18 Best Things To Do Mazunte, Oaxaca (2024)

things to do mazunte oaxaca mexico

I just spent a wonderful fortnight on the Oaxacan coast. In this guide, I’m going to share the best things to do in Mazunte, Mexico, plus what to eat, where to stay, and other details to help you have an amazing trip!

Although I’ve visited several other destinations in Oaxaca, I have to say Mazunte is by far my favorite beach town. So…

What’s special about Mazunte?

Although I expected Mazunte to be nice, I was blown away by how much I loved it! This chilled, hippie Pueblo Magico is the perfect place to relax and do nothing; it’s almost the lack of major attractions in Mazunte that makes it so enjoyable! However, if you’re feeling active, there are enough excursions and beaches on the Oaxacan coastline to keep you busy.

Although Mazunte is a popular travel destination, there are no big companies or chains here, only local hotels and independent cafes and restaurants. Perhaps because it doesn’t have an airport and isn’t super easy to reach (more about this next), it gets missed by vacationers who want convenience and are prepared to pay high prices. Therefore, Mazunte remains relaxed and affordable compared to destinations like Tulum!

Mazunt sign
There are plenty of things to do in Mazunte as I’m about to tell you

If you’re a foodie like me, you’re going to be in heaven in Mazunte. There’s great food from Oaxacan specialties to general Mexican dishes and international cuisine. Plus, there’s lots of amazing coffee!

Despite the strong waves making it hard to swim, it’s a wonderful beach destination with plenty of peaceful coves to explore as well as your typical holiday beaches where you can rent sun loungers and drink mojitos. The sunsets are super special so, as well as sharing what to do in Mazunte, I’m going to tell you about all the best sunset spots!

Getting to Mazunte, Oaxaca

For a popular destination, it’s surprisingly tricky to get to Mazunte. The only direct tourist bus arrives over a crazy mountain pass from Oaxaca City. From nearby coastal towns like Puerto Escondido and Huatulco just an hour’s drive away, you’ll need to take multiple forms of transport. This is because you have to go inland to the highway since there’s no direct coastal road.

I promise it’s worth it when you do arrive! Here’s everything you need to know…

Getting to Mazunte by air

There’s no airport in Huatulco; your best options are Puerto Escondido airport or Huatulco Airport.

From Puerto Escondido airport, hop in a taxi or bus to the main bus station and follow the directions below. From Huatulco Airport, walk to the main road (Highway 200) if your bags aren’t too heavy because the airport taxis are expensive. On the same side of the road, you can get a passing bus to Pochutla and follow the directions below (see Huatulco to Mazunte section).

Having done both, I think it’s easier to get to Mazunte from Puerto Escondido airport than Huatulco.

From Oaxaca City by bus

You have two options. The first is an OCC or ADO coach (daytime or overnight) for around 500 pesos that many travelers rate because it avoids the windy, mountain pass that minibuses take. The downside is that it drops you in Pochutla and from there, you need to get a taxi (200 pesos) or collectivo (20 pesos; daytime only) to Mazunte.

Alternatively, take a small bus direct from Oaxaca City to Mazunte. But beware, the road is VERY twisty turny so you’ll probably need travel sickness tablets. The ride takes around 7 hours and costs approximately 250 pesos. Buses depart regularly throughout the day and you don’t need to book in advance.

oaxaca city
Wonderful Oaxaca City

Note – there’s no Uber in these parts! Even in Oaxaca City, it’s hard to call an Uber. There is DiDi but there are few drivers available. Instead, take local taxis and agree a price with the driver before. A little Spanish goes a long way when getting a good price.

From Puerto Escondido by bus

Board a bus from the OCC central station and tell them you’re going to Mazunte; they’ll drop you beside the OXXO in Crucero San Antonio. From here, jump in a taxi or colectivo the 10-minute ride to Mazunte. I got a taxi for just 30 pesos and I believe colectivos are 10 pesos.

