Relatively few tourists, quiet golden beaches, the best sunsets, jungle landscapes and dry air, the friendliest locals…these are just a few of the many reasons Huatulco, Oaxaca is one of my new favorite places in Mexico.
If you’re considering a visit to Mexico, Huatulco is absolutely worth checking out.
With secluded resorts, secret beaches, plenty of waterfalls, coffee plantations and one of the best places in to the world to watch baby turtles hatch, you definitely won’t run out of things to do here!
In this post, you will find an overview and travel guide to visiting Huatulco Mexico and the top 14 things to do while you’re there.
(This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase I may make a small commission. I only share information about things I know, love and trust!)
Tips for Visiting Huatulco Mexico
On the Pacific coast, with the looming Sierra Madre mountain range as its backdrop, Huatulco is a region made up of nine bays and over 30 beaches.
Huatulco is pronounced like: “wah-tool-co.”
Where is Huatulco Mexico?
Huatulco is in the State of Oaxaca, in the very south of Mexico on the Pacific Ocean.
It’s located in one of the southern states called Oaxaca ( “wah-haak-kah”).
You’ll notice there isn’t really a town called Huatulco if you google it. It’s simply the name for the small area in the state.
It’s one of Mexico’s most recent regions that was designated to be developed for tourism.
A lot of people describe Huatulco as how Cancun was in the early 90s.
A lot of cruise ships visit the area at the Santa Cruz port, which is close to the town of La Crucecita. This is the most populated town in the area and worth a visit, more on that below.
Huatulco Airport: What You Need to Know
The modest palapa-style airport will get you through in no time.
Then, it’s only about 30 minutes to the beach-lined strip of all-inclusive mid-range and luxury resorts.
Tip: be sure to get a pic with the beautiful butterfly mural! It’s in the departures area!
Looking for more hidden gems in Mexico? Read This – Visit Mérida, a Hidden Gem City in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
What’s the Weather like in Huatulco, Mexico?
Huatulco gets very hot since this area is much closer to the equator than other more popular areas like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.
When I visited during the month of March, I was surprised how dry and arid it was!
So if you’re searching for somewhere to visit in Mexico with low humidity, Huatulco is a dry-air lovers’ paradise!
May is the hottest month and January is the coldest month in Huatulco.
Weather in High Season (Winter)
November through March is the best time to visit Huatulco. These months have the most hot sunny days and minimal rain.
Inside tip: the sun’s rays are very powerful here. If you have skin that’s used to the northern hemisphere, be cautious. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen, at least for the first few days.
Weather in Low Season (Summer)
Huatulco rainy season typically runs from May to October, although the rain tends to not last very long and most days will still be sunny.
Sun Protection is Extra Important in Huatulco
When traveling to places like Mexico, it’s important to make sure your sunscreen is biodegradable and safe for the ocean and reefs.
We want to make sure we don’t damage the beautiful natural environments we get to swim in!
Try a mineral-based sunscreen that’s also reef safe, free from most nasty chemicals and is carry-on sized!
I would recommend bringing a rash guard for the pool.
My sunburn in Huatulco was so much worse than my previous trips to Mexico (you are so close to the equator here).
Most people get a pretty bad sunburn from the pool on the first day, and then spend the rest of the time in the shade.
Bring a long-sleeved rash guard with you, as the ones at the resort gift shop usually run for close to $100 (Amazon is way cheaper lol)!
Is Huatulco Safe for Tourists?
Huatulco is completely safe for tourists. As a relatively secluded and less-visited part of Mexico, there is minimal (if any at all) dangerous activity that occurs here.
Since there’s no big city, it’s a small, rural feel where the locals you do meet are very laid back and friendly.
13 Best Things To Do in Huatulco
Wondering what to do in Huatulco besides hanging out at an all-inclusive resort?
Whether you elect to stay on a resort or in your own villa, there are endless activities, several places to visit and fun adventures to be had down the coastline.
Some of my favorite Huatulco activities were the waterfalls, mudbaths and natural jacuzzi water!
Here’s my list of list of the best things to do in Huatulco Mexico:
1. Try the Mezcal
First thing’s first, get your drink on! Mezcal is the local drink down here. While very similar to its cousin, Tequila, it’s a little different.
Have some fun trying the different flavors wherever you end up, it’s always on the menu!
I recommend taking this tour early on in your trip.
On the tour, you’ll go for a mezcal tasting and be brought to several scenic overlooks in the area and browse through the shops of La Crucecita.
