Huatulco

Destination Location

Huatulco
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Overview

The designated tourist area of Huatulco, Mexico, is made up of several small towns on the Pacific coast—this might be part of the reason the resort destination maintains a small-town feel. The area's beaches and bays are also favoured by locals rather than the large groups of foreign tourists found in resort towns like Cancun.

Portions of Huatulco sit within an ecological preserve that received the Green Globe award for social and environmental management. Seasoned travellers will be surprised to be able to drink the tap water in the area. Visitors can relax and take in the splendid natural scenery without the feel of being overdeveloped. Naturally occurring swimming holes have been carved out by cascading waterfalls over long periods of time.

The area's lush jungle, numerous bays and proximity to the ocean makes a great location for outdoor activities and adventure tourism. Deep-sea sports fishing in the Pacific Ocean can be arranged, as well as fresh-water river rafting. Coral reefs and tropical fish are easily visible to scuba divers and snorkellers. Boats can also be hired to visit secluded beaches. Depending on the time of year and the weather, surfers are also able to catch Pacific waves.

The Huatulco region is easy to get around with chivalrous cab drivers happy to take visitors from town to town for a reasonable price (it is recommended to agree on the price before departure). Each of the small towns that make up the region have their own personality and charm. Drivers are also available for hire for a day to get out and see areas farther out including the coffee plantations that were the area's economic drivers before tourism picked up.

In contrast to the original beach-side huts of the original inhabitants of Huatulco, guests have a wide range of vacation properties spread out between the several small towns including La Crucecita, Santa Cruz, Chahue and Tangolunda. The spectrum begins with comfortable beach-side residences and reaches to large-scale all-inclusive resorts with sprawling amenities.

Huatulco's 36 beaches and nine bays spread across 22 miles of beach sitting at the base of the Sierra Madre Mountains and within walking distance of tropical jungles is generally enough draw to attract visitors from far and not so far. The favourite of Mexcian vacationers can now be your favourite, too, with seasonal service from WestJet.

Airport served by: Huatulco, Mexico (HUX)

Destination basics

The Huatulco region has been developed to be sustainable and reduce the impact of visitors on the fragile ecosystem. Mother Nature shows her appreciation in strange ways; tropical storms occasionally blow through and soak tourists. November is a great time to visit due to low-season rates and the water is still warm. Northern visitors may appreciate the hot, dry weather from January to April or the hot, humid weather from May to August.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for Huatulco

Bahías de Huatulco, or just Huatulco, is located on the Pacific Coast of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The area is centered around its namesake nine bays (bahías), five of which are in specially designated ecological preserves with no development, and the several small communities in the area. Huatulco has 36 beaches, which are truly the main attraction to the area. Because most of the area is designated as an ecological zone, there is a lot of restriction on current and future development, helping to maintain the small town feel of Huatulco.

Tangolunda
Tangolunda is the area located right next to the Bahía de Tangolunda, one of Huatulco’s nine bays. Tangolunda is where visitors will find most of Huatulco’s big luxury resorts like the Las Brisas, Dreams and Barceló. Also in the area is the Las Parotas Club del Golf. Tangolunda has five beaches, including Playa Ventura, Playa Manzanillo and Playa Tangolunda.

Santa Cruz
The small town of Santa Cruz and its adjacent bay are a main center of tourism, being home to the main cruise ship terminal of Huatulco. Santa Cruz has a good number of different commercial offerings like craft shops, bars, restaurants, clubs, tour companies and water equipment rental shops. Visitors looking to hire a boat to take them to some of the more secluded bays and locales can also find them at the Santa Cruz Marina. Playa Santa Cruz is a popular beach in the area.

La Crucecita
La Crucecita is a small village located just north of Santa Cruz. The town’s church, Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, has the largest image of the Virgen de Guadalupe in the world, standing at 20 meters (65.6 feet) tall. La Crucecita has a variety of different restaurants and bars where visitors can try various kinds of Oaxaca’s traditional liquor, mezcal. La Crucecita is one of the most popular shopping areas in Huatulco. Some of the most popular items to shop for in La Crucecita include silver, textiles and traditional Oaxacan crafts.

Chahué
Chahué is the area located between Santa Cruz and Tangolunda. Main features of Chahué include a yacht marina, resorts, restaurants and three beaches. Chahué is close to most parts of Huatulco, making it a perfect location for those who want to be centrally located to the area. Chahué also has a number of newer condominium developments.

Around Huatulco
There are many more attractions in the area of Huatulco besides the four main areas. Huatulco National Park is located just west of La Crucecita and Santa Cruz and covers 11,890 hectares (29,400 acres). The park contains five of the area’s nine bays and secluded beaches, some of which can only be reached by boat. To the east of Tangolunda, near Bahía Conejos, is the archaeological site of Copalita, an ancient city once inhabited by various peoples including Chichimecas, Mixtecs and Zapotecs. The site includes features like temples and a ball court. Santa Maria Huatulco, located about 8.4 kilometers (5.2 miles) north of the Huatulco Airport, is a small town where many of the tourism workers in the area live. About 30 miles west of Huatulco is Mazunte, a small beach village popular with backpackers and other international travelers. Mazunte is home to the National Mexican Turtle Center, a museum and science center.

