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Playa Zipolite

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Zipolite Beach, west end   More Aerial Photos
The origin of the name Zipolite, which is sometimes spelled Sipolite or Cipolite, is uncertain but may have come from the Nahuatl word sipolitlan or zipotli, which means bumpy place or place of continuous bumps or hills. This certainly described the topography of the region (and some of the roads as well). Another source reports that the meaning of Zipolite in the Nahuatl language is the beach of the dead or playa de los muertos because of the dangerous ocean currents. Archaeological work done on the east end of the beach tells us that Zipolite has a long history. But for the period up until 1955, only one family lived here.

In the 1960s, Zipolite attracted young countercultural visitors and became known for its bohemian vibe and for its acceptance of nudity on the beach, especially on Playa Los Amores at the east end. Public nudity is not legal in Mexico, but... Zipolite attracted visitors from around the world and still does. Accommodations were basic and economical. As these visitors aged and returned with more pesos to spend, the accommodations adapted and improved. Zipolite now features some upscale restaurants as well as the more economical options. Visitors of all ages are now found on Zipolite beach.

Zipolite does not have a bank but I believe there is a money exchange. There are two ATMs on Roca Blanco. Nearest bank is in nearby Puerto Angel. Some restaurants and accommodations now accept Visa. See the note on Currency. (10/17)

WARNING: There have been a few armed robberies in Zipolite and on the road between Zipolite and Puerto Angel. Visitors should take precautions. A serious incident occurred some time ago at the Piña Palmera rehabilitation center which is described in their March 1996 Newsletter. I have not received incident reports in recent years but I cannot guarantee that dangers have been eradicated.

Tourists hiking north along the coast from Zipolite beach have been robbed. Robbers target tourists carrying backpacks that may contain valuables. Locals set a trap and caught some of these individuals, but caution is suggested. It is recommended that when hiking on remote beaches in Mexico that you do not carry valuables or appear to have valuables. This is old news as well, but the recommendation still applies. Hotels generally have 24-hour security to protect guests. Recent years have seen a reduction in crime. (10/17)

Past Events:   Zipolite was hard hit on October 7, 1997 by Pauline, a category 4 hurricane. Pauline made landfall here with 180 mph gusts and 10-meter waves. There were no deaths in Zipolite. See Damage Reports and photos. Most of the heavily damaged hotels and restaurants were rebuilt and are back in service. Nearby Piña Palmera was also heavily damaged. Then on the afternoon of Wednesday, February 21, 2001, there was a huge fire at the Zipolite beach. There has been rebuilding since this event also.

See More Photos.

See Aerial Photos of Zipolite.


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