Oaxaca Pacific Coast beaches offer dining on the beach as
above at Puerto Escondido
Oaxaca, Mexico, Pacific Coast Beaches Updated December 2013
Oaxaca's Pacific Coast beaches include Zipolite, Puerto Angel, Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, and Huatulco. These are quiet Oaxacan beaches where you can enjoy an inexpensive vacation of surfing, kayaking, diving, fishing, and ecotouring. Huatulco is the exception. There you can find luxury lodging golfing, and upscale resort amenities as well as humble digs.
Sunrise on Zipolite Beach
Transportation, Bus, Van, Flights
Reach the Oaxaca Pacific Coast beaches via Route 175 over the mountains from Oaxaca City, to the town of Pochutla,
Vans from Oaxaca City make this trip for 160 Pesos with many trips throughout the day. Vans from Oaxaca City also reach the coast with trips to Puerto Escondido via Route 131 through Sola de Vega.
Flights from Oaxaca City and Mexico City also reach Puerto Escondido and Huatulco Airports.
Buses from Oaxaca's ADO Station also make trips to Pochutla. They use Highway 190 to Huatulco and then go northwest on Route 200 to Pochutla and Puerto Escondido.
Sunset Zipolite Beach
Once you arrive in Pochutla you are about six miles from the beach at Puerto Angel, a small fishing village that has one large hotel on the beach to the right side as you face the water with another on the street behind it. Reach Puerto Angel by taxi, collective taxi, or camioneta.
Camioneta are a pickup
with a covered bed that
reach the beaches for
If you are at Puerto Angel's Playa Principal around 8 am you will see the fishing fleet come in to the pier (8:00-10:00 in the morning) to unload their catch. Otherwise this village is a quiet place to relax under the shading palm trees,
In front of the hotel at Playa Panteon, scuba and snorkel trips leave by small boat for the coves and dive spots outside the sheltered harbor. The beach at Puerto Angel has small waves for swimming.
Morning jog on Zipolite Beach
A short drive or collective taxi ride to the north will take you to Zipolite Beach, a long strand of south-facing beach open to the Pacific Ocean that occasionally offers surfing. This is Mexico’s only nude optional beach. The beach can be hazardous for swimming because of rip currents that run along the shore and then zoom out to sea with a strong, narrow current that often carries unaware swimmers with it. There is a lifeguard station near the Posada San Cristobal on the west end of the beach.
Posada San Cristobal on the western end of Zipolite Beach offers inexpensive lodging and a restaurant right on the beach. Nearby find breakfast at "A Nice Place On The Beach" and other restaurants serving lunch and dinner beneath the palm roofs with a great view of the surf and the sunsets. ($12-$15 USD Lodging, $4.50-5.50 fish dinner)
The sun rises between the rocks in November at Zipolite Beach
November is a great time to visit Zipolite for several reasons. Foremost, the sun comes up over the rocks to the east, and sets over another series of rocks to the west.
November also favors the surfers. August through November could produce ocean storms that will send swells into Zipolite. Good surfing could continue into March. The proof of this is that further northwest, the surfing town of Puerto Escondido holds two annual international surfing competitions, one in August, the other in November.
November surfing competitions are held at Puerto Escondido
You will also find that the hills around Zipolite will be green in November but turn brown later in the year.
Then, as December nears its end, the vacation crowds come to Zipolite and it will be busy along the rest of the coast during Christmas and New Years holidays.
Fishing families bring in the catch
in the morning
At sunset in November on Zipolite, people sit at candle-lit tables on the beach and watch as the sun dips below the rocks at the western end. They then walk the one main street in the twilight, headed for Zipolite's disco, the WiFi cafe, or the barbecue stands, lured by the scent of roasting chicken.
Recently, the one main street became pedestrian only: Calle Roca Blanca, it runs along the beach to Posada San Cristobal.
Visitors watch the surfers and the sunsets at Zipolite Beach
Mazunte Sea Turtles
A short drive from Zipolite to the northwest will take you to the village of Mazunte, famed for its turtle museum. The museum, called the Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga is located on a 10 acre site on the Pacific shore. Since 1991 the center has worked to protect the sea turtles that swim ashore each year to lay their eggs on the beaches.
The eggs were once prized by the locals for their taste and for their perceived value as an aphrodisiac. This reputation made them widely exportable to the inland cities where they had become a delicacy. The turtles became endangered and the the government acted to halt the practice of harvesting the eggs. The raiding of the turtle nests has diminished, due in part to armed guards that patrol the beaches during the May,egg-laying season.
The museum rescues sea turtles that have been injured and rehabilitates them for release.
The Turtle Center educates visitors about the threats to the sea turtle. They have helped the local people find alternatives to the harvesting of scarce animal and plant resources.
The common sea turtles in the area are the Olive Ridley, the Leatherback, the Hawksbill, and the Green. The Green and Hawksbill could weigh as much as 400 pounds while the leatherback, the rarest, could weigh nearly a ton.
Further northwest, about forty miles on Route 200 along the coast, find the surfing town of Puerto Escondido, a great place to swim, ecotour, party, and relax.