The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca has long been one of the most overlooked destinations in Mexico. In favor of crowded, touristy beach towns like Cancun and Cabo, Oaxaca’s rugged coast gets criminally ignored. I’m writing this from my balcony overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean, a steep climb up 224 uneven concrete steps from the sandy shores of Playa Mazunte. It’s my fourth consecutive day doing the exact same thing: absolutely nothing.
And I’ve been more than content to keep this thrilling routine going. Every morning at around 6:40 AM, the gentle sun shines through our triangle-shaped doorway, arousing me from the night’s peaceful slumber. Sure, we could shut the door, but I don’t think any of us mind sacrificing that extra hour of sleep. Something about being naturally woken up by the sun and the ocean just hits different. My bed, smack dab in the center of the cabin, is directly in the sunrise’s line of sight. Whether I like it or not, I am up for sunrise every damn day. Thankfully, I do like it.
While it’s a stunning view from our small terrace, the beach is the place to be. It takes about three minutes to waltz down to the beach. An injury has yet to happen on those uneven concrete stairs, although my excitement might catch up to me one of these days. Bright pink flowers hanging over the final few stairs marks the entrance to the beach, and another magical day in Mazunte has officially begun.
Strolling through the sleepy town every morning is just as tranquil as the mostly empty beach at sunrise. The drowsy palm trees droop over the small town’s lone street, lined with the occasional bamboo boutique or quaint cafe. The jewelry vendors have yet to set up shop, and the lack of traffic allows you to roam the streets without a care.
The turquoise waters and sleepy streets of Oaxaca’s coastal gem are pristine, uncrowded, and absolutely stunning. Located an hour from the rapidly-growing Puerto Escondido, Mazunte will undoubtedly experience a residual boom in tourism. Puerto Escondido has exploded into one of Mexico’s premier party destinations for backpackers and national tourists. Mazunte has started to serve as a more quiet, laid-back getaway for travelers and locals alike.
The lazy beach town vibes lull your senses, and the sweltering midday sun is torturous to anyone who dares leave the shade or the sea. While there are plenty of activities and excursions to do in Mazunte, many a traveler comes just to relax and escape. While I was in Mazunte, I often felt like I had not just simply traveled to a place, but also to a moment in time as well. The Wi-Fi barely works, which is still a higher success rate than the ATMs. In Mazunte, time is a nonexistent concept. You eat when you’re hungry, and sleep when you’re tired. The punishing heat ensures you’re up at a reasonable time, and once the sun starts to dip from its throne in the sky, you work your way to Punta Cometa for sunset with the rest of Mazunte’s residents and visitors.
The sun sets, the moon rises, and you slowly work your barefoot self back towards town. If Mazunte could ever be considered as “coming alive”, it’d be around dinnertime. The main street is lined with amazing restaurants, boasting an impressively international scene for a small Mexican fishing village. You’ll pass by an Italian joint, a sushi spot, Chinese food, an Israeli restaurant, and of course, loads of tlayuda specialists to fill you up for cheap. The streets become lined with vendors, street musicians, and travelers curious about the going-ons of the small town.
For the most part, that’s a day in Mazunte. I had not a care in the world my entire time in this coastal paradise. It was a feeling I wish lasted forever, or at least, much longer than the five measly days I spent there. To think I only planned on staying two nights. Having visited Mazunte three years prior to this latest trip, I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything else to do there. Once I got there, I was thrilled that I wouldn’t have anything else to do there. Mazunte truly shows you the beauty of doing nothing. It’s a day spent reading in a hammock, playing beach volleyball with strangers, sipping on a lukewarm cerveza at sunset, and being lulled to sleep by the gentle crashing of the waves.
Mazunte is the cuts on your feet from never wearing shoes. It’s the peeling of your skin from challenging the sun for a little too long. It’s the excitement of seeing a humpback leap from the water, an excitement that never fades no matter how often it happens. Life is simply just better in Mazunte, one of the most charming beach destinations in all of Mexico.