A short note on Mazunte and the coast…
Mazunte is a beach town of 600 inhabitants on a gorgeous bay on Oaxaca’s coast. Until the early 1990’s their economy was based on the commercial harvesting of sea turtles. Potential extinction of the turtles led to a government ban on that activity and the area plunged into poverty and unemployment. The area suffered another huge economic blow in 1997 when Hurricane Paulina struck and destroyed not only the infrastructures of beach communities but lagoons and forests as well.
National and international organizations took note and a long-term economic development plan was launched. A sea turtle museum was built, a natural cosmetics company started up and surrounding communities initiated sustainable projects of ecotourism and local manufacturing.
Cosméticos Naturales de Mazunte was started with recipes generously donated by The Body Shop. Through making and selling shampoos, soaps and skin creams they have reached a degree of success that allows them to loan money to similar businesses in surrounding communities.
La Ventanilla is a nearby coastal village devoted to caring for and developing their local crocodile and turtle populations as well as growing trees for local reforestation projects.
The Mexican National Turtle Center has fascinating exhibits of turtles from all over the world and is involved in the protection and preservation of sea turtles along the Oaxacan coast.
Leaving Oaxaca between 7 & 8 in the morning we drive through the Ocotlán valley and up into the mountains. After a short break in San Jose del Pacifico we continue on to the small town of San Jose Chacalapa to enjoy lunch in their hot tropical climate. Then it’s an afternoon at the beach! At the end of the day we’ll walk the 20 minutes out to the tip of Punta Cometa to enjoy the sunset. (Punta Cometa is a natural head between two beaches that has cliffs and its own small beach. You can catch both sunrise and sunset from there.) Dinner and lodging in San Agustinillo.
After breakfast we go to visit Cosméticos Naturales de Mazunte and take a brief tour of their facility and retail store. Late morning and early afternoon are spent on San Agustinillo’s beautiful beach. In late afternoon we’ll jump in the car for the short drive to La Ventanilla where virtually all of the community is involved in an ecotourism project. By small boat we pole through the calm waters of their lagoon to see crocodiles, exotic birds and iguanas. We can also, if we’re lucky, help release baby sea turtles into the ocean.
Up and out on the ocean before breakfast! We start the day with a boat trip in an open launch where you’ll find an abundance of sea life: bright silvery tuna, huge sea turtles, ‘flying’ rays and possibly even a pod of leaping dolphins or – between December and March – whales! There will also be an opportunity to do a snorkel and goggles and swim with the brilliantly-colored tropical fish in the protected waters of the bay. Enjoy a relaxed afternoon exploring the virgin beach of Agua Blanca and sampling their great seafood.
Today we go for a morning visit to Mazunte’s famous turtle museum and then drive back to Oaxaca.
The price includes
– Private transportation from Oaxaca city and back.
– English-speaking guide
– Local guides
– Entrance fees and excursions
– 3 overnight stays in San Agustinillo
Alcoholic drinks and meals – apart from breakfast – are not included.