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Back to Nature in Zipolite, Hualtulco

sunny 40 °C

Hello Readers,

As much as we appreciate how lucky we are to have enjoyed visiting five Cities back to back, Ross and I felt spent after Los Angeles and having just about settled into our new time zone, we arrived at Mexico City feeling less than enthused about City number 6!
A cheap flight to Hualtulco was the order of the day (a very good and timely decision we'd soon discover) and just a few hours later, we arrived to one of the most charming little airports either of us have encountered, which gave Ross good vibes that we in for a treat...he was right. The shiny new airport was tiny, with a thatched roof (slight fire hazard maybe, but cute) and a small token gesture of a conveyor belt that was rather pointless.
This was Hualtulco, on the Gulf of Mexico and within minutes we were on our way to Ziplolite, which has been 'home' for the last ten days.

The region is beautiful, albeit arid in it's current dry season. Zipolite is one of a number of picturesque and very typically Mexican villages, with just a handful of grocery shops, no post office, ATM or tourist in sight. The main street is lined with colourful low-rise shacks and houses, while the beachside is lined with cabanas and hammocks. We climbed far too many stairs with our backpacks to be greeted by Katia, a Germany/American expat and her family in their beautiful 'outdoor home', and shown to our amazing Cabana. We were in backpacker nirvana! We had negotiated a low season rate with Katia, which meant that we were officially living in luxury on backpacker prices. Our cabana is full of character, with a lovely bedroom (complete with wardrobes that enable us to unpack - hallelujah) a fully equipped kitchen and a huge outdoor shower and bathroom. We couldn't believe our luck, but it just got better in the morning when we realised that our hammock-strung patio has uninterrupted views out to the pacific, with shutters from the bedroom and kitchen to enjoy the view from every angle. Ross and I also tried out the Yoga here, which takes place every morning and is something of a yoga retreat in high season. Ross concludes that Yoga is definitely not for him,(!) but good on him for giving it a go.

We spent our first two days just enjoying the space, which was amazing, and for the first time in 5 months, I was able to cook!
Once we prized ourselves from our hammocks, we ventured to Zipolite beach where we quickly discovered we were immersing ourselves in nature in more ways than one. There were bits everywhere, young and old, big and small dangling everywhere with great pride - yes, our local beach is a nudie! Stunning though, with a laid-back Mexican vibe about it - small cabanas and beach huts playing reggae, chill-out massive attack and the like, which we have lapped up day after day drinking Mojitos. Swimming is virtually impossible here as there is a huge rip tide; the waves are incredibly powerful, so much so that even surfers avoid it. But everyone has plenty of fun being thrashed around at the shoreline. Our days have been spent looking out to sea, spotting Dolphins and watching Pelicans feeding.

Every Monday is Market Day for everyone in the region of Hualtulco, so the young devout Catholic locals, with their large, young families, flock en masse to Peluche, the main town for the region. We got a free ride in from Deiter, the owner of the Cabana and he gave us the low-down on his experience of living here, the entrapment, bribery, drugs, corruption and poor education; but clearly he and his family love it here. Peluche was bustling with colourful buildings, smiling locals and bright fruit and veg stalls...it was great to see it all in action.

The people, vibe and atmosphere of this place is brilliant - a perfect balance of tranquility and laid-back fun that we haven't really found on our travels to date. Of course, we have visited quieter places; more exciting destinations and many other beautiful beaches, but we both agree that there is something magical about Zipolite, with the vibe, stunning sunsets behind casts jutting out of the ocean, friendly locals and stunning wildlife in action. For the first time, we don't really want to leave!

Today we visited a worthwhile and meaningful village known as Cooperative Ventanilla. This is a community of around 25 families (ex-turtle egg poachers and turtle hunters) who have, for past fifteen years, made huge progress turning around a generation of mindsets about poaching as a means of sustaining theirs lives here. These families no longer hunt or poach, but instead protect turtle eggs and release them to the ocean as soon as they have hatched. They preserve and protect the red and white mangroves here too which are home to dozens of species including primates, crocodiles, iguanas, turtles and birds. We were privileged enough to get our own private tour with Nicholas - a Mexican ex-poacher who now waxes lyrical on his love of the natural habitat, the animals and mangroves, as well as the challenges he and is family have faced in turning around the attitudes of others in the area - he does so by providing jobs within conservation. We were so inspired by his story, (which he told as he paddled us around the mangroves in his boat) not just because of the benefits of conservation, but the passion he had and his clear realisation that he and the other families are now completely self-sufficient. The trip itself was superb - one of the best nature-based trips either of us have experienced. Completely natural, free from the touristy feel, no money grabbing tactics, just a beautiful education into the lives of these creatures, their habitats and the communities that protect them. Nicholas also talked candidly about the improvement of the local social-psyche & community spirit of the area since the Hurricane in the 1990's that destroyed everything and made them realise they need to cherish what they had previously taken for granted - a common lesson for everyone. It seems to be working. We donated what we could - not a lot(!) but I thought it was worthwhile to mention the place in this blog as our way of contributing to them. We had a fantastic day, finished off with a visit to Mezunte beach - another beaute...which has completed a wonderful time here.

We are off tomorrow, heading South to San Cristobal for the Easter break - sure to be a cracker of fiestas!

Love to all

Charlie & Ross
p.s, we didn't join the naturists!

Posted by charlieandross 20:38 Archived in Mexico

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Hey guys!

Just caught up on all of your posts from the last couple of months. It sounds like you're both having the most amazing time and experiences! Really chuffed for you! Hope the Americas are all you hope for and more.

Take care


by uniboy36

WOW!!! that sound's so fantastic, everything that I know you both love. I hope the next bit continues to be as good. I can't beleive you didn't brave it and get the white bit's done though!

Can't wait to read about the next blog.
Enjoy, stay safe.

Love to you both

Mum xxx

by lee day

Your latest blog and the accompanying photographs are absolutely wonderful. The position of your cabana and it's backdrop must be everyone's idea of a perfect holiday retreat.
Your decision to keep all your 'vitals' covered appears to be a good decision considering some of the snappy wildlife that lurks around the area! Besides, naturism is overrated. I tried it once in Menorca and the sound of the other naturists laughter haunts me to this day.
Stay well, travel safe.
All our love,
Mum and Dad B x

by vancoevorden13

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