From Huatulco by bus

This is what I did and it was a bit of a mission. Board a bus, colectivo, or taxi to Pochutla (from Santa Cruz Huatulco, we got a taxi for 700 pesos as there were three of us but local collectivos are super cheap).

In Pochutla, wait beside the Elektra Mega for a colectivo bound for Mazunte. This should only cost 20 pesos but they don’t run too frequently. After 20 minutes waiting in the heat, I jumped in a taxi instead for 200 pesos.

Another option is hiring a car in Puerto Escondido and taking an easy, 1-hour road trip from Puerto to Mazunte. I recommend Rentalcars.com for car hires in Mexico.

The best things to do in Mazunte

Coming up are the top attractions Mazunte in no particular order, but the first one was certainly my favorite!

Watch sunset at Punta Cometa

Easily one of the most popular places to visit in Mazunte in the late afternoon is Punta Cometa, the rocky cliff head beside Cometa Beach, for sunset.

Sunset happens just before 7pm but it’s advised to get there around 5.30pm or earlier because it gets crowded. I got there at 5.30pm and bagged one of the last spaces on the ‘front row’ (essentially a couple of logs at the cliff edge). After that, you’ll need to sit behind.

Sunset in mazunte what to do

The next day I was watching sunset from Playa Mermejita and noticed at 5pm there was no one at Punta Cometa which suggests that between 5-5.30pm is the peak arrival time

Getting to Punta Cometa: turn right by Cometa Cafe on Calle Rinconcito and walk up the hill. Once you pass the cemetery, take the left turn into the woods. You’ll likely see lots of other people heading in the same direction. You’ll pass an archway where officials check your bags and collect optional donations.

Keep walking until you come out of the woods and onto a peninsular. Keep walking and veer to your right where you’ll see the sunset spot.

Tips for hiking Punta Cometa:

  • No alcohol is allowed – someone checks your bags as you arrive so you’d have to forfeit it.
  • Wear comfortable footwear. Of course, people do it in flip-flops but I would advise sneakers or something with a bit of grip. My Birkenstocks worked fine.
  • There’s no shop so bring your own water etc especially as it will still be hot when you’re heading over there.
  • Leave fairly soon after sunset because you have about 20 minutes ‘til it’s dark and it takes 10-15 minutes to get back to town. I’d suggest bringing a charged phone so you can use it as a torch at the end.

Sunset drinks at El Copal

El Copal drinks

I think I enjoyed my sunset session at El Copal more than Punta Cometa because I didn’t have to share it with 100 others! I was expecting it to be busy but it was surprisingly tranquil.

There’s a minimum spend of 350 pesos so I recommend having two cocktails (180 pesos each) or a cocktail and a plate of food. I ordered a carajillo cocktail that went straight to my head on an empty stomach so I ordered fish tacos rather than another drink. 

The cocktails are delish with all your classics on offer as well as lots of mezcal options. I don’t love mezcal (sorry, Oaxaca!) apart from in fruity cocktails – especially anything with pineapple. 

El Copal Hotel is a 15-minute walk from town. To get there, pass the turning point to Punta Cometa and continue down the road to Playa Mermejita. Shortly before getting there, take the left turn to El Copal.

I made a conscious effort to leave the bar as soon as the sun had set because, as a solo woman, I didn’t want to be walking on the dark road by myself. But I shouldn’t have worried because others were walking back from sunset at Playa Mermejita, plus it’s only a 5-minute stretch to the end of the Punta Cometa walk so, from then, it was packed with people.

Note – the reason I was nervous was because I had read a Google review mentioning someone being mugged at Playa Mermejita. However, I personally felt very safe at this beach and the road leading to it. My Airbnb host, a lifelong local, also told me it’s safe. 

Spot street art

Like many places in Mexico, there’s plenty of colorful and relevant street art in Mazunte. Many murals show wildlife from the region like sea turtles. You’ll see them all over town but there’s a particularly nice mural outside the Turtle Sanctuary and this intriguing human/bird face en route to the Punta Cometa hike.

