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Mazunte is a small beach town on the Pacific coast in Oaxaca, Mexico. When Mazunte was first settled, it was the home of farmers and fishermen. It was also the home of a sea turtle slaughterhouse. However after the implemrntation of laws protecting turtles and their hatchings, this area is now a turtle sanctuary. It is home to an impressive turtle museum, the National Mexican Turtle Center (Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga). The museum was opened in September 1991 to help the local economy, since the turtle and turtle egg trade which the area had previously relied on was made illegal. It holds every species of marine turtle inhabiting the Mexican coast, as well as 6 species of river turtle and 2 types of native land turtles. The installation includes large outdoor tanks, an aquarium and incubation facilities. It is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and Sundays from 10 to 2:30 p.m.
There are two beautiful beaches, surrounded by rocky outcrops. The water is azure blue, with big waves, but still great for swimming. Mazunte's gorgeous beach and the green travel allure of its sea turtle museum and nesting grounds have contributed to Mazunte's reputation as a travel stop among backpackers and created a booming market for cheap bars and accommodations for the shoe-string travel set. Mazunte is also within a short drive's distance from nude beaches of long-time hippie destination Zipolite. The sunset is best seen at Punta Cometa, the most southern point of Oaxaca, that can be reached from walking distance of Mazunte. Mazunte was minimally populated until the early 1970s, when a Texan known to locals as 'James', who still winters at Mazunte, built the road to the beach from the inland coastal highway. The town now has a population of around 700, many of whom are European expats. Decisions are made in a town meeting. Town meetings are scheduled four times annually, and can be called in case of emergency.