Huatulco is not the kind of place you visit in order to spend your days sightseeing world-famous landmarks and big museums. But Huatulco has its own form of entertainment, which is tranquility and leisure.

Outdoors
The main attraction in Huatulco is rest and relaxation. Needless to say, in a beach resort this means a lot of sand, surf and water activities. Being situated around nine bays, there are over 30 beaches one can choose to visit while in Huatulco. Playa Santa Cruz is one of the popular beaches for visitors in Huatulco, being right next to the cruise ship terminal. Many of Huatulco’s favorite beaches are actually located within Huatulco National Park and are only accessible by boat. Some of these secluded beaches include Playa El Maguey, which is an excellent spot for snorkeling due to its calm waters and coral reef. Perhaps the most beautiful, secluded and undeveloped beach in the area is Playa La India on Bahía Chachacual. Practically untouched, Playa La India is the perfect place to visit If you’re looking to see a truly unspoiled beach. Snorkeling at La India is also very good. It is easy to hire a boat to take you to these harder-to-access beaches with either a tour company or just hire a boat in the Santa Cruz Marina, which will take you almost anywhere you want to go, or make suggestions on good places to visit.

Other Things To Do
Though the main activity in Huatulco might be relaxing on the beach, there are still other things to do as well. East of Tangolunda is the archaeological site of Copalita. These ancient ruins date back to at least 500 BCE. Features of the 35-hectare (86 acre) site include temples, plazas and a traditional ball court. There is also a small museum that provides history about the various groups of people who called this area home and the history of Copalita. In Tangolunda, golfers can enjoy 18-holes at Las Parotas Club de Golf. At the Oaxacan Craft Museum (Museo de Artesanías Oaxaqueñas) in La Crucecita, you can learn all about the various handicrafts of the state, like traditional weaving and textiles, black pottery (barro negro) and the intricately painted wooden sculptures called alebrijes. Also in La Crucecita are the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which features the largest painting of La Virgen in the world.

Oaxaca is known all over for its rich, complex and tasty traditional cuisine. Huatulco, being located right on the water, is known for amazing fresh seafood, along with famed Oaxacan favorites.

Tangolunda
Tangolunda is Huatulco’s main resort area, and as such a large number of the restaurants and bars in this area are located inside hotels and resorts. One favorite in the area is Viena, located just a block from the beach. Run by Austrian expats, the restaurant serves up authentic schnitzel alongside other international dishes from pasta to local Mexican dishes. For local seafood and traditional Mexican flavors, Don Porfirio is a favorite. Make sure to order something cooked on the large, open grill and be plenty hungry for the large portions.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz has quite a few dining and drinking options, many of them beachside. Colorful Restaurante Ve El Mar is located right next to the cruise ship terminal, right on the beach. With your toes in the sand, dig in to piled high seafood platters. Doña Celia is also right on the beach, and is a popular spot to sit with some drinks and appetizers and enjoy the view, sand and surf. Just steps away from the beach is Mercader Huatulco, which serves up Asian/Mexican fusion cuisine made from market-fresh ingredients daily.

La Crucecita
La Crucecita has probably the most restaurants of any of Huatulco’s communities. Because of this, there’s plenty of variety, whether you’re looking for traditional Oaxacan mole or a pizza. For the regional flavors of Oaxaca, head to El Sabor de Oaxaca where you can sample iconic foods like tlayudas, chapulines, tamales, mole and more. Since 1991, El Grillo Marinero has specialized in fresh, local seafood like prawns, snapper and even octopus. Right on La Crucecita’s main square is Los Portales, where guests can dine on breakfast, tacos, tostadas and enchiladas with a view of the pleasant plaza. For a change of pace, Giordana’s does delicious Italian food, from pastas to meats to tiramisu. Giordana’s is very popular, so reservations are recommended.

Huatulco


State: Oaxaca


Country: Mexico


Huatulco By The Numbers

Population: 50,000
Average Annual Precipitation: 135 centimeters / 53.2 inches
Average January Temperature: 26°C / 79°F
Average July Temperature: 28°C / 82°F


Quick Facts

Electricity: 110-120 volts AC, 60Hz, US-style two-pin plugs are standard

Time Zone: CT, GMT -06:00 (GMT -05:00 Daylight Savings)

Country Dialing Code: +52

Area Code: 958


Did You Know?

Legend has it that Quetzalcoatl, the Mesoamerican God, was from Huatulco.

In the 16th Century, Huatulco experienced attacks by notorious pirates like Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish.


Orientation

Huatulco is located in the southern part of Mexico’s Pacific Coast, about 161 kilometers (100 miles0 southeast of Oaxaca City and about 500 kilometers (311 miles) south of Acapulco.

Points of interest in Huatulco

See all points of interest Huatulco

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