Mazunte vs Huatulco. Find out what town is best for your next vacation.

Mazunte vs Huatulco, Oaxaca: Which one should you visit?

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The coast of Oaxaca is quickly becoming a hot destination for tourists. The word is out and tourists are flocking to Mexico’s mountainous and wild southern Pacific coast. 

Drawn by the allure of the pacific ocean and mysterious Mexican rainforests, explorers are learning that there is so much to do and see in Oaxaca. 

Huatulco and Mazunte are two beach towns at the center of this travel boom offering beach vibes and a relaxing getaway. But despite being only a little more than 60 km apart, the towns of Mazunte and Huatulco appeal to different types of travelers!

Here I have laid out the main attractions and things to do in Mazunte vs. Huatulco so you can decide which coastal town is for you!

Hiking to Punta Cometa from Mazunte takes between 20-30 minutes

Why visit Mazunte? 

Pronounced “mah-zoon-tay,” this little speck on the Oaxacan coast has long been a popular destination for its laid-back beach town vibes, diversity of culture and food, and various wellness retreats. It attracts wellness-seekers because of its yoga training, healing ceremonies, and meditation retreats.  

Mazunte is one of the most popular Oaxaca beach towns among foreign travelers who settle down seasonally or long-term to maintain the practice of these lifestyles. 

Mazunte tends to attract a younger crowd, so beach parties and bonfires are more easily found in this area than in Huatulco. 

You won’t hear a lot of Spanish in Mazunte as the population has more foreigners than Mexicans. However, most of the tours are run by Mexican locals so having some Spanish is helpful!

Huatulco is one of the best beach towns along the Oaxaca Coast and home to 36 stunning bays.

Why visit Huatulco?

Pronounced “wah-tool-co” the Bays of Huatulco are widely known for their pristine coastline and more than 36 beaches. There are 9 bays in total covering more than 20 km of Oaxaca Coast, and 5 of them are within the Huatulco National Park.

The term Huatulco refers to the Oaxacan region of Santa Maria Huatulco, and Las Bahias de Huatulco. But that gets tiresome, so we use Huatulco to refer to anywhere in the district!

Las Bahias de Huatulco is an adventurer’s paradise and offers a more relaxed vibe than Mazunte. The ocean is calmer, and so are the people. 

Mazunte is one of the most popular towns along the Oaxaca Coast and home to Punta Cometa.


Besides being a travel blogger, I also create itineraries for my readers 😃 If you want me to plan your trip to Mexico, provide insider tips and do all the research for you, fill out the form below. 

My custom itineraries include information on popular landmarks, restaurants, and hidden corners that most tourists miss. As part of my services, I also offer suggestions on flights, hotels and activities in Huatulco, Mazunte or any other destination that you choose.

Can’t wait to hear from you! 💛

The coastline faces south in Huatulco vs Mazunte where it looks west. This means that the water is much calmer in Huatulco, so ocean activities are more plentiful! Huatulco is the best place in Oaxaca for snorkeling, scuba diving, and open-water swimming. 

There is less nightlife in Huatulco compared to Mazunte, but there are still places to dance away the warm nights!

It is helpful to know a little Spanish when traveling in Huatulco, but not necessary. Many service workers can communicate in basic English or by using apps like Google translate. 

Hiking Punta Cometa is one of the most popular things to do in Mazunte

Best things to do in Mazunte 

Visitors and residents of Mazunte enjoy activities like skimboarding, surfing, hiking, and wellness practices. Here are some of the best things to do in Mazunte: 

1. Attend a wellness retreat

Mazunte offers wellness retreats of all types, including yoga, meditation, and aqua healing experiences. It can be a great place to reset or take a step back from everyday life. 

2. Take an Eco-Tour

Mazunte is right in the Oaxacan jungle and offers opportunities for authentic animal experiences.

Participate in a turtle release, drift alongside crocodiles, or learn about the turtles and tortoises of Oaxaca at the National Turtle Center.

The Oaxaca coast has more protections in place than other parts of Mexico. Thankfully most tours you do here will have a minimal negative impact on the environment. 

3. Watch the Sunset from Punta Cometa

Perhaps the most popular tradition in Mazunte is to walk out to Punta Cometa to take in the sunset.  

The trail starts off the main beach and only takes about 15 min to complete. There are some steep and rocky sections, so wear good shoes! Remember to bring a light for the walk back in the dusk!

Huatulco is one of the best beaches near Mexico City that can be reaches by a quick flight.

