Hi! I’m an anthropologist, writer and traveller from New Zealand. I recently spent six months backpacking around Mexico and Central America with my husband, where we ate as many tacos as we could find.
So, where’s your happy place?
It’s a tiny little beach on Mexico’s Pacific Coast called Zipolite (pronounced Zip-oh-lee-tay). It’s a 1.5km stretch of golden sand and sparkling water nestled between Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel.
Sounds beautiful. When did you discover it?
My husband and I first visited five years ago on a whim and instantly fell head over heels with everything about the place. There’s a single street dotted with a couple of stores and restaurants.
What makes Zipolite special?
It’s just the most beautiful place, where you can’t help but feel happy. It’s literally beautiful – a golden sand beach nestled between mountains – but it goes deeper than that. The locals are warm and friendly and completely unfazed, and you can get some of the best tacos in Mexico here. It’s so completely relaxed and unpretentious. It’s also tucked away in a sort of out of the way spot, which means you avoid a lot of those annoying traveller types.
What did you get up to while you were there?
On our second trip, we spent nearly four weeks relaxing there. We kept meaning to leave but just couldn’t bring ourselves to, so we extended our stay. Mornings started off with breakfast on the beach, watching birds dive into the waves for their own breakfast. After sipping as much coffee as we could handle, we took leisurely strolls along the beach and watched crabs sunbathing, before retiring to our hammocks at the front of our hotel to read.
When our stomachs started to rumble, we’d amble a few steps along the road to one of the local restaurants. We’d share a tlayuda for lunch before returning to the beach for a swim, or for a nap in the hammock. As the sun started to set, we’d grab a beer from the nearest restaurant and join everyone else on the beach to watch the horizon turn rosy pink. In the evenings, we’d stroll along the cool sand to one of the locally run beachfront restaurants. We’d dig our toes into the sand as we sipped cold beer and ate fresh fish.
Has Zipolite changed much over the years?
Zipolite has become a lot busier since we first discovered it. A few years ago, there were only a handful of tourists on the beach. Now, it’s more like a hundred. But, so far, this hasn’t affected the ambience or quaintness at all. In fact, tourism has improved the place in many ways – there are more restaurants, a paved road and more taxis to get to and from the nearest town, Pochutla. It’s also a nudist beach and nudity has become more common recently. It used to be just the odd old man walking in the water at sunset, now half of the sunbathers are naked!
I’ve heard that Zipolite is no longer listed in the Lonely Planet guidebooks though. So I’m wondering if its popularity will slowly start to decline. I feel like it’s the kind of place that will take whatever comes in its stride and not be fussed.
Can you describe Zipolite in one sentence for us?
Sun-kissed, sand-dusted, and absolutely gorgeous.