Huatulco Mexico

About Huatulco International Airport, Mexico

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Huatulco was the center of an ambitious tourism development strategy in the late 1960s. Earlier considered quite remote, from where the old nickname "frontier" region originated, this area counts close to 2,500 lodging units.

Now with several world-class resorts, it offers activities for every taste and age, from family packages to renowned golf clubs and discotheques in Tangolunda Bay. One of the first ecotourism resorts saw day here.

It also provides sea or land tours so you can forget about the world in its isolated bays. Alternatively, you can go diving in coral reefs, water skiing or sailing, take a trip to the nearby coffee plantations in the sierra or sample the delicious local lobster.

Santa María Huatulco is a town in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. It’s known for sprawling pre-Hispanic ruins in nearby Parque Eco-Arqueológico Copalita, including a ceremonial center with a large stone temple and a ball court. The Bocano del Río Copalita Museum has ceramic and jade artifacts from the site. Nearby on the Pacific coast is Huatulco National Park, with beaches, coral reefs and diverse wildlife.


Huatulco is a resort region in the Mexican state of Oaxaca with white Pacific coast beaches. It’s made up of 9 bays, including the popular cruise-ship port of call Santa Cruz Bay. Tangolunda Bay is home to upscale resort hotels and a golf course. The inland community of La Crucecita has some restaurants and shops around a central plaza.

Beaches

The Bahias de Huatulco consists of nine bays and several beaches with golden sand and azure waters surrounded by local vegetation along its entire length of 35 km. The bays are:

Bahias Maguey y El Organo
These bays are among the most popular. The sea here is calm and transparent, and the beaches are inhabited by birds and some animals.

Bahia Chachacual
Arriving by boat at this bay, one is immediately surprised by the greenness of the tropical vegetation that is alive with mammals and birds. Rock formations separate the two almost virgin beaches that seductively invite one to rest, swim, dive, or go fishing in their clear waters.

Bahia Conejos
The attractive bay and its four beaches are distinguished by rocky formations, tropical vegetation, and its tranquility.

Bahia de Cacaluta
There are no formal tourist services and is accessible by boat, but its unspoiled beauty and tranquility make it a very special place.

Bahia de Chahue
Separated from Santa Cruz by a small narrow peninsula the turquoise-blue and emerald-green waters lap up against fine sand beaches on a gently sloping incline and normal-sized waves.

Bahia de San Agustin
This is one of the calmest, most beautiful beaches is in Huatulco. Here you will find a broad horseshoe of golden sand surrounded by beautiful rocky headlands, full of different wildlife. The golden beaches have a few palm huts where you can order seafood.

Bahia Santa Cruz
A highly popular tourist spot, as are the new village with its plaza, dock, and tourist services nearby. Its three beaches are ideal for sunbathing. Some interesting underwater coral formations can be explored by divers.

Bahia Tangolunda
This bay, with its big hotels nestled into the surrounding hills, is the best-developed tourist spot in Huatulco. Some of the islets and islands, such as Montosa, are inhabited by birds.

Climate

Huatulco claims to have 300 rain-free days per year; some rain from June to September. The average temperature is 28 C. Temperatures can break 38 C at times in the spring and summer months. The average temperature of the sea is from 25 to 30 C, depending on the depth and the time of the year.

Temperature in CelsiusJFMAMJJASOND
Maximum323233343534353534333332
Minimum202022232423242423232221
Rainfall (mm)94326328613519830066249

Geography

Nestling in the Oaxacan coastline, Huatulco's Pacific coats consists of nine bays and 33 golden beaches. Since much of the area is a national wildlife preserve some places remain undeveloped and sometimes only accessible by boat.

Only six of the bays are developed with visitor facilities, the three biggest being Bahia Tangolunda, Santa Cruz and La Crucecita.

History

The name Huatulco means "the place where the wood is adored". The legend says the great civilizing god Quetzalcoatl left the inhabitants of the bay and port of Santa Cruz a wooden cross. To this date a feast is held every May 3rd in honour of this cross.

The great Zapotec people were eventually colonized by the Spanish in the 15th century. Huatulco was an ideal location to distribute the produce of farms along the coast, which turned the city into an extremely active port. Violent pirate raids ensued the second half of the 16th century, including Drake himself and the famous Thomas Cavendish, causing the local inhabitants to flee.

