Gay Zipolite – Mexico's Most Famous Nude Beach
Arguably, the most impressive highlight of any visit to Zipolite is the beach and famed sunset from Playa del Amor, the Beach of Love. This clothing optional beach is super intimate and very popular with the LGBT+ community, especially at sunset. Many visitors enjoy nude sunbathing and swimming or simply relaxing under an umbrella with a cold cerveza. To reach Playa del Amor, climb the steps over the hill at the far east end of Zipolite Beach. You’ll find two small bars under palapas offering drinks, chairs, umbrellas and excellent service. Playa del Amor is the perfect spot for sunset!
Overview – Situated between the popular beach towns of Huatulco and Puerto Escondido on the southern Pacific Coast of Mexico, Zipolite is best known as Mexico’s most famous nude beach. It’s also the country’s first legal nude beach. Not only does Zipolite draw nudists from around the world for its annual Zipolite Nudist Festival, its laid-back, bohemian vibe attracts anyone who needs to get away from it all, but especially backpackers, surfers, and for sure the LGBT+ community.
The name Zipolite means “beach of the dead” as translated from Zapotec. If you have been following our travels, you’ll know this is also the name of our favorite gay beach in Sitges, Spain: Playa del Muerto or Beach of the Dead. Coincidence? Or are we gays just always attracted to danger!? In all seriousness though, there can be dangerous (and deadly) underwater currents on Playa Zipolite. If you’re going to go swimming, then definitely proceed with caution and pay attention to the volunteer life guards for a safe experience.
Top 10 Things To Do in Zipolite
Watch the sunrise -As Playa Zipolite faces south, you are spoiled with both epic sunrises and sunsets. It's worth the early rise to feel the magic followed by a naked walk, swim, yoga or mediation on the beach.
Relax in paradise -Hire loungers and an umbrella from one of the many beach clubs with fantastic views of the ocean. Why not suntan in your birthday suit and get rid of those tan lines?
Get a male massage -Treat yourself to a beachside gay massage from a handsome masseur while you feel the cool ocean breeze and listen to the relaxing sounds of the waves. See below for more info on how to organize!
Dine at El Alquimista -Enjoy lunch with a spectacular beach view, afternoon cocktails, or a candlelight dinner on this exclusive stretch of sand. It's also a favorite spot for gay men to catch some rays or swim.
Make a splash at a gay pool party -Meet other gay locals and visitors at Casa Nudista's weekly gay pool party (mostly men, nudity required) on Saturdays from 3-8pm.
Head to Playa del Amor for sunset -Swim naked and socialize with other LGBT+ locals and visitors over a mojito or cold beer while watching a gorgeous sunset. Candles, music and more after dark.
Dance the night away -Catch a live musical performance at Chizme gay bar or hit the dance "floor" at LGBT+ La Maxima Nue Beach Bar to watch fabulous drag at "EL SHOW!"
Take a dolphin and whale watching tour -Get up early for a breathtaking sunrise and early morning symphony of dolphins and whales (in season) just offshore from Puerto Angel. Any hotel can organize with local guide Cesar.
Visit La Ventanilla -Hop in a taxi or collectivo to La Ventanilla, or the little window, for an amazing ecotour of the lagoon. You'll see giant crocodiles, iguanas, monkeys, birds, white-tailed deer and more!
Go for a hike -Explore nearby Punta Cometa, the southernmost point in the state of Oaxaca, for a hike with panoramic views of the ocean. It's extremely popular at sunset.
When to go – The weather is near perfect from December to April with day time temps in the 80’s and lower humidity. This is high season along with super high season around New Year and Easter which should be booked many months in advance! We love the shoulder seasons of May to June and October to November before there are waits at the most popular restaurants and the two ATMs run out of cash (you’ve been warned)!
Getting here – Finding your way to Zipolite can be somewhat challenging, but the relatively isolated location adds to its appeal and is largely what attracted hippies to this beach in the late 1960s and 70s in the first place. The beach continues to exude a bohemian vibe attracting anyone who needs to get away from it all, but especially backpackers, surfers, and for sure the LGBT+ community. From a gay perspective, it reminds us of Fire Island, Provincetown, or Mykonos–all of which require a little effort to join the fun!
Situated between the popular beach towns of Huatulco and Puerto Escondido, Zipolite can be reached in the least amount of time by plane and taxi. We recommend flying into Huatulco (HUX) as it’s closer than Puerto Escondido (PXM). From Huatulco, you can be on the beach in Zipolite in about an hour by taxi versus an hour and a half from Puerto Escondido. Huatulco airport is super cute with a palapa-style roof, beautiful artwork and even a Priority Pass lounge which impressed us for such a small airport! Don’t forget to take the requisite photo with the butterfly mural!
