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Private Pilot Seeks Basic Accommodations Near Airport

I'm a 57-year-old private pilot, and in part due to ill health brought on by the Denver, Colorado winters I plan to move to the Oaxacan coast from about October 1, 2000 to about April 1, 2001. I fell in love with the area in late March and early April of 1998, when I stopped there on my way back from Panama, flying a small, two-place airplane. I spent a couple of days in Huatulco, and I loved it! (I had previously visited the capital of Oaxaca.)

I would appreciate it if you could provide me with any information on the following:

1) The cost of long-term tie-downs and hangar space at Huatulco Airport or at Puerto Escondido airport. (Is there a difference in rate for airplanes of Mexican versus U.S. registry?) I'm sure there's an airport at Huatulco, because I've landed there. Not so sure about Puerto Escondido, but if you can fill me in I'd appreciate it.

2) The cost and availability of a six-month rental (say, October 15-April 15) in the Huatulco / Puerto Angel / Puerto Escondido area. I would much rather live in a Mexican neighborhood than in a turista palace. (I speak pretty good Spanish.)

I need zero luxury. I've been divorced for eight years, and I'm used to living in a sound but simple abode whose furnishings are most charitably described as unfortunate. I'm looking for really basic accommodations. About the only things I absolutely have to have are good, reliable telephone service, electricity, internet access, and some sort of toilet and shower (again, nothing fancy). After that, I would like a table, a desk, a futon (all of which I can buy, if necessary), and a kitchen with potable water, a stove, and a fridge. If all of this were within walking distance of an airport where I can hangar or tie down my airplane, I'd be happy as a clam.

3) I would like to make myself and my airplane available to any "mercy flight" or other humanitarian operation that might be active in the area. If you know of any such operations that can use the services of a small, light plane and pilot that can get in and out of relatively short, unpaved strips, please let me know. (My maximum payload, in addition to myself, is in the 150-200-pound range, depending on density and distribution.)

Bill Yribia

January 1999

Zaashila in November

Hi Tom! We had a wonderful stay at the Zaashilla, in Huatulco from November19-26 1999.

We left Los Angeles on Thursday night at 1:00am and arrived in Mexico City at 6:00 am. Our flight to Huatulco was to leave at 10:00am, so we went and sat in the Marriott Hotel lobby. We are Marriott frequent guest members and figured we would give them our number if anybody said anything, but they didn't. They have free coffee sitting out for the taking, plus there is a little coffee bar where you can buy pastries, juice and coffee. We bought one and then drank theirs the rest of the time! It was nice sitting there, people-watching, drinking our coffee and reading the paper in cozy chairs, as opposed to sitting around in the airport downstairs.

About 8:45am, we decided we would go down to the airport and check on our flight, and of course Mexicana had delayed us, so we now weren't leaving until 11:00am. Once on the plane, it was a short flight to Huatulco, what a beautiful, lush view flying in. They have that red light/green light customs affair, and of course we had to get the red light and plop our bags up on the counter for them to go through, but we are used to this as we have never once gotten the green light in our trips to Mexico. The Apple transportation was at the airport to meet us and drive us to our hotel which seemed to be about 20 minutes away.

I normally book all my vacations myself, but since we were going to an unknown destination, I decided to go through Apple. I have to say that this worked out well for us, as they picked us up at the airport and took us back. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that I had to meet the actual Apple rep - Luis, the next morning at 9:00 in the hotel lobby, for "orientation." That was ridiculous, Luis showed up, I was there, he asked me if I had any questions, I said no, and he left. It was a big waste of time for both of us, and the visit could have taken place over the phone. So, unless someone wants to do some sightseeing or they have a lot of questions, I recommend you tell the person who drives you that you don't want to meet for orientation. The rep will call you the day before your return flight to tell you what time he will pick you up, and give you confirmation of your flight departure. Heck, who wants to waste beach time talking!

We paid $2400.00 for the package (air plus 7 nights). This included an oceanfront ground floor room with a splash pool on the "Club Floor". We were told by our travel agent (who got this information from Apple), that we also got a full American breakfast daily, and a happy hour daily, from 5-7 with cocktails and hors d'oevers. Well we did get the room and the splashpool, but when I asked about the breakfast, the hotel personnel told me this was not the case, that we got a continental breakfast that would be delivered to our room, and a "snack" in the afternoon that would be delivered to our room. Oh.

Actually, the continental breakfast worked out well for us, a big pot of coffee, juice and some pastries, and they were there in no time, once you called. The same with the ice in the afternoon, the room service guys at the Zaashilla were the fastest I had ever seen and always smiling!

We had a ground floor room (#53) overlooking the pool and the ocean, but I think the second floor rooms would provide an even better view of the ocean, and if I went again, I would ask for #44 or somewhere in that vicinity, which has no foliage obstruction.

Our room had a small balcony with a table and chairs in front of the splash pool. We wouldn't bother about getting the splash pool again, as we hardly used it, but it might be handy if the weather is really hot in the evening.

The rooms at the Zaashilla are pretty sparse. We had 2 beds, bare marble floors throughout, a TV with no American channels, and a big closet, plus a well-stocked minibar. I comment on the TV channels, because we don't go to watch TV, but even when we were on Margarita Island in Venezuela, we got CNN and since there were no English newspapers available, it was disconcerting to not know what was going on in the world. They do have several channels, HBO, Cinemax, Health Network, a couple of Spanish channels and a couple of cartoon channels so we were puzzled as to why they didn't have CNN.

The bathroom was huge and had the infamous half shower door. They had plenty of towels, Cassey and Maxwell amenities and a hairdryer.

