It was the classic Zipolite moment: while sitting in the town’s best beach restaurant, I listen to the crashing waves, gaze at the yoga enthusiasts in the shade to the right while body surfers frolic ahead and board surfers catch curls further out to the left. Two women stroll by hand in hand; the smell of pot wafts in the air.
A waiter with a full tray of drinks ventures onto the hot sand toward a table of naked patrons. Suddenly, he trips on a feral dog, his tray totters, and we hold our collective breaths. But he regains his balance, turns to the dog and mutters — an apology.
This is friendly Zipolite, on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast, about a 45-minute drive from the Huatulco airport. It’s nude-, gay-, pot-and even dog-friendly. It also features a sweet beach, amazing seafood, gorgeous but dangerous waves, yoga, cheap beer and a range of eclectic accommodation in the $20 to $100 range.
It’s evening when we check into the tree house-styled Hotel Noga — one of the few in town with air conditioning — and quickly realize our good fortune. We can hear the pounding surf and a two-minute walk from our rooms puts us on the west end of the beach. We’re not disappointed as we join dozens of other travellers and locals enjoying a moonlight walk. The beach is lined with open-air palapa restaurants, booze cans and hotel/hostels. A few concrete structures stand out like sore thumbs.
After a 45-minute walk from one end of the beach to the other, we head to the short main street, where an eclectic scene features open air cafes, artisan tables and roving musicians, local and expat. The ambience is a mix of middle-class hipster Mexican, greying Woodstock and dreadlocked Rasta.
The next day we fall into the rhythm of early-morning and sunset walks, with body surfing, hammock hanging, yoga and restaurant-exploring filling the hours. We do a day trip to Puerto Escondido, an hour’s drive away, and visit the campground where the three of us stayed during a 1975 road trip to Guatemala. Amazingly, we chat with a camper who was also there in 1975, although we didn’t know him then.
Another day, we do a four-hour boat trip where we view turtles. There are no ATV tours, snorkelling, ziplines or mescal factories in Zipolite, although they can be found in Huatulco.
We soon discover favourite restaurants. Cafe Orale serves up wonderful breakfasts: huevos rancheros, fresh fruit and yogurt, strong coffee and fresh squeezed juices. Many seafood lunches are taken on the beach at El Almequista, where we witnessed the classic Zipolite moment. Fresh fruit liquados are available everywhere.
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