Mazunte, Oaxaca: Your Ultimate Guide (Updated 2024)

Located at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountains is the beachside community of Mazunte Oaxaca.

Despite being discovered by travelers in recent years, Mazunte pueblo magico remains a tranquil oceanside town with a population around 1,000 people.

Mazunte Mexico has a sense of community that is hard to find these days. It’s a place whose unpaved, ocean-bound roads encourage a relaxed mindset.

It’s a place safe enough that parents feel comfortable giving their children the freedom to roam. A place that fosters daily yoga practice and healthy, mindful eating.

I live in Oaxaca City and visit the coast often. I put together this guide to help you discover where to stay, how to get there, and the best things to do in Mazunte Oaxaca. At the end I’ve included a brief history and message about sustainability in the area.

The backlit mountain juts into the sea as the sun streams across the wet sand as the waves retreat from one of the beaches in Mazunte, Oaxaca.

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Where to Stay in Mazunte Oaxaca

Like most tourist destinations on the beach, accommodations in Mazunte tend towards the pricey side. While hostels in Mazunte have increased, most are located in town without an ocean view or much of a breeze.

Several accommodations are also set in the mountains behind the town. The result is often amazing ocean views from a distance and a strenuous hike there and back. The best place to stay in Mazunte will depend on what you’re looking for.

Considering that you’re at the beach, it’s the perfect time to splurge if you can. I’ve included a variety of places to stay in Mazunte below.

Mazunte Accommodations

  • Zoa Luxury Hotel ($$$$) – Luxury suites with incredible ocean views. Pool and restaurant on site.
  • Casa Lu Hotel Boutique ($$$) – Deluxe suites with an ocean view and swimming pool
  • Posada La Sabila ($$) – Dreamy bungalows with ocean views at a great rate steps from the beach
  • Cabanas Balamjuyuc ($) – Rustic cabins and shared dorms with incredible views of the sea
Looking past the hammock and cabin sitting area at Cabanas Balamjuyuc, a hostel in Mazunte, is the ocean view along the mountainous coastline. Above, the morning sky transitions from dark blue-purple clouds to bright orange and yellows.
The view from Cabanas Balamjuyuc in Mazunte

Mazunte Beaches

There are essentially three beaches in Mazunte – the main beach, Playa Mazunte, which curves into Rinconcito, and Playa Mermejita.

For lounging during the day, my favorite Mazunte beach is Playa Rinconcito where on the far side, the rocky cliff side provides late afternoon shade.

There are a few palapa restaurants in Mazunte that line Playa Mazunte into Rinconcito. You can lounge in one of the provided chairs under the shade of an umbrella when you order lunch or beers. 

Blue ocean water flows into the rocks which curve around the corner to give Playa Rinconcito its name.
Playa Rinconcito

The Mazunte beaches can have large waves and strong currents. It’s always a good idea to watch the ocean for a while before you get in.

Look to the breaking point to help identify what waves are coming next. And of course, always look for areas where other people are swimming. In June, I found the waves in Mazunte to be intimidating and difficult to judge.

A silhouetted couple walk along the backlit Mermejita Beach as the sun sets in Mazunte.
Playa Mermejita at sunset.

The third beach in Mazunte, Playa Mermejita, is located a short hike from the center. This is not the best beach for swimming, but it’s a nice place to hang out. It’s especially beautiful in the evenings as the setting sun streams across the black volcanic sand.

There are a few bungalows in this area as well as restaurants on the cliff face with views of the sunset. But if you want the best sunset views, read about the best thing to do in Mazunte next.

10 Awesome Things to Do in Mazunte Mexico

Mazunte pueblo magico consists of just a handful of unpaved streets, most of which lead from the mountainside down to the beaches.

You can easily walk through the town in less than an hour, so detailing what to do in Mazunte may seem silly. However, there are definitely a few things you should not miss while you’re there, including in the surrounding area.

1. Punta Cometa

About 30 people gather on the top of the cliff at Punta Cometa to watch the sunset while waves roll into the sandy cove below.
One of three lookout points at Punta Cometa.

Hiking to Punta Cometa is easily one of the best things to do in Mazunte. And it’s not just for sunset!