Don’t forget to pack a few of these bottle protectors for your trip!
If you’re planning to bring home any bottles of mezcal (or anything else), these sleeves protect your bottles in your luggage.
They’re also leak-proof on the rare chance that they do break.
I’ve used these for several trips now, and my bottles always come home safe!
2. Find the Secret Natural Jacuzzi Bath
One of the most fun things in Huatulco that I discovered was this hidden lagoon that was basically a natural hot tub!
Complete with ‘jets’ and everything!
It’s easiest to get here if you’re staying at the Huatulco Secrets Hotel, since it’s located at the end of the beach.
But, you can still access it through the public trail to get to this beach.
If you’re standing on the beach looking at the ocean, look all the way to the right and find the big rock formations.
You will have to climb over a few to get into the little pool area.
The waves from the ocean constantly splash over into this small cove, but the large rocks keep everything protected and calm so that you can lounge.
Since it’s pretty shallow, the water stays a perfect warm bath temperature.
3. Take a Street Food Cooking Class
If you’re looking for something unique to do in Huatulco, this cooking class will fit the bill.
Not only will you be fully immersed in learning how to make local dishes, the instructors teach you about the history and significance of the ingredients and dishes.
We’re talking homemade (real) salsa, tortillas and tacos and hibiscus margaritas!
After participating in this hands on experience you leave with your own recipe book!
4. Visit the Hagia Sofia Ecological Park
This is a botanical garden and ecological paradise. Up in the mountains, you’ll be greeted by incredible species of flora and views of the bays.
Tranquility surrounds you as trails lead you through the many different gardens.
You’ll pass streams and bridges that eventually lead you to a waterfall among vast boulders. A must visit in the area.
You might also like: The Best Waterfalls and Hot Springs in the Mexican Pacific
5. Get Up Close to Crocodiles and Turtles
This is definitely a hidden gem activity in Huatulco.
Hope on an eco tour and see the preservation efforts of the area and view these exotic animals in their natural habitat.
On this tour you will cruise through the mangroves and search for crocs.
Then you will head to a turtle sanctuary.
On the way back you will pass through a couple rural communities to observe their way of life and have a chance to visit local shops and support the local economy.
6. Hike to Cascadas Mágicas (Magic Falls)
If hiking in Huatulco is on your list of things to do, this is definitely a place you want to check out.
Here, you will trek through the jungle in a 4×4 vehicle until you come to a river.
Through the jungle and up the mountainside a hidden river will take you to Cascadas Magicas.
After passing mini waterfalls, you will come to the main one and can splash around in the clear lagoon!
This tour company will bring you there and will also take you to a nearby coffee plantation where you can taste the freshest coffee you’ve ever had!
7. Get a Mud Bath at La Bocana Beach (This Was My Favorite Activity in Huatulco)
Of all the Huatulco beaches, Playa La Bocana is my favorite, and a real hidden gem that you won’t read about anywhere else.
If you’re staying at Secrets Resort, it’s about a 20 minute walk from the complex.
Or you can grab a taxi for less than $10usd. If you arrive by taxi, you’ll turn off the highway onto a cobblestone road.
You’ll pass by local shops and restaurants, one even boats homemade banana bread, a must try.
The beach here is gorgeous, usually quiet and the water is shallow and safe enough to play in the small waves.
On arrival, you will be dropped off at the entrance to the beach; it looks like a small scale malecon or promenade.
Chances are, you’ll be met by the mud bath ladies! They are descendants of the Zapotec people who created this ancient healing technique.
The Mud Bath Experience
This is seriously the most underrated attraction in Huatulco!
In their clay pots they carry a special mud.
It’s a mixture of sand from the beach, saltwater and fresh water.
For about 100 pesos per person, they cover you from head to toe in this mud.
In the process of covering you with mud, they use a massage-like technique; so you get a mini massage and an exfoliating treatment all at once!
Once you’re completely covered, you dry out in the sun.
As it dries, it acts like a natural sunscreen.
Under the hot and direct equatorial sun, you’re completely cool and comfortable.
After about 10 minutes the clay is now dry and the mud ladies then rub it off.
It’s another round of massage and exfoliation, completely different sensations from the first application.
After it’s all removed they direct you to take a dip in the ocean. Time to wash off all remaining dried mud.
What you’re left with is the softest smoothest skin you’ve has since you were a baby.
