We are spending our days exploring the small coastal towns and beaches of Oaxaca....and loving it. We spend most of our days (before and after the sun reaches its sweltering peak) walking the length of beaches and meeting locals. First we were hoping to find an area for camping or a restaurant that would allow us to stay beside them with a view of the ocean, now it’s simply to soak up the local atmosphere. The main "street" through zipolite is a pedestrian corridor with a few fledgling bars and restaurants. As always, we picked the one with a gathering of people, then stopped for dinner only to realize the owner of the new establishment was the same guy thats helped us to our cabana a few nights back. We enjoy sitting with the young entrepreneur and his friends, talking about life in Zipolite and getting the insiders’ perspective. As we return to the candlelit ambience of our palapas, 100s of people now line the street sipping a beer/cocktail from the bar behind them or selling their handmade jewelry and sculptures on the curb. Several musicians are playing/drumming and as we reach the end of the street we can see the twirling glow of the firethrowers behind us...just too late for the show.
We are no longer in our plush palapa cabana (that was only a two day treat) but have returned to the bus and are parked on the opposite end of the beach. The west end was a collection of rustic chic bungalows as where here we are amidst rundown houses, tents and ramshackle palapas that look to be overrun with the group we left behind at the rainbow gathering. Zipolite has become famous for its nude/free lifestyle and attracts hippies and backpackers (primarily from europe but) from around the globe. The number of tourists we see here is higher than many other places we’ve been but they seem to leisurely fit in rather than taking over. Its almost impossibly tranquillo here, which we find out later that it might have something to do with the amount of herb and mushrooms grown in the mountains nearby.
Further down this end of the beach we stumbled across a tiny pocket cove called playa amor (love beach). This tiny secluded beach behind the point is your reward for scrambling up some stairs and down the other side. It’s a gorgeous spot that attracts most of the nude sunbathers but also an amazing place to grab a rock and catch the sunset- something tells me we’ll be returning. Yesterday we ventured north to see the beaches of mazunte and san agustanillo. Each beach has its own beauty and vibe, but all are framed with beautiful rock outcroppings and points that hug the sandy shore. We could stay in either of these for a while but we have already arranged a steal of a deal in zipolite parking on the beach for 50pesos/night, so we return to our new temporary home.
Wedged in between two locals homes on the beach, our view each morning is of the sun coming up over the point and its light filtering through the palapas built to hold hammocks for family friends and the occasional tourist in need of shade and a cold beer before continuing down the beach. Im trying to remember the last time i saw anyone in north america see a mexican (or any other) traveller and stopped them to shake their hand and say “welcome to my country, i hope you love it here”, much less would let them park alongside their home and come inside to use their sink and bathroom or play with their kids. Hospitality and community have a slightly different meaning here, and we are enjoying every second of it.