As the southernmost point in Oaxaca, these cliffs have been used since pre-Hispanic times as a sacred space and protective viewpoint. They are also perfectly positioned to watch the setting sun.

To get there, walk Camino Mermejita uphill from the center of town until you reach the cemetery. Then take the road on your left. At the entrance, you’ll find three different paths to the viewpoints. You can read my detailed account of sunset in Punta Cometa and the difference in the three paths, which ultimately all connect to one another.

2. Practice Yoga in Mazunte

Mazunte has developed as a destination for yoga retreats. But if you don’t have the time or desire for a retreat, there are plenty of scheduled drop-in classes as well. Hridaya Yoga is both a yoga and meditation center with options to participate in a retreat or join their classes for a suggested donation of 50 pesos. They provide yoga mats and meditation pillows.

Casa Om has a live-in yoga experience during the off-season which includes daily yoga classes and breakfast for a modest price. As a result, a close-knit community forms within Casa Om. Their two hour drop-in yoga classes are 100 pesos, for which you can find the schedule on their Facebook page. They also offer other unique experiences such as a cacao ceremony.

3. Experience a Water Massage

Allow the feeling of weightlessness to take over your body as Jojo does her magic to bring a sense of balance inside and out. This therapy is a unique combination of deep relaxation, stretching, and massage in an open pool. 

It’s a nurturing and healing journey meant to bring you in touch with your inner self and to a state of harmony and deep peace. She has over 10 years of experience and the community of Mazunte is lucky to have her. 

4. Take a Boat Tour to See Migrating Whales and More

You can take this tour any time of year, but the only chance for seeing whales is roughly mid-November through the end of February. Otherwise, there’s still an opportunity to swim and snorkel with wild dolphins and sea turtles. You can find a tour in Mazunte near the beach or go whale watching in Puerto Escondido.

Traveling to Oaxaca City next? Discover San Jose del Pacifico, a town known for magic mushrooms and mountains located between the coast and the city.

5. Go on an Eco-Tour in La Ventanilla

Just past Mermejita Beach is Playa La Ventanilla, named for the rock formation between the two that looks like a little window.

A small wave washes over the sand at Playa Ventanilla where palm trees line the beach among a few houses.
The empty beach of La Ventanilla.

There is a very small village here that has developed a reserve to protect the fauna that lives in the nearby river and mangrove system. They’ve created an eco-tour as a way to support the project.

As you drive in, the main cooperative is located in the building on your left. The tour costs 100 pesos and lasts about an hour, or longer if you decide to have lunch as well.

It starts with a short walk to the river where a boat takes you through the mangroves and to the reserve, located on a small island. Along the way, your guide will point out different birds, crocodiles, iguanas, and other animals. I recommend arriving early to beat the midday sun.

I really enjoyed speaking with the guide, whose parents started the mangrove restoration project. And I believe the organization’s intentions are right. But something felt strange about seeing the animals in captivity.

After the tour, I walked down to the beach and passed a second cooperative that takes a different approach. If you generally feel as I do, you may consider taking a tour with this group instead

I gathered from speaking with them that their tour is strictly a boat tour of the mangroves while seeing the animals in their natural habitat. Whatever tour you chose, I feel confident that you will be supporting the effort to restore the mangrove habitat.

Alternatively, you can book a private horseback riding tour on the deserted beaches of Ventanilla. The horseback ride ends where the estuary meets the ocean and from there take you on a short walk and boat ride through the mangroves.

6. Release Sea Turtles at Playa La Ventanilla

Residents in the small community of Playa La Ventanilla are also active in protecting the many sea turtles that lay their eggs on their pristine beach from June through December. In the evenings, you can help release baby sea turtles that are ready for their chance in the ocean. There is a small donation required, which supports their efforts to protect these fragile species.

Did you know it’s estimated that only 1 in 1,000 sea turtles make it to adulthood?

7. Attend the International Jazz Festival (November)

There are many festivals in Oaxaca throughout the year. But for one weekend in mid November, the attention turns to Mazunte which hosts an International Jazz Festival.

Each evening there are several performances by various bands on a stage located directly on the beach. And because it’s Oaxaca, there are parades (called calendas) to kick off the festival.