For an alternative thing to do in Mazunte, take yourself street art hunting. Let me know what you find!

Relax on Rinconcito or Mazunte Beach

Playa Rinconcito Beach is the main attraction in Mazunte. You can rent beach chairs and loungers while eating and drinking from the various restaurants. Many places with sun loungers require a minimum spend of 200-250 pesos ($12-17).

Although swimming isn’t fantastic anywhere in Mazunte, this is one of the better places. There’s always a huddle of people bobbing beyond the break. However, just metres away, the waves crash and I also observed them going sideways (a phenomenon I saw a lot in Oaxaca). So best to be careful!

How to get to Playa Rinconcito: just walk down Calle Rinconcito which is one of the main streets in Mazunte home to lots of the best restaurants and cafes, plus lots of boho shops selling clothes and jewelry. They’re certainly a bit more upmarket than the type of shops you find in some beach locations selling cheap fridge markets and postcards!

Find Playa Mermejita, a hidden gem

Playa Mermejita things to do Mazunte mexico

This was one of my favorite beaches in Mazunte although it’s not somewhere for a classic beach day. Firstly, there’s no shade so it’s best avoided in the middle of the day. Secondly, there are no facilities, shops, or bathrooms. Bring everything you need such as a sun umbrella and water. 

Another thing to note is that it’s one of the worst beaches for swimming in Mazunte… which is saying something because Mazunte is known for its strong waves and unpredictable rips!

So why visit Playa Mermejita at all you might wonder? Well, firstly it’s a lesser visited beach so it’s super tranquil. Also, it’s very scenic and rugged; you can see for miles along it. I sat for ages watching waves crash so hard they almost bounced and broke twice, complete with spray shooting into the air!

Swimming etiquette

Swimming isn’t banned at Mermejita but it isn’t recommended. Red flags on the beach indicate when waves are heavy. A sign I spotted on the beach advised that, if caught in a rip, you should swim to the side then toward the beach rather than directly to the shore.

Honestly, I would avoid it. I was just thinking ‘You’d be MAD to swim here!’ when someone jumped in. There’s always one! They were fine but it looked so dangerous.

How to get to Playa Mermejita – I’d read that you need to do a hike up to Punta Cometa then across Playa Cometa and down to the beach. This isn’t true! You can walk along one road the whole way there.

Simply turn right by Cometa Cafe on Calle Rinconcito and start on the road that leads to Punta Cometa. Instead of turning off to do the hike, continue straight along the path. It’s not the best paved road so ideally wear proper shoes rather than flip-flops.

Explore more nearby beaches

If you’re searching for unusual things to do in Mazunte, don’t overlook the lesser-visited beaches. I love how different they all are. There are beaches like Playa Rinconcito for your classic beach day then hidden gems like Playa Mermejita that you’ll have almost to yourself. There are several others, too, including Mexico’s only legal nude beach!

Some of the best Mazunte beaches to have on your radar include…

Playa Cometa 

If you’ve done the hike to Punta Cometa, you’ll have probably already seen Playa Cometa to the right of the sunset spot. It’s a small, peaceful bay that you can climb down to. There are no restaurants here and nowhere to buy water so you’ll want to bring everything with you. This always puts off enough people that those who DO visit find the beach nice and empty!

Playa San Agustinillo

San Agustinillo attractions mazunte

This is a lovely hidden attraction in Mazune, a 20-minute walk from town. With a wide expanse of sand and a few people swimming, it was one of my favorite beaches in the Mazunte area. You could easily spend a half-day here if you’re at a loose end. There are several places to eat and drink on San Agustinillo‘s main road just a moment’s walk from the beach.  

My suggestion is to visit San Agustinillo after Zipolite. I told the colectivo bound for Mazunte to drop me here (best to ask before boarding and also ring the bell when you’re nearing Agustnillo). Then, after visiting Playa San Agustinillo, I walked the rest of the way back to Mazunte.

