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Huatulco Travel Guide


Huatulco Introduction


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Don't let Huatulco's Mexican colonial-style architecture fool you—most of it is just a few decades old. The brainchild of Fonatur, Mexico's tourism development agency, this is one of the country's newest Pacific-coast resorts, and it represents a carefully balanced attempt at mixing high-end tourism with environmental preservation. The Mexican government set aside about 60% of the municipality of Huatulco (pronounced wah-TOOL-koh) as an ecological reserve, and all new construction adheres to strict codes: No buildings taller than six stories and plenty of open space and natural vegetation in between.  Click here to see the full Huatulco travel guide on Travel42 »

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Huatulco Geography


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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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Huatulco History


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For much of its history, this stretch of coast 300 mi/480 km southeast of Acapulco was cut off from the interior of Mexico by the steep mountains that rise up behind it. As a result, the original inhabitants—members of several indigenous Indian tribes, including the Zapotecs, Mixtecs and the conquering Aztecs—traded goods by sea, traveling between the bays in small boats. Not much is known about the early days, but the origin of the area's name is a colorful part of its past. Huatulco is derived from a Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs and still spoken in central Mexico) word that means "place where people worship the cross." Legend has it that a white, bearded man brought a cross to Santa Cruz more than 1,000 years before the Spanish conquest. (Some believe he was the apostle Thomas.) The story goes that he converted the Indians to Christianity and then disappeared. When the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, they established a trading post there, and for a time, it was more important than Acapulco. But British pirates attacked in the late 1500s, and Thomas Cavendish burned the port. The cross, however, remained undamaged by ax or fire. It has since been replaced and now hangs in a small chapel in the center of Santa Cruz. Numerous purported miracles have since been attributed to the relic.   Click here to see the full Huatulco travel guide on Travel42 »

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Huatulco Sightseeing & Things to Do


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Huatulco doesn't offer much in the way of historical landmarks—most of the buildings date back to the mid-1980s. But if you're not in a rush to get to the beach, you could easily spend a few hours exploring the small villages that make up part of the resort area.   Click here to see the full Huatulco travel guide on Travel42 »

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Huatulco Nightlife


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Although Huatulco's nightlife is intentionally a far cry from the raucous bikini contests of Cancun or Acapulco, you can still enjoy a dance or a beer at the few good bars and discos, many of which stay open until the wee hours of the morning if the place is full of customers. Locals recommend a drink called a michelada—beer served with lime and salt—to nurse a hangover.  Click here to see the full Huatulco travel guide on Travel42 »

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Huatulco Restaurants & Dining


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Naturally, you'll find seafood and Mexican specialties on every menu, but other cuisines ranging from Italian to Asian are available in Huatulco. Good regional dishes, such as chicken mole (prepared with a sauce combining chocolate and chilies, tortillas, raisins and other ingredients) and tamales, are plentiful, too. Where you end up eating may depend on the activities you choose for the day.   Click here to see the full Huatulco travel guide on Travel42 »

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