A Guide To Huatulco, Mexico

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Huatulco (pronounced “wah-tool-co”) is a stunning coastal paradise in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Huatulco is a region that draws in visitors from all over thanks to its incredible beaches, secluded resorts, turquoise waters and breathtaking waterfalls. Explore coffee plantations, go whale watching and see baby turtles hatching. Huatulco is internationally recognised for its commitment to sustainable tourism, holding an international Green Globe Certification. This means you can enjoy your visit here with peace of mind knowing you’re supporting eco-friendly practices.

The region is divided into four distinct districts, each with its own charm and appeal. There’s Tangolunda, a luxury resort area, Santa Cruz with its pier, La Crucecita, a small village, and Chahue, the largest bay and beach zone. Whether you’re planning a family trip, a romantic getaway or your honeymoon, this gorgeous region in southern Mexico has something for everyone and is the perfect balance of excitement and relaxation. 

Huatulco, Mexico

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10 Things To Do In Huatulco

While the beaches are the major draw to Huatulco, there are plenty of other activities to keep you entertained and busy during your visit and, today, we’ll be looking at the top 10 things (in our opinion!) to do in Huatulco.

1- Explore the Beaches And Bays

huatulco mexico beaches
Footprints in the sand of the beach at Chahue, Huatulco, Mexico.

In Huatulco, with 36 beaches and nine bays, you’ll never run out of sandy havens to discover.

While Bahia Santa Cruz (Playa Principal) is the most popular beach, don’t miss the chance to visit the other beaches of Playa Tangolunda, Playa la Entrega, Playa Maguey and Playa Organo to experience a different vibe.

Don’t neglect the bays either and be sure to visit Bahia Cacaluta.

This one is a must-see for fans of the 2001 Mexican film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

Top tour: Full Day Tour of the Bays of Huatulco.

2- Experience A Mud Bath Massage At Playa La Bocana

Head over to Playa la Bocana to treat yourself to a unique and rejuvenating experience – a mud bath massage.

This mud bath massage will leave you feeling like a kid again as you get covered from head to toe in warm, nutrient-rich mud and then bask in the sun.

As the mud dries, it helps exfoliate and cleanse your skin.

Afterwards, we guarantee you’ll feel relaxed, refreshed and oh-so-soft, a brand-new you!

3- See Marine Life At Huatulco National Park

huatulco mexico man snorkelling over the reef
Going snorkelling is one of the things to do in Huatulco, Mexico.

The Huatulco National Park is a vast 29,000-acre (116 km²) area where land meets water.

The convergence of the three ecosystems here – tropical forest, dry forest and water – makes it a unique environment to experience.

There are many activities to enjoy on land in the National Park such as bird watching, hiking, biking and horseback riding but the best experience lies underwater.

The waters off Huatulco National Park are abundant with fish, turtles and coral and the area is famous for its whales that visit in the winter months.

Snorkelling or taking a boat tour in Huatulco National Park should not be missed.

Top tour: Turtle and Crocodile Eco Tour from Huatulco with Mangrove Boat Ride.

4- Visit Authentic La Crucecita

huatulco oaxaca mexico
The main church in the square of the Gardenia area of Huatulco Crucecita.

La Crucecita in Huatulco is a must-visit if you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience.

This charming small town is home to many locals and offers a break from the crowds.

A stroll through the town square will let you appreciate the towering church with its iconic little cross perched atop a hill.

As you wander, enjoy some of the best street food in the area.

You can find many tasty options to fuel you at the local markets (mercados) while perusing colourful artisan handicrafts and unique souvenirs.

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5- Take Part In A Turtle Release

a dozen baby turtles walking across the sand into the water on a huatulco beach Mexico
Baby turtles returning to sea on a Huatulco beach.

One of the unique experiences you can have in Huatulco is releasing baby turtles into the ocean.

Several of the beaches in the area run turtle conservation programs where visitors can help release newly hatched sea turtles back into the wild.

Local organisations usually run these programs and are doing an excellent job of helping preserve the survival of the turtles in this region.

Partaking in a turtle release is heartwarming, educational, and a great way of supporting the local community’s conservation efforts.

Top tour: From Huatulco: Turtle Release & Bioluminescence.

Playa Zipolite is Mexico’s only legal nudist beach, attracting diverse visitors, including families and LGBTQ+ travellers.

Although nudity is, technically, only allowed in a designated area, Playa Zipolite remains a popular spot for those seeking a clothing-optional beach experience.

Enjoy the unique atmosphere and beautiful surroundings of this famous, or perhaps infamous, beach.

7- Visit The Ruins

Inside Copalita Eco-Archaeological Park you’ll find some incredible ruins, one of only two ruin sites in Mexico located on the coast, the other being the ruins at Tulum.

