Just ten years ago Mazunte was a tiny undiscovered beach town tucked away in a corner of the backpacker circuit. Most of its visitors were budget travelers, looking to post up in one of the beachside hammocks that the simple thatch-roofed restaurants rented out for just a few bucks a night.
Today Mazunte still attracts a more Bohemian crowd, but the town is making a run to become less of a hidden gem and more of a must-see stop on the Oaxacan Coast.
Dirt roads have been replaced with cobblestone streets and wide pedestrian walkways. Outside investment has brought in more upscale lodging, international restaurants and bakeries, and well-developed eco-tourism activities.
Out with the old and in with the new.
Decades ago the residents of Mazunte made their living harvesting the giant sea turtles that live and breed along the coastline here. When the hunting of sea turtles was outlawed, the villagers had to find new ways to pay the bills.
One vision was to transform Mazunte into an eco-tourism destination. A turtle sanctuary and museum was built and wildlife viewing boat tours are available at the nearby Laguna de La Ventanilla. The laguna is teeming with bird life, as well as tons of iguanas and a whole lotta crocodiles.
Additionally, with support from the founder of The Body Shop, a group of women started La Cooperativa de Productos Naturales de Mazunte, an all-natural cosmetic company that produces and sells an extensive range of body products produced entirely from local ingredients. Everything they make is super high quality, and shopping at the cooperative helps support sustainable tourism.
Punta Cometa and a crescent stretch of pristine beach.
A hike out to the tip of Punta Cometa affords absolutely breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline. Punta Cometa is the southernmost point in Mexico and a pretty awesome spot to catch a 350 degree view of the sun dropping into the sea.
The beach, while busier than in times past, is still tranquil and quiet compared to developed beach towns. Mazunte is set on a semi-protected bay, so the water is generally calm enough for even inexperienced ocean swimmers to go for a dip.
Lining the beach are numerous restaurants where you can eat fresh from the sea fish and seafood meals, or try Oaxacan classics such as a tlayuda (inappropriately dubbed a Oaxacan pizza, it’s more of a gigantic tostada). Don’t leave Mazunte without trying the coctél de camarón (shrimp cocktail), camarones al ajo (garlic shrimp), or pescado empanizado (breaded fish fillet).
A great place for a day trip or an overnight adventure.
Aside from the awesome beach and delicious seafood, one of the best things to do in Mazunte is to just spend the afternoon wandering around all the little backstreets that make up the village. With a growing expat community there are more and more international foods available, including a sweet little French-run bakery called La Baguette where you can buy whole wheat breads, amazing chocolate pastries, and slices of decadent lemon meringue pie.
If you’re staying overnight, in the early evenings the beachfront restaurants alight the sand with candlelit tables. Talk about throwing back a few beers in paradise! In tune with Mazunte’s core following, you can also find several small bars/clubs where you can get your party on.
How to get to Mazunte.
If you’re staying with us at Gecko Rock Resort, we can either help you arrange to take a taxi or put you on the inexpensive bus that will run you 20 minutes or so to the Mazunte crossing on highway 200 and you can catch a taxi or colectivo from there.
The easiest way to get to Mazunte from Oaxaca de Juarez is to take the bus to Pochutla and then you can arrange a taxi or colectivo from outside the bus station.