Huatulco, Mexico, is a vacationer's paradise. With the mountains on one side and a multitude of pristine bays and beaches on the other, Huatulco is the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys water sports and jungle environments. Impressively, Huatulco was recently awarded the Green Globe International Certification as a sustainable tourist area - one of only three locations worldwide! Below, we'll tell you where to go and what to do to enjoy a memorable vacation in the Huatulco area.
Best Time To Visit Huatulco, Mexico
As far as the weather is concerned, there really is no bad time to explore Huatulco! The weather stays warm, humid, and sunny very nearly all year long!
While Huatulco is less swamped by tourists than some Mexico locations and boasts a year-round small-town vibe, most tourists visit during the summer. You can avoid these crowds by scheduling your visit in the off-season.
If experiences with sea turtles and whales are on your list, then plan your trip during fall (for sea turtles) and winter (for whales).
Best Places To Visit
La Crucecita is the downtown area of Huatulco. For being the downtown hub, it's rather small and charming, with great shopping and delicious restaurants. The buildings are fantastic feats of architecture, and a beautiful church sits in the city square. Most tours will leave from this location, and it has a marina and a large pier where cruise ships dock. La Crucecita is the center of the tourism industry in Huatulco but is well worth visiting in its own right!
If you love coffee (and who doesn't?), touring coffee plantations is definitely something to put on your list! The Pluma Hidalgo is a popular plantation to tour, and it is family-run, and a full-day tour of the grounds will show you how coffee beans grow, are roasted, and then packaged.
Zona Arqueologica Bocana del Rio Copalita
This is an archaeological site that contains settlement ruins that date back to 500 BC! It's not a large area, but the surrounding landscape is picturesque. You can tour this site and learn more about the region's history.
National Mexican Turtle Center
Many sea turtles lay their eggs along the coastlines of Mexico, and at the Turtle Center in Mazunte, you can actually release baby turtles into the ocean! Many tours and excursions make a stop here. You can enjoy seeing turtles (and alligators!) any time of the year at the center, but if you come in the fall, you'll be able to be part of the effort of releasing these turtles back into the ocean.
Bahias de Huatulco National Park
The Mexican government declared this national park has a designated national whale watching zone! Boat tours, guided dives, and snorkeling excursions can get you up and close and personal with the whales. Gray whales and blue whales come to the region during the winter to give birth and spend a few months raising their calves before swimming back north to colder waters.
Cascadas Magicas de Copalitilla
The beaches are beautiful, but there are also natural wonders on the mainland. One of them is the Cascadas Magicas de Copalitilla, a large jungle waterfall. To reach it, you'll join a guided party that uses all-terrain vehicles to get back into the jungle. After a short hike, you'll see the waterfall and even get a chance to swim in natural pools nearby!
Hagia Sophia Eco Park
This nature reserve is perfect for both calm and adventurous nature lovers. For the adrenaline junkies, there is a 2-kilometer zip line route over rivers and across the whole botanical garden, and others will enjoy the exotic flower trail.
This destination is a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Huatulco, so it might be the best fit for an overnight trip within a larger Huatulco stay. Puerto Escondido is the peak of a "small beach town." It's a popular spot for surfers, and you can rent boards within the town and even take single private lessons.
Best Things To Do
Take A Boat Tour
One of the most popular ways to spend a day is to take a boat tour of the nine bays of the Huatulco region. Many of these boat tours will incorporate snorkeling and provide delicious drinks and food. It's a pleasant way to spend a day!
The seafood from Huatulco is famous, and every local restaurant you find will have a sizable selection on the menu. A particularly light and refreshing option is ceviche, which is fresh vegetables and fish soaked in lime juice.
Mexico is famous for tequila and mezcal. Both liquors are made from agave but have very different tastes! Oaxaca is the state where mezcal originated, and it still produces over 70% of Mexico's mezcal. You can enjoy top-shelf mezcal in many restaurants across the region, but a trip to Mezcaleria Gota Gorda will let you experience mezcal tastings and classes for all who are interested in the art of traditional Mexican spirits.
With all of the beaches and bays of the Huatulco region, it's no wonder snorkeling is a popular activity! Many resorts and hotels will have snorkeling gear on hand for you, but there are also many snorkeling tours that you can jump on. The water is warm and filled with colorful fish!
Get A Day Pass
If you've opted to stay at a smaller hotel during your visit, you can still enjoy all of the luxury and amenities of the all-inclusive resorts by buying a day pass. At these luxury resorts, you can enjoy an infinity pool, private beach access, and outstanding food.
Take A Cooking Class
Huatulco has incredible food, so take a cooking class and learn how to make some! Chiles & Chocolate is a cooking school that offers classes to visitors. The four-hour classes lead you through the creation of Oaxacan black mole with rice and chicken, handmade tortillas, and an authentic mezcal margarita.