The remaining inhabitants turned to fishing and the centuries to come were quiet except for one historical event following the struggles after the country gained independence. Vicente Guerrero, second president of Mexico, was captured and later assassinated in Oaxaca in 1831. The Mexican government began developing it as a planned tourist complex in 1983.

Nature

Huatulco, Santa Cruz, and La Crucecita are located in an ecological zone as much of the area is protected from future development.

Visiting the Huatulco National Park is a must. The variety of the vegetation is astounding. Ranging from low, deciduous forest to gallery forest and mangrove swamps it provides refuge for skunks, raccoons and armadillos as well as herons, pelicans and falcons. As a matter of fact much of the area is a national wildlife preserve.

The tourism complex covers an area of 35 km by 7 km of pristine bays, coves and inlets. Come enjoy the virtually unspoiled beaches of Chachacual, Cacaluta, El Organo and Conejos.

Unique to Here

The Tangolunda Golf Club, designed by F.M. Schjetnan, is one of the best golf courses in Huatulco. It has 18 holes, par 72, with a course of 6,851 yards. The natural exuberance of the surroundings, the trees, sandbanks, cactuses and small lagoons, make it extraordinarily beautiful.

Many ecological tours are offered by various local tour companies. You will also find interesting coffee plantation tours.

  • Airport :
    Bahias de Huatulco International Airport
  • Airport Tax :
    The departure tax of around US$40 per person is usually included on your plane ticket, please verify.
  • Distance from Airport :
    19 km
  • Tourist Office :
    Blvd. Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Oax. Tel: (9) 587 15 41
  • Tourist Season :
    November through May
  • Festivals & Events

    One of Huatulco’s main celebrations is the Fiesta del Mar, which takes place during Holy Week. It offers music, dance and fun games. Another important festivity, which is held on the isthmus, is the Vela Xunaxi, during which the best regional dress is awarded a prize. Finally, there’s the celebration of Santa Cruz on May 3, which features a wide variety of regional cuisine, music and a fair.

    Transportation

    Bahias de Huatulco International Airport is the closet airport and is usually served by charter flights. If arriving from another airport, buses from Oaxaca run daily and overnight and take around 8 hours. Private taxis are available or you can try the alternative collective van service.

    Renting a car is not necessary as cabs are plentiful and fairly cheap. Agree on fares ahead of time. A local bus service links Tangolunda, Cahlue and Santa Cruz. Fare is about 3 pesos and the service runs from 7am to 7pm.

    Activities & Sports

    A large range of water sports are available such as boating, sailing, kayaking and water skiing. Sailboat tours are available to the rocky island of Montosa, which is inhabited by hundreds of birds. Or you can rent boats in neighbouring Santa Cruz and take a sea trip to Tangolunda. The beautiful Santa Cruz and Tangolunda bays are perfect for surfing.

    Huatulco and San Agustin are ideal for snorkelling. A boat will take you to the magnificent La Entrega Beach where you can observe the countless marine species that inhabit the Pacific, including coral reefs. An attractive place for scuba diving and observing octopuses, sea urchins and molluscs, apart from the ubiquitous fish, is Isla Blanca, midway between Bahia de Chahue and Bahia de Santa Cruz.

    Going on a horseback or dune buggy ride is a good way to observe the local flora and fauna-much of the forest area is a natural reserve-or some of the bays that are slightly further a field where you can stop for a swim in the crystal-clear waters.

    Bicycles are available for hire in Santa Cruz and La Crucecita, but only experienced cyclists will able to make it to the other bays, since the distances between them are considerable.

    A wonderful golf course awaits you at the Campo de Golf Tangolunda. It is a par 72 18-hole lining the beach of Tangolunda Bay.

    The more adventurous can go white-water rafting down the rapids in Rio Copalito that come down from the Sierra Madre del Sur.

    The coast of Huatulco is perfect for deep-sea fishing. In Puerto Angel there are several places where you can hire all you need for this fascinating sport.

    Archaeology

    Just north of Tangolunda Bay is Punta Celeste, a recent find and it is in the process of being studied and excavated. This archaeological site overlooks the ocean, it dates back to 500 B.C. and was built by the Mixteco people.

    If you have a few free days, you could include a small trip to Oaxaca which is well known for its Pre-Columbian civilizations. The Zapotec and Mixtec have left a lasting legacy with over 4,000 known archaeological sites. You will also find colourful markets, rich colonial architecture and fascinating native cultures. The most visited archaeological sites are Monte Alban, Mitla and Yagul but Lambityeco and Zaachila are also worthwhile for those interested. All sites are within 30 miles of Oaxaca City and tours or public buses are available.

