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Oaxaca Travel Guide

Manzunte, San Agustinillo, and Zipolite

Fans of this trio of beaches like to brag that they are what Puerto Escondido was 20 years ago, but that mantra doesn't even do justice to their charms. No longer dismissed as rustic havens for backpackers, these towns now have delicious international food and creative cocktails served in some of Mexico's most beautiful beachfront environments. When you're not sipping a cocktail or soaking up the

sun, you can choose from activities such as yoga or fishing on this idyllic stretch of beaches and bays. Zipolite is still best known for its nudist beach and 1960s-style hippie vibe. Most of the actual sights in the region are in Mazunte, a beach community about 8 km (5 miles) west of Zipolite. Many people come to see the turtle museum. Indeed, the turtle has been a part of Mazunte's history for a long time—the word "mazunte" itself evolved from the Nahuatl word maxontetia, which means "please lay eggs." Mazunte is home to the area’s most upscale resorts, including some barefoot-chic bungalows on the jungle-clad slopes overlooking the bays.

Between Zipolite and Mazunte is San Agustinillo, a tiny beach zone with several small hotels as well as a fantastic, swimmable beach (just mind the sometimes strong currents) and good fishing. Body boarders and surfers find it is easier to surf here than in Zipolite.

In general, though, the whole area has displayed a remarkable resistance to any kind of high-rise development, and this, along with a focus on sustainable tourism and a bohemian spirit, contributes to an alluring sense of isolation.

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