No word of a lie, my skin stayed this smooth for 4 days!
8. See Gardens and Ruins at Copalita Ecological Park
If you’re still up for more adventure, about ten minutes passed La Bocana is the Copalita ecological park and ruins.
This site is about 35 hectares in size; it includes a network of trails throughout the lush jungle and some amazing views of jarring cliffs overlooking the copalita river.
These ruins are interesting because they are one of two ruins in Mexico located located on the coast.
The other Mexico beach ruins are in Tulum.
This tour will provide you with a knowledgeable local guide of this archaeological site.
A must do activity in Huatulco for those interested in the fascinating history of the ancient cities of Mexico.
9. Release Baby Turtles in Mazunte
Now we head a little north of Huatulco.
If you can manage a full day trip away from the resort area, or if you’d like to spend several days up along the cost, I highly recommend a visit to the town of Mazunte.
Well known for being a laid-back hippie town, this is the perfect destination for those interested in slow travel.
It’s also a creative mind’s paradise!
Time is slow here, it’s not high tech or fancy, but there’s a small beach town charm that draws any visitor in.
Tip: Eat at La Empanada and stop for a smoothie at El Tiburon.
Next, be sure to pay a visit to the National Turtle Centre in Mazunte (Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga).
Here you can learn about the conservation work the government has been doing to protect the dwindling turtle population in the area.
You will learn how they protect these important creatures from when the adults bury their eggs in the beach to when the eggs hatch.
The baby turtles make the dangerous run from their nest to the water and survival rates are usually quite low in unprotected areas.
And if you’re visiting during hatch season you can help them get safely to the ocean.
Want more hiking while you’re in the Huatulco area?
You can also head over to Punta Cometa and climb up for some of the best views of the bay.
It’s about a 10-15 minute hike up, with a few trail head options.
The easiest is from the southwest end of Playa (beach) Rinconcito.
You can also get there from the other beach, Playa Mermejita.
TRAVEL TIP: plan a visit to watch the sunset, so bring a flashlight for your return back to town.
Also, there’s another small beach area with a natural jacuzzi, don’t miss this hidden gem when you’re there.
10. Chill Out at Zipolite Beach
Just west of Puerto Angel is Ziploite Beach, about 45 minutes from the Huatulco airport.
The draw here is that it’s one of the few remaining beaches in Mexico that allow nudism.
It’s also quite liberal about other recreational activities (for those who enjoy the Cannabis variety).
The word is starting to get out about this small Mexican town.
For now, however, the charm and allure of the beach bum barefoot backpack yogi traveler still projects.
Check out this post by Along Dusty Roads about this perfect beach bum town.
11. Visit Puerto Escondido for Adventure
In your travel research you might also come across the question as to whether or not you should visit Huatulco or Puerto Escondido.
While I love Huatulco for it’s quiet and unassuming vibe, for the adventurous traveler type, you might get a little bored here.
When compared to Huatulco, Puerto Escondido is much busier and has more of a party atmosphere.
Puerto Escondido is better known for it’s lively nightlife and busy beaches for the best surf.
12. Canyon River Slide and Hike Experience
On this tour, you’ll hike along the river bank, float down the river (including going down natural waterslides) and then find the natural whirlpools for free hydrotherapy!
You’ll also learn how to rappel down into the canyon to reach a calm swimming area. Lunch is included!
13. Nine Bay Boat Tour
One of the most impressive natural features of this area is the 9 bays, all with different beaches.
On this full day boat tour, you’ll glide through the different bays, catch glimpses of incredible rock formations and stop at hidden beaches and go snorkeling.
You’ll stop at a small beach town for lunch, and bring a bag or backpack because you can bring your own drinks on board!
14. Huatulco Beaches
Huatulco is most famous for its 9 different bays, all of which have pristine beaches – dozens of them!
Because these beaches are all found tucked away in bays, the water is shallow and calm – perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Here are some of the best beaches in Huatulco.
Playa La Entrega
Playa La Entrega is one of the most popular beaches in Huatulco because its large, is good for young swimmers, has plenty of restaurants and is very accessible to get to. The water is clear and full of beautiful, bright colored fish.
Bahía (Playa) Maguey
This beach has clear turquoise water and soft golden sand. It’s large and wide and lined with several palapa-roof restaurants.
Head to Orgáno Bay if you want a secluded beach with perfect water and not many other tourists or locals.
There are no facilities here, so bring your own drinks and snacks. Despite this, the views and tranquility are worth it!
