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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.

A shortage of small change can be a problem in Zipolite. It is suggested that you spend your larger bills at establishments that can make change so that you will have small change for street vendors, the ice cream man, etc. Zipolite does not have a bank but I believe there is a money exchange. Nearest bank and ATM machines are now in nearby Puerto Angel. See the note on Currency.

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.

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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