Undiscovered Huatulco

The pool at the Las Brisas Huatulco

Ask a typical American traveler to locate the Mexican resort area of Huatulco on a map and chances are you'll be greeted with a blank stare. Chances are that most non-Mexican nationals, be they American or not, couldn't find Huatulco on a map.

In the mid 1980s, FONATUR, the Mexican government agency behind resorts like Cancun and Ixtapa, decided to create a new, more exclusive resort area called Huatulco, based on the 9 Bahias de Huatulco in souther Mexico. Located in the state of Oaxaca, Huatulco still remains a relatively undiscovered paradise. While over 10 million travelers flew into Cancun's airport in 2006, about 350,000 flew to Huatulco.

So, what is so special about Huatulco? The area, for the most part, is still relatively unspoiled. Most of the 9 bays in the area are undeveloped and can be accessed mostly by boat. Development has primarily been focused around three bays - Santa Cruz, Tangolunda and Chahue'. The warm waters are teeming with sea life and are suitable for snorkeling along numerous coral reefs. Resorts like the Las Brisas and the Camino Real Zaashila provide all one might need from a traveler's standpoint and small towns like La Crucecita and Santa Cruz have a more local, slow-paced feel. The weather is ideal with over 300+ days of sunshine and an eternal summer-like climate. Outdoor pursuits include snorkeling, surfing, eco-tours, waterfall hikes and more.

I bring up Huatulco because we'll eventually be checking out the resort. I had heard of Huatulco in the past as a gorgeous area - more upscale than traditional Mexican beach towns and much more laid back. The New York Times rightfully called it the anti-Cancun. Perhaps Americans aren't familiar with Hualtulco due to the limited amount of flights. Most flights come from Mexico City on Aeromexico while Continental Express offers a seasonal flight from Houston. Last-minute airline seats can be found even in the midst of spring break.

To get a more "personal" feel of what it's like to visit Huatulco, The Independent offers a wonderful 15 minute broadcast on Huatulco. It's definitely worth listening to.

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