For a supposedly top of the line resort, I found the maid service to be less than adequate. The room was never cleaned until 2-3 in the afternoon, and the nightly turndown service is posted as being between 5 and 10 pm, so that most nights, we didn't receive it, as we were already in bed when they came around.

It seemed as if I was always calling housekeeping because consistently, they would forget to leave washcloths, ashtrays, take the bathmat, leave the kleenex box empty or forget to empty the wastebaskets. Minor things I know, but important to me :)

The hotel itself is well-maintained and the location is stunning. Their pool is the centerpiece of the hotel. It is 130 yards long in a kind of S-shaped affair with plenty of chairs around it. The beach is wonderful, with a wide front, and 12 cabanas. On the one side you can see Club Med in the distance, and on the other side is a rocky cliff, with houses at the top. From the beach you are unable to see "next door" to the Gala and Sheraton as there is a large cliff which separates the properties.

Next door to the Zaashilla is the Gala, (formerly the Maeva) and we wanted to go in to visit Charlie Diver, (Carlos Ramos) who had also been very helpful to me with my trip planning, but they wouldn't let us in. They said visiting hours are from 11-12 daily. Charlie normally is located at the Sheraton Dive Shop, but had moved to the Gala while they did some renovations at the Sheraton. Sorry I missed you Charlie, thanks again for all your help!

We were able to go in to the Sheraton and look around their facilities. They have a beautiful, big lobby, dark wood, it reminded me of India and a few swimming pools, with lots of chairs spaced too close together. Their beach is narrower than the Zaashilla, with a much steeper incline and they have many more vendors on their beach selling things than at the Zaashilla, and we did have several people selling things everyday. Plus, my biggest beef was from the noise of the jetski's.

Most days we had our continental breakfast, and then had lunch at the beachside pool cafe. With the exception of the following, we ate dinner at the hotel restaurant Chez Bini. The food and service were excellent, with reasonable prices and we developed a good relationship with the staff and their very efficient captain, Marissio, a wonderful guy.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to Don Porfirio's to watch the Green Bay Packers play football. We had a great time and met a couple who were staying at La Quinta, they said the rooms were stunning, but it was a long walk to the beach. We went back again in the evening for dinner. We both had the grilled lobster which was dry and tough. We wanted a salad, but they were out of most things and brought us some lettuce on a plate with oil and vinegar on the side. The bill with drinks and tip was about $110.00. When the Apple rep called on Thursday with our confirmation, I asked him for a recommendation for dinner that evening and told him about our experience. I was surprised when not an hour later, the owner of the restaurant called, and wanted us to come back that evening for dinner on the house, which we declined. I thought that was pretty good of him though.

On Tuesday night, we went to a small restaurant called Cactus, in La Crucecita. The food was pretty good with reasonable prices, but they have an awning over the seating area and it traps the cooking heat in, so that it was rather hot and stuffy. We had fish and salad and a couple of drinks and the bill was around $50, they were very accommodating and even went and got us a taxi when we were ready to leave. The taxis are plentiful and very reasonably priced.

Thursday night we went to the best place of all. Il Giardino del Papa, an Italian restaurant in La Crucecita. The owner once cooked for the Pope and is noted for his sauce-making. I highly recommend this restaurant. Excellent homemade food, impeccable service and reasonable prices, around $50.00, it would have been over $100 in Los Angeles.

On another note, our waiter at del Papa, was the sweetest guy in the world, and he told us he was leaving to move to Chicago so he could make money to send home to his family. He said he had been trying really hard to learn English well enough to work in a restaurant there. He said he mostly learns from TV, as English books are hard to get. I told him I had a few novels and I would leave them at the front desk of the hotel for him, which I did the next morning, and by the afternoon he had picked them up. I wished I had more for him.

Friday was our trip home and Apple was there promptly to pick us up at 1:00 for our 3:00 flight. Of course, once we got to Mexico City, we found out our 5:30 flight to LA had been cancelled and we had to wait for a rescheduling. Mexicana told us to go to the restaurant and show them our tickets and we could get something to eat. Naturally, there was a whole planeload of other people trying to get food as well, and there was nowhere to sit. So we just wandered around for about an hour and then went back. We were allowed to spend $8.00 each.

We finally took off for Los Angeles at 9:00 pm, needless to say we were not happy. It wouldn't be so bad, but this is the third time Mexicana has messed us up on our flights. So, we have decided that we aren't going anywhere on Mexicana anymore, which I guess rules out another trip to Huatulco, since they seem to be the only airline going there.

The mosquitoes weren't bad in the daytime, but for us (both fair) they came out at night. We used Deep Woods Off, and had great success, except for the areas we forgot to put it on :( The weather was hot, really hot, we were using a 30 sunblock at the end.

I took 50 American one dollar bills and used these for room service tips, bellmen and taxis, it worked out well. If anyone has any extra room in their suitcase for clothes, shoes and books, take them, and leave them in your room, they will be put to good use.

Tom, Huatulco is a sight to behold. We were out on the beach every day at 10:00 am and stayed until 4:00. The temps everyday were in the high 80's and we only experienced a little bit of rain once. It truly was paradise. Thanks so much for your wonderful website and all the information you provide, I really appreciate all the help you gave me over the past year, in planning my trip.

Ellen Garland

December 1999

Canadian Travelers Cheques

Hi Tom: We are going to Huatulco at the end of January for 2 weeks. I have a package for air and accommodation at Villa Coral for the first week with my teenage son (any comments on the Hotel and it's location would be appreciated). My son will be going back home after the first week and I am needing accommodation that is clean, in a good locale and affordable for the second week. I'm hoping they might have discounted rates for 1 person instead of double occupancy rates. I usually take Canadian travelers cheques when I go to Mexico, can anybody tell me if these are accepted at money exchanges. I also will use the ATM machines if available as I know these give the best rate of exchange. We are so looking forward to Huatulco after reading the comments on your Website.

