Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Playa Zipolite

About 40 km west of here is the little village of Zipolite. It has become quiet famous for it's laid back, devil may care attitude about life. There is one beach in town, located in a small bay. It attracts all types from dread-locked new age hippies to Europeans to backpacking Americans to Mexican families. It is mostly famous for two things: it is the only officially sanctioned nude beach in Mexico and turns a blind eye to drug usage in town and on the beach.

Turn off the main road in Zipolite at the "to the beach" sign and you enter a different world.

We gathered our two new friends the Sunday before last and made the drive to spend the day on the beach. Even though it is only 40 km, it takes 1.5 hours to get there from here. (the way I drive!) The road is mostly hilly with hairpin turns the entire way. I don't cut corners on these roads nor do I try to see how fast I can whip around them. Safety first. The last 8 km is through the town of Puerto Angel and Zipolite itself. Both of them seem to have gotten a government grant for building the most and highest speed bumps in all of Mexico. Pity they didn't spend any money on fixing potholes!

When we got there, it was overcast and drizzling rain. We decided to have breakfast at this place before heading down to the beach. Good thing. The sky opened up and it rained steadily for an hour. The food here, while slow in coming, was delicious. I had scrambled eggs with chorizo, which was more chorizo than eggs! Served with a side of black beans and the ever present tortilla. We asked for and got a small bowl of really hot sauce. Delicious but hot enough to burn your taste buds off!

The beach area of the town is just one long street. Lots of little eateries, hotels and a few gift shops line the avenue. Late in the afternoon it is almost impossible to drive this street. All the dirty hippies line the street in front of the sidewalks with all of their goofy jewelry, made while under the influence I am sure. They look at you as you drive by through blood shot eyes with an indifference that does not make you want to stop and shop at all. My friend, Ms. Loca, would love it!

There is a cutaway path from the main street that leads down to the middle part of the beach. This was my first glimpse of the beach and water. What you can't appreciate here is the booming of the crashing waves. We all broke into joyous, if not a little nervous sounding, laughter, just seeing the waves.

This beach restaurant was immediately to our right. The front of it was lined with colorfully decorated chairs. Anyone was invited to just stop, take a seat and watch the water. A bit of the laid back attitude at play.

The beach itself is 1.5 km long. When we emerged onto it, here is what we say to our left.

And to our right.

Not many people and certainly no nudity. (at this point!) But, after all, it was still quite an overcast, if not muggy, day.

There are all kinds of lodgings offered in Zipolite. From the most crudely rudimentary, to straw huts perched on the rocks, to sort of upscale. Here are just a few of the places you can stay.

Despite it's popularity, Zipolite is not exactly a safe beach for swimming. It is known for it's strong current, undertows and strong waves. There is a voluntary lifeguard system and the day we were there it was manned. The lifeguard patrols the beach on a four wheeler and places red flags where he sees that the current is strong and flowing from shore to sea. You are not allowed to swim in the area directly in front of these flags. He stops by any group that he recognizes as just arrived or that he has not talked to before. Of course, we were one of them. He explained the red flag system and warned us NOT to go into the water above our waists. The current will catch you and he did not want to swim out to try to save you. He was very clear about that! He also advised us never to turn our backs on incoming waves. They could very possible hit you with a force that will slam you to the sea floor and you may not recover. Despite his friendly talk to people, he was constantly blowing his whistle for people to move back closer to shore.
On a personal note, I failed to heed his warning once. I was walking back into shore and was in water just mid way up my calf. Not deep at all. I had my back to the water and a wave came rushing in with the force of a locomotive. It knocked me over and rolled me into shore along the bottom. It was frightening the force with which it carried me struggling along. I was double mad because my boardies filled with that gravelly sand. It took me forever to get that irritating stuff out of the waistband, and, more importantly, out of the suit liner!

(just after I took the above photo, those two guys lit up a doobie that looked as big as my wrist and happily sat under the lifeguard stand passing it back and forth)
I'm fairly certain that we would not have had such a fantastic day at the beach had we not brought along our two new friends. Ashley, originally from Texas and her boyfriend, Luis, originally from Monterrey.

These two are not my friends.
The sun came out and it got quite warm. We played in the surf for hours, laid in the sun and drank beer all day. Except I limited myself to two. I still had that drive to make.
We finally had lunch around 4 pm. So what next? Kite flying of course! We had packed a beach kite to bring down here with us and had a great time trying to keep it up. And irritating beach goers when it would crash land onto them!

This last picture is just for my friend, Steve, but I hope the rest of you enjoy it too. This guy and his young Golden Retriever were having a great time playing fetch. Here they are taking a much needed break.

All in all, a fantastically fun and relaxing day. Sun, surf, friends and naked people to look at. What more could you want from a vacation!


Steve Cotton said...

Thanks for the golden photograph. It brings back some great memories of Jiggs over the past 13 years. He is having a tough time this week fighting off an intestinal infection.

Great shot of the back of the beach chairs. It bears the mark of an Islagringo photograph, but, in some way, reminded me of Andee, as well. She is always with us.

Anonymous said...

It looks like you had a great day!
Kite flying; Everyone tells me to go fly one.
-Doug in Canton

KfromMichigan said...

Sounds like a fun day, except for the rough water!

Babs said...

Me on a nude beach......not any more! But I do think the place sounds way cool. Beautiful water and the rear view of the guy isn't bad either. Nice tan, ha

jeanie said...

Great post Wayne! I can't believe you went in the water!!!!!!!!!!

Life's a Beach! said...

Love the nude butt taken from behind the prickly cactus! LOL Sounds like a fun place to visit on a daytrip, but not particularly a great place to spend a week (unless you enjoy naked and stoned)!

Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Nice butt shot! Mike wants to know, "Where's all the girls and the boobs?!"

Merida Mikey said...

Let me guess . . . . . . .

You were taking a National Geographic style picture of a prickly pear cactus and just as the shutter on your camera was about to close - POOF!! Some naked dude jumped in the photo!

Talk about your "Kodak moment"!