    Attractions & Sights

    La Crucecita
    Come and enjoy the village's small town square with its sculptures, trees and green lawns. Surrounding the square are new colonial-style buildings housing shops, cafes and restaurants. A very popular destination in the evenings.

    Santa Maria Huatulco
    Tracing its roots back to pre-Hispanic times, it was used as a trade center for the Oaxacan region. In the main square you will find a red and white cathedral dating back to the 18th century. Great shopping is found in the native market.

    Bay and Jungle Excursions
    These tours are perfect to explore either the local bahias, coves and inlets, or the tropical rain forest that could not be seen otherwise. You will discover all the magnificent tree species and the wildlife that inhabits them. Some tours companies offer ecological excursions as well.

    Coffee Plantation Tours
    Your trip will not be complete without a visit to the Aromatic Region. Founded in the 19th century by German immigrants, this coffee plantation produces and harvests Mexico's fragrant "pluma" coffee. The plantation actually dates to earlier and legend has it that the first plants were brought in by an English pirate.

    Mexican Turtle Center
    In Mazunte, located 30km outside of Huatulco, the government has opened this center where you can visit the turtle farm, a museum, a cactus garden and the research center dedicated to protecting marine turtles.

    Nightlife

    The bahias of Huatulco has a great nightlife and offers many possibilities. La Crucecita is one of the most popular places for shops, restaurants, bars or watch local musicians perform. Maybe you can enjoy a live performance of the Guelaguetza dance. Many hotels present shows so make sure to find out what is playing. And of course discos and bars abound with all the latest equipment. Some favourite spots are:

    Bar La Crema is the "hot" bar in town. Hard rock from the 60s and 70s to reggae. Hip crowd and great pizza.

    El DexkiteLitros is another hot spot, beachfront dancing on the Santa Cruz. Techno and rock music.

    The Magic Tropical offers live music in Santa Cruz.

    Noches Oaxaquenas (Oaxacan Nights) is a colourful, festive dinner-show recreating the Guelaguetza, Oaxaca's famous festival of folk dancing and costumes from the seven regions of the state, takes place in an open-air theatre.

    Side Trips

    Located only 111km away, day tourers will want to head to nearby Puerto Escondido where lush vegetation and groves of fruit trees give the city a distinctly tropical character. The people here live a simple life mostly sustained by fishing and farming. It has also earned world-wide fame for world-class surfing.

    Attractions include the Manialtepec and Chacahua lagoons, typical towns full of Colonial-era buildings and churches and colourful markets filed with local handicrafts. One can visit the community project of Ventanilla, an environmental rescue program that includes reforesting of the mangroves and repopulating the crocodiles.

    Accommodations

    Accommodations are divided into three major areas: Bahia Tangolunda, Santa Cruz and La Crucecita. You will find world-class resorts and hotels but the more budget conscious traveler can find more affordable rooms in budget motels and hostels.

    There are also vacation rentals and B&Bs available. Although there are no camping facilities in the region, camping on the beaches in Conejos, Punta Arena and Tejoncito is permitted.

    Eating Out

    Oaxacan cuisine tends to be quite tasty and considered one of Mexico's best regional cuisines. It is famous for its cheese, spicy sausages, tamales wrapped in banana leaves, excellent seafood and a rainbow of moles (complex, exotic sauces with at least fifteen ingredients). It also includes exotic dishes such as fried grasshoppers, iguana and armadillo. Mescal, a local brandy made from cactus recently awarded its certificate of denomination of origin, is the drink of choice.

    Prices can be more affordable in La Crucecita. You will also find a number of French restaurants in this area. In Tangolunda, the Casa Real, set in the Sheraton Hotel, offers Oaxacan and European fare, while for Caribbean specialties, the Cavendish restaurant bar in the Punta Tangolunda Mall is popular.

    In the beautiful kiosk of Santa Cruz, Cafe Huatulco sells a type of coffee produced by the local Coffee Producers' Association known as Pluma.

    Shopping

    La Crucecita and Tangolunda are the shopping destinations for "objets d'art" and clothes. The best place for handicrafts is the Mercado de Artesanas in the Plaza de la Bahia de Santa Cruz and the Market of La Crucesita.

    Local souvenirs include silver and gold jewellery, handicrafts, woven rugs, alebrijes, black pottery, masks and embroidered textiles.

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