Zipolite is growing backpacker beach destination along the south-western Pacific coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is between the cities of Puerto Escondido to the north, and Huatulco to the East. Neighboring villages include Mazunte, and Puerto Angel. A happy and expanding tourist town once known for its distinctive hippy vibe, Zipolite still has Mexico's only clothing-optional beach policy. You may recognize it if you have seen the Blockbuster film "Y Tu Mama Tambien".
The perfect place to get away, relax and have fun on any budget. Sea-food here is cheap and amazing. Days seem to turn into months while relaxing on the beach watching whales and dolphins pass by off the coast.
Huatulco International Airport is 45 KM from Zipolite. A cab from the airport is listed as costing MX$843 or something like that. I told them I would give them MX$500 and they took it, yes you can bargain at the taxi stand! For a cheaper option, leave the airport and hail a cab across the street for around $400. You can also walk 400m out of the Airport to the main road (Federal Road 200), and take a Rápidos de Pochutla bus for MX$25 to Pochutla but ask to be dropped off at the main crossroads before Pochutla City Centre, there you can also take a collectivo or local bus to Puerto Angel or Zipolite from San Pedro Pochutla. A taxi from Puerto Angel to Zipolite is MX$40, and a collectivo from Pochutla is MX$15.
From Puerto Escondido airport a cab is posted as $700, or you can take a cab from across the street from the airport to centro or the mercado for 40 pesos and then take the blue and white mini-bus to San Antonio for $33, and then take a collectivo through Mazunte and San Augustinillo to Zipolite for 7 pesos. It takes a while, but its a nice ride and pretty cheap and easy to travel like the locals.
All buses run to Pochutla first, the regional hub for the coast, then you can take a taxi or collectivo to Zipolite.
From Oaxaca city there are collectivos leaving every 45 minutes for Pochutla, Eclipse is one of the companies. They charge 200 pesos (Jan 2020) for about a 6 hr journey to Pochutla. You don't need to book in advance. It's very windy and mountainous, get some anti-nausea pills if you get carsick easily.
There are also ADO and several other bus services to Pochutla which are much more expensive (~600-800 pesos, Jan 2020) but provide a more luxury experience. They are large buses with reclining seats, many run overnight and go around the long way around the mountains so the road is far less windy. These do need to be booked in advance. They say you have to print out your ticket on paper, but it seems they accept the ticket from your phone too.
From Pochutla you can catch a collectivo on the main street right in front of the bus station to Zipolite for 15 pesos. One route will take you through Puerto Angel (the quick way) the other goes through Mazunte and San Augustinillo. A direct taxi will run you $100 more or less.
Taxis run from the nearby town of Puerto Angel for 8 pesos, or its a fairly pleasant, although dangerously narrow no shoulder 4km walk down the road. From Puerto Angel, you can catch a camioneta up to San Pedro Pochutla, where you can catch buses to Oaxaca and the nearby coastal cities.
Zipolite in its entirety is about 2km long, there is really no need for a motor vehicle while you are in town. Taxis and collectivos are abundant on any road. Main street is closed down to traffic around 5:30 or 6:00 when local shops, and restaruants start to open.
You can walk through the jungle to nearby towns farther west along the coast to Mazunte where you can see the famous Turtle museum. Collectivos will take you back, but be careful not to get caught out too late after they stop running (usually around 6).
- Playa del Amor This is the cove to the extreme east side of the beach. To get there you have to climb up the steps at the end of the beach. At the top near the restaurant (which is currently closed) is a great viewpoint for the entire beach. The more daring can go further up the side of the hill, on the pathway which is still being constructed. The small beach is very beautiful and the water is calm. This is where the nudists hang out when not at their hotels, there is a high concentration of gay men here too.
- The perfect sunset A sunset in Zipolite is something not to be missed. Every night mother nature creates another masterpiece. The colors of the sky and golden brown sand couldn't be more perfect. The farther down to the east side is the best view of the sun and Roca Blanca, the guano covered rock just off-shore
- Whales and dolphins. Whales, dolphins, and whale sharks can be spotted off the coast. Tours are offered in nearby Puerto Angel by local fisherman. Prices vary, so be careful. The best time to see them is from December to April. edit
- 'Walk on Main Street After 6PM the main street comes alive. The street is shut down to traffic, and shops and restaurants open and place their tables on the street. Taking a leisurely night time stroll has become a pastime for locals and tourists.
