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With coral reefs, golden beaches, palm trees, and grass-roofed pueblos, Huatulco is the perfect setting for a vacation on Mexico's southern coast. Legend has it the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl came from these lands at the base of the Sierra Madre del Sur, and the area still holds a rich collection of secrets for history buffs, restless naturalists, and laid-back vacationers alike. From broad waterfalls and cool plunge pools to ancient Zapotec cities and rolling waves along the coast, you can find plenty of things to do in Huatulco.
A great starting point for any visitor, La Crucecita features a lively collection of restaurants, shops, fresh food markets, and a superstore, with plenty of villas and condos just a quick walk away. A forested hill stands in the middle of town, and the shops around the zocalo are packed with touristy gifts and authentic souvenirs alike.
Most of Huatulco's luxury resorts can be found in this pocket of the coast, which not coincidentally offers a terrific combination of sheltered waters and long, curving beaches. A public-access route runs between the private beachfronts to let you enjoy access to the water at Tangolunda Bay.
The place to be for surfers or lovers of open ocean, the coastal retreat of La Bocana offers villas fronted by photogenic beaches under high, rocky cliffs. The nearby river mouth offers a place to go for a freshwater splash if you want a break from the waves, and the Zapotec Mud Baths offer up another way to relax with some fine earth taken right from the river.
It's not hard to notice that Huatulco has a lot of beaches. What you can really appreciate, though, is the selection, from the rows of yachts and fishing boats at Marina Chahué to the snorkeling and rich marine life of La Entrega and the jet skis and beach soccer games along Chahue Beach. If you're more in the mood to head inland, the archaeological site of Bocana del Río Copalita includes a ball court and a temple to Quetzalcoatl that dates back 2,500 years.
Lovers of the outdoors have all kinds of options for passing the time around Huatulco. You can dive in the water for a snorkeling tour, get a surfing lesson, or admire the beaches on a sightseeing cruise. If you want to give the easy rapids along the Rio Copalita a try, then you can take out a raft and get paddling. Or if you want to charter a boat for some deep-sea fishing, there's plenty of giant sailfish waiting for you.
If you're in the mood to see what the actual countryside looks like, you can join a tour into the jungle and see the waterfalls that pour down out of the mountains or get an exclusive look at the plantation where some of the region's finest coffee is grown and processed. Take an ATV ride to visit remote trails and an iguana farm, or just relax with a few holes at one of the region's best golf courses. If you've got a couple days free, there's nothing like an overnight journey to see the ancient city of Monte Alban and the landmarks and lively streets in Oaxaca de Juarez.