Cindy Parker
Port Moody,BC,Canada

December 27 1999

I am not familiar with the Villa Coral. It is a relatively new hotel. For an economical place to stay, one possibility is Hotel Posada Chahué It is clean, comfortable, and quiet, and about 2 blocks from a beautiful park and beach. It's about 5 blocks from downtown La Crucecita The locale isn't that pretty because it is only partially developed.

I don't know about the Canadian travelers cheques, but perhaps the readers can tell you. I would appreciate some information on this. There are banks in Santa Cruz, and I think in La Crucecita too, and there is an exchange house next to Sabor de Oaxaca in La Crucecita. There are several ATMs in both towns. -Tom

Presidential Suite at the La Quinta

Good Evening from we four after a most enjoyable time at the La Quinta Resort Hotel [photos] in Hautulco. Our daughter and son-in-law treated Jack and I to a week at the Presidential suite there and we have never been so treated so well.

The suite offered two complete rooms; two tiers of dining and basking in and around the spacious pool and service that was super!!!! Also a large bar for entertaining and music of CDs (ours or theirs). The beach was nearby and wonderful. The hotel vans were available for excursions into town to shop. No bugs, mosquitoes or insects of any kind were we bothered by. Everyone was gracious and friendly, I really hated leaving the area. Many great places to eat and eat we did!! My knowledge of Pesos is zilch but I managed anyway. My Spanish needs much improvement but everyone there helped.

If anyone needs more info, don't hesitate to ask by E-Mail. Adios for now.

December 1999

Which Room at the Zaashila?

I am returning to Hautulco for my fifth visit the second week in January. I have booked a flight/hotel package with Mexicana air and my 13 year old daughter will be accompanying me. Our package hotel is the Zaashilla which I have never stayed at. Could someone recommend a specific room to request? So far Mexicana is quoting me a higher price than the price posted on their VTP site, but I have requested a double (2 beds) and perhaps that is the difference. I've read that some of the rooms have splash pools but my main desire would be to have a really good view of Tangulunda bay. Any other insider info would be greatly appreciated. Can't wait to get there. Thanks.

Dan T. Merriman

December 1999

Canadian Money?

My husband, myself and another couple are planning on visiting Huatulco end of Jan./2000. We had heard that it was smarter to take Canadian travelers cheques to exchange rather than exchange our $ to US then to pesos. Any comments please?

Cal Mackintosh

December 1999

What About the Sheraton?

I absolutely love this part of Mexico and have been staying at the Sheraton [photos 141K] every year for at least two weeks. I was there when it first opened and the roads were not even fully paved, so its interesting to see how its been developing--glad that it's a slow go. Coming from the East- New Jersey- it's not an easy place to get to, and last year was the first time with only one change over in Mexico City. I'll be going back in February, and noticed that the Sheraton has changed hands, and from other e-mails apparently the Royal Maeva , as well. Would like to hear from anyone who's been there before to have an idea if the change is for the better, or not.

Also would like to know what material is used in the crocheted bags they sell at the beach. Can't seem to find it at home.

December 1999

Sheraton is no operating in Huatulco. The hotel is now officially Barcelo. All the staff remains the same at the Barcelo. In fact, there is not any evident change. Only the name has changed. Barcelo will continue working with the Sheraton's style, until they fulfill all the obligations acquired from the Sheraton with their customers (I mean, reservations, rates, services, facilities will be the same). The staff expects changes by May-June.

I'll keep you informed.

Carlos "Charlie" Ramos, PADI MSDT 157092

Been to the Crown Pacific Lately?

Hi Tom: Really appreciate your comments page. My husband and I are booked in the Crown Pacific Hotel [photos 79K] next month. Would like to hear from anyone who has stayed there recently. I notice the hotel is 300 yards from the public beach and since public beaches can vary I would appreciate knowing if this is very crowded or, like many of the places we have stayed at, rather remote so that although the beach is a public one it is okay for both of us to swim at the same time and not have to leave one of us to keep an eye on our possessions. Also in the brochure I did not see any beach chairs so perhaps we should plan on bringing extra beach towels to lie on so that our hotel towels will not get too sandy to dry off.

We visit Mexico every year, all-inclusive resorts, and love it. This will be our first time in Huatulco and since we prefer laid back holidays and hate getting dressed up it sounds our kind of place and we are really looking forward to it. The comments I read about excursions are interesting and helpful.


December 1999

I believe the Crown Pacific has a "beach club", a place set aside with chairs and things for their guests. The public beach is just a corridor between hotels where the public can get to the beach--it's all the same beach really. It would only be crowded around Christmas and Easter. You can always get someone with a boat to take you to a remote beach--this is what Huatulco is known for. The boat people will be all over you at the beach with proposals for the tour of the bays. You don't have to take the tour; you could just ask them to take you to one secluded beach. Go to Santa Cruz Marina if you want to avoid the middle man. - Tom

Really Good Restaurants

I haven't been able to find much information on really good restaurants in Huatulco. Could someone please offer their insights. Thank you.

John Baumann

December 1999

Do you mean really good as in pricey or just popular favorites? Restaurants and accommodations are probably the two most heavily covered subjects on my web page. There is about .7meg of visitors comments on Huatulco on four pages. You can wade through this more easily by searching (Ctrl + F) for "restaurant". There is also this list with some comments and recommendations, there is this rundown. Phil Minch includes restaurant recommendations for his guests here.