Playa Zipolite (Mexico’s only nude beach!)

This is the famous beach I mentioned earlier, Mexico’s only legal nude beach. Something to tick off your Mexico bucket list!

Nudity is obviously optional. I’d say about half of the people on the beach were nude when I visited. Of the nude beaches I’ve been to before, this is the most commercial beach in the sense that there are lots of beach restaurants with loungers on the sand. Being in such close proximity to other guests and waiters coming to take your order made me feel too awkward to strip off!

Like most beaches near Mazunte, the waves at Zipolite were strong. The red flag was up during my visit and the coast guard kept whistling at brave (crazy?) souls who did get in the sea. A beach day without swimming felt strange to me… But at least I had mojitos!

Beach clubs in Mazune:

  • El Bicho Meet Point – I spent half the day here. They have comfy (double!) beach beds and a wide range of cocktails and food. Minimum spend is 250 pesos; I spent around 350 on shrimp skewers with fries and a mojito
  • La Choza – another beach club with a 250 peso minimum spend
  • Budamar – I almost stopped here because they have amazing double swinging beds by the beach! The waiter told me there’s a 350 minimum spend but I saw Google reviews saying it was 450… So maybe double-check!

Don’t miss Playa del Amor, a pleasant cove that you can reach by walking along Playa Zipolite or on the street behind (stop to snap a photo with the colorful Zipolite sign!).

Take an eco-tour to Laguna Ventanilla

Laguna Ventanilla places to visit mazunte

Another of the best things to do in Mazunte is visit Laguna Ventanilla, a wonderful lagoon filled with mangroves and surrounded by wildlife-rich marshlands. Animals you can hope to spot here include herons, crocs, and iguanas.

Although Ventanilla Lagoon is just a 10-minute drive from Mazunte, you need a boat so it’s necessary to take a guided tour from Mazunte. Down by Rinconcito Beach, several stands advertise these. Tours generally depart early in the morning or mid-afternoon to beat the heat.

Remember to pack sun protection and mozzie spray!

Try out the cafes and restaurants 

The food in Mazunte is heaven! There’s a great mix of places serving classic Mexican dishes including Oaxacan specialties alongside international food like pizzas and burgers.

I put together a separate guide to the best restaurants in Mazunte so here are a couple of highlights where you can relax and eat after a day of activities in Mazunte:

Average prices in 2024 are 150-220 pesos for a main dish (seafood is obviously on the higher end), a coffee is 50-60 pesos, and cocktails cost 85-150. 

Typically in Mexico, it’s customary to give 10-20% as a tip. As Mazunte gets more European than US travelers, I wonder if the average is slightly lower than places like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun with a US majority. Regardless, it’s always best to support the locals with whatever you can!

Enjoy the coffee culture

Enjoying coffee what to do mazunte oaxaca

Some friends (who love coffee) had already told me that Mazunte has amazing cafes. I’d just had a relatively busy week traveling in Huatulco and going glamping (minus the glam) so I was ready for some me-time, reading in a cute cafe.

In my opinion, the best coffee in Mazunte is at Café Panchatantra, a cute cafe with a vintage vibe. As well as the perfect cappuccino, they offer unusual sweet and savory snacks from Brazil and Argentina. Another of my favorite places in Mazunte is Cometa Cafe; they do a mean iced latte.

Have a pool day at El Copal Hotel

Pool day at El Copal

To use the infinity pool with spectacular views over Playa Mermejita, you need to spend 575 pesos ($33) on food and drink at El Copal Hotel. Given the luxurious location, I don’t think that’s too bad. If you’re looking for relaxing or luxurious things to do in Mazunte, here’s your answer!

Main dishes cost around 200 pesos and cocktails around 180 so a meal and two drinks (or two meals and a drink) will get you there. I’d suggest arriving around lunchtime and staying ‘til sunset. 