- Go surfing. This is a popular surfing area, but not too crowded to catch a wave. There are now 3 places to rent boards on the west side of the beach. Sometimes you can rent boards from the lifeguards on the east side as well.
- Boogey board. The surf here is pretty amazing, with strong waves all the time. Many boogie boarders congregate by the rocks in the water on the east side in the early evenings.
- Sit in one of the outdoor restaurants and relax. A couple of them as of this posting have free wifi too
- Attend one of the occasional beach bonfires at night
- Go snorkeling in Puerto Angel Ask for Byron Luna. He will take you out in his boat to search for dolphins, sea turtles and whales (in the whale-season), and then go to a nice beach for snorkeling
- Fly up the coast. Every 2 weeks or so a gentleman offers flights on his ultralight aircraft. He lands in front of Lyoban on the east side of the beach. A 12 minute flight will take you past San Augustinillo, Mazunte, and another beach I forgot. An amazing way to see the beautiful Oaxacan coast. $500
- Get a massage!. There are many places on the beach offering massage. There are 2 places on the east side, one being the huge white hotel, and the other is the very last place on the beach. On the west side there are several places to get massage, mostly the higher end Hotels, like Hotel Nude and the famous Shambala. You can also find many massage therapist offering their services on message boards all over the community. edit
- Local music, On main street. after 6PM. Almost any night in Zipolite you can find live music somewhere. On weekends many bars and restaurants have bands and/or open mike nights. The local band, the "Zipolite Beach Billies", hosts a weekly open mike that is very popular among tourists and locals alike. Many musicians frequent the village, and traveling street vendors bring their drums and guitars to play while selling their wares. Amazing spontaneous jam sessions pop up frequently, Zipolite is becoming known more and more for this spontaneous live music scene. edit
- Yoga class, Shambala (on the west side of the beach). 6:30 AM. Sunrise yoga classes on the West end of the beach are hard to beat. Start your day off right, everyday starting at 6:30 AM. La Loma Linda also offers accommodations and yoga class, but not on the beach edit
- Fire dancing Almost any night on the beach you can see fire dancers performing by local restaurants and bars. These performers work for tips, and most are quite good. Some even offer lessons in juggling, hooping and dancing on the beaches in the daytime.
- Shopping Main street at night is a colorful, pulsing market place. Many traveling vendors sell everything from tapestries, jewelry, clothing, rolling papers, essential oils...you name it!
- Play football Every night locals enjoy a lively game of footbal. Usuall it is held between the giant Yello hotel, and the Reggae bar on the beach.
- Oaxacan cheese, (any local store or abarrote). There are 2 types of Oaxacan cheese that are incredible. One is salty and stringy, and the other is crumbly and not as salty, with texture almost like ricotta. Its worth a trip to the local store to pick up a kilo. edit
- Handmade lamps, (On Main Street). Opens after 6. There is an entire, almost warehouse size shop that sells lamps made of local coconuts. They have all sizes colors and combinations, you can even have one custom made for you. These things last for ever and are a great Zipolite souvineer! Priced from MX$45-800 edit
- Local Crafts, (On the beach). all day. Like any other beach in Mexico, locals will come to sell their hand-made crafts. You can get sarongs, and "hippy" beach trousers for MX$80-120 and up. There is a guy that sells great hammocks on a daily basis. I bought a wonderful hammock chair for MX$200, he was asking $350 for it. Dont be afraid to bargain, abut do remember that most of the crafts are made by hand here, not mass produced in China! edit
- Oaxacan coffee and chocolate. *<buy name="Pastries and pizza" Every day on the beach you will meet gringo's of all kinds walking down the beach with huge wicker baskets full of baked goods from a local restaurant. Everything from cinnamon buns, banana bread, chocolate rolls and even pizza by the slice! MX$15 for a baked good, and MX$20 for pizza. The cinnamon buns are incredible if your vendor has any left. edit
- Dip-O-Lite', (Local stores). A local vegetarian chef has been packaging his yummy dips. If you are lucky you will find them in a local store. I tried the babba-gnoush and hummus. A must try if you can find them! edit
- Mezcal. At the end of main street on the west side, where the taxis gather, you will find "Mezcaleria Occito". Here you can find all types of the favored local drink. If mezcal is not your thing, dont worry, you can get a cold beer here too while your friends enjoy the tasty tipple. edit
The paved main street is closed to traffic after 6.00ish and the road turns into a lovely walking eatery and vendors selling wears of all artistic bends. Live music often is spontaneous. Overall very good food for cheap prices at almost all places.
