Are you looking for a small beach town on Mexico’s Pacific coast? Mazunte, Mexico is one of Oaxaca’s best beach hideaways. Mazunte can be found about 13 miles to the south west of San Pedro Pochutla on the coastal highway and less than a mile from San Agustinillo.
As recently as the 1970’s, Mazunte was only accessible by boat because there were no roads.
The beach in Mazunte is one km long or slightly more than a half mile. This small village is nestled in the midst of the Sierra Madre del Sur and the nice beach. There is only one road in and one road out. Main street or Avenida Paseo del Mazunte, connects this great beach vacation spot with the rest of the world.
considered to be an aphrodisiac
Impressively, this little town of Mazunte, Mexico decided to to discourage over development and rampant over speculation. Having just spent a decade in Sliema, Malta, I am all too familiar with seeing a place sell their soul for a bit of ready cash. All construction must blend in with existing structures in Mazunte and there are strict rules about what can be built.
Where is Mazunte, Mexico? 15°67′N 96°55′W
There are two conflicting stories re: the etymology of Mazunte. One faction thinks it is a Nahuatl phrase that means “please deposit eggs here.” The opposing view strongly held by older residents feel Mazunte is from the word mizontle, a crab species that formerly lived in the area in big numbers.
Sea Turtles : Please deposit eggs here
Nearly uninhabited until the middle of the last century, when a market for the eggs and meat of sea turtles began to develop. Mazunte, Mexico became synonymous with sea turtles because of the masses of turtles that come here to lay their eggs. With its own turtle slaughterhouse, Mazunte became the center of this grisly industry. With sea turtle hunting firmly established, the population of this little beach spot began to grow.
An absolute ban on the meat and eggs of sea turtles resulted from concern over their dwindling numbers. Initially, this was financially crushing for most families in Mazunte. Previously, there were an average of 900,000 turtle nests a year on the beaches. As of 1988, this figure barely touched 60,000. Fortunately however, this forward thinking community figured it out. Ecotourism based on the conservation of turtles saved the day. The Body Shop has been recruited to make cosmetics from locally sourced materials as well.
Mazunte, Mexico: Tropical Beach Vacation Spot
Mazunte, Mexico has increased its average household earnings by 17% since the ban on turtle products and subsequent change in economy. It may be simple compared to Los Angeles, but today children have three schools and there is running water in the village. Previously, there wasn’t even electricity back in the hey day of Turtle fishing. By the way, the top tourist attractions in the area (outside of the beach) are the Mexican National Turtle Center and the Cosméticos Naturales de Mazunte.
There is a semi-hidden cove on the western end of the beach in Mazunte. This beach is a kilometer in length. Throughout the year, its possible to see a number of aquatic animals : from manta rays to whales and of course a large choice of turtles. You can hire a boat for a day to visit Estacahuite, Puerto Ángel, Zipolite and more. Fishing charters? Yes, of course. Restaurants and small hotels line the beach. Life guards are present.
Kind thanks are given again to my old friend, Jonny. Jonny Hey that is. When Jonny is not traveling, he can be found making music and having parties.