It’s All in the Family

March 12, 2022

The threesome.

Mazunte, San Agustinillo, and Zipolite.

There they are, on a strip. If you visit one, chances are you will visit the others. You might enjoy all of them, but you will also probably have a favorite.

Each member of the family has a distinct personality.

We stayed in San Agustinillo in an Airbnb right on the main road (there is pretty much one anyway) with an “appointed kitchen” – that was a big HA! There were three small pot lids – without pots, one medium pot – with a lid, Yippee, and a very worn-out skillet with space for two eggs. Oh yes, and the necessary coffee maker.

We are learning our lesson. We don’t really need a kitchen. We thought one was indispensable. But who are we kidding? We travel to eat out. But, we still get irked when a kitchen is an Airbnb’s selling point and the reality comes up short. Something for us to consider in the future. Coffee maker, small fridge. Check those and we are good to go. My Brachioradial Pruritus itching had started up again. I need a freezer for ice packs. Check that too.

This Airbnb had a lovely photo prominently displayed on its listing – it was actually the hotel across the way. On the beach. Ours wasn’t. We want that next time.

The beach was lovely. Hot sand, as they all had, but sporting a few beach cafes. We visited a couple of them. But the service was awful. When there are four tables occupying a rather large space, one shouldn’t have to wait an hour for a pizza, slightly shorter for drinks. We found this lack of service almost mandatory. We missed the helpful and friendly people of Brisas de Zicatela.

San Agustinillo is the quiet one of the family. There really isn’t much to do there. Which can be great. But I was on a path for great photos. I have a new camera after all. I need to try out all the settings and lenses. A bit of action is what I need.

Mazunte was our favorite sibling. A bit renegade, sometimes more than others.

Where San Agustinillo wore Bermuda shorts, Mazunte showed off dreadlocks, belly buttons, and backpacks. Mazunte was the cool one. Once again, we had a bit of deja-vu from our own backpack travel days.

The main road was bright. Just follow it up the hill and north from San Agustinillo. There are a variety of cafes, convenience stores, a pharmacy or two, a couple of bad ATMs, some wonderful fruit and veggie stalls, and an abundance of tourist clothing and merchandise. Much of that we have seen all along the Mexico south.

But wander the dirt lanes away from that main road and towards the beach and the scene opens up. A few boutiques, murals, cool tunes, artists with their wares laid out along the lane, nicer cafes, and the smell of pot. There is no escaping it. So if that is going to burst your bubble for traveling here, be aware.

We found a great beach cafe and landed there most days having a conversation with a delightful waiter, and noshing on some pretty good food.

Definitely out of place was a tiny boutique with clothes seeming straight out of the Hamptons. Go figure on that one. I don’t believe we ever saw it open. But there it is, just in case.

The day before we left, the air had changed. The vibe was a bit more desperate. We were not prepared for that, and it was out of our comfort zone. It was too much like Zipolite. Or at least the small portion we saw of that last family member.

Zipolite was our least favorite. It is the bad boy.

Ok, there was the color. Plus side. And cafes, and of course, the beach. And we did just stop on the way back from Pochutla, where we had to go to for a working bank and ATM. (So, as a side note, bring enough cash or shell out for a taxi ride into the big town.)

Pot wafted over the town here, too. Not a game-changer. Glenn loves the smell.

Perhaps we didn’t give Zipolite enough time to wow us. But we felt like this is where travelers landed up when they ran out of money. We could be wrong, of course. We had heard lots of great things about the location. Another, less rushed look is warranted.

We would not join in the nudity train. But it didn’t turn us off from visiting. There were “dangly” bits on display, usually not on the most toned specimens. But for us, our abstaining was a lot due to the fact we didn’t want our asses burned to a crisp. I had worn no thong to get used to the sun. I wasn’t about to remain standing the rest of the trip, or peeling and scratching in the worst places.

We spent a week in this section of the Oaxaca coast. And we enjoyed our time here. Next time we would stay closer to Mazunte.

Now, we headed south to our next destination, just a bit further down the road.

Puerto Angel and a cliff house were waiting for us.

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  • Reply Susan Martin March 21, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    What gorgeous photographs and smart entertaining prose. So happy with what you wrote about the Cliff house in Puerto Angel and about the town itself. It’s funky for sure but it’s been my home for 30 years so of course it’s full of memories of all kinds and great friends.. Your Swiss Family Robinson blog was great. I hope if you return you spend time in Zipolite Beach. It’s my favorite. So eclectic and diverse with delicious well priced restaurants cafes and bakeries. But it’s the people and the energy that really separate it from San Augustinilo and Maztunte. Go back. See and experience it for your self. I LOVED your Dirt Floors and Ginger blog about Cozumel. It was the first one I read. Made me laugh and I could not agree more. Never again . DItto Cancun Playa de Carmen… nope not for me. Love Merida tho for a couple of days. HAve you visited Verz Cruz? OMG so interesting. Mexico with a Cuban Caribian flavor.

    • Reply ourprimeoflife March 23, 2022 at 11:13 am

      Hi Susan, Thank you for letting us know you enjoy our posts. Yes, the cliff house in Puerto Angel was truly a marvelous place to stay. We are still figuring out our schedule to see if we can include a stay through the new owners next year. We loved the small fishing town. And there are numerous other beaches and coves around to explore.

      I do admit that we did not spend a lot of time in Zipolite and will have to give it a second chance as so many people tell us they love it.

      Please keep in touch!!

  • Reply Stan klein March 12, 2022 at 10:31 am

    Rhea is an excellent travel writer. She lets us experience the places she visits without getting sand in our toes. Stan Klein

    • Reply ourprimeoflife March 12, 2022 at 1:29 pm

      Hi Stan!! Thank you so much for those kind words. They mean a lot to me. We are having a wonderful time experiencing Southern Mexico and so many new to us places. We are finding that our choices and priorities are changing and we love working and traveling together. Missing San Miguel though and feel so lucky that we can travel around yet still have fabulous friends and a marvelous town to return to.

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