If you are in Oaxaca City, there is also a minivan option using Lineas Unidas which takes you directly to Zipolite. The depot is along the main highway running through Zipolite and walking distance to town.
On arrival in Zipolite, for orientation, Zipolite Beach faces south which allows for both amazing sunrises and sunsets. This 2km (or ~1.25mi) stretch of paradise has two distinct sections: the west side of the beach, which includes most of the hotels and restaurants as well as town, and the east side of the beach, which includes the colorful Zipolite sign and Playa del Amor.
Where to stay – In terms of the best hotels in Zipolite, the gay traveler is spoiled for choice from high end to budget. There are also super unique options as well as an exclusive gay hotel (hetero-friendly of course—it is Zipolite after all where everyone is welcome!
For the most luxurious beachfront option, it’s not exclusively gay, but Alquimista is very popular with the LGBT+ community. They have an amazing restaurant, relaxing spa by the pool, and a variety of rooms. One of the coolest options they offer is a cabana directly on the beach.
Also on the west side of the beach, you’ll find Hotel Nude and Hotel Naked. They are both excellent choices with great restaurants and beach/pool bars. Hotel Nude just added a beachside pool in addition to their more private interior pool. With both Nude and Naked, you can opt for rooms with gorgeous balconies overlooking the beach. For more info to help you decide between these two hotels, check out our Naked or Nude YouTube Video above!
If you are looking for an exclusively gay hotel, then look no further than Casa Nudista. It’s the best gay hotel in Zipolite and a great place to meet people. They offer a number of room options from suites to shared dorms. Please note nudity is required (hence the name)! In addition, they offer a day pass to enjoy the pool and bar and the weekly gay naked pool party on Saturdays from 3-8pm is an absolute blast and not to be missed!
On the hill above Zipolite Beach and El Alquimista, we highly recommend Casa Kalmar, where two of our friends have stayed while visiting us. The view from the infinity pool is jaw dropping.
As most of our stays are long-term, we typically choose an apartment on Airbnb. In Zipolite, we found many of our neighbors working remotely at Jungla Zipolite, which we found an excellent choice. It was also pet friendly and included AC, good water pressure (in an outdoor shower!) and strong wifi, three things not always easy to find in Mexico!
Also, if you are planning to visit during the high season from November through April, when the weather is driest and not too humid, we recommend you book ahead. New Year and Easter are extremely popular times to visit Zipolite and accommodations will book out many months in advance. Hopefully, you have a flexible schedule, as many travelers—like us—end up staying longer than initially planned.
Where to eat and drink – To start your day on the right foot, Orale Cafe was our favorite ‘go to’ coffee and breakfast spot. The owner and team here are super friendly and provide excellent service. You will often see locals gathering here as well so it’s a great place to learn more about the community. Definitely try the fruit salad with yogurt, granola and honey. It’s certainly a menu highlight!
Alquimista also has an amazing restaurant that we mix into our routine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just the occasional afternoon margaritas. Notable menu items include the fruit salad (again!), chilaquiles, guacamole, vegetarian lasagna, and oriental chicken with rice. Also, the beachfront location and vibe cannot be beat!
If you love acai bowls as much as we do, then don't miss Alma Verde. They have the best acai bowls in Zipolite.
For lunch, we recommend Sal y Pimienta which offers great value and generous portions right on the beach. There are also tons of authentic Mexican options right on Roca Blanca, the main street in town.
For dinner, we recommend Chiwis, a great Spanish tapas option after sunset at Playa del Amor. The papas bravas and chicken skewers are absolutely delicious here.
Lastly, for Thai and Asian fusion, don’t miss Mao Mau, which means “drunk cat” in Thai. The proud owners have excellent sushi and of course mouthwatering Thai specialties. The service is incredibly friendly here as well! Their new location is gorgeous and a good option for groups.
In terms of after dinner options, we like Mezcaleria Gota Gorda for mezcal negronis and/or popular mezcal tastings. The team here is incredibly knowledgeable and the lovely owner, Dani, provides excellent local recommendations.
Where to find gay nightlife – Everywhere! Many of the best hotels, restaurants, and bars are gay owned, even if not exclusively marketed to the LGBT+ community. In our experience, we found family enjoying themselves and welcome everywhere in Zipolite.
For sunset and after, Playa del Amor is a must as highlighted above, below and here. Along with Casa Nudista’s pool party, this is a great place to meet locals and fellow travelers alike.
Also, don’t miss gay bar Chizme (next door to Bacco) with sexy bartenders and often live music from 9pm(ish). In addition, you’ll find popular drag shows around the weekend at the beachside gay hotel and bar called La Maxima Nue (formerly Club Demetria). It’s best to check with the bartender for the weekly schedule.
