A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

Fist Impressions of Huatulco

No more polar fleece

Huatulco is very different than San Miguel, both physically and culturally. While there was and still is a small town here, La Crucecita which is located a short distance off the water, the rest of the area is a planned spread out resort community with significant infrastructure investment starting in 2008. We all know what happened economically that year.

mapa_eng.jpg

Huatulco is on the ocean just off the foothills of the Sierra Madre range. 9 beautiful bays collectively known as Bahias de Huatulco are strung along the coast, 5 of which are designated for tourist development, the other 4 remain as natural areas where only eco projects are allowed. There are 35 beaches found among the 9 bays. Huatulco has won national and international awards for sustainable development and for its protection of the environment.

Just around the corner is Parque Nacional Huatulco which protects 119 sq km of land, sea and shoreline including some of Huatulco's most important coral reefs. It was initially declared a protected area and later decreed as a National Park on July 24, 1998.

Lots of new and very nice roads, sidewalks, planted walkways, stores, restaurants, condos are found where we are staying in the very small community of Santa Cruz located around a marina and small protected port. Remember that old saying: “build it and they will come”, unfortunately they didn’t show up. This is high tourist season and while it’s not a ghost town, it does have a somewhat Twilight Zone quality to it from the lack of folks walking around.

Copy_of_IMG_3058.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3054.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3048.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3043.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3039.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3026.jpg

There are numerous building projects that have come to halt and are left unfinished altho much of the community is completed and attractively done in a Mexican Colonial style. All of the building has been done for the tourist industry with boutiques, craft markets, restaurants, etc and a Zocolo or mail square. A pier has been constructed out into the bay for the cruse ships to dock at.

Copy_of_IMG_3035.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3038.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3056.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3028.jpg

Between the two communities of La Crucecita and Santa Cruz is a sizable hill where they blasted a very wide walkway large enough to build retail stores on both side of the walking area. The entire walkway has been landscaped and they have multiple security people in the area but not one retail store has been constructed.

Copy_of_IMG_3052.jpg

A little further down the coast are a whole series of high-end resorts including all-inclusives such as Dreams, Secrets, etc. plus a large golf course. We think that there are probably lots of folks staying in those resorts that don’t venture out all that often because nearly everything they came to enjoy in Mexico can be found with in a few steps.

It’s been a bit of a cultural shock coming from the old historical town of San Miguel de Allende to the newish, touristy area of Huatulco. Then there’s the heat. No more polar fleece, no more finding extra blankets. It’s hot and humid here.

When we went looking for a place to stay here last June, we thought that there would be lots of places but to our surprise there wasn’t much available, in fact, unless we wanted to spend very big bucks, just about nothing. We wanted a stand alone apartment but we ended up booking into a small all-inclusive that had great ratings. We knew it wouldn’t have the character of our place in SM and were right. We’re having to change mindset, relax (neither of us are good at that) and appreciate having a nice pool, and someone to make our bed and cook our meals. Our morning even began with a trip to the elliptical trainer and stationary bike instead of a march up and down the hill. Seems a lot of the guests here are Mexican families with small children so meals are on Mexican time and have a selection of Mexican fare which is neat from a cultural perspective. In the pool this afternoon, after our walk around Santa Cruz, there were a number of over weight gringos so I guess we found our culture.

393597.jpg39663D050648E69839811F1961735863.jpg904655.jpg510548.jpg562946.jpg754240.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3034.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 16:17 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

La Crucecita

It's still hot

Today we decided to venture to La Crucecita, the small town within walking distance of Santa Cruz. La Crucecita means "The small Cross" and it is located on a plateau only a kilometre from the bay. La Crucecita is the place in Huatulco that most closely resembles a real Mexican town. Its central plaza has a church whose interior is covered with naive frescoes; on the ceiling is a fresco of what locals claim is the largest Madonna in the world. You can dine, hang out at a bar or sidewalk café, and browse in boutiques. You'll also find a bank, bus station, and Internet cafés here.