If you’re on a budget, you could have two meals here and not need to buy lunch or dinner. The food isn’t fantastic but I liked my fish tacos. And, at 200 pesos a plate, it’s not that much more than restaurants in the main town. 

Do some yoga 

Mazunte is yoga heaven! When you walk around the town and feel the chilled, hippie vibe, you’ll understand why. There are posters everywhere advertising classes at numerous studios.

Hridaya is the most popular place for yoga in Mazunte known for their hatha yoga classes. They do everything from drop-in classes to discovery weekends, 10-day retreats, and yoga teacher training courses.

Pay between 50-150 pesos for drop-in classes. They describe the pay scale as low-income price, regular price, and supporting price; pick the one you can afford.

Hridaya is a 10-minute walk from town close to San Agustinillo. Check out this nice area with a beautiful beach while you’re there.

Take a day trip to Zipolite 

From googling things to do in Zipolite, it didn’t seem like there was much to do so my expectations weren’t super high. However, after my day trip to Zipolite, I was wishing I’d spent a couple of nights there! It’s almost the lack of activities that makes it special. There’s something about this chilled beach town that makes you forget all your worries… And clothes!

Zipolite is known as the only nude beach in Mexico and also an LGBT hub. You don’t HAVE to be naked so don’t be intimidated if that’s not your usual thing!

I’ve visited nude beaches before but I didn’t strip off here because I made friends with a guy also traveling solo and we chatted for most of the day… and went salsa dancing that night! I can’t think of anything more awkward than getting to know a stranger in the middle of the day while nude lol. 

Where to eat in Zipolite: 

  • Alma Verde de Zipolite – a chilled cafe great for breakfast, burritos, coffee, and juices. Visit for breakfast or lunch before they close at 3pm
  • Don de Franco – this restaurant on the main street serves excellent coffee and Italian food. They open at 3.30pm and get busy by dinnertime
  • A Nice Place on the Beach – what it says on the tin! This hotel and restaurant has outside seating overlooking the beach but there are no loungers
  • Sal y Pimienta – hearty meals, fresh seafood, cocktails, burgers… The perfect beach restaurant!
  • Mao Mau Thai & Asian Cuisine – imagine my GLEE to see an Asian restaurant with the logo of a cat! This cute restaurant serves authentic dishes like Thai fried chicken, summer rolls, and satay. They also do fab cocktails.

Getting to Zipolite

If you’re looking for things to do near Mazunte, don’t be put off by having to navigate public transport. It’s easy to get from Mazunte to Zipolite without a car: just hop in a local taxi (50-100 pesos) or colectivo.

I took a colectivo; it cost 15 pesos each way. Hail one from anywhere on Mazunte’s main street. Stay on ‘til the end when it pulls into a bus depo/parking lot in Mazunte, a 5-minute walk from the beach. I believe they run until about 7pm; after that you can get a taxi back.

Visit Puerto Angel – the best swimming beach!

Puerto Angel attractions near Mazunte

Want to swim near Mazunte? This is where to do it! The pleasant town of Puerto Angel on the Oaxacan coast (a 25-minute drive from Mazunte) is known for its sheltered coves protecting against the crazy waves.

So, once you’ve finished your Mazunte sightseeing, don’t sleep on Puerto Angel! The main beaches are Playa Principal and Playa Panteón; the latter is best for swimming. I actually had quite a dramatic visit to this normally peaceful cove because I arrived to find the locals battening down the hatches and pulling boats off the beach preparing for what they called an ‘electric storm’!

After I had a quick dip, the rain began so I sheltered in a casual beach cafe drinking cheap coffee and chatting to the staff. I decided to leave pretty quickly and get back to Mazunte to take shelter. From what I observed, there are no fancy tourist restaurants here. It’s an authentic, local vibe!