You can even walk here from Centro de Bahías de Huatulco in about 15 to 20 minutes, but it’s not really accessible by car.
Playa Chahué is known for its beach clubs in which you can buy day passes for.
The beach is beautiful but the undertow is very strong and not ideal for swimming.
Come here if you want great views and your toes in the sand while you sip tropical drinks.
Playa Tangolunda is where the Barcelo and Dreams Resorts are located, but the public can access the beach.
If you’re not a guest at these resorts you can also buy a day pass to access the beach and amenities.
As far as swimming goes, the beach drops off fast and the water gets deep, so only strong swimmers are advised to go in the water.
If you want to visit a few of these beaches, I recommend this bay tour.
Your guide will bring you to several of the best beaches throughout the bays of Huatulco, where you’ll be the first to show up before the crowds.
Where to Stay in Huatulco
Huatulco has a variety of different types of accommodations to choose from, including all inclusive resorts, hotels and vacation rentals.
All-Inclusive Resorts in Huatulco
Most people choose to stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts located on the beach.
The nice thing about Huatulco is that the many bays allow the resorts to be spread out.
They are all far enough apart that you feel like you’re the only resort in the area, nothing like Cancun.
Most of them are situated on their own little piece of one of the nine bays.
So, any resort you choose in Huatulco will have plenty of calm water for swimming and playing around in the ocean.
I loved my stay at Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, an adult-only resort more on the luxurious side, but it was worth the extra few hundred dollars.
What I loved about this resort was that every room has a view of the ocean.
Also, the sky lounge was the most amazing place to have a sunset cocktail overlooking the bay at dusk.
Tip: Spice, the Asian-fusion teppanyaki-style restaurant, is the most popular dinner spot here. Be sure to make reservations on your first or second day to get a chance to dine here.
Dreams Huatulco is another fantastic all-inclusive option which offers great value. It’s perfect for families with young kids, but also has an adult-only section.
There are three massive pools that face the ocean and almost feel like infinity pools.
And the pristine beach is very swimmable, with nice sand and calm water since it’s in an alcove bay.
For more information, read my in-depth guide which compares the top 3 all-inclusive resorts in Huatulco.
If you’re the type of traveler who prefers to get off the beaten path, you have plenty of options.
There are many villas tucked away in the hills of the Huatulco region.
Anywhere between La Crucecita and La Bocana would be a great choice to plan your base camp.
Like this condo with 360 degree views from the balcony.
Or some stunning cliff-side views from your infinity pool at places like this:
Need a rental car?
Discover Cars compares prices across all major car rental companies (including the ones at the Huatulco HUX airport).
Since Huatulco is a small airport, it’s best to reserve your car in advance.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Huatulco and What You Can Do There
I am most definitely a sun-seeker and love getting away to hot climates. I’m not a huge fan of humidity though, so the weather is one of the main reasons I loved this part of Mexico so much.
It’s a dry heat which makes it perfect for those who struggle with humidity. Also, I love cacti and this place is full of them. You get tropical and desert all in one!
For a tourism and resort area, Huatulco seems just that much more authentic compared to other destinations on the Pacific coast.
Since there’s a large population in the state of Oaxaca, many locals travel to this area for their own family vacations.
So that means there are tons of authentic things to do that you won’t find in other parts of Mexico.
And not only is this place perfect for families, I’d say it’s a perfect honeymoon destination as well. Each resort is a little more secluded from the others and the sunset are stunningly romantic.
Plus, there’s a great selection of adult-only resorts that would make for a perfect couples’ getaway.
Since this is such a special part of Mexico to visit with unique geography, it provides lots of opportunity for those who like to try out and discover new activities.
But, if I had to pick my top 3 best things to do in Huatulco, I would recommend:
getting a mud bath at La Bocana Beach, taking a cooking class and visiting the Magic Waterfalls and coffee plantation tour.
Don’t Forget Your Beach Vacation Essentials!
If you’re planning to do any snorkeling, it’s best to bring your own gear. That way you can head out on your own whenever you want, and you also avoid the used masks they provide you on tours.
And this lightweight low profile beach chair folds up in to a perfect carrying bag. Plant yourself in the sand and enjoy!
And an insulated beach tote to pack a few beers, coolers and bottled water to stay hydrated!
Thanks for reading! If you’ve been to Huatulco I’d love to hear about your personal favorite places, as I know I will be heading back sometime soon!
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