Driving south out of Puerto Escondido, for an hour or so down to Zipolite, is an interesting journey, full of diversions, most notably that the road often switches to the other side into oncoming traffic without any notice, or seemingly care! It makes for a hair-raising drive, especially without seatbelts, with the ubiquitos ‘topes’ that are meant to slow down traffic but in fact act as targets for drivers who refuse to obey the rules of Velocidad. The reason for the many diversions is the neglected state of the roads, in places unpassable due to landslides, in other places the road looks abandoned, but we’re led to believe that there is a plan to upgrade the whole coastal highway (and indeed build a connecting motorway to Oaxaca!) ….but there doesn’t seem to be too much of a hurry…. once again, despacito.
The landscape is jungle with the distant ocean always to the right, low bridges spanning crocodile-infested brackish waters (so the driver tells us), and the occasional roadside hut selling coconuts and jugos.
Zipolite is a diversion in itself. We have 12 days here on the beach in an eco-resort called El Alquimista – 6 nights in a simple beach shack with a palapa roof, with the warm ocean just a few steps away. The other 6 nights are in more salubrious digs in the hotel, up in what’s called ‘the tower’, a much larger suite with a deep balcony overlooking the beach. The perculiarities of El Alquimista are pretty obvious from the moment you arrive.
First of all Zipolite is a nude beach, Mexico’s only official nude beach. So you can sit in the beach bar and cop an eyeful, then, after a few ‘nerve settlers’ – in this case, Mexico’s joint greatest invention, the Tamarind Mezcal Margarita (see pic) – two of those and you’re in like Flynn. Unshackled. I mean what the heck, you only live once!
The ocean here is 30 degrees and still rather rough in the surf, but then again, all of Oaxaca’s beaches are like that – ankle deep one moment, over your head the next. I have to say it’s quite liberating frolicking in the surf in your birthday suit. Getting in and out however is another matter, not least the rough surf that makes it all rather ungainly, but practice it seems makes perfect. And no, no pictures…. well, not of me anyway (and definitely not of Ants because there are none – Anthony). And anyway, I wouldn’t want to ruin your day and frighten the horses.
The Coco Loco makes an appearance (thank goodness) once again, this time a cart rolled over the hot sand (see pic) with freshly lopped coconuts – with a slug of vodka, tequila and mezcal…. Our particular idyllic cove is bookended by large rocks and cliffs with palapa (dried palm-frond) roofed ‘houses’ clinging to the tops. It’s hard to know whether they’re actually abandoned as they look very precarious and rather ramshackle but perhaps that’s the way of things here. There’s one particular (and rather peculiar) pile above the beach that on first glance looks like it’s been abandoned but I’m assured is actually a hotel and one with the rather apt name of Shambola (look a bit like if the Addams Family had a Mexican beachhouse). Actually, was that ‘Thing’ I saw in the water earlier…
Beyond the rocks and onto the main Zipolite beach – past Hotel Nude (yes, it’s called that and does in fact live up to its name) there are countless palapa bars, beach lodgings and restaurants.
Some other perculiarities of Zipolite. All the staff here at El Alquimista – from check-in to the waiter in the bar to the chap that brings the drinks to the beach, offer you weed saying ‘everyone smokes it here…it helps you unwind’…no price was mentioned – I’m not sure it’s on the in-room dining menu (not that there is one) so I think it’s actually free. Go figure! The beach here faces due south which is very disorientating. The sun doesn’t rise until around 7 adding to the sleepy feel of this place – I mean there’s no one up at 6.30 when we walk the stretch of the beach apart from packs of dogs running and rolling in the surf. As I say we’re here for 12 days. I won’t be posting too many pictures so as to not offend my readers, unless I have specific requests that is, then I’ll see what I can do (as mentioned before, none of Ants – there won’t be any, Anthony).
On the 6th we fly back to Mexico City then an 8-hour flight down to Chile and back to much cooler weather. I guess that’ll mean putting on some clothes….shame 😦