Updated: Oct 18
If you’re thinking about a beach in Mexico, but you haven’t decided on which one, read on!
Now, far be it for me to tell you which beach is the best – we all like different things about beaches and beach towns - but I'll tell you the highlights (and lowlights) of the first two we went to last winter.
Maybe you'd like to party at the beach but sleep in a nearby but quieter neighbourhood? Well, head to…
If you're coming to Huatulco by ADO bus, you'll enter the quiet neighbourhood of La Crucecita.
This pretty neighbourhood, while a 15 minute walk from the beach, has a ton to offer - a quiet, laid back vibe where expat and locals will welcome you with friendly smiles. Or rent you a condo for your stay.
Its small central plaza bursts with blossoms and is a place to hang out and watch the world go by. And you'll find a diversity of shops and restaurants for any budget (even for cheap buggers like us).
Or...if you're into a busier scene, you may prefer Santa Cruz.
This area boasts higher-end hotels, bars and restaurants and a gorgeous beach that curves around a protected sapphire bay. Local gems still exist though, and we were thrilled to find the tiny, cheap taco stand behind the beach where hungry people lined up four deep.
Besides Santa Cruz (Huatulco’s main beach), the area boasts 36 beaches, most of which are scant minutes and a 30-peso taxi ride away.
Check out ‘thecrazytourist.com’ where you’ll find a great Huatulco blog that covers many fun things to do in the area.
Or maybe you like more nature? Yes? Head to…
Oops, I didn't mean nature, as in trees, mountains and the sea. I meant NATURE as in NATURAL. As in NUDE.
Everyone loves the place, my friends Rick and Donna said, grinning. I pictured tanned, lithe bodies throwing frisbees joyfully across the sand.
Getting there by Bus
They suggested we catch a taxi from Huatulco to Zipolite for $50CDN. Like their friends had yesterday. they said. They were brough right to their hotel door, they told us. Nope, thanks anyways. We're not into waiting in the cool shade with our luggage for a taxi. Nope, Aaron and I prefer sweating with heavy backpacks down street after street looking for a bus.
But we're cheap buggers. So, off we went with our packs.
No, the Expresso Colombo and ADO buses don't go to Zipolite, the guy at the terminal told us.
Pointing up the street, he said 'collectivo,' along with a bunch of other words I had no clue about. We headed the general way their finger had pointed. Ten minutes later, we hit the Soriano, a big shopping centre on the highway out of town.
"There," another finger pointed - so we went around back and down a road. This new neighbourhood was a far cry from peaceful, clean La Crucecita . Garbage strewn everywhere, blatant poverty and skinny, hungry-eyed dogs, eyeing us up. Maybe we should have taken that taxi, I thought as I stared down the dogs.
"Hay collectivos para Zipolite?" I asked a greasy man coming out from under a car.
"Dszsy jklyaljsk gerkjksl," he said. Aargh! It makes me crazy that though I've made great strides in Spanish, I cannot, for the life of me, understand directions. Ever.
But we followed his finger, and kept asking, and three helpful people later, we were at the Central Camionera Huatulco Altamar.
No, the bus doesn’t go to Zipolite, a bus driver told us. WHAT??
“But it goes to the crossroad," he added when he saw my face fall. That's close to Zipolite? I asked. "Dszsy jklyaljsk gerkjksl," Sure. OK. Crossing my fingers, I climbed in, Aaron, as always, following blindly.
Forty-five minutes later, the driver let us off, pointing to a small road off the highway, and then to a small canopied truck filled with bodies going by. "Collectivos,” he said. "Treinte pesos,” he added. 30 pesos.
“Taxi?” a waiting driver called out as we crossed the highway toward the road to Zipolite. "400 pesos," he said. Pfffh. 400 when a collectivo costs 30?
Forget it. "No, gracias," I said to the man, continuing to a spot that looked like the place to wait. We dropped our packs.
Thirty minutes later, Aaron, sweat running off his face, his chest just inches away from my nose in the scant square foot of shade available, glanced at me "Should we take the taxi?" he asked me. (I was the boss of these things, you see).
“Uh uh, I said, shaking my head. As if he was in cahoots with Aaron, the driver called to us from his taxi. "200?" he asked.
"Nope," I said to both hopeful men who sighed in unison. "One hundred," I called to the driver. It would be 60 pesos for the two of us in the collectivo, I realized suddenly. We can eat the extra 40. How much is that? $3? It didn't matter how much it was. The driver had already turned his music up and had settled back in his seat. Cheap buggers, he was saying, I'm sure.
Ten long minutes later, though, we looked up from our heat-induced stupor to see his car in front of us. "Vamos," he said, Let's go - a note of resignation in his voice. "100?" Yes. Yay - we’d saved 300 pesos from his original price. Four dollars!
So, Huatulco to Zipolite by taxi? $50. By bus? $14 (patience and perseverance needed).
We’d booked a hotel in Zipolite through Booking.com for $46. On the beach. And so much more. Stairs that threatened our well-being, greasy-windowed, pitted cement walls and, best of all, thin, old bedsheets and towels smelling of sour milk. What a deal!
It had some great hammocks out front which almost made up for the room. Almost.
And the beach was gorgeous, a mile long with restaurants, bars, cabanas and hotels along its edge that people our age should stay at,
The best place I saw (but didn't catch the name of) was at the far west end of the beach - pretty thatched cabanas, surrounded by palm trees and fronted by a sweet, private beach with some freakin' cool rocks.
If you love the idea of cavorting, eating & drinking in the buff, the Hotel Nude, a big, beautiful beachside hotel, seemed very popular. Music rocked from a patio filled with a sea of brown bodies, and as if beckoning us in, a lone hippie chick stood, her only adornment a wreath of flowers, swaying to the music with her arms to the heavens.
I've never been to a nude beach. It's a bit overwhelming to be honest - where do you look ?
I have to say, I'd rather not have seen what I saw. Yes, there were a few young and beautiful people, but the majority were grey-haired. And nothing - I mean NOTHING - close to lithe.
By the end of the first day, my lovely memories of hotdogs on elementary school Sports Days were ruined beyond repair.
If not for the overabundance of body parts I'd rather not look at in bulk, however, I’d stay in Zipolite for weeks. It's a colourful, low key little town with great cafes serving rich, dark coffee and decadent pastries and restaurants for both carnivore and vegan, spender and saver. And if you like to shop, its multitude of shops filled with jewellry, art and homespun linen clothing will thrill you.
The birdsong was what I loved best, though, lilting whistles and intricate melodies filling the air every afternoon as the air became cooler, music that lured Aaron and I ever further from the tourist zone and on to sunny roads lined with palm trees, shocking pink bougainvillea and hibiscus flowers the colour of rubies.
It was a great first taste of Mexico's beaches, but we weren't done. We were off to Playa Escondido next...stay tuned for my next blog.