Visit in the morning or late afternoon for a cooler visit and hike the trails, take in stunning views of the cliffs and river and learn about the history of this incredible site.

To add a little more to your day trip, visit the adjacent Bocana del Rio Copalita Archaeological Zone. This site boasts two temples and ancient ball courts.

8- Swim In The Cascada Magicas Waterfalls

Copalitilla Waterfalls Park (Cascadas Magicas de Copalitilla) is a park full of breathtaking waterfalls, the highest being 65 feet tall (20 m).

It’s located in the small pueblo of San Miguel del Puerto, Oaxaca, and is about an hour’s drive from Huatulco.

When you arrive, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical paradise, surrounded by lush vegetation and wild nature.

There are also freshwater jungle pools where you can take a refreshing dip, so don’t forget your bathing suit.

Top tour: Tour to Copalitilla Magical Waterfalls from Huatulco with admission included.

9- Be Thrilled By Nature At Hagia Sofia Ecological Park

Hagia Sofia Ecological Park won’t disappoint if you’re after a nature-thrilled adventure.

This park has an exotic flower trail with over 100,000 plants to spot, including 60 species of rare and exotic flowers.

With such a wide collection of flora and fauna here, the park attracts beautiful butterflies and birds year-round.

The trails meander past streams, over bridges and eventually rewards with a breathtaking waterfall.

Seasonal fruit tastings are held within the park, where you can sample over 80 varieties of tropical and exotic fruit trees, including rambutan and mangosteen (yum!)

For a thrill, hop onto the Hagia Sofia zipline for a 1.25-mile journey (2 km) that will have you soaring 325 feet (99m) over the gardens below.

You’ll get a stunning bird’s eye view of the park’s impressive biodiversity.

10- Try Some Of Mexico’s Finest Coffee At The Coffee Plantations

Coffee beans drying in the sun.
One of the things to do in Huatulco, Mexico, is to visit a coffee plantation.

Did you know that the state of Oaxaca in Mexico is famous for producing some of the best coffee in Mexico?

I don’t know about you but that sure gets us excited.

The best way to learn about the coffee process is to head to one of the coffee farms (fincas) near Huatulco.

You’ll get a tour of the fields and (the best part!) get to sample the coffee.

Many of the best fincas near Huatulco, such as La Gloria and El Pacifico, don’t allow walk-ins, so book a tour in advance.

After reading about all the fun and cultural things, we’re sure you’ll be itching to plan your trip to Huatulco. Read on for tips to help you plan your stay in Huatulco.

Top tour: 3 Levels of Huatulco HT.

Where To Stay

Huatulco mexico hotel room
Looking for a hotel in Huatulco, Mexico? Here are some options.

Huatulco offers a wide range of accommodation, from luxurious all-inclusive resorts to budget-friendly options.

Today, we’ll discuss two options to give you an idea about the range of accommodation on offer here and help you make the best decision. Whether you want to splurge or save, we’ve got you covered.

Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa $$$

The Huatulco Dreams Resort and Spa is a luxurious, all-inclusive, family-friendly resort just a few steps away from the Pacific coastline.

This resort is the perfect spot for all types of travellers, including those travelling with furry friends.

With over 400 rooms and suites to choose from (each with private balconies or terraces and stunning ocean or garden views!), you’re sure to find the perfect room for your stay.

To add a touch more luxury to your stay, upgrade to ‘Preferred Club’ rooms and suites which include a dedicated beach area, food and beverage offerings and access to the private club lounge.

Everything will be at your fingertips at Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa with its seven on-site gourmet restaurants serving a wide range of cuisine, including Asian, seafood, tacos and Italian, as well as buffet and a la carte dining options.

Children and adults will both be entertained. For the kids, there’s the Explorer’s Club, a supervised children’s program. And while the kids are busy exploring, adults can unwind at the full-service Spa by Pevonia.

It doesn’t end here! Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa also offers exclusive beach access, 6 outdoor pools, hot tubs, a nightclub and other adult-only activities.

Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa is the epitome of opulence and is guaranteed to provide you with a pampering experience like no other in Huatulco.

Hotel Castillo Huatulco & Beach Club $

Hotel Castillo Huatulco & Beach Club is a great choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly resort.

Located in the Santa Cruz Huatulco neighbourhood and just 1,000 feet (300 m) from the beach, this resort is known for its excellent location and affordability.

The resort’s location is unbeatable, with restaurants, shops and beaches just a stone’s throw away.

With 159 rooms across three different categories, this resort will surely have something that suits your needs, whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with family.

We do suggest booking a pool or garden view for the best experience!

