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Hotel Review: Monte Uzulu, San Augustinillo

Even before the pandemic, it had been a couple of years since I’d taken an actual vacation. When you work for yourself and you like what you do, it’s difficult to stop working. The end of 2021 had also been exceptionally hectic as I wrapped up my life in Toronto. But I know vacations are useful. Rest nourishes us. So in February of 2022, I took a proper unplug-and-do-nothing vacation to the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. I started it off with 4 nights at Monte Uzulu, in little San Augustinillo.

Below is my complete review of Monte Uzulu. The short version is: I loved it. This stay was exactly what I was looking for. So there are affiliate links on this page to book Monte Uzulu because I would totally endorse that. But I paid for my visit myself at full price, received no compensation from them, and they didn’t know I would be writing about my experience.


The rooms at Monte Uzulu

Walking up to the rooms at Monte Uzulu feels like stepping away from the world through a ritual. From the bustling street, with each step, you drop more of the noisy world behind you as the alley narrows to a set of staircases, one leading to Temporada, Monte Uzulu’s excellent restaurant you should eat many meals at, and the other leading to the small office. From the office, you climb a flight of stairs to an open air terrace, and two sitting areas with plush pillows and hammocks. From there you continue along a landscaped path up hill, under flowering trees dropping petals on your path. And then you see, through the tropical greenery, the stacked concrete cubes and thatched rooves of the accommodation building.

I stayed in San Jose Del Pacifico, the first room on the first floor of the hotel. You enter through the balcony lined with succulents. Wood folding doors then open from the balcony onto a queen-sized bed with locally-made hanging lamps on either side and small night tables crafted from sawed tree trucks. Flanking the doorway to the bathroom are two sets of shelves with hangers for clothes.

I enjoyed many restful nights in the bed. There are soft sheets for afternoon naps and a woven blanket for the cool nights. Lying in bed, listening to the sound of the waves crash on the shore far off in the distance, was blissful.

The room cost $150 USD per night. That included breakfast. The rooms on the top floor are a little more expensive but I prefer the rooms on the first floor because of the plant-filled balconies. I spent a lot of time on the balcony reading, meditating, and making videos.

Looking into the bathroom at Monte Uzulu from the bed. Shelves with clothes on the right side of the image. Then the concrete bathroom vanity with brown bottles of the hotel's sustainable toiletries. Morning light comes through the open skylight over the bathroom's plants along the back wall.

...and the bathrooms are even better.

I loved that light streaming into the bathroom from the overhead, open air skylight. The combination of lush plants and wood accents, the way the light plays on the geometry of the concrete tub and vanity, just make the bathroom so peaceful and inviting. After a hot day on the beach, that rainfall shower is pure refreshment.

Monte Uzulu supplies their own biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner. So don’t put your micro-plastic filled toiletries into the sustainable grey-water system they’ve got going.

Breakfasts at Temporada

I’ll do a separate review on the meals I had at Monte Uzulu’s Temporada Restaurant. But breakfast is included in your stay, so even if you eat all of your meals elsewhere (which would be a mistake), enjoy those mornings on the terrace, watching the palm trees wake up. The staff at the restaurant were friendly and helpful. They very quickly get to know you. The coffee is good and they can make you a perfect espresso in a clay cup if you’d like. The included breakfast is a plate of fresh fruit with amaranth granola and kefir, along with a freshly baked pastry. The pastry is worth lingering on…

You can feel if a pastry is delicious. It’s in the heft and texture of the pastry when you get it in your hand. Those chocolate croissants served at Temporada must have extra quantum dimensions for stuffing in so much butter and chocolate. It was at least 10x as heavy as physics should allow. The moment I picked it up, I knew it was incredible.

If you have a hard day of surfing ahead of you, and you want a more substantial breakfast, there is also a full breakfast menu you can pay extra for, with enchiladas, chilaquiles, eggs, local chorizo, and such.

Dense and flaky, with a deep, dark vein of pure chocolate spilling out. The papaya and coffee are nice, too. Breakfast at Monte Uzulu’s Temporada restaurant.

How is Monte Uzulu for Digital Nomads?

I was very purposefully here on vacation. But I did take one work call, and that went fine. I used the restaurant’s wifi. The internet coverage in my room was spotty. There were literally spots that had internet and spots that didn’t. But that was a helpful reminder to put my phone down and chat with the agaves. 

In the late morning and late afternoon, some guests would setup their laptops and work in La Temporada. But it’s also one of the best restaurants in town. It’ll fill up. Don’t plan to camp out there for hours.

Monte Uzulu is excellent for relaxing vacations. But if you need to work, it’s best for creating. I made some YouTube videos while I was there. The adobe walls and the plants on my balcony, the golden hour sunshine through the flowering trees, the early morning waves crashing on the beach, all make for excellent video creating. Upload your content from the restaurant while you enjoy a meal.  

Mark's book on mental health and fitness, YOU ARE NOT A ROCK, beside a glass of cucumber water, on a table at La Temporada, Monte Uzulu's restaurant
Ask about the agua fresca of the day. Grab a good book and enjoy the perfect dining room decor at Temporada while you sip the sweet afternoon away.

Pandemic protocols on Oaxaca's Pacific coast

A welcome snack from Temporada: homemade shortbread cookies in small paper bags. Behind are bottles of biodegradable bug spray and hand-sanitizer
"Colors are the smiles of nature." Waiting for me upon arrival were homemade shortbread cookies from Temporada, along with biodegradable mosquito repellant and a bottle of hand-sanitizer.

Monte Uzulu had hand-sanitizer in all of the rooms and a very pretty sanitizer station at the entrance to the restaurant’s terrace. In general, however, from Zipolite through Mazunte, you wouldn’t have known we were at the peak of the Omicron COVID wave. This is an area that moves by its own rules. My taxi driver on the way out demonstrated this well: When we came to the outskirts of Pochutla, the largest city in the area, he put on his seatbelt. And when we got near Huatulco, he put on his mask. 

So yes, masks were optional in San Augustinillo, but so were seat belts and shoes (many of the tourists seemed to have lost their shoes). And all of your clothes are optional in Zipolite. Manage your expectations accordingly.

How to find Monte Uzulu

Part of San Augustinillo’s charm is that it basically has one street. But that street is the main thoroughfare from Zipolite to Mazunte. Although that means San Augustinillo is impossible to miss, traffic jams are becoming common.

Monte Uzulu is well away from the traffic noise, but that can make it tricky to find. The driver that brought me from Huatulco was excellent, but he didn’t know how to find Monte Uzulu. On Booking, you’ll see its address as “Callejón Sin Nombre”, which is “nameless alley”. San Augustinillo has a few nameless alleys off the central street. The local businesses call it “Paseo de Los Cocos”. Look for that sign and a sign with Monte Uzulu’s logo on it:

Sign beside the street in San Augustinillo. It points towards the Monte Uzulu Hotel.
Sign on the side of a convenience store marking the alleyway that leads to the Monte Uzulu hotel.

Cars can’t fit in the alley, so you’ll have a walk to Monte Uzulu. There are also stairs up to the office and the rooms. If you need assistance, just let the staff know. 

Throughout your stay, you can communicate with staff via Whatsapp. Ask them for the number before you arrive so you can contact them quickly if you have any problems finding the hotel.

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