Copy_of_IMG_3067.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3075.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3076.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3078.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3079.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3081.jpg90_Copy_of_IMG_3082.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3084.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3085.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3086.jpg

To get there we took the new walkway that we ventured partway up yesterday. It was a hot and windy 30-minute walk. As we walked towards the square we came across a couple of shops where men were making various beautiful textiles on large foot pedal looms. Around the square the shops were catering to the tourists selling the usual tourist stuff with a few silver stores, and of course, cold beer. After a wander about the town we decided to head back over the cement brick road to our place for lunch and a lounge by the pool. It’s a tough job but some has to do it.

Copy_of_IMG_3068.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3070.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3072.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3074.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3089.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3090.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3092.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 16:53 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Binniquenda

Slow Day

Gail was feeling under the weather again today so we didn’t venture out but stayed around the pool area. We did however do a light workout in the hotel’s small gym in the morning. It was a mostly shady day with a very light sprinkle in the afternoon and we camped under a palapa for most of the day.

Yesterday we had a local doctor, who spoke pretty good English, come to our hotel room in the morning. Gail has a lower gi track issues but it’s probably not related to being in Mexico as she started feeling this way while on Pender Island before we left. The usual doctor's clinic visit in Mexico is around $5-10 USD but because this was an actual house call from a physician who specializes in treating ill Gringos, it was $100 which we will get back from our travel insurance. The doctors suggested one low dose med and eat a restricted diet for a couple of days. I won't tell you about my gas......

The Binniquenda is a small all-inclusive hotel with only 70 rooms. It has 1-bedroom units and small suites. It very clean, tidy and the staff are friendly and try to please their guests. After being here 3 days we have determined that the guests are pretty well split between Canadians on charter flights from central and eastern Canada and middle class Mexican families with preschool age children. The food is ok, not fancy and served in the Mexican style, late lunches and dinner.

Copy_of_IMG_3117.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3114.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3110.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3109.jpg

After dinner there is a different floorshow every night, we attended last night’s “Disco-Boogie Musical” and they really try hard to put on an entertaining show. We are not right on the ocean however they have a beach club on the water we have access to but we have not taken the shuttle bus for a visit yet.

Copy_of_IMG_3107.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3105.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3104.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3100.jpg

There is large under cover area set with tables for eating plus a smaller space with open sky that holds only a few tables but is where we head when possible. They have a snack bar that serves up burgers and nachos during the day close to the pool plus a couple of bars open at different times. Like most all-inclusives, they have a separate restaurant where guests eat once a week and are required to dress up a bit, we have not yet had the pleasure.

Copy_of_IMG_3099.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3098.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3064.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3062.jpg

We have started to look at options of things to do while in the area. There is both a Parque Botanico and a separate Parque Nacional that’s on our list. We would also like to do a day trip north to Puerto Escondido and Puerto Ang

Posted by backtomexico 16:59 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Laze about, day 2

That's what you do at the beach

Gail was feeling better today, whether despite or due to the meds from the doc so we decided to go check out the hotel’s beach club. Armed with books and masks and snorkels we headed out in the van for the 5 minute ride to the beach. Amazing what photographers can do for travel brochures. The club turned out to be a bunch of beach chairs and umbrellas squished together with a nice fellow happy to hand out cold beer or whatever. The good news was that we got there early so got the beachfront seats and lunch was provided within an hour of the designated time.

Copy_of_IMG_3120.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3133.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3135.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3136.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3138.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3139.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3143.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3145.jpg

It’s amazing what sitting by the ocean can do to one’s frame of mind. We stared at the water for a while, watched the other tourists, talked to the various birds that came looking for snacks, checked out the tourist wares offered to us, and declined having our hair braided numerous times. No ride on the banana boat either. In between we read our books, took a dip, and chatted with yet another couple from Saskatchewan. A large tug used to help the cruise ships dock pulled in along with a small navy boat. Oh, and of course, Fred took pictures. A short walk back to the hotel and its time for a glass of wine and nap before dinner.

Copy_of_IMG_3124.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3127.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3159.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3147.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3150.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3153.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3161.jpg

Maybe the change in mindset is starting to kick in. On the way back we found a great deal on special mugs for all our friends back home.