Hit The Beaches
There are thirty-six beaches in Huatulco and nine bays! Most of the Huatulco beaches are accessible by car, and here are some at the top of the list.
This bay beach is located close to the La Crucecita downtown area. The roped-off area is great for swimming and snorkeling, and being so close to Huatulco's tourism center, there are many little cafes and restaurants nearby.
Entrega Beach is similar to Maguey Beach, and they both have clear bay water and lots of local eateries nearby. The water here is calmer than most other beaches and bays in Huatulco. Many boat tours run out of Playa Maguey, making it busier. Playa Entrega is the way to go for similar amenities with a quieter atmosphere.
Playa Santa Cruz
This is a popular beach within walking distance of La Crucecita. It has many rental shops for paddle boards, snorkeling, and other water sports. It's rather busy but is a great spot for water adventurers.
The Zipolite beach is Mexico's only legal nude beach - so it may not be everyone's cup of tea. There are nudist resorts and hotels along this beach as well.
The La Bocana beach has typical sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling areas, but it also offers something unique - mud baths! You can apply mud to your whole body and then wash it off in the Pacific ocean. It's good for your skin and some laughs!
Road And Mountain Biking
Huatulco is a popular destination for road biking and mountain biking. In fact, the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco is held here every year, and in 2021, it was the last qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics.
Where To Stay
Depending on what you want to do and your budget, there are a large variety of hotel options for you to choose from, all-inclusive resorts, luxury hotels to boutique hotels. You can also find an adult-only resort in Huatulco.
Most luxury hotels, vacation rentals, and resorts are situated on and near Tangolunda Bay. The popular all-inclusive resorts are Dreams resort and Barceló resort, and they are perfect for doing nothing but hanging out on the beach. Tangolunda offers beautiful and best beaches in Huatulco, Mexico.
Bahia Conejos Beach, or known as "Bunny Bay," features a beautiful and secluded beach. Secrets Huatulco Resort is a popular choice for this area.
Santa Cruz Huatulco is the center of activity on the beaches. There are a lot of restaurants and tour operators here, and it is also where cruise ships dock. Therefore, this area can get pretty busy at times. The beach here is calm and perfect for swimming and families.
Santa Maria Huatulco, Mexico, is the biggest city in the region. Naturally, there are more things to do, bigger grocery stores, and more shopping centers. But it is not a resort area, so it's not a popular destination among tourists.
For travelers on a budget, the La Crucecita area, referred to as Centro or downtown, is a great option. This area is an ideal spot to shop for artisan crafts and taste Oaxacan specialties. It is also less crowded than the popular resort area, and the destination receives fewer tourists even during high seasons.
Where Is Huatulco Located?
Huatulco is actually the name of a region in the state of Oaxaca, not a town or city itself. This region along the southwest coast of Mexico includes the cities of La Crucecita, Santa Cruz, and Santa Maria Huatulco. It sits nestled between the Sierra Madre mountains and the Pacific coast.
How To Get To Huatulco, Mexico
International visitors will likely get into Huatulco by flying into the small local airport. Every day, flights come in from Mexico City. Once you arrive, you'll need to get to your hotel by private transportation, so be sure to line something up before you land.
Local residents from other locations in Mexico will likely utilize the bus system (which is well connected and affordable!) or drive. The bus station in the Huatulco region is in La Crucecita and connects to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca City, and San Cristobal de Las Casas.
Transportation With In
Taxi is the easiest and most convenient while being an economical option to travel around in Huatulco. Taxis here are standardized, and it is very safe and professional.
Uber and Lyft are not available in this region.
Depending on where you stay, La Cruceita and Santa Cruz are great places to rent a bike and cruise around.
Public transportation is the cheapest option to travel, and it covers a lot of regions. If you are traveling on a budget, public transportation is hands down the best option.
If you travel in large groups requiring taking more than one taxi, a car rental can be more economical for a day or two to go on an excursion. However, driving in Huatulco can be stressful with many motos, street performers, people selling goods on the street, and such.
Things To Know Before Visiting Huatulco, Mexico
The question everyone wants to know the answer to when they consider visiting Mexico: is it safe? Yes, it is completely safe for tourists and solo travelers! Huatulco isn't big, so it lacks the crime and drugs that large cities tend to attract. Like traveling anywhere, you should always keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your surroundings.
Use An Actual Taxi Service
Use a legitimate taxi service and professional tourist companies to avoid scams.
Bring A Water Bottle
We recommend you bring your own water bottle and refill it in hotels and restaurants. It's not just a myth that you should avoid drinking water in Mexico!
Watch Out For Scam
Most locals are decent people, but there are scammers around. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Avoid Driving At Night Time
The highways in Mexico have been improving and are mostly well maintained. However, it's best to avoid driving at night due to the lack of streetlights and large speed bumps. Do your exploration during the daytime.