For pricey, Hotel Casa del Mar is recommended. A popular favorite is Sabor de Oaxaca for regional food. I was very impressed with Meson de las Flores for its variety, atmosphere, and value. Mexican street food, though the guidebooks say to avoid it, is usually excellent--you can inspect them for cleanliness and use your own judgment. - Tom

Fun in the Sun

Tom Just returned from a wonderful week in Huatulco. We stayed in the Villa Tehuana in the Balconies de Tangolunda. These properties managed by the Saa-Iba Agency, Lorenzo Ostergren, are of the executive type and come with a maid, Anna and a cook Vicky. The ocean views were extraordinary, and layout especially for the upper property was ideal for our group. We were two families of five, six children age range 11 to 18. All of our children are quite comfortable with the water both ocean and river, so there were a number of activities in which we participated. We arrived Saturday afternoon after an all day flight from Philadelphia Int. Airport, Pennsylvania, USA. After a ocean swim we ate at the Villa that evening and retired late that evening.

The following day we took an all day private tour of the bays. Lorenzo made the initial arrangement including transportation to and from Santa Cruz by Alonzo. Our guide, Saul, spent the entire day with the children talking about Huatulco. Saul was just about fluent in English so it made things easy for the linguistically challenged members of the group. The following day we made arrangements to take the children SCUBA diving.

Alonzo again made the transportation arrangements we rented equipment and Saul volunteered to do a crash course in SCUBA safety followed by a trip to Entrega Bay with Paco for a open water dive. Both Saul and Paco took the two younger children ages 11, 12, and were by their sides for the entire dive lasting about 45 minutes. After the initial dive which also included the older children, Saul took the older children on a more challenging deep water dive. We returned home for a late lunch ocean swim and a wonderful home-cooked Oaxacan feast for dinner.

Tuesday was ATV day, again Alonzo made the travel arrangements and of course Saul was our guide. The trip courses through the jungle visiting two isolated beaches Cacaluta and Maguey, and takes about 3.5 hours. It's very dusty and plan on changing your clothes as soon as you return home. Ocean swimming (not required), and beach lounging were part of the trip. Tuesday evening we went to La Crucecita and ate at Sabor de Oaxaca. After dinner we shopped and went to a family bar called La Crema in La Crucecita.

Wednesday was coffee plantation day. The all day activity started at our Villa again with our guide Saul. Manuel, the driver of the Suburban was also very helpful throughout the day. The first stop was the big falls on the Copalita for a swim at the base of the falls, then off the coffee plantation. Hardly a plantation but a camp located in the Jungle were coffee is harvested. Certainly not the bed and breakfast described in the brochure. We hiked through the woods and came upon a natural water park), falls caves pools and currents to swim with and against. Lunch followed and then the ride home. That night Saul and Manuel joined us and the older children for a night of disco at Club Poison.

Thursday was a day off. Sitting around the pool, downtown shopping at La Crucecita, ocean swimming at our beach. We celebrated Thanksgiving and my son's birthday. Alonso and his family brought a piñata and Saul joined us for dinner. On Friday we were off kayaking with Saul and Pancho down the Copalita into the Pacific Ocean about a 5-hour tour which included a picnic lunch. Saturday was for packing and the flight home.

Most of the activities we participated in were between 350 to 450 pesos depending if they were all day and or lunch included or not. The exchange rate for this week was around 9.20 pesos/USD. Food ranged anywhere from 500-600 pesos total per day for both families.

We were most impressed with the Huatulcan hospitality and the attention and caring attitude that everyone displayed especially Saul and Alonzo. Everyone we met, Manuel, Pancho, Paco, Anna & Vicky were all wonderful. I've never spent so much time with all my children doing activities we all enjoyed together. We all want to return.

Ray Talucci

December 1999

Shark Sightings and Sheraton Changes Hands

Hi Tom. I have some interesting news from Huatulco.

First, let me tell you that I've found a dive site where there are a couple of white tip sharks living there. They 've spent one week in the same place. Some of the divers I took diving this week have been fortunate enough to see them. The biggest (4 feet long) is escorted all the time by a school (50 or 60) of jacks. These fish don't look afraid of be eaten by the shark, in fact, they look very funny and enjoying the company of their big brother. The smallest (probably 3 feet long) spends long periods of time resting on the sand, opening its mouth continuously. I saw some reef sharks some time ago in Isla Mujeres showing the same behavior. I don't want to tell exactly where they are, for the sharks' safety.

Second. SHERATON IS NO LONGER SHERATON. Tomorrow, December 3, Sheraton finishes its operations in Huatulco. Sheraton sold its hotels in Huatulco and Ixtapa to a company called Barcelo Hotels.

All the staff remain working for the new owner-operator, except the General Manager, because he continues working for Sheraton. Barcelo is a top quality Spanish-based hotel chain. They have more resorts in Mexico: Playa del Carmen (playacar) and Cancun, as well as Acapulco among others.

We will continue working here. The new administration decided to keep us working with them, so Action Sports Marina and SCUBA remains in the same place, with the same facilities and quality.

I'll keep you updated about this topic. I'll send you more information as soon as I get it. These are the most interesting facts happened in the last weeks. Weather is beautiful, water absolutely calm. No more rebalses this month, so what else can I expect out of life?

Carlos "Charlie" Ramos


Hi Tom, enjoying your site. I was in Huatulco in Feb. Loved every minute. Looking forward to another visit but not until 2001. I was going to donate blood recently. They ask if you have been out of the country. I told them where we were. They have a map of areas that are prone to Malaria. Huatulco is one. If you never leave the resorts than it would be ok to donate. But if you take any tours, eat outside the resort, than a BIG no on donating. Were you aware of this? Of course this won't stop us from a return trip. I just won't be able to give blood but every other year!!! Just wanted to let you know what I found out. I hope you have a great day and keep up the good work on the site.


