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Huatulco Basics

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Huatulco, also known as the Bahias de Huatulco, is a tourist development located on the Pacific coast of Oaxaca state. Huatulco's tourism industry is centered around its nine bays. The population of the area is around 30,000 people.

Huatulco was developed in the mid 1980s by FONATUR, Mexico's tourism development agency. The economy of the region is based almost entirely on tourism. It is a beautiful place with a very laid back atmosphere. Huatulco is one of the cleanest and greenest developments in Mexico, with populated areas interspersed with large green zones.

This is the tropics, and Huatulco can be very hot and humid. Sunshine can be expected about 330 days a year with the average temperature of 82° F (28° C). The Dry Season extends from December to May, and the Rainy Season lasts from June to November.

Huatulco Map


First Impressions


Depending on the last port you visited, more than likely you'll probably arrive in Huatulco in mid-morning. Even then, the approach to Huatulco sneaks up on you. The shoreline is really beautiful...some bays are placid, but Santa Cruz bay is quite rocky on its sides, while there is a very pleasant beach and a small marina sharing space with the Cruise Ship Pier.

Your ship will dock at the Cruise Ship Pier in Santa Cruz bay. From the Pier, the beach is on the left side, and the marina is on the right side. Just behind the beach you'll find a number of restaurant/bars and a small retail center, with shops selling souvenirs, tours, wines and liquors and other services.

Santa Cruz Bay is just south of the village of La Crucecita. Only a mile away from the Pier, La Crucecita is worth a visit, if only to shop for the famous Oaxacan Alebrijes figures (see picture, right). Alebrijes are brightly-colored folk art sculptures of fantastical animal-like creatures, originally created by the artist Pedro Linares.

The main luxury hotel district is located on Tangolunda bay, a short $50 pesos taxi ride from Santa Cruz bay. The master plan for Huatulco calls for greenbelt space to be left between building projects, and areas for future development are being carefully selected to minimize environmental impact. Distinguishing itself from Cancun, hotels and other buildings in the area cannot exceed a height of six stories.

Antelope
©2007 TheDesignCage, under cc-by-sa license

Time Zone


Huatulco is on Central Time, six hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or five hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the first Sunday of April, and ends on the last Sunday of October.

 

Language


Spanish is universally spoken in Huatulco; most of the shopkeepers catering to tourists also speak English.


Travel Advisory


The U. S. Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

"Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The TCOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity...

"There is no evidence that U.S. tourists have been targeted by criminal elements due to their citizenship. Nonetheless, while in Mexico you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and exercise particular caution in unfamiliar areas..."


Dealing with Money in Huatulco


Currency

Mexican Peso

The Peso is Mexico's official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the peso amount. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 pesos. Coinage comes in denominations of 50 centavos, and $1, $2, $5 and $10 pesos.

Just be aware that larger notes (e.g., $500 Peso notes) are often difficult to change.

The current US Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rate is as follows:

Banks and ATMs

ATM machines can be found in most of the hotels in the resort area. In addition, banks with ATM machines area can be found at the following bank locations:

  • HSBC: has an ATM at the Bahia de Santa Cruz, near the marina, as well as just south of the square in La Crucecita.

  • Santander: has a branch with an ATM machine at Blvd. Chahue #164. People with Bank of America accounts aren't charged a fee when using a Santander ATM.

See our Huatulco ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.

Using US Dollars in Huatulco

Pesos, or credit cards for that matter, would probably be a better way to pay for the things you're going to buy in Huatulco. The larger hotels and higher-end shops will accept US dollars, but you may not get a very favorable exchange rate. And if you do use dollars in a smaller shop, they more than likely won't have change for anything larger than a $20 bill, unless the change is in pesos.


Weather


Huatulco is hot and humid year-round. From November through February, the average high temperatures are in the low 80s F (about 30° C). During the evenings, it frequently feels cool enough to wear a sweater. The wind blows off the Pacific in Huatulco, making the evenings quite nice.

The rainy season lasts from May to October, but as with most monsoonal areas, rains tend to be fierce and brief in the late afternoon, leaving the evenings dry and cooled off. September brings the highest levels of humidity and sees the heaviest rains.

The hurricane season stretches from August to the end of October.

The surface water temperature from May through November ranges from 82° to 90° F (28° to 32° C). From December through April, the temperature ranges from 72° to 77° F (22° to 25° C).

