Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu March 31 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | March 31, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Discovering the Unique Charm of Playa Zipolite, Mexico

    Discovering the Unique Charm of Playa Zipolite, Mexico

    Photos courtesy of Cantimplora Travel

    Imagine a tropical Mexican holiday. The first destinations to come to mind likely include Cancun, Cabo or Puerto Vallarta. While these are three undeniably fantastic destinations, those travelers seeking somewhere a bit more off-the-beaten-track should look to the Oaxacan Coastline — specifically the sleepy surf town of Playa Zipolite.

    Zipolite Beach

    Once a destination primarily for budget backpackers, Playa Zipolite now attracts a range of tourists. From yoga lovers to European nudists to adventurous families, there’s a little something for everyone here. And while yes, Playa Zipolite still boasts an undeniably hippie vibe, it doesn’t take long to realize there’s much more to the quiet beach town than first meets the eye. Here are a few reasons you might just fall in love with the unique charm of Playa Zipolite, Mexico:

    1. The Sunsets

    It’s no secret that Mexico’s Pacific Coastline boasts sweeping sunsets just about everywhere you look. But for something truly magical, head to Punta Cometa. Just a short drive from downtown Playa Zipolite, this is the southernmost point in Oaxaca State — and one of the few spots you can witness both the sunrise and the sunset over the ocean. Just before dusk, join the small thread of travelers who hike to the point of Punta Cometa to witness the stunning view as the sun colors the sky and casts a lovely glow on the surrounding rocky cliffs.

    READ MORE: 5 Underrated Mexican Beaches


    The sunsets are lovely in central Playa Zipolite as well, and you’ll have no shortage of oceanfront restaurants where you can sip on a margarita and relax while taking in the view.

    2. The Surf

    Surfing Playa Zipolite

    Playa Zipolite is an excellent place to catch some waves, whether it’s your first time hanging on to a surfboard or you’re an experienced pro. Local Mexican lifeguards are available for lessons in the whitewater, which is recommended if you’re not extremely comfortable with surfing. (Note: the rip tides are strong here.) If you’re not up for a day on the waves, sit back and watch the locals put on a show.

    3. The Cuisine

    For such an out of the way beach town, Playa Zipolite boasts a surprising amount of phenomenal restaurants and cafes. La Providencia is the town gem, on par with the best of the best restaurants in Mexico City (but at a fraction of the price). You’ll find La Providencia down a quiet dirt road, where the owners Javier and Paco serve up mouthwatering Mexican fusion cuisine. Don’t miss the coconut shrimp and incredibly fresh seafood.

    For brunch, head to Orale Cafe. This French cafe run by Jean Francois is renowned in Zipolite for its authentic French toast, memorable quiches and extensive coffee list. Finally, when you’re ready for a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach, stop by El Alquimista. The menu is extensive, but its idyllic setting under the stars is what truly sets it apart.


    4. The Secluded Sandy Shore

    Stretching on for just over a mile and sandwiched between two giant cliffs, Playa Zipolite boasts a secluded feel along its golden sandy shore. At the east end of Zipolite you’ll find the quiet cove Playa los Amores, Zipolite’s most popular clothing-optional beach. On the far west side of Zipolite is beautiful Playa de Camaron. Take your time exploring the coast and soaking in the laid-back Mexican vibes as you pass thatched-roof bungalows, quiet surf shacks and swaying palms.

    Playa Zipolite Mexico

    5. The Free-Spirit Vibes

    Anything goes in Playa Zipolite, and it’s this distinctive free-spirit culture that keeps many travelers staying far longer than first anticipated. Yes, there are nudists, and while most prefer to keep their clothes on, don’t be surprised to see some baring it all. Dreadlocked backpackers sell their handmade jewelry along the main street. Musicians and fire dancers perform tricks for tips after the sun goes down. Walking downtown after a day of sun, sand and surf, you can’t help but throw away your worries and get lost in this carefree Mexican town.

    READ MORE: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Luxury In Mexico

    Getting There: Playa Zipolite is about an hour taxi ride from both the Puerto Escondido Airport and the Huatulco Airport. Accommodation options are simple. We recommend El Alquimista for quaint bungalows with a pristine beach setting. There are no ATMs at Playa Zipolite (the nearest one is a ten minute drive) and most establishments only take cash, so plan ahead.

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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