get to Mazunte from Oaxaca, you have two options. As far as I know, most colectivos from Oaxaca only go to Puerto Escondido, a journey that takes about seven hours, depending on how often the driver stops. From Puerto Escondido, you can take the 50 peso colectivo and then a taxi to get to Mazunte.
If you are coming from the magical mushroom town of San Jose del Pacifico, you’ll have to catch a ride to Pochutla. The town of Pochutla is like the gateway to all the beach towns on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca. From Oaxaca, it costs 125 pesos to get to San Jose del Pacifico and a shuttle from San Jose del Pacifico costs 110 pesos to get to Pochutla. It might be cheaper to book a direct bus from Oaxaca to Pochutla but I highly recommend stopping by San Jose del Pacifico. If not for the good views and good times, then simply because it will be torture having to drive through those mountains for six hours without stopping.
From Pochutla, you can take a camioneta/collectivo or just take a taxi for around 150 pesos. It costs about 40 pesos to take a collectivo but you will definitely have to wait for it to fill up before you leave. If there’s a group of you, it might be better to take a taxi since you will get there faster for around the same price.
Where To Stay in Mazunte
Mazunte might be one of the cheapest tourist destinations in Mexico. I’m writing this from a treehouse cabin right on the beach that costs about 500 pesos ($25 USD) per night. Split with two of my friends, that runs to about $8 each. There is no air-conditioning, unfortunately. Like I said, Mazunte is very barebones. You’ll come to realize air conditioning is nearly impossible to find in Mazunte.
Hostels in Mazunte
There are plenty of hostels in Mazunte but few of them have any online presence. Unless there has been some sort of explosion of tourism since I’ve written this, you will definitely be able to just roll up and find a place to stay.
(January 2021 update: There has been some sort of explosion in tourism since I’ve written this).
A bed in a hostel dorm should cost you only around 60 pesos per night. That’s 3 freakin’ dollars. That price can obviously vary depending on what amenities the place has, if there even are any. I’m currently staying at Posada del Arquitecto which seems to be one of the nicer places in town. It actually has Wi-Fi, cheap dorms, cheap private rooms, free breakfast and it is literally right on the beach. I have yet to discover if they actually have hot water but in Mazunte, a cold shower is a blessing.
I’m back in Mazunte right now in January 2021, and am currently staying at one of the most incredible places I’ve ever stayed at. It offers dorm rooms, private rooms, and camping options with an incredible view overlooking the ocean. It’s called Cabañas Balamjuyuc, and if you don’t mind hiking up and down to the beach every day, it is an unreal spot.
Camping in Mazunte
There are a ton of places in Mazunte where you can just rent a tent or a hammock for as low as 30 pesos per night. For the ultimate budget traveler, this is the way to go. It’ll be miserably hot during the day but sleeping at night in Mazunte is perfectly fine. I haven’t seen any camping places directly on the beach but you are never too far from the beach while in Mazunte anyway.
Hotels in Mazunte
There are a lot of hotels in Mazunte along the beach, stretching from Playa Rinconcito all the way to Playa Zipolite. Not all of them have an online presence but the ones that do seem to be quite pricy.
Main point of this section is that Mazunte has at least four times as many hostels and hotels that show up online. Don’t stress about booking a place in advance. You will be able to find somewhere along the beach that fits your needs perfectly. Except for air-con. It will probably not have air-con.
What To Do In Mazunte
Visit the Beaches of Mazunte
This is quite obvious since it is a beach town. There are a lot of beaches, some quieter than others and varying in their levels of how intense the waves are. Playa Mazunte and Playa Rinconcito are the main beaches in the town of Mazunte. Playa Agustinillo is a much quieter stretch of beach if you are willing to walk about a kilometer outside the main strip of Mazunte. A little bit further and you’ll stumble into Zipolite’s famous nude beach.
Watch the sunset from Punta Cometa
This might be the best spot to catch the sunset in all of Mexico. Overlooking the cliffs of Mazunte as the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash into the rocks is an incredible sight. It is about a 20-minute uphill hike from the beach but well worth sweating for. You get incredible views of the town of Mazunte before stumbling upon the secret beach of Playa Cometa. This is a beautiful beach to go to that hardly had any people when I was there.
Hike up the hill a little further and you’ll run into one of my favorite sunset spots ever. Stake your claim alongside the cliff and watch as the sun sets and the sky starts changing colors. Hopefully you brought a few caguamons (or something a little psychedelic) to help pass the time.
For the more adventurous, there is an outlying rock that you could climb to that boasts even more incredible views. Be careful though because once the sun sets, it can be tricky working your way back.
