The cabañas of Lo Cósmico (Playa Zipolite, fax 958/584-3151, 958/584-3152, 958/584-3153, admin [at] locosmico [dot] com, www.locosmico.com, $15–30 d) nestle on a cactus-decorated rocky knoll at Playa Zipolite’s sheltered west end. White spheres perched on their thatched-roof peaks lend a mystical Hindu-Buddhist accent to the cabañas’ already picturesque appearance. In the restaurant atop the knoll, you’re likely to find Antonio Nadurille, Lo Cósmico’s Mexican owner-manager.
He watches after both the cabañas and restaurant, specializing in a dozen varieties of tasty crêpes. His hillside and beach-level cabañas are clean, candle-lit, and equipped with hammocks and concrete floors; rates depend upon location and amenities. Recently, Antonio has built a number of sturdy, rock-walled, hurricane-proof designer rooms on his view hilltop. Note: All of Lo Cósmico’s very clean toilet and shower facilities are separate from the accommodations, a short walk downhill.
Shambhala (shambhala_vision [at] excite [dot] com, www.advantagemexico.com/shambhala, $25 s or d), which shares the same forested, west-side headland as Lo Cósmico, is as it sounds—a tranquil Buddhist-style retreat. Shambhala’s driving force is the articulate owner–community leader Gloria Esperanza Johnson, who arrived in Zipolite by accident in 1970 and decided to stay, eventually adopting Mexican citizenship.
Shambhala is a quiet, alcohol-free haven for lovers of reading, sunbathing, hiking, yoga, and meditation. It perches atop an enviable few acres at the edge of a sylvan hinterland. Adjacent cactus-studded cliffs plummet spectacularly to surf-splashed rocks below, while paths fan out through lush green (July–Dec.) tropical deciduous forest. An excellent macrobiotic panoramic-view restaurant completes the attractive picture.
Gloria has built Shambhala from the ground up; she now offers four rustic view cabañas (on a no-reservation, first-come-first-served basis only), two on the beach and two in the leafy (green summer–early winter) forest overlooking lovely Zipolite beach. Choices include a beachfront cabaña accommodating two to four, with shared toilet and shower; two smaller view cabañas, tucked in the uphill forest, each with private toilet and shower-bath; and a larger view cabaña, also in the uphill forest, accommodating three, with shared toilet and shower. All cabañas come with fans and mosquito nets.
Smack at the center of the Zipolite beachfront action stands Posada Mexico (tel. 958/584-3194, info [at] posadamexico [dot] com, www.posadamexico.com, $20 s, $30 d private bath, $25 d shared bath), with its dozen south-seas rustic cabañas basking in a flowery beachfront garden. The cabañas are attractively and individually decorated, each with upstairs bamboo and thatch sleeping palapa, with a private toilet and room-temperature shower and a hammock-hung porch below at beach level.
The scene at Posada Mexico is all relaxation, by private hammock or at the hotel’s popular Italian-Mexican beachfront restaurant, where the mostly youthful guests enjoy late breakfasts, stroll out for swims, read thick novels, and kick back and enjoy convivial conversation with mostly North American and European fellow vacationers. Rentals include with mosquito nets.
Alternatively, consider Solstice Yoga and Vacations (info [at] solstice-mexico [dot] com, www.solstice-mexico.com, $33–49), at the tranquil east end of Playa Zipolite. Welcoming European-born yoga instructor/owner Brigette Longueville manages an inviting, authentically rustic minicolony of two-story cabañas on the gorgeous Zipolite beachfront. Accommodations are in Robinson Crusoe, south-sea islands, open style in all-natural wood, with ladders leading to upstairs sleeping-lounging areas, furnished with serape-draped beds, hung with gauzy mosquito nets. Guests are about evenly divided between beach vacationers and yoga devotees, who attend sessions in the in-house studio.
Accommodations go for about $33 d low season (June–Nov.), $42 high (Dec.–May), for the smaller unit, and about $39 low, $49 high for the three larger units; $6 per extra person, with private bath with toilet and tepid-water shower-baths. Breakfast is available at extra cost. Dormitory accommodations are also available, for $11 per person low season, $14 high. Brigette offers Hatha yoga classes, for $7 per 1.5 hours, and weeklong workshops.
Bungalows Las Casitas (local cell tel. 044-958/587-8464, info [at] las-casitas [dot] net, www.las-casitas.net, $20–65), back on Zipolite’s far west end, occupy the same leafy hilltop as, but west of, Shambhala. Las Casitas is the labor of love of friendly Italian builders-owners Daniela and Bruno Canibus, who have created their vision of paradise in Zipolite’s summer-green tropical forest. They offer four rustically picturesque housekeeping bungalows, meticulously hand-built of all-natural materials, in a lovingly tended naturalistic garden of meandering stone pathways, sea views, refreshing breezes, and a thatched palapa restaurant (breakfast $3–5, supper $9–12), fine for enjoying leisurely meals and conversation with fellow guests. A path leads downhill to Zipolite beach.
The four bungalows, each unique, come with kitchenettes equipped with gas stove, utensils, and purified water. Two of the bungalows, El Organo and La Tortuga, the most private options, are spacious studios, furnished with one double bed and private toilet and shower-bath, and renting for about $50 and $45 d, respectively. The other two bungalows, Los Platanos and La Ceiba, accommodate six and nine people respectively in three separate bedrooms with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The Los Platanos bungalow rooms, for one, two, and three people each, rent for $20, $28, $36, and respectively. The rooms in the larger La Ceiba bungalow, for two, three and four people each, rent for about $45, $55, and $65, respectively.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition