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Zipolite

After an enjoyable week in Oaxaca and surrounds we headed off to the coast. Rather than an 8 hour bus ride on windy mountain roads, we opted to take a small plane to Huatulco and then hired a cab to take us over to Zipolite.

View from the plane
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The Oaxacan coast between Huatulco and Puerto Escondido is one of the least developed parts of the Pacific coastline. Mostly it consists of small towns and fishing villages that are slowly drawing more tourists, but there are no high rise hotels as in Cancun. Zipolite is an old hippie hang-out that has a reputation as a laid back place where nudity is allowed. It turned out to be delightful, with plenty of eateries on the beach, small guest houses, and a very warm sea. It also is known as a place with dangerous surf and rip tides, although the swimming was generally excellent while we were there.

Our 7 room guest house was on a hillside overlooking the sea, and about a five minute walk from the beach.

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When we first arrived, two middle aged and rather out of shape and overweight couples were lounging around the pool buck naked. A bit of a shock, but they turned out to be quite ordinary and friendly folks who are more or less professional nudists. It was at least their third trip to Zipolite, but they frequent other nudist spots as well. Sorry, it seemed gauche to take their picture, although I'm sure they would not have minded. The small pool was a great place to sit around with a beer and cool off with or without your bathing suit.

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Needless to say, there was not a lot to do at Zipolite other than swim, sun, eat or drink, but that was fine by us. Our guest house owner was a gay,white, Mexican, who looked to be in his mid 40's. Apparently he had built the place with his partner, now separated. Most days he served us breakfast overlooking the pool, usually wearing only a skimpy towel.

In the five days we spent there we developed a bit of a routine. We would go down to the beach in the morning, around 10 or so and either return between 11:30 and 12 when the sun got too hot, eat in our little apartment, or go to lunch someplace along the beach.

After lunch we'd sit around the pool in the shade, or take a nap inside. By around 3:30 we walked down to the beach again for another swim.

More like 5 in this pcture
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And then it was back to our pool above the sea for sunset and a beer, and finally a walk to a restaurant, either on the beach or in the tiny town with small shops and restaurants on the only main street. The best way to get anywhere was to walk directly on the beach, although there was a dirt road that led through palm trees into town. That took longer and was more confusing. Our guest house was on one end of the beach, and so it was a bit of a walk to most restaurants, and to "main street," one block from the water. The nearby Alchemist was a frequent choice because the food was good, if a bit pricey by Zipolite standards.

Also on our side of the beach, was a spectacular set of rocks, with a large peephole to the sea, worn away over the years by waves and wind.

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Sunset was quite a show down here, as well as up at the pool.

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So what's with the nudity thing you want to know. Well of course, it was only some of the gringoes and gringas that were naked on the beach. It was an interesting thing to watch a middle aged, fully dressed Zapotec man selling coca frio to a naked gringa of indeterminate age. And it was a real mix of ages who were naked, all different shapes and sizes but only one color, or rather two, sunburn red or white. I'd say about 1/4 to 1/3 of the white people on the beach had shed their clothes, but there was no pressure either way. Sometimes I wore a suit, and other times I did not. Nobody cared either way.

I did begin to wonder just how it was that Zipolite got its start as a nude beach, and that it somehow managed to continue this way in a very Catholic and conservative country. It all began in the 60's, naturally, when a small group of hippie types showed up in this tiny and remote backwater, at least at that time. Many of them didn't bother to wear clothes. Some of them stayed and others left, but gradually as the town developed into the low key resort that it is today, the locals decided to retain the optional nudity. As in most of Oaxaca, the people are Zapotecs, and the central government more or less leaves them alone to run things as they see fit. I would guess it was more of a business decision to continue the clothes optional policy. There are of course, other small towns and resorts along this coastline, but Zipolite is the only one that allows nudity. How much the nudity helps their business is an open question, a bit like asking if the growth in Colorado is due to legal weed. I don't think it's hurting things.

On our last night we were hoping to make it to the other side of the beach, because there was a bar on top of a promontory which had a reputation for spectacular sunsets. As you can see by the picture above, we didn't make it. That sunset was on our side of the beach, but it's hard to imagine anything better. We did however, make it to our favorite restaurant, Fish and Love, which which is located just off the beach at the far end of town.

Debbie and Nanette in front of restaurant
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It is owned and run by a friendly local family. In the morning, until mid-afternoon they fish, and then return to prepare and cook what they catch. It couldn't have been any fresher, and they made a damn good margarita to go with it. If that wasn't enough, it was an incredible bargain.

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As in other restaurants people wear clothes, though we were early and thus the only customers. They did tell us that they had a popular clothes optional night once a month.

Naked Fish and Love, what could be better.

Posted by jonshapiro 06:39 Archived in Mexico Tagged beaches people food

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