Getting to Puerto Angel

It’s fairly easy but complicated by the fact you have to change colectivos in Zipolite. They run frequently between Mazunte and Zipolite so the first half is quick. Once you get off at the terminal, walk further up the main road and wait for a colectivo bound for Puerto Angel (they’re blue and white). If in doubt, ask a local exactly where.

I never actually boarded the colectivo from Zipolite to Puerto Angel because, in both directions, I caved and accepted a ride from a passing taxi. It was 100 pesos on the way there and 50 pesos on the way back. I was told later you can also use taxis ‘colectivo style’ for 25 pesos a person if the driver is happy to scoop up some other passengers. 

Wildlife boat tours (whales, dolphins, turtles)

dolphin boat trip
Getting photos of dolphins is hard but I got lucky with this photo!

The Oaxacan waters are rich with sea life. Obviously, seeing wild animals is never a guarantee but I can personally vouch for seeing dolphins, sea turtles, and stingrays during boat tours off the Oaxaca coast.

One of the best things to do in Mazunte for nature lovers is take a boat trip, preferably in the early morning. A sunrise boat tour is not only an atmospheric option but it has the added benefit that you skip the midday heat. Tours that depart around 7am will return by 11am, giving you the rest of the day to relax.

Trips start from around 300 pesos and can be booked from the tourism stands near Rinconcito Beach.

Turtle release at Playa Ventanilla

Sea turtle release Playa ventanilla things to do mazunte

Along the Oaxacan coast, turtle liberation events are held nightly at sunset during peak breeding season, July to January. The ‘arribadas’ (arrivals) are the mothers who come to lay eggs and the thousands of baby turtles who later make the perilous journey to the ocean. Beaches hosting liberation events include Playa Ventanilla Beach and La Escobilla.

You can ask at the Turtle Center – more about this place to come – to see if an event is being held that night.

To set a little background, turtle populations are at risk on the Oaxacan coast – like many places – because of poachers who take the eggs to sell as food. Some people also believe, wrongly, that they’re an aphrodisiac.

As a result, turtle sanctuaries like Palmarito Sea Turtle Rescue commonly secure the eggs to keep them safe. When they hatch, the babies are released onto the beach. Tourists can join and help with the release effort.

Are turtle releases ethical?

I have mixed experiences about releasing sea turtles. Firstly, you’re not helping THAT much because turtles need to do at least the last part of the journey themselves to imprint on the sand and know where to return when laying their own eggs. It’s clear that turtle releases are more for the benefit of tourists than turtles and, when anything becomes commercial, all sorts of ethical issues pop up.

While the best-led turtle releases are harmless, there’s one very important thing to know. Don’t touch the baby sea turtles! Not only does it affect them imprinting but the oils on your hands can kill them. I see so many photos of people handling them not just on social media but reputable blogs and websites that should have done their research. Secondly, only go with non-profits rather than those charging a fee.

Rant over! But be sure to do your research and not support unethical practices.

Getting to Ventanilla Beach: You can reach the beach by colectivo for 10 pesos. From the point it drops you, it’s a 1km walk to the beach so another option is getting a taxi directly there.

See the bioluminescence at Manialtepec Lagoon

Manialtepec Lagoon bioluminescence attractions mazunte
Boarding a boat to spend the evening at the lagoon

Closer to Puerto Escondido than Mazunte, this is an activity best done from Puerto Escondido if you’re going there, too. If you’re not, one of the best things to do in Mazunte is join an excursion bound for the Manialtepec Lagoon.

This magical destination is full of wildlife like crocs and birdlife. Better yet is the bioluminescence created by luminous plankton. This mesmerizing feat of nature is not usually found in freshwater like lagoons, however there’s a point where it meets the sea and, during high tide, the two become one (bet you didn’t expect a Spice Girls reference!).

Since bioluminescence is seen only at night, trips depart in the late afternoon and can be booked at the tourism stands by Rinconcito Beach.

