Mazunte: Another corner of paradise
I was suffering from tourist envy. Puerto Escondido is obviously paradise for visitors; they seem so happy and relaxed. But when you live here, it’s just home. So I decided to take a vacation in Mazunte.
While there are a bunch of small, upscale hotels with swimming pools and air conditioning on the hills above the town (the Zoa charges $280 to $300 U.S. a night), the hotels and hostels near the beach are very affordable: 100 pesos a night for a room in a hostel without a private bath.
I chose the Posada del Arquitecto on the Rinconcito beach. For 450 pesos a night (550 during high season) I had a room with a double bed, mosquito netting, a fan and a large terrace with a hammock. Since the hotel is built into a hillside, all the rooms are all at different levels. I loved it.
Cappuccino at the hotel’s beachside café is only 15 pesos, but most people favored beer. Across the street was the more elegant Estrella Fugaz (cappuccino 25 pesos). A few steps up the block were grocery stores and a bakery that had Argentine pastries. The Italian restaurant, Sahuaro, on the other side of the hotel, is great for dinner.
While I alternated between the tranquility of Rinconcito beach and the hammock, Lalo Romero, ¡Viva Puerto!’s photographer was busy covering the skimboard competition on the main beach. (See article) On the five-minute walk on calle Rinconcito from the beach to the main street, we discovered Armadillo, an art gallery and restaurant.
Artist and sculptor Raúl Ávila, the owner of Armadillo, has lived in Mazunte since 1995 and has many tales to tell over a mezcal. Another tourist experience: going out drinking every night!
Punta Cometa, a nature reserve just outside of Mazunte, is famous for its sunsets. It also offers a taste of what most of the coast look liked before it was cleared: a thick forest of briars and thorns. A must visit.
Mazunte attracts younger foreign and Mexican travelers, most of whom stay two or three nights, or forever. After three nights, I was ready to move on too, but not before visiting San Agustinillo. This neighboring beach town attracts at older crowd, and México, !Qué Lindo! is the place to eat and hang out on a hammock.
On the way back to Puerto, we stopped at Ventanilla, a small village dedicated to eco-tourism. This was my fourth visit in six years to the lagoon, and I was shocked to see the devastation to the mangroves wrought by last June’s hurricane Carlotta. But the crocodiles are still in the water and the birds flock in the late afternoon. If you go, be sure to take a canoe tour with the Centro Ecoturístico; the ticket office is on the left side of the street. There is a competing tour operator across the street, but that tour does not have access to the visitors’ center in the lagoon.
Getting there: It’s less than an hour drive from Puerto to Mazunte. Take the Coastal Highway east towards Huatulco, the turn-off for Mazunte is well marked. Or take any bus going to Pochutla and get off at San Antonio. From there you can get a colectivo or taxi.