El Piedra del Fuego has consistently given the most food of high quality for the best pricing.
A pizzeria is run by a French couple serving up a wide variety of delicious pizzas for approximately 5USD each. The pizzeria has tables right on the beach with a good view of the strip.
There is a taqueria on the main street near Azul Profundo (to the left if you are standing in front of it). Eggs for breakfast are 30 pesos and quesadillas and tacos are 5 pesos. Very good and cheap. Look for the grill set up right in front of the place very close to the street and some plastic patio tables and chairs.
Along the beach is a restaurant called "Sal y Pimienta" (Salt and Pepper). They serve fantastic food right on the beach. They have awesome burgers, fresh fish right from the ocean and much more.
- El Alquimista not so cheap but maybe the best food in the town. The place is very nice and beautiful. From the main beach the place is behind the rocks (west) 
- Teofilas, (Behind the Lyoban Hotel Restaurant and Bar on the East side, in front of the rocks in the water.). 7AM to Late. Teofila has been cooking in her tiny kitchen here for over 30 years. Not many tourists here, no frills, but clean, lots of locals and tasty food. The fish is wonderful and great portion sizes as well, try the Diavlo...its mejor! $30-$120. edit
- La Providencia Restaurant (bar), Now at posada Las Casitas (Behind Hotel Alquimista), ☎ 9581009234, . Contemporary Mexican food. Open for dinner in summer and winter season. 15-20 usd. edit
Zipolite is full of accommodations for every budget. You can find anything from a hammocks on the beach for 50 pesos, to up-scale accomodations like "Hotel Nude" and "La Alchemista" There are a large number of low cost rooms along the beach of varying quality.
- Gloria's Shambhala, . This place is the original Zipolite. Relaxed and rustic bamboo and palm thatch guesthouse with a spiritual vibe perched on the hill at the far west end of the beach. Intoxicating views. Cabañas, rooms, dorms. No drugs or alcohol permitted on-premises. Wonderful restaurant with hammocks and tables overlooking the entire beach. Lit by torches at night. Shambhala's clifftop meditation point, reached by short trail above and behind the hotel, is the place to be for sunset. 300 pesos for a dorm (March 2019) edit
- Colibri Hostel, (On the beach next to Sal y Pimienta). Cabanas right on the Zipolite beach. The place is run by a couple named Kevin and Gilda. They are very nice people and can help you out if there is anything you need. The rooms are simple but only cost 150 pesos a night as of September 2011. There is shared bathrooms and shower and a communal kitchen. Free coffee in the morning. The hostel is located right next to a restaurant on the beach called Sal y Pimienta, and if you ask they will bring food over to the hostel. edit
- El Alquimista, Camino a Shambala S/N, Colonia Roca Blanca, Playa Zipolite, Oaxaca, Mexico, ☎ +52 1 958 587 8961 ([email protected]), . Seems to be a very nice and more comfort place edit
Recently (as at October 2016) there have been numerous incidences of rape, attempted rape, sexual assaults and burglary particularly against solo female travelers in and around the beach at Zipolite. Sexual assaults and robberies have been reported in both the beachside cabanas at the more isolated end of the beach, as well as by hotel employees with access to guest rooms in the more expensive hotels. Extreme caution is advised as police assistance is ineffectual at best and resources are extremely limited for victims. Additional security measures should be taken, such as additional locks or alarms on the entry ways to guest rooms. It is also recommended to advise your consulate when traveling to this area of Oaxaca and Mexico in general.
Whilst Zipolite retains a reputation as the last "clothing optional" beach in Mexico, attitudes towards nudity amongst the local population remain conservative. It is not unusual for female nudists to be the target of voyeurs and unwanted advances from men whilst sunbathing.