My personal tip is that bioluminescence is best seen in complete darkness when the moon is at its smallest. So depending when you’re visiting in the month, you may get more or less satisfaction from this experience. However, due to the wonderful nature in Manialtepec Lagoon, I’d say it’s worth doing regardless unless you’ve already visited Laguna Ventanilla in which case you probably don’t need to visit both.

White water rafting

 white water rafting

The region of Huatulco, just along the coast from Mazunte, is known for its exciting activities from white water rafting to ziplining and visiting waterfalls and Pluma Hidalgo coffee region. If you don’t have time to enjoy the many things to do in Huatulco while staying overnight, you can experience some of its highlights during a day trip from Mazunte.

One fun Mazunte activity is rafting on either Rio San Francisco or Rio Copalita. The latter runs through the vast Sierra Madre mountain range ending at Playa la Bocana and is known as one of Mexico’s best rafting locations. It has options for all abilities with rapids ranging from levels 1-5.

The lower levels suitable for beginners are located in the Las Hamacas section characterized by giant gorges and limestone cliffs, while the rockier rapids are along the La Alemania stretch home to 16km of wild waterways. Depending which section you visit, it’s a 1.5-hour drive through the scenic mountains to get there.

Several companies like Aventura Mundo and Oaxaca Expediciones offer rafting tours suited to your abilities. Trips cost around 1,500 pesos including instructors, safety gear, equipment, water, and snacks.

One thing not to do in Mazunte – Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga

Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga

Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mazunte and, although I wanted to like it, I sadly didn’t. It has good reviews and describes itself as a ‘center for study and rehabilitation’ so I initially associated it more with conservation than an enterprise profiting off the animals like a zoo.

While some of the smaller tortoises and terrapins seemed okay, I felt concerned about the turtles kept in small bodies of water, particularly the large turtle. As I watched it grazing against the edge of its tank, I considered that it was one of the most beautiful and majestic creatures I’d ever seen, and I was also hit by an overwhelming sadness at its life in this small container. 

Generally, the whole place could do with a refurb. Even if the tiny terrapins are happy in their enclosures, it would still be ideal to clean or replace the glass so guests can see them more clearly. 

Entry is 40 pesos. I would be interested to see where this money goes as it clearly isn’t refurbishing the center. 

Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga street art things to do in mazunte
Mural outside the center – you don’t need to go inside to see this!

I also have some questions about why there are captive turtles there at all. For all I know, there’s a perfectly good explanation. I regret not asking the staff member but I’m not sure how much I’d garner in my beginner Spanish, or if it would seem like I was criticizing. 

So, if you’re wondering what to do in Mazunte and considering this place, unfortunately, I can’t recommend visiting. If you get the chance, I would suggest trying to see turtles in the wild instead, for example during a boat trip or an ethical turtle release.

Where to go next?

While you’re on the Oaxaca coast, there are some other great spots to check out.

Puerto Escondido: this beach town is bigger than Mazunte with more to do and various areas and beaches to explore. You can’t get everywhere on foot like you can in Mazunte and it’s much more touristy. Still, it’s an awesome place for a beach holiday with lots of excursions, boat trips, and nightlife.

Copalita Waterfalls, Huatulco
Copalitilla Waterfall, Huatulco

Huatulco: an hour from Mazunte in the other direction from Puerto is the Huatulco region. The main beach town is Santa Cruz Huatulco with a swimmable beach, close to the larger local pueblo of La Crucecita. But the appeal of the region is its excursions for example hopping the coast of Parque Nacional Huatulco by boat (these idyllic beaches aren’t accessible by road) or going inland to Copalitilla waterfall or Pluma Hidalgo coffee region.

Read next: 30 best things to do in Huatulco

Oaxaca City: if you have the time to head inland, don’t miss Oaxaca’s vibrant, charming capital. The lowrise colorful buildings of idyllic neighborhoods like Jalatlaco are full of atmospheric markets selling handicrafts and incredible food. Oaxaca City is known for mole, mezcal, and other unique regional dishes like tlayudas.