Copy_of_IMG_3172.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 15:58 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

More on the Mexican Medical system

The doctor thinks he might like Canada

Decided to get a second opinion on Gail’s intestinal issues so called up the Gastroenterologist in town. Yes, he answered the phone and said come on over. We jumped in a cab and got lost in La Crucetia which is hard in a town of 13,000. After a bit of consultation we arrived at the doctor’s office and were greeted by the doctor and taken into his office which was papered with certificates of education and achievement. No glamour, no air conditioning, and we had to speak loudly over the noise of the traffic outside. We showed him the probotics that we’d brought from Canada. He liked the French side, said it was easier for him to read. Forty-five minutes later after an exam and chat about Canadian healthcare we were off with 2 new prescriptions that hopefully will do the trick.

Copy_of_IMG_3189.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3194.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3191.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3196.jpg

Since we were missing the hills of San Miguel de Allende, after lunch we decided to head over to the beach down, or should I say up the road. Of course we waited until 2 p.m. when the sun was good and hot to head out. The road went uphill for 50 minutes with beautiful views of brilliant blue water and surf down the coast. The houses and sidewalks petered out after the first couple of minutes and we were walking on the somewhat paved shoulder through a very dry forest of deciduous trees. No other walkers out here. We went past the Naval base (Fred even took pictures without getting detained) and then downhill to the beach, our hike toke a little over an hour.

Copy_of_IMG_3205.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3207.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3211.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3212.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3214.jpg

It was a small-protected bay lined with restaurants offering shade and cold beer. The eating establishments were all on thin narrow strips of beach one jammed right next to each other. As we passed each one, a waiter would try to entice us to sit at one of their tables. It was quite windy and there were many young surfers heading out to catch the short waves into the bay. There were a few gringos at the beach but mostly Mexican families playing in the waves.

Copy_of_IMG_3219.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3248.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3223.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3225.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3226.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3236.jpg

After enjoying the sights and a dip in the ocean we headed back up the road towards home. The return trip was 20 minutes shorter. It was nice get out, stretch our legs and see another side of Hautulco.

Copy_of_IMG_3238.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3243.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3256.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 18:41 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

I never want to see another Topes

Or a reducer either

Today we rented a car so that Fred could revisit Puerto Escondido where he had been nearly 40 years ago. Puerto Escondido is about 97 miles north of Huatulco but we took the long route so we could visit a couple of other small towns on the way.

The road north of Huatulco goes through a huge national park. The area is dry brown scrub with a few small homes scattered about and not much sign of agriculture. The road is pretty good although quite windy. It’s often 1½ lanes in each direction. In Mexico there is an interesting system where the shoulder is paved and the solid or dotted passing line indicator is between the main travel lane and the shoulder. When a driver wants to pass, the car that is being passed and any on-coming cars go to the shoulder and the passer goes down the middle. Seems to work. In other places the shoulders are pretty much non-existent. Fred and our Renault Elf did just fine.

To slow drivers down around villages in Mexico they build topes or here they’re also called reductors – speed bumps, serious ones. They sometimes come in groups of 2 or 3 – on each side of the village. They are well signed and marked. After while just a yellow line on the road can make one brace for the bone jarring experience.

Our fist destination was Puerto Angel a fishing village on the coast with a beautiful bay. The road from the main road to Puerto Angel is very windy with a good collection of topes. Fred thought he’d been there once upon a time but decided it wasn’t the place. There wasn’t too much going on, few gringos, few of anybody really so after a stop for coffee we carried on. Just up the road is a turtle sanctuary and it would appear that town associated with it has received serious funds to get fixed up. People were working the streets, mudding the buildings, and cleaning up. I think it may also be a popular surfing destination as there were young surfer-type gringos wandering about. Looks like it will be a nice little town one day.
Onward up the windy road, over a bunch more reducers, with the tummy get a bit queasy, eventually getting to the main road that is straighter and few topes. Not a lot of traffic for the last distance to Puerto Escondido

Copy_of_IMG_3271.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3273.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3275.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3276.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3279.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3263.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3269.jpg

Puerto Escondido is one of the most important tourist attractions on the Oaxacan coast. It caters to a more downscale and eclectic clientele than neighboring Huatulco, mostly surfers, backpackers and Mexican families. The bay was known as Bahia de la Escondida (Bay of the Hidden Woman) due to a legend associated with this place. The story states that a fierce pirate anchored his ship in the bay when the area was completely uninhabited, to rest for a few days unmolested by authorities. Some weeks before, he and his crew kidnapped a young Mixtec woman from the village of Santa María Huatulco and took her prisoner. While in the bay, the woman escaped the cabin in which she was being held, and being a good swimmer, jumped overboard to get to shore and hide in the jungle just beyond the beach. Since then, the pirates referred to the woman as “La Escondida” (the hidden one) and every time the ship returned to these waters, the captain ordered his crew to search the area around the bay, however, they never found her. Hence, the area became known as the Bahía de la Escondida where today 45,000 people live.