If you plan to visit during this time, you can learn more on their FB page closer to the event.

Take a Day Trip to Another Beach in Oaxaca

There are a few other beach towns in Oaxaca that are worth exploring, each with its own vibe. I’ve detailed a few of the closest below.

8. San Agustinillo Oaxaca

The closest to Mazunte is San Agustinillo – the smallest and most tranquil community along this stretch of coastline. It’s actually so close you could walk there in 15 minutes or take a combi for 10 pesos. 

Swimmers and surfers walk along the ocean line among one of several open coves in San Agustinillo.
San Agustinillo, Oaxaca

If you’re a family or couple looking for an even more relaxed beach stay, you may want to consider staying in San Agustinillo for a night or two. My top picks are the oceanfront rooms at Casa Corazon or the more upscale beachfront cabins at Un Sueño Cabañas del Pacífico.

The waves in San Agustinillo tend to be more gentle and with less current. However, I still recommend watching where others are swimming and being mindful of the rocks in the water.

9. Discover the Nude Beach of Zipolite

The next stop is Zipolite which is famous for its clothing optional beach and friendly vibe. It’s bigger than Mazunte and some parts are less relaxing, but Zipolite also has a undeniable, laid back charm.

While Zipolite is home to the only legally nude beach in Mexico, you do need to be careful of the ocean. I’ve seen a rescue at this beach more than once.

But bonus, I think the restaurants in Zipolite are some of the most interesting and affordable in the area. And you won’t want to miss the cove beach of Playa de Amor at sunset.

Tip – If you’re visiting at the beginning of February, consider attending the Zipolite Nudist Festival for a day or two.

To get to Zipolite, the same colectivo pickups go to the edge of Zipolite, dropping you off here. From there it’s a 5-10 minute walk to the center. Alternatively, you can take a taxi.

Puerto Angel Oaxaca

Further east along the coast is the small fishing village of Puerto Angel. There’s a large bay in the center of town with a small beach, but it’s also where boats seem to dock.

At Estacahuite Beach, Oaxaca people swim in a bay of turquoise water with golden sand and dramatic green cliffs behind them.

Instead, venture a bit further to Playa Estacahuite for side-by-side bays of tranquil blue water that are perfect for snorkeling and calm swimming. There are colectivo taxis that travel between Zipolite and Puerto Angel. Or if you’re a group, a regular taxi will likely cost about the same.

Where to Eat in Mazunte

Three stools sit outside, under the palapa roof at Nutopia, a healthy restaurant in Mazunte.

For the size of the town, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of Mazunte restaurants. There are a lot of options for healthy food, vegetarian options, and of course seafood. However, as to be expected on the beach, prices aren’t exactly inexpensive.

On the first night, I thoroughly enjoyed Tribu for its seafood and vegetarian tacos. The make your own poke bowls at Nutopia were also delightful. And Doba has one of the most innovative menus in Mazunte whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or simply health focused.

How to Get to Mazunte

Like most of Mexico, public transportation is relatively easy to navigate and very frequent. My preferred way to travel to Mazunte from Oaxaca is by bus via San Jose del Pacifico and later Pochutla. Alternatively, you can fly from Mexico City or Oaxaca City to the nearby towns of Huatulco or Puerto Escondido.

From Oaxaca to Mazunte – Bus

To get from Oaxaca to Mazunte by bus, there are regular passenger vans that run from Oaxaca City to Pochutla and takes about six hours. Keep in mind, the vans tend to take the hairpin turns faster than your stomach may like. I found the road near the coast to be curvier, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. And there are pretty waterfalls and views along the way. If you tend to get motion sickness, you may want to be aware.

From Potchulta you will want to take a pasajero (covered pickup truck colectivo) to Mazunte from the corner in front of Hotel Alebrijes (look for the bright yellow Elektra building nearby). The pasajero will take you directly to Mazunte after a short stop to pick up others at San Antonio. Mazunte is small but the pasajero will continue to San Agustinillo, so when you’re ready to get off, ring the bell.

Flight From Oaxaca City to Mazunte

At first search, it seems that the only way to fly from Oaxaca City to Mazunte is to connect in Mexico City. However, there is a small airline, Aerotucán, that flys direct from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido and Huatulco. From there it will take about an hour and a half to get to Mazunte using public transport. See below for how to take public transport from either to Mazunte.