Best things to do in Huatulco

Huatulco is so full of awesome adventures it’s hard to choose just a few. One of the great things about Huatulco is that it’s right in the middle of everything, so within a 30-60 minute drive you can experience all kinds of adventures!

If you stay in Huatulco, here are the top three best things to do!

1. Take a boat tour of Huatulco bays

You can’t visit Huatulco and not take a boat tour of the bays! Boats leave from the public marina in Santa Cruz and guide you through the Huatulco National Park.

If you take a full or half-day tour, you will have a chance to see 3-6 of the nine bays, enjoy a beautiful beach lunch, and snorkel in all the best spots!

2. Go scuba diving in Huatulco

Thanks to the calm waters, Huatulco is the absolute best place for diving in Oaxaca. The conditions are very calm, and there is a lot to see!

These conditions make Huatulco a great place to learn to scuba dive. The dive shops are small, so you will get one-to-one instruction, and the calm waters are less challenging for beginners.

3. Visit the Sierra Madre Sur mountains

This famous mountain range is only half an hour from Huatulco and offers many adventures! Try things like: 

Whether you visit Huatulco for a day or a month, you will never run out of things to do!

Best tours of Sierra Madre Sur mountains in Huatulco

4. Visit Copalitilla waterfalls

Copalitilla waterfalls make for one of the best day trips from Huatulco. Located high in the mountains, these waterfalls are about 40 km away from Huatulco, but it takes about 1,5-2 hours to get there because of the winding road that goes up the mountain.

Visiting Copalita Waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Huatulco and you can do it with a guided tour.

How to visit Copalitilla waterfalls from Huatulco

There’s no public transport from Huatulco to Copalitilla waterfalls, so you need to either to rent a car in Huatulco or join a guided tour of Copalitilla waterfalls from Huatulco, which will take care of all the logistics.


The incredible Copalitilla waterfalls are fed by the Copalitilla river that originates in the mountains and makes its way all the way down to Oaxaca beaches.

Best guided tours of Copalitilla waterfalls

Copalita Waterfalls is one of the best places to visit near Huatulco and you can get there by renting a car or taking a guided tour.

Driving to Copalitilla waterfalls from Huatulco

To get to Copalitilla waterfalls from Huatulco waterfalls by car, take the main highway and make a right turn going up the mountain. The road is mostly paved, but the last 10 km or so get really rough with unpaved sections and many bumps and potholes, so take it slowly.

Entrance fee is 70 Pesos per person and has to be paid in cash.

5. Take a guided tour of Huatulco

A guided tour of Huatulco and La Cruceita is an excellent way to get familiar with the area if you just arrived here. You can book one of the tours of Huatulco with one of the local guides who can give you a detailed overview and tell about some of the hidden gems that you won’t find on your own.


6. Go snorkeling in Huatulco

Snorkeling is one of the most fun things to do in Huatulco and you can combine this activity with a visit to Huatulco bays. All you need to do is book a snorkeling tour in Huatulco and enjoy the magical experience where you can see colorful tropical fish and incredible marine life


7. Partake in a cooking class

The state of Oaxaca is famous for its cuisine and there’s no better way to experience it than by taking one of cooking classes in Huatulco. During the class, you get to prepare, cook and savor the variety of southern Mexican dishes and learn about how to blend all the local spices and ingredients.


Mazunte is home to many great restaurants, many of which are vegan

Best Restaurants in Mazunte

Huatulco is slowly catching up, but as of 2023, Mazunte wins in the category of restaurants. Because of the high population of foreigners in Mazunte, there is way more variety in the types of restaurants!

Mazunte has excellent vegan and vegetarian options, and vast global cuisine options compared to Huatulco.

Here are some of the best restaurants in Mazunte: 

1. La Sombrita

Located on the main beach of Rinconcito in Mazunte, La Sombrita is one of the local watering holes. Known for their killer cocktails and relaxing vibe, you can enjoy food and drinks with your toes in the sand at this local favorite restaurant!

Address: PLAYA, Rinconcito SN, 70946 Mazunte, Oax., Mexico

2. Lodeli

Lodeli is everything you want in a local eatery. Lodeli is one of the top breakfast and lunch spots in Mazunte that offers house-made cheeses and mouthwatering plates.

Address: Calle Golfina in front of the church, 70944 Mazunte, Oax., Mexico

3. El Armadillo

Take in some global cuisine with the highly reviewed Moroccan restaurant El Armadillo. Guests love the welcoming environment, cozy atmosphere, and incredibly flavourful dishes. 