Puerto Escondido turns out to be more like what we thought Huatulco would be like; a couple of long sandy beaches fringed by fish boats and restaurants under palapas with hotels in behind going up the hillside. The town had grown substantially since Fred had last visited when there was only a few dirt roads, a couple of small restaurants and hotels for young backpackers. The surf was very big so only a few swimmers and surfers were in the water. Sadly, the main street in the tourist area was full of low-end tourist stuff and few tourists. Don’t know who ever buys it all.
Having had lunch and a nice stroll along the beach, then back thru the tourist section to our car we drove back to Santa Cruz, the shorter, straighter, less bumpy way, to be home before dark. Tonight was our night to eat in the Italian à la carte restaurant and we didn’t want to be late.

250px-Mexi..ido-Airview.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3280.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3281.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3283.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3285.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3294.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3298.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3301.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3310.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3312.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3314.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3315.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3316.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3326.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3328.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3329.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 10:02 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Superbowl en Español

Hacer muy poco día…….

We took the car back to the rental agency in La Crucecita this morning then strolled leisurely back to the hotel. We read, had lunch, hung out by the pool, read some more then went for a walk down by the ocean. This was very much a do little day.

7144A967D7D5FC7FB8379F1B39BBC81E.jpg7142AC05E0D33979391CE40DA719669C.jpg713ED024AFF4BE2F19A10D0E6C4AA11F.jpgCopy_of_P1060849.jpg

The big deal around the hotel was setting up for the Super Bowl Party in the lounge and lobby. They had a bbq, lots of finger food plus all you wanted to drink of whatever you craved. They have a large screen tv over the bar and they were able to dial into, unlike in the rooms, an English language version of the Super Bowl. So, here are a bunch of Canucks from the prairies plus assortment of Mexican tourists and their kids, chowing down on the grub and cheering for American football. The world had indeed gone wacko…….Go Broncos

Copy_of_P1060858.jpg7147C39CF98BEE619504A4686E2A6389.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 17:43 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Another round please

No not that kind of round

We went back to see the local Gastroenterologist this morning as Gail is still not over her illness. He switched one of her meds to something that would be easier on her system and added another to hopefully calm her gi rack. He is a really nice guy and includes us in the discussion pertaining to various med/side effects and possible outcomes.

So for most of the day we stayed undercover and read our books or e-books. In the late afternoon Gail was feeling better so we walked along Boulevard Benito Juarez and the waterfront as far as Bahia de Chahue. Today either wasn’t as hot as is it has been or perhaps we are getting use to climate here Huatulco.

Copy_of_P1060872.jpgCopy_of_P1060879.jpgCopy_of_P1060882.jpgCopy_of_P1060883.jpgCopy_of_P1060884.jpgCopy_of_P1060886.jpgCopy_of_P1060887.jpgCopy_of_P1060891.jpgCopy_of_P1060893.jpgCopy_of_P1060898.jpgCopy_of_P1060900.jpgCopy_of_P1060902.jpgCopy_of_P1060903.jpgCopy_of_P1060908.jpgCopy_of_P1060909.jpgCopy_of_P1060913.jpgCopy_of_P1060915.jpgCopy_of_P1060917.jpgCopy_of_P1060920.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 16:46 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

What a difference a day makes

Hagia Sofia: A return to nature and spiritual peace

It’s amazing what can happen when on the lookout for an interesting garden. Today we headed to Hagia Sofia Botanic Park. Hagia Sofia means something along the lines of ‘holy wisdom’ and in this case was defined as ‘natural wisdom’. http://www.hagiasofia.mx

We were picked up by our host and owner Armando, a white-haired, debonair looking fellow. We were the only clients so we jumped in his truck and went for the hour-long drive to the garden in the mountains east of town. Along the way we found out that Armando had been the head designer of his father’s company that made a high-end line of men’s shirts. He had travelled all over the world finding fabrics. He had decided that he’d had enough of the business world and wanted to give back to the planet and his country and people. Twelve years ago he bought 130 acres and started an agro-ecological project committed to sustainability with the aim to train future generations about how to rejuvenate and protect the land while making a living.