Puerto Escondido to Mazunte

At the ADO/OCC bus station in Puerto Escondido, take a bus going towards Pochutla. When you purchase the ticket, let them know you want a ticket to San Antonio. It’s always a good idea to let the bus driver know where you are getting off as well, but especially this time. The ‘bus stop’ (map) is in front of an Oxxo located on the highway where it meets the road to go to Mazunte.

After you get off, you’ll need to wait for a pasajero coming from Pochutla (the other direction) and catch it to Mazunte for 10 pesos. A pasajero is a covered pickup truck where you’ll likely throw yourself and your luggage into the back and sit on one of the benches. When you’re ready to get off, ring the bell. Keep in mind, the pasajeros from Potchutla to Mazunte have a blue roof.

Huatulco to Mazunte

To travel from Huatulco to Mazunte, via public transport, you’ll first need to take a van to Pochutla. They leave regularly from this location in Huatulco. From there, walk towards the bright yellow Elektra building. The pasajeros from Pochutla to Mazunte will pass by the corner in front of Hotel Alebrijes. The cost of the pasajero is about 20 pesos.

The pasajero will make a short stop at San Antonio to pick up and drop others off. You don’t need to change transport again. After the stop, they will turn left towards the coast. The pasajeros will continue past Mazunte to Zipolite, so when you’re ready to get off in Mazunte, ring the bell.

History of Mazunte, Pueblo Magico

Beliefs about the origins of the name of this pueblo magico are mixed. Some say Mazunte is derived from the word “mizontle,” which refers to a species of crab that used to be abundant in the area.

Others say it comes from a Nahuatl word, “maxotetia” which means “please deposit eggs here.” Both explanations exemplify the importance of natural resources and the growth of a culture of sustainability that has developed in Mazunte.

It may surprise you to learn that up until the 20th century, only a few families lived along the rugged coastline. They subsisted on harvesting the land and sea. But by the 1970s, the population of Mazunte grew as it became a center for sea turtle harvesting. Once a slaughterhouse was built, it’s estimated that up to 1,000 turtles were killed per day. 

Thankfully the Mexican government banned the harvesting of sea turtles and their eggs in 1990 and built a sea turtle center in Mazunte a few years later. This became a turning point for the area which switched its focus to the sustainability of its natural resources and later tourism. I encourage you to support these efforts when you visit Mazunte, a few of which are detailed in this article.

Bound by mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, Mazunte is a place whose geographic location will, I hope, prevent it from developing into the next Tulum. And there are a few indicators, notably the commitment to sustainability, that make me believe it won’t.

Questions About Mazunte Mexico

Is Mazunte Mexico safe?

Mazunte, Mexico is generally very safe. The town only consists of a few streets that lead from the mountains to the ocean. Like anywhere you travel, you should exercise general caution and common sense.

Is Mazunte worth visiting?

Absolutely. Mazunte is especially worth visiting if you like the serenity of a small beach town with a vibrant community, wellness retreats, and healthy restaurants.

What is Mazunte Oaxaca known for?

Mazunte is known for the variety of turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches. You can have the experience of releasing newly born turtles while supporting the conservation effort at the same time.

Can you swim in Mazunte?

Yes, but you should exercise caution. While you can swim in Mazunte, keep in mind the current and waves are often strong. Look for areas that other people are swimming and watch the ocean for a while before you swim.

Can you surf in Mazunte?

Yes. Many people surf in Mazunte and other nearby beaches. You should be an experienced surfer and follow the other local surfers for the best areas that are free of rocks.

How do you get to Mazunte Mexico?

To get to Mazunte, Mexico you can take a passenger van from Oaxaca City to the town of Pochutla and then a pasajero to Mazunte. Or you can fly to Puerto Escondido or Huatulco from both Mexico City and Oaxaca City. From there you will need to take two short public transport vans to Mazunte.

How far is Mazunte from Oaxaca?

The drive to Mazunte from Oaxaca is about seven hours. Alternatively, there are short flights from Oaxaca City to Mazunte as well.