While the rooms are basic, they do come with all the necessary amenities, including complimentary Wi-Fi, a safety deposit box, a work desk and a TV.

One of the highlights of this resort is the Chahue Beach Club, which serves a buffet-style lunch and offers umbrellas, palapas, loungers, a pool, a private bar and a restaurant.

In addition to the beach club, the resort features two restaurants and two bars, swimming pools and a children’s playground.

Hotel Castillo Huatulco & Beach Club has you covered with great customer service and a prime location that will not break the bank.

When To Go (Best Season To Visit)

huatulco, mexico
A green wall of a house in Huatulco Crucecita, Mexico with decorative windows.

The perfect time to visit Huatulco is from the months of November through March. During these months, you’ll enjoy amazing weather with no rain, low humidity and little to no mosquitoes.

Of course, great weather comes with greater crowds and prices so, if you’re a budget traveller, the summer season might be the best time for you to visit Huatulco.

At this time, you can enjoy the beauty of Huatulco but you’ll also save some money on your accommodation.

If you want to avoid the crowds as much as possible, we recommend avoiding travelling during the Christmas holidays, New Year’s and Semana Santa (Holy Week).

For the best of both worlds, consider travelling during one of the shoulder seasons in either October or April.

During these months, you can enjoy great weather and fewer crowds and still get the best value for your money!

What To Pack

A three-wheeled delivery bike outside a house in the town of Huatulco Crucecita
A three-wheeled delivery bike in Huatulco, Mexico.

For your trip to Huatulco, you’ll want to pack some essentials to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable.

Firstly, if you’re a fan of snorkelling, it’s best to bring your own gear so you can head out on your own and explore the beautiful underwater world at your own pace.

A set of fins might be handy to pack too.

A lightweight and low-profile beach chair that folds up into a perfect carrying bag might also be a good idea as this will come in handy when you want to relax on the beach and soak up the sun.

It’s important to stay hydrated in this hot region so don’t forget to pack an insulated beach tote to carry some refreshing drinks and bottled water.

Another must-have is insect spray.

This is particularly important if you’re planning to spend time outside in the evenings because Huatulco is located in a jungle area so bugs and mosquitoes are prevalent.

Last but not least, pack a few items of resort wear such as maxi dresses, cotton skirts, shorts or khaki pants. Huatulco is very casual and you’ll want to feel comfortable.

By packing the above essentials, you’ll be all set to enjoy the natural beauty of Huatulco, explore its underwater world, relax on the beach and stay comfortable and protected during your stay.

How To Get To Huatulco

brownish red and yellow park bench
A stone bench in the town square in Huatulco, Mexico.

Depending on your starting point, there are many ways to get to Huatulco.

Getting to Huatulco From Mexico City

If you’re travelling from Mexico City, you can fly directly to Huatulco’s Bahias de Huatulco International Airport (HUX) which takes about 1.5 hours and is served by TAR Airlines.

From Huatulco Airport, you’ll only be about 30 minutes from the beaches so this is a convenient way to arrive.

Alternatively, you can take the bus from Mexico City, which takes around 12 hours.

However, it’s worth noting that there is not much difference between the cost of the bus and an internal flight from Mexico City to Huatulco International Airport.

Getting To Huatulco From Oaxaca

If you’re travelling from Oaxaca, you have several options including private transportation which takes about seven hours, a flight from Oaxaca City to Huatulco International Airport (HUX) which takes about 35 minutes or the ADO bus which takes about nine 9 hours.

Each of these options offers a different level of comfort, flexibility and cost, so be sure to choose the one that best suits you.

Getting To Huatulco From Puerto Escondido

From Puerto Escondido, it’s about 75 miles (120 km) to Huatulco and the drive takes about two hours.

There’s no direct bus from Puerto Escondido to Huatulco, so going by bus via connecting buses will take up to 3 hours.

Regardless of how you get here, each option offers a unique perspective of the beautiful scenery along the way.

If you’re looking for a scenic route and have some time to spare, renting a car or taking a bus might suit you well.

However, if you’re pressed for time and want to maximize it on the beach, flying may be the best option for you.

We’re willing to bet that after reading this Huatulco guide, you’ll be itching to pack your bags and head to this hidden gem on the Pacific coast.

Don’t waste another second dreaming about your ideal vacation – use this handy guide to start planning your trip to Huatulco today.

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Jane Williams is a writer living in Mexico. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, she has visited over 30 countries and lived in Japan for two years. Passionate about culture and history, her fascination for ancient civilisations has led to her to explore the world's iconic sites, such as Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat. Even though she loves uncovering the secrets of the past, she feels equally at home exploring contemporary culture. A mother of two with a degree in anthropology, she enjoys sharing her travel adventures with others.