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As our panga approached the deserted beach, the captain cut the engine. Moments later, my son dove off the boat and into the cool, clear water. Next, went my wife, my daughter and finally I joined them. A short swim and we were completely alone on the wide crescent of sand, with nothing but mountains and jungle behind us and the Pacific Ocean in front of us.
“Daddy, there are no footprints on this beach,” my daughter said to me. “It’s like we discovered it.”
We were in Bahias de Huatulco National Park, a short boat ride from Huatulco, Mexico. Partly due to its location near the national park, many of the beaches here see virtually no development and not a lot of visitors in general. This lack of tourists is a bonus when visiting to Huatulco, which is a challenging 4½-hour drive from Oaxaca via a treacherous road. The lack of access makes the destination feel even more remote. Despite being only four hours by direct flight from Los Angeles, it feels like being a world away.
The beach excursion my family and I took is just one choice in a wide range of activities in Huatulco. We rented a private boat, with a captain, for the day for about $100. The marina where the boat was docked was just a short taxi ride from our hotel, Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa. Our “itinerary” for the day included snorkeling at a well-known local spot. Apple Vacations, which offers air, hotel and activity packages in the area, offers a similar excursion called the Seven Bays Cruise, which is a full-day excursion and includes snorkeling equipment (we had to rent our equipment from outfitters in the area). Apple also offers other activities, including a visit to a coffee plantation followed by swimming in local waterfalls. (Just be aware that the coffee plantation visit includes a bus ride on some curvy roads.) There is also whitewater rafting in the area, as well as a top-notch golf course in town. The golf course was undergoing renovations when we visited, so check on its status before clients visit.
Another activity we tried in Huatulco was hiring a private car with a driver and driving up the coast about an hour and a half to Puerto Escondido, a beach town popular with surfers. Along the way, we stopped at some of the smaller beach communities famous for hippie-style accommodations that are often no more than hammocks on the beach. Edgar, our driver, was incredible — taking us to local places we would not have known about and making sure we were well taken care of every step of the way. And, at $120 for a six-hour day, it was quite a deal.
Visitors should be sure to spend at least one evening visiting the nearby town of La Crucecita for its charming restaurants, shopping and to see all the families strolling and enjoying live music in the main plaza.
Apple Vacations books many local excursions, and they have on-site destination experts located in area hotels. These Apple reps are a great resource for visitors. The one we met at Dreams Huatulco was friendly and incredibly helpful.
Visitors here will avoid crowds of American tourists. However, they may also find fewer English speakers and virtually no American chain businesses, so it’s best if clients visiting Huatulco are comfortable traveling in Mexico. Some clients might also want to know that Huatulco is a very family-oriented destination. My family felt welcomed and completely safe the entire time.
For clients who love Mexico and are looking for pristine beaches, comfortable all-inclusive resorts and a local, beach-town vibe, Huatulco is at once exotic and familiar. Maybe it’s time your clients made their own footprints on the beach.
Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spawww.dreamsresorts.com/huatulco