Market food oaxaca
Eating tlayudas in Oaxaca City

You could spend days soaking up Oaxaca City but there are also great day trips like visiting Hierve el Agua, a huge stalactite resembling a waterfall with swimmable pools.

Other out-of-town things to do in Oaxaca include stopping at mezcal distilleries, the Tule Tree (the world’s widest tree), visiting Teotitlan del Valle to learn about the local weaving trade, hiking in the Pueblos Mancomunados villages, shopping at Tlacolula Sunday Market, and exploring the Monte Alban ruins dating back to the 6th century.

When’s the best time of year to visit Mazunte?

Mazunte is hot year-round but the ultimate months to visit are November to March when temperatures are relatively cool. Daily averages sit between 77-86°F (23-30°C) and there’s little rain.

Another benefit of visiting Mazunte in winter is that it’s whale season so you may see them during boat trips or from Punta Cometa viewpoint.

June-September is rainy season and, while it won’t rain every day, prepare for the weather to be unpredictable. When it’s not raining, it’s hot! During my August trip, temperatures went up to 96°F (35°C) but felt even worse because it was so humid.

Although the summer isn’t the best time to visit, many travelers still do including myself. Just plan to tick off the main things to do in Mazunte during the morning and late afternoon, then book accommodation with a pool so you can relax in the middle of the day. Oh, and pack a raincoat!

ATMs in Mazunte

If you’re just going to Mazunte for a few days, I recommend bringing cash with you. Not many places in Mazunte take card and there are no banks, which means you can only withdraw from private ATM machines that charge 110 pesos as a fee.

Also, these machines are notorious for being out of cash. Worse still, there are tales of them charging you but not giving you the money. And, because they’re not connected to banks, you can’t talk to anyone.

I actually did withdraw from these machines and had no problems but I’ve heard lots of horror stories, so you may want to err on the side of caution and bring cash with you.

More Mazunte FAQs

Is Mazunte expensive? As Mexican destinations go, not really. It’s much more affordable than Tulum, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen with accommodation starting from 250 pesos a night (for example in hostel dorms). Meals in restaurants tend to cost between 120-300 pesos and cocktails start from 85 pesos.

Is Mazunte worth visiting? Absolutely. Mazunte is worth visiting for the beautiful beaches, hippie vibe, great food and cafe scene, plus easy access to other places on the Oaxacan coast like Zipolite and Puerto Angel.

What is Mazunte known for? It’s known for being the only pueblo magico on the Oaxacan coast, its wonderful sunsets, and nature experiences particularly the chance to witness the arribadas AKA the arrival of birthing turtles and hatchling young.

Is Mazunte safe? Yes! In terms of crime, it’s a very safe place even for solo female travelers like myself. However, the waves and underwater rips can be dangerous so be careful!

Mazunte safety
Safe and solo in Mazunte

What’s better, Mazunte or Zipolite? I would say that Mazunte is better than Zipolite when it comes to shops, cafes, restaurants, and sunset locations. But if you want nude beaches and the LGBT scene, then Zipolite has the edge over Mazunte. I noticed Mazunte attracts a young, international crowd especially European backpackers, while Zipolite seems to appeal to travelers of all ages, mostly Mexicans and Americans.

Is Mazunte a party town? No, not really. There are a few bars in Mazunte – including Vive el Gallo where I had a fun night dancing salsa with a friend I made on the beach (who happeed to be a salsa instructor) – but it’s not known for nightlife like Puerto Escondido is. For LGBT+ nightlife, head to Zipolite.

Can you swim and surf in Mazunte? It’s honestly not the best for either because of the big waves. The best place to swim is Puerto Angel but you can also take a dip at Playa Rinconcito. Just make sure to observe the flags: it will be red when swimming is unadvised. In terms of surfing, there are a few companies offering lessons but it won’t make many lists of popular things to do in Mazunte (especially for beginner surfers) for obvious reasons.

Thanks for reading!

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