Swim with the dolphins and hang out with the sea turtles
For around 200 pesos ($10), you can hop on a boat and be taken out to the ocean to see the sea turtles and swim with the dolphins. Unfortunately, this isn’t as magical as it sounds because these are wild dolphins and they won’t exactly flock to humans as one might expect. As soon as everyone hopped in the water with them, they all zoom away in different directions. In case you didn’t know, dolphins are freaky fast swimmers and you’ll be lucky to get a close glimpse of them underwater.
Despite this, it is still extremely worth it just to see them swimming and playing. You’ll also get to see quite a few sea turtles swimming around. Depending on the season, you might be able to swim with them but during mating season, it is best to leave them alone. For 200 pesos, you can’t really go wrong. Try to go in the morning before the sun becomes too harsh because being on a boat for several hours is basically an instant sunburn.
Laguna Ventanilla to see the crocodiles and iguanas
Aside from how laid-back the town is, one of the biggest tourist draws to Mazunte is the biodiversity. While the sea turtles and dolphins might be the sexier option, if you have more time, seeing the crocodiles and iguanas in Laguna Ventanilla is a cool thing to do.
See the bioluminescent plankton at Laguna Manialtepec
A popular activity for tourists is to go see the bioluminescent plankton. After hearing some things from some people and reading about it online, I’ve decided to not do this mostly because it seems like it’s a hassle and that it might be at most, 2% as magical as you expect it to be.
I’m not saying that this isn’t worth doing but just remember that the pictures that show up on the front page of Google are the best of the best. They aren’t always the best example of what you will actually. All I’m saying is prepare to be disappointed. That way, you’ll be pleasantly surprised if it all works out and you have a magical time.
Miscellaneous Mazunte Tips
The money situation in Mazunte
So ATMs in Mazunte aren’t exactly the most reliable. They are there but the chances of them working properly are slim to none. The first ATM I tried ate my card for a few minutes before whirring back to life and spitting it back out. The second one I tried was out of service. Third times the charm, though! Sort of. I tried taking out 3,600 pesos and was only given 1,800 so that was pretty annoying. Long story short, take money out before you arrive in Mazunte. I recommend snagging some money from an ATM in Pochutla.
Also, I hope you have got some small bills. One of the most frustrating things about Mazunte is that no one has change. If you have a 200 peso bill, there might only be a 50% chance that they will have change readily available for you. They’ll just laugh at you if you have a 500 peso bill. Try to break your big bills into smaller bills or you will have an annoying time in a small town like Mazunte. I tried paying for a 25 peso ice cream with a 200 peso bill and had to wait about 20 minutes before they could accumulate the change I needed.
Renting a Scooter in Mazunte
This is annoyingly expensive, especially since I have never had to pay more than $5 a day in any other country to rent a scooter. They asked for 500 pesos to rent one for a day which was pretty ridiculous. It would definitely help you get around a lot faster and maybe allow you to hit up the less-frequented beaches past Zipolite.
A word of warning though, when I was at the motorcycle rental place (which also doubled as an ice cream shop), two people returned without their motorcycles, claiming they had broken down and had to be abandoned. I got along fine without a motorcycle and taxis are cheap enough here, especially if you’ve got a few friends to split the fare with.
Food and Drink
Mazunte is a weird place because I can’t tell if it is super cheap or not. Accommodation, tours, and everything else seems to be pretty cheap. Food, on the other hand, is surprisingly expensive. Perhaps its because you’re on the coast and all the seafood is fresh, but you surely won’t find any 9 pesos tacos al pastor here. The cheapest tacos I’ve found were still 50 pesos for an order of 3 tacos, and those were vegetarian tacos. However, you could treat yourself to a massive tlayuda for 60 pesos. It was the size of like 2 or 3 Chipotle burritos. I fell short at my attempt at finishing one and I still could not breathe afterwards.
Price aside, the food here is ridiculously good. If you are into seafood, this might be some of the best you’ll have in your life. The shrimp, marlin, dorado, tuna, and everything else comes fresh from the ocean.
The nightlife is practically nonexistent at Mazunte but there are a few bars that you can definitely hang out at at night. A lot of places have two-for-one all-day happy hours so it is pretty easy and cheap to get drunk here. My favorite form of nightlife here in Mazunte was just going to watch the sunset with a few beers and a few good friends.
(Since writing this back in 2018, Mazunte has definitely grown a unique nightlife scene of its own. It’s more underground and low-key than Puerto Escondido, but the hippies know how to throw parties of their own.)
The vibe of Mazunte is super laid-back and super chill. You never feel pressured to do anything, which is quite nice because it is obnoxiously hot during the days sometimes. Mazunte is one of my favorite spots in all of Mexico and I am extremely glad I made my way down here. As far as Mexican beach towns go, it is one of the cheapest, most beautiful, and least trafficked. Make sure you don’t miss it.
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