Huatulco Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 82 84 89 92 92 91 91 91 89 86 83 82
Avg High - C 28 29 32 33 33 33 33 33 32 30 28 28
Avg Low - F 64 64 68 70 72 73 73 73 73 71 67 65
Avg Low - C 18 18 20 21 22 23 23 23 23 22 19 18

Huatulco Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 0.1 0.4 0.7 1.3 4.3 12.8 7.8 11.8 13.1 5.7 0.9 0.3
Avg, mm 3 9 16 31 104 313 191 290 320 139 21 7

Beach in Huatulco

Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Huatulco

Internet Cafes

You can find several cyber cafes in the nearby village of La Crucecita, a pleasant 20-minute walk or a 5-minute taxi ride from Santa Cruz Bay. The rates are very reasonable, ranging from $20 to $50 pesos per hour.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi is a good option in Huatulco as well. The following venues feature Wi-Fi connections:

  • Both the Club de Playa Chahue and the Castillo Beach Club, located on Playa Chahue, have Wi-Fi. There's nothing like enjoying the beach while checking your email.

  • The Terra-Cotta Restaurant at the Mision Los Arcos Hotel has wireless connections. Located at Gardenia 902, in La Crucecita.

  • The Casa Mayor Restaurant, located at the corner of Bugambilia and Flamboyant, in La Crucecita, also features Wi-Fi. Enjoy your lunch or a couple of beers, and ask your waiter for the WEP access code.

  • Cafe Juanita also provides Wi-Fi; its breakfasts and lunches are excellent as well. Located at 311 Palma Real, in La Crucecita.

See our Huatulco Internet Cafe Map for the locations of the above internet access points.

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Travelers with American cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in Mexico. You can also buy a "Mexico plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details.

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Huatulco area is provided by local partner Iusacell.
Data services: Through partner Iusacell, Verizon offers EVDO coverage in the greater Huatulco area.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Huatulco area is provided by Telcel and Telefonica.
Data services: AT&T offers 3G service in the Huatulco area through its partners Telcel and Telefonica.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in the Huatulco area is provided by partner Iusacell, and with partners Telcel and Telefonica when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Iusacel, Sprint offers EVDO coverage in the Huatulco area. Sprint also offers 3G coverage in Huatulco when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in the Huatulco area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in the Huatulco area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.

Kindle Connectivity

In Huatulco, you can download your Kindle 3G data through Telcel's EDGE/GPRS coverage in the area.

Internet Cafe














Samsung Galaxy S III

Local Holidays & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Huatulco in 2014:

  • Ano Nuevo (New Year's Day), January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and fiestas.

  • Dia de los Santos Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), January 6. A national holiday celebrating the New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. It's the day that children receive gifts as well as shoes full of candy, and people buy a pastry called rosca de reyes.

  • Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution Day), February 5. Public holiday commemorating the signing of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The day is usually marked by festivals and street celebrations.

  • Carnaval (Mardis Gras), February 26 to March 4.

  • Birthday of Benito Juarez, March 21. A public holiday celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic in the second half of the 19th century.

  • Semana Santa (Holy Week), April 13 to 20. A religious and a secular holiday in Mexico, where you'll see processions and passion plays taking place in the city. Easter takes place on the 20th.

  • Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), May 1. A national holiday.

  • Cinco de Mayo, May 5. A Mexican holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army defeated a French force twice its size just south of Mexico City. Not as big a deal in Mexico as it is in the US.

  • Independence Day, September 16. Look for the delivery of the "El Grito de Dolores," the official grunt that marks the day.

  • Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day), October 12. Dia de la Raza is how Mexico celebrates Columbus Day.

  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), November 1 to 2. A day when celebrants honor the deceased. In the town center (Zocalo) and at nearby cemeteries, locals will celebrate with music and decorate shrines with flowers and photos.

  • Revolution Day, November 17. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), December 12. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint.

  • Las Posadas, December 16 to 24. Commemorates the New Testament story of Joseph and Mary's search for shelter in Bethlehem. You'll see candlelight processions as celebrants stop at various nativity scenes.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.
Virgin of Guadalupe

Huatulco Cruise Port Schedules


Huatulco is a boutique port for ships making Panama Canal cruises to and from Caribbean and Pacific Coast ports. Cruise ships begin to arrive in mid-September and continue making port through early March.

As a general rule, cruise ship passengers will spend about 8 hours in Huatulco.

In 2014, Huatulco is slated to host 47,000 passengers sailing on 29 ships, up 12% and 7%, respectively, from 2013. For further information, see our Huatulco Cruise Ship Schedule - 2014.

Blue Heron

Cruise Lines Making Port in Huatulco


The following cruise lines will make port in Huatulco in 2014:

Holland America Norwegian
Regent Cruises Oceania icon Oceania Cruises
Crystal icon Crystal Cruises
Cruise Ship


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