Copy_of_IMG_3365.jpg

Using knowledge he had gained from his world travels; he has created a farm with fruits and lumber from Mexico and southeast Asia that will produce a harvest that can be sold at local and regional markets.

On our way to the garden, because we had shown interest, Armando took us on a side trip to Santa Maria Huatulco, the original 450-year-old town in the area. Very much a small Mexican town off the tourist circuit, the streets were lined with small shops selling a wonderful array of local fruits and vegetables. We stopped at the church for Fred to take a picture and learn that Huatulco means ‘the place where wood is adored’. (Long story but not a about a bunch of loggers; it was a huge strong wooden cross that British pirates tried to destroy but were unsuccessful)

Copy_of_IMG_3342.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3345.jpg

We then carried on to pick up some tortillas from a friend of Armando’s, hot off the outdoor wood grill and sample a delicious glass of corn milk – Fred was given to drink a concoction made of up of corn, cinnamon, and milk plus other ingredients.

Copy_of_IMG_3353.jpg

We arrived at the garden in time for a Mexican breakfast which is around 10 a.m (after starting work at first light to avoid the heat). We sampled a variety of fruits grown on the farm, including bananas, papaya, jackfruit, cumquats, star fruit, almond fruit (not the nut, that was for later), and lime/lemon juice. Blanco, the cook, prepared us coffee and quesadillas on the wood grill.

Copy_of_P1060921.jpgCopy_of_P1060922.jpgCopy_of_P1060923.jpg

Happily fortified we headed down the trail with Armando to the flower garden. Armando seemed to know and love every plant in this lush tropical collection. Remember we are now up in the mountains well away from the ocean. As we walked along he touched and checked on the plants as he introduced them to us. This lush jungle with a brook running through it, orchids carefully planted on the trees, flowers popping up and hanging down around us was such a contrast from the dry, scrubby coastal area.

Copy_of_IMG_3359.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3364.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3367.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3377.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3379.jpgCopy_of_P1070005.jpg

After a brief rest in some hammocks by the river and some butterfly spotting, we carried on up the hill to the orchard. Armando was growing not only a variety of fruits and nuts but a variety of kinds of many other things including but not limited to; mangos, avocados, papaya, pistachio, almonds, cinnamon, cacao, and on and on. His plan for this area is to put in some cabins for visitors to stay in.

Copy_of_P1060979.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3386.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3392.jpgCopy_of_P1060930.jpgCopy_of_P1060943.jpgCopy_of_P1060944.jpgCopy_of_P1060948.jpgCopy_of_P1060950.jpgCopy_of_P1060960.jpgCopy_of_P1060963.jpgCopy_of_P1060968.jpgCopy_of_P1060975.jpgCopy_of_P1060977.jpgCopy_of_P1060983.jpg

By now we were warm so we headed over to the waterfall to go for a dip. The spring fed river was refreshing, not cold and we swam up to the waterfall where Fred and Armando went into the small cave behind.

Copy_of_P1060994.jpg

Now time for Mexican lunch, 3 p.m., the heat of the day, so we headed back to see Blanco where she presented us with delicious made to order meals. Eventually it was time to, reluctantly, head back to the hotel. Armando told us to dream of flowers and birds tonight. We’d definitely felt, as advertised, touched and blessed by the sacred wisdom of nature.

Copy_of_P1060985.jpgCopy_of_P1070002.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 18:54 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Yup, it’s hot

A breeze would be nice

With only a few days left we decided to get organized. It’s difficult to find much tourist information here. No central tourist center and only a few ramshackle tour offices which is surprising considering all the infrastructure money, resorts and accommodations in the area. We decided to go to a local Archaeological Park tomorrow and snorkelling on Friday, weather dependent.