November 1999

Club Med or Gala?

Tom, I just discovered your great web site today. I had requested a rate quote for myself, my husband and my 7 yr old from Club Med departing out of Dallas for Spring Break in March-$967.00 per adult and $617.00 for our son inc. airfare and 7 nights all-inclusive. After reading the "visitors' comments" on your website I am very interested in Royal Maeva/Gala resort but wonder if I will be able to get such a reasonably priced package since others comments about high airfare were common. Do you know of any tour operators that offer comparable packages out of Texas? I'd also like to have others comments on Club Med vs. Royal Maeva especially since we will have our 7 yr old with us. We've done Club Med before and weren't too impressed but enjoyed ourselves. Thanks for any info anyone out there can give us.

Alison McCord-Waco, TX

November 1999

Everybody likes the Gala. Airfare is not too bad right now. Check with Vista World Travel on packages for the Gala. -Tom

Paradise on earth!

Tom, My husband and I just returned from Huatulco after staying there 7 glorious days! We fell in love with the place. We stayed at the Gala Resort [photo 39K] (formerly Royal Maeva) and couldn't have been happier. The staff always went out of their way to accommodate us and make us feel welcome!

We were there during the slow season, so the resort was only 18% full! We never had to wait for a chair at any of the 4 pools, no lines for any of the fabulous food, and drinks were served quickly and very tasty! (I recommend the Banana Chocolate Monkey at the sports bar!!)

We found out too late that the hotel has junior suites....about 100$ more (total, not per day) would give us a hot tub on the balcony. You have to be specific with your travel agency to request a junior suite, because they are not advertised.

We took a $3 cab to La Crucecita which was nicer in late evening, after 4pm, then the daytime. Daytime is hotter and some stores are closed and don't open until after siesta. We felt safe in the town. Everyone was nice and helpful, even with the language differences.

My husband and I recommend the ATV jungle tour we booked through our hotel. The Apple Vacations representative, Luiz, helped book the tour and it was muddy, and hot, and fun, and wild! Be prepared to get dirty and take a waterproof camera!

The weather was very hot, over 100s the entire time. It rained only once, for 30 minutes, but didn't put a damper on anyone's spirit. There are no mudslides or earthquake damage at the Gala. It's in perfect condition!

My husband did the kayak thing at the resort. He's never done that sort of activity before, but he had a great time. There is a lot of things to do there if you want. But if you don't want, then there are 4 pools to relax by. One of them has jacuzzi jets and we stayed there a lot!

We are definitely going back!! All inclusive resorts are the way to go! If anyone is going, please say hello to Edgar. He's the bartender at the sports bar in the lobby. Please tell him Barbara says hello!!!! Tom, your website made all the difference for us on our trip! We knew what to expect and we were able to enjoy ourselves without worries. Also, there are safes in the room of the Gala Resort. Free of charge, but lose the key, and it will cost you 100$.

Thanks for all your help and advice, Tom!

Barbara and Gary Beriso

October 1999

What's This About Earthquakes?

Charlie, I saw your letter to "Tom" on the site about earthquakes, and since me and my husband are planning to visit Huatulco in the end of October, and we live in Sweden (where there are no earthquakes) we are a bit curious about what is happening "over there". Is it safe to go? We haven't heard anything on the news here so I really would like you to send me a mail about the weather, wind and earthquakes.

Louise Ferm

October 1999

Hi Louise. Is nice to receive mails from Europe, but is much better to know that there are people there interested in visit us. Probably you know that I work in a water sports center called Action Sports Marina, located inside the Sheraton Resort. I'm in charge of SCUBA diving activities.

Well, the history is: Mexico is located in the very edge of two tectonic plates. From time to time, earthquakes are felt in the country, especially in the states (provinces) of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Michoacan (all them located in the south Pacific coast of Mexico). Most of this earthquakes are felt in Mexico city as well as in most of the states of the center of the country.

The strongest earthquake that has struck Mexico occurred in September of 1985. A lot of buildings felt down in Mexico city and probably there were 20,000 people dead. I use to live in Mexico City in that year and the experience was very very sad.

So, in Mexico (the country) earthquakes are common. The last really strong happened in September 30. Some towns and cities around Huatulco suffered some damage. But Huatulco has been built with earthquakes in mind. Huatulco is only 13 years old. All the constructions are brand new and the reglament to build in Huatulco is very strict about structures to support earthquakes. Earthquakes are not really a problem here. So please, feel confident to come and enjoy this beautiful place.

Weather is hot. We are now at 30 Celsius degrees. There are a couple of tropical events that have produced a lot of rain in the south half of the country. Many cities have become flooded and many people is suffering the effects of these floods. But Huatulco, again, is very well planned. There are four huge concrete channels to drain the rain water to the ocean, so we never get flooded.

So please, feel confident coming here. I hope to meet you soon. If you want more information, just let me know.

Saludos de su amigo (Regards of your friend)

Carlos "Charlie" Ramos

Thanks for your response, but now I have another question.... Is it possible to get to Huatulco from Mexico City, we are told that there are no safe roads in the whole south of Mexico, and there are problems reaching smaller villages even by air...is that correct?

I spoke to a travel agency and they told me that it is not safe to go to Huatulco at the moment. What's your opinion?

Louise Ferm

Hi Louise. I don't understand what is exactly the meaning of "safe". From Mexico city to Huatulco, is possible to come by jet. Mexicana de Aviacion flies daily to Huatulco two or three times. In high season (December thru April) they open more flights. There are another two airlines flying to Huatulco. About roads, you can come to Huatulco from Mexico city via Acapulco, via Oaxaca and via Veracruz. Is true that in this moments, some roads were damaged by the rain and earthquakes, but they'll be fixed soon ( two or three weeks). The reports about road conditions say that all the highways are working , some of them with damaged sections, but is possible to use them.