These three restaurants just scratch the surface of the food scene in Mazunte. Every restaurant has vegan or veggie options, many can adapt to gluten sensitivities, and the variety of flavors is seemingly endless!

Address: Callejon El Armadillo 1, Rinconcito, 70949 Mazunte, Oax., Mexico

Huatulco has a great food scene with many restaurants offering traditional Mexican food as well as international dishes

Best Restaurants in Huatulco

Huatulco has some incredible restaurants, but the food scene here still has much more Mexican influence than its neighbor Mazunte. If you are looking for great Mexican food you will find it in Huatulco!

Oaxaca is known as one of the food centers of Mexico, so no visit is complete without sampling some Oaxacan staples like mole, chapulines, and tlayudas. 

Something else that is plentiful in Huatulco but not Mazunte is the street food. There is almost no street food in Mazunte vs Huatulco which has plenty! 

1. Parota Fine Latin American Cuisine

Parota has the best high-end Mexican food in Huatulco. Owned by born and raised Huatulcan Chef Alejandro, the cuisine at la Parota is bursting with new flavors and a twist on typical Mexican fare.

Address: Blvd. Benito Juarez 22, Centro, 70980 Santa Maria Huatulco, Max., Mexico

2. Romero

This cute little corner cafe has the best breakfasts in Huatulco. Their dishes are beautifully curated with locally sourced and fresh ingredients.

They have many vegetarian options (I loved the hummus toast!) and vegan variations. 

If you can’t find anything here, vegan cafes La Verduzca and PanLuna are just around the corner!

Address: C. Carrizal, H, 70987 Crucecita, Oax., Mexico

3. Tacos El Padrino

Huatulco’s most famous and authentic taco place! Tacos el Padrino is a family-run taqueria in the heart of La Crucecita. Open 8 am – 2 pm, try the mushrooms with cheese or the stuffed chile! 

Aside from these restaurants, Huatulco is full of fantastic street food and little family diners. Don’t be afraid to try everything!

Address: Tamazulapan, Sector Uno mza 11 lte 26, 70089 Santa María Huatulco, Oax., Mexico

Mazunte Mexico is a small coastal town in Oaxaca that is known for its spectacular beachs, yoga retreats and wildlife.

How to get to Mazunte?

If you are flying to Mazunte, you will also fly into the Huatulco International Airport and take a transfer from the airport to the town of Mazunte, in the district of San Pedro Pochutla. The drive from Huatulco Airport to Mazunte takes 1 – 1.5 hours.

Check my complete guide on how to get from Huatulco Airport to Mazunte

Some private transfer services will take you to Mazunte. They cost a little more but offer a seamless experience and deliver directly to your hotel. 

You can also get a taxi to Mazunte from the Huatulco Airport that will take you directly to your hotel but will be more expensive as it’s much farther than La Crucecita. 

If you are on a budget, the colectivo service is the most affordable way to get to Mazunte but is still very comfortable. The vehicles are air-conditioned and spacious.  

Huatulco or Mazunte? Both are popular beach towns along the Coast Oaxaca that have great activities and plenty of charm.

How to get to Huatulco?

If you plan to visit to Huatulco or Mazunte, you need fly into Huatulco International Airport (HUX). It services most of the Oaxacan coast, so the process to get to Huatulco or Mazunte is similar. 

The main town in Huatulco is called La Crucecita, and there are alphabetized neighborhoods called “sectors” scattered throughout the coast. Arrange your airport transfer based on where your hotel is. It takes about 15 minutes by car to get from Huatulco airport to La Crucecita. 

Huatulco has a lot of transportation options, ranging from luxury private services to budget-friendly collective rides. But the best way to get to Huatulco from the airport is to arrange a private transfer.

Private transfer to Huatulco

Private transfer from Huatulco Airport to your hotel is great if you don’t feel like dealing with taxis and public transport. When you arrive at the Huatulco Airport, your driver will be waiting for your in the arrivals area. Private transportation from Huatulco Airport is a great way to save time and ensure a hassle-free trip.

Shared shuttle to Huatulco

Taking a bus to Huatulco

If you travel alone or without many bags, you can also get a colectivo from the airport. These are nice air-conditioned cars or small vans, but instead of booking the whole vehicle, you have to pay only for your seat.

Tickets for the colectivo can be purchased just outside the arrivals gate at the airport with cash or card. The price for one seat from the airport to La Crucecita is about $190 pesos.

Once you buy your ticket, you can sit outside and wait for your vehicle to fill with travelers going to a similar area as you. 