While out we decided to track down a few last minute gifts we had seen a few days back. There is a small tourist market down the street so we ran the gauntlet of vendors and eventually left with a few purchases. Crafts in this area are not of high quality and are relatively pricey. Twice the price of what we saw in Puerto Escondido just down the coast.

Copy_of_P1070007.jpg

Afternoon at the pool and then a wander down to the beach and the cash machine. Seems Lent begins today. Vendors are setting up outside the church with a huge array of religious jewellery, art, and paraphernalia. Across the street a carnival is going up with rides, games and booths. This should be interesting.

Copy_of_P1070008.jpg

The gentle breeze of this afternoon seems to have run out and it’s getting very hot. Warm in the morning, breezy in the afternoon then bam, winds drops around sunset and the heat comes back. Seems like a daily pattern. It’s been surprisingly windy the last few days. The local harbour master closed the harbour for a number of days because of high winds and really rough seas out past the bays. We heard about one tour boat a few days ago with tourists hanging on and throwing up over the sides, plus a number scared enough to start crying.

Copy_of_P1070010.jpg

A group of green parrots have landed in the tree across the street and are bickering over something. It is nice to be warm.

Copy_of_IMG_3395.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 17:02 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Copitlita……

…… and Playa Bocana

This morning it was off to Copalita, billed as an eco-archeological park about 5 miles out of town. As with many things, it had been difficult to find much information ahead of time so we weren’t too sure what to expect when we got there. The guides that we were told were available and abundant weren’t, but we were lucky enough to meet a couple from Ontario who had come with a registed guide arranged by their hotel and let us join them.

Copalita Eco-Archeological site covers about 200 acres along the Copilita river. Away from the river it is the usual dry scrub but close to the river it is lush and green. Birdwatchers love the place and have made a significant contribution to it’s development. The archeological site dates back about 3000 years but was only excavated in the mid 90’s and opened to the public 10 years ago.

Our guide first took us through a small, but lovely, museum that had artefacts that had been found on the site; jewellery, pots, amulets and vessels. We then went to the part of the site that was open to the public; a snake temple, ball court and a main temple.

Copy_of_IMG_3409.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3412.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3414.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3416.jpg

We then headed off down the trail through the dry jungle to a viewpoint that looked over the lush, green estuary and down a long stretch of pretty much deserted beach. This was probably what the entire Huatulco area looked like before Fonatur and the big all-inclusives moved in.

Copy_of_IMG_3420.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3423.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3428.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3429.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3436.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3449.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3455.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3456.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3463.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3465.jpg

(A bit of history, Fonatur has developed five of Mexico’s largest beach resort areas–Cancun, Ixtapa, Los Cabos, Loreto, and the Bays of Huatulco. Currently, these five destinations offer more than 245 hotels with 36,800 rooms. Fonatur’s resort destinations also bring in over half of the foreign tourist dollars to Mexico. Fonature is a Trust for the Promotion of Tourism Infrastructure and raises the necessary capital for it through foreign and domestic investment.)

Two hours later we returned to the parking lot and the guide and the folks from Ontario were good enough to give us a ride back to where we could access the beautiful beach we had just seen. At the end of the road was a tiny village called Playa Bocana with two small beach restaurants and a few other buildings. The restaurant we chose cooked over a woodfire and the food was infused with a slightly smoky flavour. Yum…

Copy_of_IMG_3448.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3441.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3458.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3463.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3465.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3471.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3475.jpgCopy_of_P1070018.jpgCopy_of_P1070016.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3489.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3490.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3495.jpg

Satiated, we headed off down the beach towards the estuary. There were few people out here, definitely more vultures. This was more what we were looking for when coming to the area; heat and long beaches. After a nice stroll and then dip in the surf we headed back to town to a different world.

Copy_of_IMG_3503.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3516.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3510.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3518.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3521.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3531.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3533.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3539.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3541.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3544.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3545.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3547.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3549.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 18:12 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Plan B

A day at Playa Maguey

Waiting on the hotel veranda at 9:30 a.m, for our snorkelling trip pick-up, carefully choosing a seat out of the sun as it was already very hot. Who’s idea was it to make cast iron patio furniture in a country with scorching sun. That would have been Maximllian. Our acceptance of Mexican time ended 20 minutes later with a phone call that determined the trip was cancelled. The Harbour Master had closed he port because of expected high winds in the afternoon, which didn't happen.