Believe me: if you come to Huatulco, you won't see any damage. Last night, I was watching ABC and CNN news, and I got disappointed with the versions they transmit. They say:"Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, Hidalgo (these are four states of mexico) are flooded and destroyed by the rain". That's crazy. The surface of these four States together is larger than Spain and France together! Is true that some towns next to rivers became flooded, and some sections of the roads connecting these places are broken, but not the whole state.

So, if you plan to come to Huatulco by plane, I suggest to reserve your ticket right now. If you plan to come by road, I can send you a couple of maps with posible routes. You can check Mexico's road plans in http:\\www.sct.gob.mx (this website belongs to the Ministery of Communications and Transports).

I hope to clear your doubts and, if I can help you whit any other information, please, just let me know.

Carlos "Charlie" Ramos

Requesting Road Conditions

My husband and I had been planning on driving to/from Oaxaca and either Huatulco or Puerto Escondido. We would be doing this during the Christmas Holidays. Any comments and or information about road conditions would be greatly appreciated.


October 11, 1999

How About a Web Site Like This on ... ?

Tom, You've done a great job of providing a forum for non-commercial, candid vacation comments. I understand there is a limit to your contributions, but really would hope you may consider expanding your scope.

We visit Mexico frequently from California. Next April we are heading to Playa del Car and staying at the Gala (after enjoying our visit at the Royal Maeva aka Gala). It would sure be nice to read others comments on this area.

Best regards and thanks for your efforts, they are appreciated...

Rhett Tindall

October 1999

I couldn't handle a wider area without sacrificing quality. But I don't see why someone else couldn't do it. I am often asked if there is a web site similar to mine on some other particular location. As far as I know, there aren't any and I don't understand why. It really isn't so difficult. One of the reasons that I have chosen not to get my own domain name is to show that it does not take much to collect such information to share with others. Practically anyone with an email address has web space allocated to them by their service provider that they can use. So, throw up a few pages of basic information, snatch a few visitor comments from the newsgroups, register with the search engines, and you're there.   -Tom

Earthquakes and Flooding

I have a trip planned to Huatulco. I was wondering if you have any news on the area concerning the floods and earthquake that have been in the news the past two weeks. Thanks for any info you might have.

Michael and Karen
October 1999

Yes, I have earthquake reports, and the heavy rains are mentioned here as well. http://www.eden.com/~tomzap/quake99.html

Earthquakes and seasonal flooding are regular features of this area and are commonly dealt with by the residents. It should not impact your trip unless you do a lot of local traveling--the roads may be bad in places. And if it is flooding at the time, underwater visibility will be poor. There are no rivers in Huatulco to cause large-scale flood damage. The biggest problem that residents have with these "disasters" is when tourists cancel their trips and locals are deprived of income at the time they need it most.   -Tom

Planeando el Milenio

Saludos desde Boston, Mass! Les escribimos para pedir información sobre las actividades que habra en los Hoteles de Huatulco para este fin de Ano. Tenemos pensado pasar Navidad y Ano Nuevo por alla y nos gustaría saber mas o menos lo que se esta planeando. Tambien si nos pueden enviar los e-mails del Sheraton, el nuevo Maeva, el Zaashila, Quinta Real o cualquier otro que este organizando algo para despedir el milenio (si tienen los precios estaria mejor). Bueno les agradecemos de antemano y nos veremos por alla en Diciembre.

Pancho y Ana Laura Moreno

October 1999

La Marina or Casa Costeña?

We're planning another trip to Huatulco in March - but this time with our son, daughter-in-law and grandson. We are debating between the Costeña Villa in Santa Cruz or perhaps the La Marina Hotel in Santa Cruz. Any comments regarding either or? Is the dredging still doing on in the marina? Also, we have been told that that hotel has gone downhill in quality - again any comments? Thanks much.

Kathy & Bert LaTurner

October 1999

Looking for a 2-bedroom Apartment

Hello maybe you can help me. I've been to Huatulco twice this year February and may and really like the place I stayed in town by the square and had a great room with a great view hotel begonias of course. This winter i want to stay a month with my dad in February and would like a nice 2-bedroom fully furnished apartment in town or Santa Cruz area. I am willing to pay up to 1500 U.S. for the month but can't afford those 1000 U.S. a week houses. Is there anything nice you know of in this price range? I need a secure place and clean and quiet. Thank you your web page is great.

Frank Perlongo
7231 38th place
Lyons, Illinois (chgo area)

October 1999

Glad We Saw it Then

1984 - My wife and I, and a friend from Scotland, early one morning drove from Puerto Angel to Santa Cruz Huatulco, with a wild-driving German in a VW Beetle, dodging the washed out canyons in the highway, hustled up a fishing boat (no "taxi willing" road, at that time) in Santa Cruz to take us to Tangolunda Bay. There was absolutely nothing but beach, huge chunks of coral lying everywhere.

Late in the day, signs of things to come, we saw surveyors in the hills above the beach. And on the way out of Santa Cruz Huatulco that evening, large concrete pillars rising from a dusty small coastal village, for the new International Airport.

Glad we saw it then.

Gary Etie

September 1999

Close Encounters

Dear Tom, It is good that you have this available for travelers and possible investors.