There is also LGBT+ fave Delfina Beach Club for weekly gay events including screenings of Drag Race España, a lineup of gay DJs, and of course plenty of drag.
Finally, there are numerous parties and popups throughout the year like Zanate, so definitely join the Zipolite Facebook Group and/or the Zipolite Happenings Group on WhatsApp to find the the latest information.
Where to find gay beachgoers – The most popular sections of Zipolite beach for LGBT+ locals and travelers are on the opposite ends of the main beach. Although you will find a mix of hetero and LGBT+ as well as clothed and nude folks the entire stretch of Playa Zipolite, the beach in front of Alquimista and Playa del Amor are the most popular gay sections to swim and sun naked. For more details on famed Playa del Amor, check out our separate post here!
Where to find gay male massage – When you need a break from the sun, there are two excellent options for a massage directly on the beach. The first option—where we had a lovely couples massage—is Massage Zipolite located at Hotel Paraiso.
Another more secluded option is Masajes En Shambala under a palapa with gorgeous views of the ocean. It can be found at the beach entrance to Shambhala hotel. Both options are also on Instagram with handles of the same name to reach out for more information and bookings. With pricing approximately 650-750MXP or $32-37USD for an hour long massage with handsome masseurs, why not try both!?
Where to find handmade local goods – There are a number of local vendors walking the beach with well-priced items from jewelry to textiles. The handmade necklaces are super popular with the LGBT community.
On the main street in town known as the Adoquin or Avenida Roca Blanca, you’ll also find many local vendors set up especially in the evenings when it cools off.
For colorful beach towels, speedos, and other local goods made in Oaxaca, pop over to gay-owned Mexoni.
Planning a trip to gay Zipolite? Then don’t miss this video as we answer your most frequently asked questions and take you to the best gay hotels, gay bars and restaurants, gay beaches, and gay pool parties in Zipolite, our favorite gay beach town in Mexico!
Banking – There are no banking services in Zipolite, but you will find one of the two ATMs in front of Hotel Playa Zipolite on the street. The other ATM is by the interior pool at Hotel Nude. Please note these machines frequently run out of cash so it’s best to come prepared!
For ATM withdrawals at many machines in Mexico, one thing to note which we learned the hard way last year when it was implemented: there will be an option to decline the conversion on the ATM, and you’re going to want to decline this because you want your bank to process the foreign exchange. We thought this would cancel the transaction, BUT it does not and it saves you anywhere from 5-12% additional fee on top of the ATM use charge. INSANE! So definitely hit decline on that conversion at the ATM, and you’ll get the best exchange rate.
Lastly, if you travel a ton like we do, look into the Schwab checking account where they reimburse all foreign ATM fees! We’ve saved thousands in ATM fees over the years with this account.
Barbershop – To keep it fresh, we found a fabulous gay-friendly barbershop on the way to get our dog’s nails trimmed. It’s not on Google Maps, but if you walk on the main road towards Puerto Angel about 7-10 minutes past Jungla Zipolite but before Servicio Medico Veterinario, the vet (which is on Google maps). You cannot miss it, as there’s a merman sign and gay flag you can see from the main road.
Covid testing – If you need a covid test to return to the US or your home country, a mobile testing facility conveniently set up on the street just across from Bacco. No appointment is necessary for same day results, and they accept cash or credit card—just remember to bring your passport!
Fitness/Gym– Move Gym has opened! Located on Av. Roca Blanca, this open air venue offers a day pass as well as weekly and monthly membership options including or excluding classes. Your choice! This gym is also a great place to meet fellow locals and travelers for those worried about traveling solo to Zipolite. In addition, for cardio, many travelers enjoy walking/jogging on the beach or swimming naked at Playa del Amor to stay fit!
Pharmacy – There are two pharmacies on Roca Blanca, the main street in town, with one advertising 24-hours. The pharmacy is a great place to pick up sunscreen, bug spray, and hand sanitizer as well. Also, of note are the emergency numbers in town.
Wine/Liquor store – Across from Bacco heading to the beach on Pelicano, you will find Chipirin. We found everything we needed for our negronis and wine nights playing Rummikub and Phase 10! They also have great meats and cheeses.
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Hi! We're Two Gay Expats
Hola amigos and welcome to our gay travel blog! We are Andy and Trai, a gay couple traveling the world with PRIDE 🌈 …and our rescue dog, Pattie!
After meeting in San Francisco in 2018 and later moving to Chicago, we decided to quit our jobs in 2021, sell everything, and become Two Gay Expats!
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❤️ Andy + Trai