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Using Cancun as a model for what not to do when building an ecologically friendly resort, the Mexican government and developers originally designated 80,000 acres/34,000 hectares as an ecological preserve. It's easiest to envision Huatulco as a complex of interconnected traditional villages and recently developed areas. Rather than build a single strip of high-rise hotels along its coast, the government picked several sites, separated by stretches of unspoiled shoreline, to be developed with hotels, restaurants and shopping complexes. So far, four of the area's nine bays have been developed, and three of these are given over to tourism: Santa Cruz Huatulco, the original fishing village and the port where cruise ships dock; Tangolunda, the deluxe-hotel district; Chahue, with just a few hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes (all several blocks from the beach), as well as a beach club, a marina and a day spa; and La Crucecita, the municipality's "downtown," with a Catholic church, market, post office, Internet cafes and other services, in addition to restaurants, bars and budget hotels. The area surrounding the remaining bays are slated to be developed in two distinct phases, but progress has been deliberately slow. Click here to see the full Huatulco travel guide on Travel42 »
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