Taking a taxi to Huatulco

Taxis are also available outside the Huatulco airport and start at 500 pesos. Taxis have to pay a premium to wait inside the airport, so a trip from the airport is more expensive than a taxi ride to the airport. 

How to budget for your trip to Huatulco 

Huatulco is more of a tourist destination than Mazunte, so there are more options for how to spend your pesos depending on what type of experience you seek.

You can stay in a luxury villa or a comfy Oaxacan hotel. There are even some great hostels!

When it comes to eating, there are hundreds of restaurants ranging from fine cuisine to street tacos. A plate of tacos el pastor costs ~60 pesos.  

Here is how to budget for Huatulco depending on the experience you want:

Visiting Huatulco on a budget

  • $50-$70 USD / night accommodations
    • There are some really cute 3 🌟 hotels for less than $50 a night
  • $15-$25 / day for food
    • Eating a modest fruit breakfast, street tacos, and big meals at a Mexican eatery

Visiting Huatulco as a luxury traveler

  • $175 – $300 USD / night accommodations
    • Renting a villa or a beachfront apartment
  • $100 – $150 / day for food
    • Add a little more if you would like more than one drink with meals

How to budget for Mazunte 

Mazunte is smaller than Huatulco and has less of a range of experiences. But in general, Mazunte is quite budget-friendly!

  • $30 – $150 USD / night for accommodations
    • Accommodations in Mazunte range from simple to more upscale along the coast. Because it’s so remote, there is no guarantee you will have hot water or air conditioning, so be sure to ask. 
  • $60 – $150 USD / day for food
    • The food in Mazunte is more “artisanal.” There are a lot of specialty restaurants and fewer options for Mexican eateries, so the food tends to be more expensive in Mazunte vs Huatulco. 

The excursions and retreats from Mazunte are a little more expensive than Huatulco, as they are mostly run by foreigners for foreigners. Mazunte is also fairly remote, so it takes more time to get to some activities, affecting the costs. 

Where to stay in Mazunte

Mazunte is a small town, so even if you stay on the outskirts of town you will never be more than a 10-minute walk from amenities or the beach! Here are some of the best places to stay in Mazunte for every budget. 

Check my complete guide to the best hotels in Mazunte

  • Casa Lu Mazunte – a 4-star, adults-only hotel right on the beach! Casa Lu offers exquisite views, and quiet relaxation yet is only steps from town. 
  • Casa Mazunte Tierra Viva – This sustainable property is affordable and allows you to be independent. Rooms have private kitchens and you can explore the town thanks to the central location of this hotel.
  • La Playa Hostel – Enjoy a budget-friendly Mazunte holiday with La Playa Hostel. Private rooms for under $50, and ocean views to wake you up each morning!

Where to Stay in Huatulco

Huatulco is a much bigger region with a huge variety of accommodations. From luxury all-inclusive resorts to family-run Mexican posadas, Huatulco has something for everyone!

Most Huatulco resorts are in the bay of Tangolunda, 7 minutes by taxi away from the center. If you want to be closer to town, consider staying in La Crucecita or Santa Cruz. 

  • Secrets Resort and Spa – An adults-only luxury resort near the edge of Huatulco in Conejos bay. Enjoy luxury and seclusion with nearly the whole bay to yourself!
  • Quinta Bella Huatulco – Get the best of both worlds at Quinta Bella. Private plunge pools, stunning ocean views of Chahue Bay, and proximity to all the amenities of La Crucecita and Santa Cruz! Guests love the great restaurants in Quinta Bella while having the option to easily enjoy the town. 
  • La Vivienda Villa – A unique and affordable accommodation option in Huatulco is La Vivienda Villa. You will get an affordable private room and bathroom, but have access to a shared kitchen and a beautiful lounge space. Enjoy the pool and hammocks while surrounded by the Huatulco jungle!

How to Get Around in Mazunte

The town of Mazunte is small and easily walkable. The streets are very narrow, so driving a car is difficult and can be very frustrating. Parking in Mazunte is very limited!

If you want to explore the areas around Mazunte, it’s best to book tours. They will arrange the transportation for you and make sure you get everywhere you need to!

If you want to check out the nearby towns of San Agustinillo or Zipolite, you can take a taxi back and forth. 

Renting a car in Huatulco is a great way to explore the Oaxaca coastline and visit some of the beaches in the region without relying on public transportation.

How to get around Huatulco

There is so much to see and do in Huatulco you want to be sure you know how to get around! 

