Arriving at the port of Huatulco, one can already see the beauty of this cove-jagged area, spanning 18 miles and 10 bays; there is a heavenly sapphire blue water beach on the left of the cruise ship dock. The beauty of Huatulco is right there, in your face. You can already see the sides of the hills emerging from the sea, which invite diving and snorkeling in crystal clear waters; it is all there.
The beaches by the sides of docks and cruise ship terminals are usually much less inviting than this, This makes Huatulco a most welcome exception for passengers on Panama Canal and other Pacific route cruises.
There is a large wooden dock you will have to walk on to reach the coast. It is lined with the flags of most countries in America and the world. I even find the beautiful Uruguayan flag there, with the yellow sun and the familiar light blue stripes. This little welcoming gesture of seeing your own country´s symbol as you walk into Huatulco will set the mood for a most warming and welcoming place.
There is a main street, running parallel to the coast, with a small market and numerous gift and souvenir shops. Here you will find various items in the tradition of the exotic, flamboyant, Mexican art style. If you walk a little bit further along the coast, you will find a charming little open-air church, with an amphitheatre on the side; both usually favorite spots for a snapshot with some local color, and a beautiful seaside background.
The beach itself is everything you could ask for. It is lined with excellent restaurants offering the best Mexican cuisine and cocktails, it has white sands, and both the temperature and the color of the sea are extremely agreeable. What was not so agreeable was a snake that I once saw swimming quietly in the water, while I watched it, luckily, from the sand. The appearance of the snake made me baptize this particular location “snake beach”, although I was assured that snakes were extremely rare there, and that none had been seen before, that season. Although I never saw a snake again, on the many occasions that I returned to the place, the image was too powerful to be wiped from my snake-o-phobic mind. It didn´t help that a man had passed out from some obscure condition, a couple of feet from the place the snake was spotted: it was very easy to assume that he had been bitten, although I was, again, assured that the snake was harmless.
But Huatulco, which is part of the state of Oaxaca, is hardly all about the beach. Native Mexican traditions are alive everywhere in the state, and Huatulco is not the exception. Not far from the dock, the town of Crucecita offers a glimpse of a typical colonial Mexican village, with a church that houses the largest image of the “Virgen de Guadalupe” in the world, and a vibrant open market.
Biking enthusiasts will be thrilled with the choice between a ride across 13 bays, the scenic Crucecita route, or a visit to a traditional coffee plantation. Moreover, diving, snorkeling, rafting, and horseback riding are also available in the neighboring area.
Renting a car or a four-wheeler is also an excellent option to do the more adventurous thing and set out to discover some of those beaches that don´t even have a name and are always the best beaches in the world; the kind that look like no man has ever set foot on them, as if they had been waiting there just for you, since the beginning of times.
With a rich cultural heritage and tradition, Huatulco is home to over 10 ethnical groups, all of which continue to preserve their original languages, customs, and traditions. Some of these groups are the Amuzgos, Chinantecos, Chatinos, Huaves, and Chontales, to name but a few. As a matter of fact, the whole state of Oaxaca is one of the culturally richest regions in the country.
This cultural richness and diversity, combined with the profusion of coral reefs, archeological and historical sites, luxurious hotels and beautiful quiet beaches make the port of Huatulco one of the most exciting stops on any Pacific itinerary.