HuatulcoIf you are looking for a vacation with a difference then the south-western coast of Mexico could be worth a closer look at it has a great laid-back personality.  For a start there is a glorious backdrop of the southern Sierra Madre Mountains, and then there are the fabulous beaches stretching across nine bays.

It’s a very peaceful destination, and it’s easy to let all your cares and worries slip away as you breathe in the tropical aroma while lying on a gorgeous beach.  If you feel like doing something that is more active than you could always watch the fishermen are bringing in their catch, knowing that the seafood you choose in the restaurant tonight will be super fresh.  It really does have the feeling of being completely unspoiled, as there is a 35 km stretch of beach which doesn’t exhibit any signs of real development.  It’s true that you may spot the odd hut, but in general this area remains an untouched paradise where you are more likely to see a 4.5 metre high cactus then to encounter a busy bar.

Lots of people haven’t even heard about this little corner of Mexico which is called the Bahias de Huatulco which is incredibly difficult to pronounce correctly.  It is located in the Oaxacan Riviera, which is also home to Oaxaca City.  Visitors who are interested in history will definitely want to visit the city which has a rich archaeological history.

Although Huatulco is located on the Riviera, it is completely different from other Mexican resorts located on the Caribbean Riviera, such as Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco.  This isn’t to say it’s a really sleep little place, as it does have a lively but laid-back personality, but unlike a number of other Mexican resorts, this particular one has been developed extremely carefully.

This careful planning began as far back as the late 1960’s under the government of the time.  The government run tourism body identified Huatulco as being ripe for development, as at the time it was extremely quiet and quite primitive, with some areas only being accessible by boat.  The original plan was for Huatulco to be developed into a resort similar to that of Acapulco or Cancun, and is difficult to imagine but these early plans called for 75,000 hotel rooms by 2020.  To put this into perspective Acapulco has just 60,000 hotel rooms.

It was only after extensive campaigning that the decision was made to designate two thirds of the region as a national preserve.  This was actually quite farsighted for the time, as the economy in Mexico is fairly reliant on tourism.  Other excellent decisions included rules which meant no resort could be more than three stories high, and there are even restrictions as to the colour of the resort.  The largest bay is Tangolunda, and it has seven hotels, the obligatory golf course, restaurants and cafes and a few private homes.  There are five gorgeous beaches here for vacationers to enjoy, and watersports include kayaking and jet skiing.  It will be easy to spend all your time on the beach, but the surrounding countryside is well worth exploring.

“Huatulco has carved out a refreshingly vibrant, yet laid-back personality . . . ” (September 29, 2007)

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