A sort of "Mazunte-lite," this town offers many of its neighbor's charms with a more grown-up vibe.
As laid-back as Mazunte is -- and yeah, it's pretty laid-back -- the sheer volume of young, tattooed pleasure-seekers can sometimes be a not-entirely-welcome distraction from your beach read. For those seeking the same beautiful coastline, tasty food, and lazy afternoon micheladas, but with fewer waterfront bongo circles and a slightly older crowd, neighboring Zipolite is the perfect choice.
Tiny Zipolite enjoys an outsized reputation as a nudist paradise: In point of fact, the only remaining nude areas are clustered at the extreme west and east ends of the mile-long beach. In between, there's just sun, soft white sand, and the roaring of the ocean. The waves here are choppier than in Mazunte, and the area is not safe for swimming, though bodyboarders and surfers can still do their thing.
Where to eat: Just steps from the beach, the neat, orderly town of Zipolite consists of just a few gridded streets, but there are still plenty of brightly painted shops and restaurants to peruse. The best seafood eatery in the area is Piedra de Fuego (Calle Mangla), an open-air, family-friendly joint that specializes in grilled catch-of-the-day. Ask for it a la talla, butterflied and crusted with a crimson-red, subtly spicy chili paste.
Must-do: In the mornings, usually at 8am, motor boats depart from the beach on guided tours that offer the opportunity to spot whales, dolphins, and sea turtles. Trips usually last 2.5 hours and cost 200 pesos. Arrange a reservation with your hotel, or just scout around for the guides on the beach.