I was stopped by Zapatista rebels (They had Zapatista on their sombreros.) just outside Oaxaca city while they surrounded my car holding up rocks and machetes. I was the first to arrive so they calmed down after they secured the road with big trucks etc. It happened so fast--very disorienting. I was able to take pictures [5] after I calmed down and they as well . They show everything (the pictures). Funny, Mark Leyes the US consular agent in Oaxaca, insists that it is very safe here in Oaxaca State but then he owns numerous rentals that he rents to us so it is pretty difficult to rent them if he tells the truth about all the crimes against foreigners here. Hope this helps someone. Personally I think Oaxaca is the perfect place to loose your life savings and your life--more later if you print this.

Pamela Darling

September 1999

Looking for Ideas

I had the fortunate experience today to land on your website and retrieve info for Huatulco, Mexico. I will be traveling to Huatulco the weekend of October 8 and will be staying at the Camino Real.

I would appreciate any tips on dining, entertainment, beaches, etc. As we will be staying with another couple and it will be her 30th birthday, so I would like to plan some fun things to do. We will be arriving on Thursday, Oct 7 and staying until the 11th, so I would like to do a few of the most reputable sites.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!

Davida Capra
or dcapra@lasallest.com

September 1999

Quisiera Contactar la Pampa Argentina

Buenas Tardes, en días pasados unas amigas y yo visitamos las bahias de Huatulco, Oaxaca, México y tuvimos la oportunidad de ir a cenar al Restaurante la Pampa Argentina, donde nos atendieron muy bien.

Podrían hacerme el favor de decirme como puedo contactar a los dueños de dicho Restuarante??, ya que nos gustaría agradecer sus atenciones.

Les agradeceré mucho la ayuda que nos puedan dar para contactarlos. De antemano muchas gracias.

Ma. Patricia Ortíz Balbuena

September 1999

About Villa Coral

Just read your request for info from the Villa Coral site. It is not walking distance to Tangolunda, or town, although it is only a few miles to either site. I think that they do have a small restaurant on site, but am not sure. Cabs seem to go by the area quite often. If you need any specific info, feel free to contact me. We are just finishing a house (Villa Pacifico), that you might be interested in renting in the future.

Tony Fellner

September 1999

Looking for Emmanuel

I'm looking for somebody named: Emmanuel (Manuel). He has blond, long hair and is French/South African. He stayed in Huatulco and Zipolite during Jan, Feb, March... Maybe he's still in Zipolite or somebody knows his last name or address.

September 1999

Friends at the Zaashila

My wife, daughter and I had the pleasure of staying in the Zaashila [photo 66K] during the month of July this year. It is a wonderful, friendly hotel, with a very pretty, secluded beach and a marvelous pool. The staff was unusually ingratiating. The food was very good to excellent.

We would like to make a special commendation about two people we met at the hotel. [photo 66K] Gino Andrade is the manager of the pool and related concessions. He is the person who will book special excursions from the hotel. He is a terrific guy and a very important asset to the hotel as he is fluent in English (he grew up in Chicago). Many of the staff at the hotel were not fluent in English. Gino befriended us during our month at Zaashila and helped us in many ways. His wonderful wife Lupe (who grew up in Indiana) is a marvelous baby sitter (the best we have ever had- she acted like a family member). Our daughter cried when we had to say goodbye to this warm, friendly couple.

We have traveled throughout Mexico and the Caribbean, staying at many 5 star resorts. The Zaashila is a special destination.

James and Maureen Krinsley

September 1999

What's that URL Again?

Hello Tom! Back in January I found a link to Huatulco from you and because of that link my husband and I decided to go to Huatulco and had the most wonderful and relaxing vacation! Since then I get little info on the net and was wondering if you still can get me a site? I had printed some info such as restaurants and tour guides and found your e-mail address so here I am! If you still know of a website please let me know. I thank you again. It's what brought us to Huatulco on a last minute vacation from the snow and cold! We are ppossibly going back with friends!


September 1999

Where to Rent an Automatic?

Hi Tom-- I am looking to rent a car with an automatic transmission in Huatulco. Budget does not have any. Advantage has them, but cannot guarantee that one will be available. Do you know of anyplace where I can secure such a rental? I am hoping to rent during a trip in December (probably from the 8th to the 16th or so).

Any help would be most appreciated. Unfortunately, I grew up with only automatics, and have never learned to drive manual. Oaxaca is probably not the place to start!

September 1999

Avoid Mexico City

Last year we traveled 3 times to Mexico by car, We live in Lake Tahoe it takes us 4 days to reach Huatulco our favorite place, my advice never stay in Mexico City.

Perry Ansari

September 1999

About Coral Villas

Villas Coral hotel & suites is listed in the new winter brochure from Signature Vacations, a major Canadian tour packager. The small hotel is located at El Arrocito Beach, and is "brand new." Fine print in the brochure warns that the hotel was under construction at the time of printing and not expected to be complete until the fall of 1999.

As I recall from taking long walks during my Huatulco vacation in February '99 (I stayed at Misión de los Arcos in Crucecita), the El Arrocito village is made up of new villas hanging off steep hills west of Tangolunda. Its little beach, in a pleasant tropical cove, appeared to be used mostly by the locals rather than tourists. Its protected nature might make it safer, especially for children, than the bigger beaches, but that's a consideration that should be well researched before taking the plunge.

There is not much to choose from in the way of restaurants in the neighbourhood, although the beach has a nicely ramshackle snack bar. Tangolunda is a stiff hike away, and stiffer walking back because it's uphill. Taxis should be available, of course, and are a bargain as long as the passengers insist on the official rate. I understand these rates are supposed to be published and displayed in cabs but I never saw them, except at the taxi stand in the centre of Tangolunda.

"Quiet seclusion" is how the travel brochure defines Villas Coral, which is either an enticement or a warning depending on how much action is desired. The rear of the Club Med encampment is clearly visible across the bay as a symbol of a rather different style of accommodation.

