Zipolite 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 Alfonso Cuarón film Y Tu Mama Tambien.
This is a great place to go to relax and have fun on almost any budget. Seafood here is cheap and great. You can while away your days 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 M$843 (pesos) or something like that. However, you can bargain at the taxi stand, and at least one traveler reports that in 2015, a taxi driver agreed to a price of M$500 for this trip. For a cheaper option, leave the airport and hail a cab across the street for around M$400. Once you are outside the airport you can also take a collectivo or local bus to Puerto Angel or San Pedro Pochutla. A taxi from Puerto Angel to Zipolite is M$70 and a collectivo from Pochutla is M$12.
From Puerto Escondido airport a cab is posted as M$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 M$33, and then take a collectivo through Mazunte and San Augustinillo to Zipolite for M$7. It takes a while, but its a nice ride and pretty cheap and easy to travel like the locals.
If traveling by bus, you can take ADO and several other bus services to Pochutla, the regional hub for the coast, then you will need to take a taxi or collectivo.
From Pochutla you can catch a collectivo on the main street right in front of the bus station to Zipolite for M$12. 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 M$200 to 300.
Taxis run from the nearby town of Puerto Angel for M$8, or it's a fairly pleasant, although dangerously narrow, no-shoulder, 4-km 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 2 km 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 05:30 or 06:00 when local shops, and restaurants 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 18:00).
- 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 closed as of 2015) 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
- Go surfing. This is a popular surfing area, but not too crowded to catch a wave. There are 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. Ever 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, and Mazunte. An amazing way to see the beautiful Oaxacan coast. US$500
There are no cash machines in town (other than one infrequently stocked one in Hotel Nude), so make sure to take out enough cash for the duration of your stay.
- 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. It's worth a trip to the local store to pick up a kilo.
- Handmade lamps (On Main Street). Opens after 18:00. 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 M$45-800.
- 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 M$80-120 and up. There is a guy that sells great hammocks on a daily basis M$200-350. Don't be afraid to bargain, but remember that most of the crafts are made by hand here, not mass produced in China.
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 and fresh fish right from the ocean.
- 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).
La Providencia Restaurant (bar), Now at posada Las Casitas (Behind Hotel Alquimista), ☏ . Contemporary Mexican food. Open for dinner in summer and winter season. US$15-20.
- Teofilas (Behind the Lyoban Hotel Restaurant and Bar on the East side, in front of the rocks in the water.). 07:00 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... it's mejor! M$30-120.
- 1 Don Franco's (Roca Blanca). It's on the paved street in Roca Blanca next to Memo's. There are two Italian restaurants, both good, both owned by Italians, and this one is great.
There are a large number of low cost rooms along the beach of varying quality.
- Gloria's Shambala. Relaxed guesthouse perched on a hill at the end of the beach. Wonderful restaurant with tables on a cliff overlooking the entire beach.
- la providencia restaurant bar, on the back street (by piedra de fuego), ☏ . Contemporary Mexican fusion food, outstanding choice in Zipolite. open for dinner in the summer and winter. US$10-13.
- Colibri Hostel/Bar (On the beach next to Sal y Pimienta). Bar: 12:00-22:00. Cabanas right on the Zipolite beach. The place is run by a couple - Gilda from Mexico City and her husband Kevin from Chicago. They are very nice people and can help you out if there is anything you need. The rooms are simple but only cost M$150/250 a night as of September 2011. There are shared bathrooms and shower,communal kitchen, book exchange & tv area. The hostel is located right next to a restaurant on the beach called Sal y Pimienta and in front of Itzama. If you ask they will bring food over to the hostel. NFL football on Sundays & live music on Fridays. M$150 a night.
The waves and currents in the sea are not to be taken lightly. The rip tides are extremely dangerous, and drownings are unfortunately common. Be cautious when entering the water for a swim. Look for the red, yellow and green flags put up by the excellent volunteer lifeguards to see where is the best place to swim.
There is no real active police force Zipolite which means it's easy to come by drugs, and has been since the 1960s. Smoking marijuana is pretty commonplace and tolerated, however, police look for people passing joints back and forth on the beach, so be careful when doing so. If you are approached by police, you can usually get out of trouble by paying M$200. In the past, a few cases of mugging and rapes have been reported. There has been no major crime here for several years. It's generally not recommended to walk on the dark beach at night time alone. The police may hassle you if they think you are shopping for drugs. Make sure the place where you put your valuables is safe and well attended.