Plan B. Catch a cab to a beach about 10 minutes by taxi from our hotel to Playa Maguey to see what’s there. We arrive at the taxi stand above the beach and are immediately greeted by a fellow who invites us to come down to his restaurant and enjoy a couple of lounge chairs on the beach under and umbrella for the day. Down the stairs to the beach where he set us up with chairs (Fred broke one), an umbrella and coffee. We looked around to find a beautiful white sand beach in a horseshoe shaped bay. The protected end that was good for swimming and snorkelling was lined with restaurants. The other end, with bigger surf had an ecological area behind it. We were in the middle.

Copy_of_P1070020.jpgCopy_of_P1070026.jpgCopy_of_P1070028.jpgCopy_of_P1070031.jpgCopy_of_P1070032.jpgCopy_of_P1070035.jpg

Not long after we got settle large groups of Mexican people, kids to grandmas, started filing down the beach to the protected side. This carried on most of the day. It’s a holiday here, apparently every Friday during Lent is and so they were enjoying a day at the beach and soon the warm water was teeming with people.

Copy_of_P1070038.jpgCopy_of_P1070039.jpgCopy_of_P1070041.jpgCopy_of_P1070044.jpg

The water was just right, not too warm but not too cold. We swam, snorkelled, ate, considered various merchandise we were offered, read and napped. Fred was even offered a sit-on-top kayak to take out so he headed out around the corner to check out the deserted beach next door.

Copy_of_P1070046.jpgCopy_of_P1070050.jpgCopy_of_P1070057.jpgCopy_of_P1070059.jpg

Eventually we decided it was time to head out so off we went back up the hill to be greeted by even more Mexicans coming to the beach. The road at the top of the hill was now lined with cars the tour buses that had brought all the people.

Back in town we headed down to the square to see how the celebrations were going. The rides and booths were still being set up. We’re thinking this has to do with the religious activities around Lent as there’s a mix of carnival and religious materials. We’d seen a lot of people, many in traditional dress, carrying flowers, heading up the street past our hotel. Apparently they are making a pilgrimage to a sacred site in the woods up the street.

Oh, and there’s hardly been any wind today. A bit of wind at the moment would be nice. The local West Jet rep, who we booked the boat thru, called our room and offered a full refund on today’s snorkelling no show boat. It’s a large boat and has been rescheduled to Monday which is after we leave so we got our money back. We will see what our last day in Huatulco tomorrow has to offer……..

Posted by backtomexico 19:18 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Back to Plan A

So what really happened to Gilligan.....

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this tropic port,
aboard this tiny ship.

We were told that the company that cancelled the cruise yesterday might send out a smaller boat today if the Harbour Master opened the harbour. We would get a call at 9 A.M. if they were going. At 9:15 we got a call. Cruise is on in the big boat, be ready at 10 a.m. At 10:15 we were picked up and taken down to the marina to board one of those 50 ft. tourist catamarans with about 50 other people.

Copy_of_P1070074.jpgCopy_of_P1070075.jpgCopy_of_P1070081.jpgCopy_of_P1070084.jpg

It was a beautiful morning. Light breezes, gentle swells. First we headed east down the coast past a bay designated for 3 and 4 star hotels, towards the large bay that the 5 star resorts like Dreams are on. Also on this bay is a large resort that was the Club Med, the first resort in the area in 1988.

Copy_of_P1070089.jpgCopy_of_P1070093.jpgCopy_of_P1070095.jpgCopy_of_P1070097.jpg

We turned around and headed west up the coast. It seemed to be getting a bit breezier and the swells were getting a bit bigger. The plan was to go up the coast to the National Park where there was good snorkelling. First we went into the bay that Fred had paddled to yesterday, to do our first snorkel. Overboard we went and saw a good number of fish, although they weren’t too colourful. Back to the boat to discover that the weather had definitely started getting rough. We could watch small boats being tossed by the large swells that were coming in the bay.

Copy_of_P1070099.jpgCopy_of_P1070105.jpg

Fortunately our crew decided that it was too rough for us to carry on back to the Marina after lunch as planned. We went into the same bay we’d been yesterday for lunch and then they had buses waiting to take us back to town. That’s two for two for the Harbour Master. The day didn’t quite go as planned but it was good to be on the water, interesting to watch the huge swells following us into the beach, and nice not to have to go back through the nasty seas.