The cheapest, safest, and easiest way to get around Huatulco is by taxi. The taxis are regulated and very safe, but also so cheap! The base fare is only 35 pesos (about $1.50 USD). 

You can easily flag down a taxi from almost anywhere in Huatulco, or contact one through Whatsapp. 

If you are traveling with more than 3 people, your best option is to rent a car. I use DiscoverCars to compare local and international companies for the best rates.

Renting a car is convenient in Huatulco, but it’s the most expensive way to travel in Huatulco. Especially in the high season, the demand is very high! 

Is Mazunte safe?

Mazunte is a safe part of Mexico, but it’s more susceptible to crime and scams than Huatulco. The town is smaller but has a lot of people passing through, so always use caution with your personal belongings!

Don’t leave your belongings unattended on the beach, avoid consuming high amounts of alcohol, and practice common sense when moving about the town. The roads are rough, so if you’re walking at night, carry a flashlight.

Are Mazunte beaches safe?

Mazunte is not sheltered by the bays like Huatulco, so the waves in Mazunte are much higher. The main beach is popular with skimboarders and surfers who run and jump into the oncoming surf. 

You will see people swimming in the water around Mazunte Beach, but it’s not recommended. The area is prone to rip currents so exercise caution! 

Huatulco is one of the most popular towns along the coast of Oaxaca.

Is Huatulco safe?

Huatulco is considered one of the safest places in Mexico both to visit and to live. The people are very welcoming, and it still has that small-town feel where everyone takes care of each other. 

It’s still important to exercise common sense and caution of course, but Huatulco has a very low crime rate. 

Are Huatulco beaches safe?

Because Huatulco faces south, the beaches are protected and most are great for swimming and snorkeling!

There are more than 40 beaches in Huatulco, so be sure to assess the water for yourself and look for warning signs or flags. Chahue beach and La Bocana are Huatulco’s most dangerous beaches for swimming. 

Whether you end up in Mazunte or Huatulco, you should take part in the many adventures they offer! No matter what activities you choose, it’s a good idea to carry travel health insurance just in case.

I recommend SafetyWing for its affordable monthly plans and great customer service!

What’s the biggest difference between Mazunte and Huatulco?

The biggest difference between Mazunte and Huatulco is the type of crowd each place attracts. They also have plans for long-term travelers, so if you are a digital nomad wanting to spend some time along the Oaxaca Coast, Safety Wing is the perfect option. 

Mazunte is popular with younger crowds attracted to the beach-town vibes and many wellness retreats offered in Mazunte.

Huatulco attracts more tourists looking for a beach holiday, retirees, and families. More people move to Huatulco for the winter or to retire, while Mazunte is a little more transient. 

The other big difference between Mazunte and Huatulco is the types of activities available. Most of the boat tours and ocean activities are better than leaving from Santa Cruz Huatulco.

Mazunte has more lagoon and jungle adventures, surfing, and health and wellness activities.   

Neither Mazunte nor Huatulco has become popular with digital nomads, yet. This is largely due to the spotty internet connectivity all over the Oaxacan coast. 

I expect this will change in the next few years, as satellite internet options become more readily available!

Mazunte vs Huatulco: FAQ’s

Mazunte or Huatuclo? Learn about what Oaxaca beach town to choose for your Mexico vacation.

Is Mazunte worth visiting?

Yes – Mazunte is a unique town in Mexico and worth checking off your bucket list, even just for a day or two!

Is Huatulco worth visiting? 

Yes – Huatulco is worth visiting! It’s a big place with so much to do and see! You could spend years in the area and still not visit all the waterfalls and beaches.  

Can you swim in Mazunte?

Sometimes – there are lifeguards on Mazunte’s main beach, and you will see many people playing in the water. Just be aware of riptides and avoid high surf days. You cannot swim at Playa Mermejita.

Is Mazunte or Zipolite better?

Mazunte and Zipolite are similar in that they are both big tourist communities with many foreign residents. 

Zipolite attracts more of a “party” vibe than Mazunte, so it depends on what you’re looking for!

Mazunte vs Huatulco: Final Word

The neighboring towns of Mazunte and Huatulco are both picturesque beach towns with plenty of activities. But as you have noticed the towns are very different!

Are you drawn to the prospect of dancing in the sand at a Mazunte beach party, practicing self-reflection at a yoga retreat, and enjoying artisan cuisine?

Or will you find yourself in Huatulco snorkeling the bays, eating street food, and discovering the pristine beaches?  

Whichever Oaxacan beach town you choose, Mazunte or Huatulco will be sure to offer an unforgettable Mexican travel experience.