Copy_of_P1070120.jpgCopy_of_P1070121.jpg

This is our last evening in Huatulco. The wind has dropped now and it’s very hot. It’s been interesting coming here. Not what we expected. Looking towards the land this morning, we realized that the pictures we’d seen of Huatulco were taken in the wet season when the landscape was lush and green. The guide said that there is a real effort being made to avoid making Huatulco into another Cancun or Acapulco. It’s a young resort with much learning and growing to do. Fonatur is putting down the foundation. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

After dinner this evening we walked down to where the fair had set up. It kinda a cross between a small town county fair and a Mexican Fiesta with lots of speech making, loud Mexican music, vendors selling everything, games of chance and lots of old kind of run down rides. Still an interesting and fun way to spend out last night in Mexico. We will have a wrap up of our trip along with a few closing thoughts tomorrow.

Copy_of_IMG_3555.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3558.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3560.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3561.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3571.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3572.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3580.jpgCopy_of_IMG_3592.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 20:42 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Sitting in the Mexico City Aeropuerto

Heading home……

We arrived from our flight from Huatulco to Mexico City a tad late but as we have at least 3 hours before we board the big bird non-stop to Vancouver, we have a little time to sit and reflect on our trip.

We have visited Mexico many times and feel very comfortable traveling around the country. Having a wee bit of Espanola seems to help as we hope that the local people we met appreciate the effort. Talking to one of the guests in our hotel, he had a list of complaints he said he shared with the management including that all the staff should speak better English! Sadly, he was a Canadian. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if someone from Mexico staying at the Empress in Victoria complained to the hotel that not enough staff spoke passable Spanish?

Our stay in Mexico was divided into two segments and they couldn’t have been more different if we had been in two different countries.

San Miguel was an incredible experience. The town is spectacularly beautiful with its rich colonial heritage and incredible buildings. It was a real pleasure to trek up and down the coblestone calles and avenenidas, plus we got a bit of a workout as we traveled around old town . The art and crafts we encountered in San Miguel were not only vivid and striking but of high quality. It’s understandable why artists from all over congregated in the area and they significantly added to the town’s richness.

It was however, all the people, both locals and gringos, we met in San Miguel that significantly added to our experience. Some of the more memorable were; the retired lawyer from Seattle who was a guide at the botanical garden, another unique character was the ex-lawyer from San Francisco who was also a rock musician who sometimes subbed in the Grateful Dead and was one of the guides on the House/Garden tour, the Hacienda owner from South Carolina who renovated a massive old dwelling and ended up becoming the Patron and major employer of the small town where the high end B & B was located, the driver from the airport in Leon, the staff at the library, the old woman who sold us tomatoes around the corner from where we stayed.

They physical attractiveness of the Pacific coast in Huatulco with its many bays and beautiful beaches was out of the ordinary. The warm sunny weather is not only kind but even helpful to a couple of gringos with achy joints and aging bodies. It was also a real surprise to discover that the majority of the out-of- country tourists we ran into were from Canada. Why there were not more Americans in Huatulco may have to do with the number of direct charter flight/packages coming out of the great white north.

The botanical garden and the archaeological site in Huatulco were pretty unique and special; it was a surprise tho to see that there not more people visiting them. This may be partially due to the number of high end all-inclusive resorts that act like small black holes for their visitors who don’t venture outside the gates to see what else there is going on.

While we can only speak about our all inclusive, the number of people who were over weight and seemed to mostly hang out around the pool was surprisingly high. We realize that this should come as no revelation as all inclusives tend to attract a more sedate kind of holiday seeker who is not particularly interested in finding more adventurous kinds of activities. However, after saying all of that, it was still kind of sad to leave what had become our warm corner of the world to head back to clouds and rain.

The true test of a winter holiday or vacation spot is; would you ever consider this place as somewhere you would be interested in retiring in or at least spending the entire winter?

Copy_of_P1070072.jpg

Posted by backtomexico 14:51 Comments (0)

(Entries 16 - 29 of 29) « Page 1 [2]