Signature Vacations is on the Web at www.signature.ca but as of early September its entry for Huatulco was still the 1998/99 program, not mentioning Villas Coral.

John Laycock
Windsor, Ontario

September 1999

Not Much English in Huatulco

My husband and I just returned from a Labor Day weekend vacation to Huatulco, arriving there on Friday night. After a short trip from the airport, we arrived at the Sheraton Hotel [photos 141K] and enjoyed a delicious Mexican buffet and Mariachi band with the wonderful dancers of the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. A real touch of Mexico on our first night there. This apparently is a Friday night only activity. The Sheraton is a beautiful place, tastefully decorated and well kept. The open air concept of the lobby and hallways is visually a treat. The grounds are obviously a source of great pride for the hotel. We were on the 6th floor and had a great view of the pool and beach. What a treat to have the balcony! I have very very few complaints about the hotel, but I would say the beds are extremely hard. I was really surprised that there weren't more hotel personnel that had a working knowledge of the English language. I thought that to be a surprise for a resort area. Communication was a little difficult because of that not only in the hotel, but at the airport, and in using the taxi service.

As stated many times in other posts, the sun is so powerful there. Sunscreen is essential. We had no problems with the mosquitoes. The weather is very hot and humid. If you are trying to get away from hot and humid in September, this would not be the place for you. If you are looking for a quiet retreat away from crowds in a beautiful surrounding, then I think you would enjoy. We saw very few Americans and decided that since everything was geared to those speaking Spanish, maybe it is a resort that the Mexicans want to keep to themselves.

For your information about prices: our hotel stay for 3 nights, 3 breakfast buffets, one lunch and two evening meals came to $516 US. This was for two adults and a room with king-sized bed. We think that was reasonable for the quality of the hotel and the food. I think it's worth mentioning: By mistake, on Saturday, I left my wedding ring and another fairly expensive ring on the nightstand. When we returned that afternoon, I found them carefully placed in an ash tray on the bedside table. That was impressive to me.

J. Mitchell

September 1999

Villa Coral Hotel and Suites

Hi Tom, it was so interesting reading all the comments! What a great site. We will be traveling from Vancouver British Columbia to Huatulco on February 4 for 2 weeks I am really looking forward to it. I don't know if anyone has stayed at Villa Coral Hotel and Suites yet but I wondered how far it was from town, if there are any restaurants near by and perhaps how close to Tangolunda Bay it is. (Close enough to walk)? Any information you have would be appreciated. Thanks a lot.

Noreen Adam

September 1999

I don't know this place. Can anyone else help? -Tom

Out of the Way Places

Tom, I've recently returned from spending the month of June in Huatulco. When we arrived our house [Casa Costeña] was occupied by some guests from Atlanta, so we spent the first night at the Villa Blanca.... not a bad hotel, but not a bargain either, so we moved to The Marina, located in Santa Cruz... I had known of the hotel for 4 years but never been inside, and it was a good surprise. Our suite was wonderful, two balconies, one large enough for a table and chairs, with a view of Santa Cruz, the marina and the ocean... very pleasant.... and reasonable. (around $60usd per night...low season). The next few days we spent in Oaxaca, and by chance we found a hotel that had been open for only a few weeks, and not all of the rooms were finished. Our room had hand painted walls and furniture that was antiqued, beautiful tile floors and bathroom and a small balcony. It was decorated with lovely matching fabrics and all in all is one of the more tastfully appointed places I've encountered in all of Latin America. It's located just two blocks from the Zocalo (near the hotel Noria) and the name is The Ex-Convento de San Pablo.... as the name suggests it is a converted convent from the 16th or 17th century....also around $60usd per night... very reasonable.

Now back to Huatulco and a few restaurant reviews... since I'm almost a local in Huatulco I'll try to name a few of the hidden or less well known places there. First we'll go to the Pato Mohado (wet duck) located on Jazmin near the corona distributorship (I'm sure the taxi drivers know where it is). The proprietors are Luis and Elva, the same folks who own Las Portales on the Zocalo in La Crucecita and Pesos rent-a-car... the specialties here are fish with special spices baked in a brick oven with a wood fire... I recommend the robalo if they have it... it's known as snook here in the states and is as tasty as any fish I've ever had.... There is a wonderful outdoor seating area and a small children's play area there also.

For great carry-out or dine-in chicken I reccomend Pollo Imperial, located on Carrizal in La Crucecita (They also deliver but I don't know the phone number). This is probably one of the most popular chicken houses in the entire republic and therefore everything is always fresh. A whole chicken is 54 pesos and comes with charro beans, tortillas and sauces...what a bargain..!!!

In closing I would like to comment about our favorite beach/bay in the area.. San Augustín .. It might be a little hard to get to but well worth it in my opinion. One can either hire a taxi to take you there and wait for you or go by water taxi or by rental car. If you drive yourself go past the airport to the crossroad to Santa Maria Huatulco...(el crucero) and turn left down a dirt road.... simply follow the most traveled route, about 5-7 miles, trust me you'll find it. When you arrive, you'll not only find one of the most beautiful bays that Huatulco has to offer , with the requisite palapas and beach restaurants, but also Coyote Beach (open pacific ocean....don't swim here unless you are olympic class) right around the point. San Augustín is still virtually the same as it was 30 years ago, a real trip in a time machine, be sure that you are ready to SLOW down once you arrive there.

In closing I hope you enjoy your vacation in our little corner of paradise... If anyone has questions feel free to e-mail me with them.

Lee Dorsey
Casa Costena

August 1999

Simply Wonderful

I am a 28-year old woman from Monterrey, Mexico. I went to Huatulco from August 2nd to 7th and spent a beautiful time there. I think I am in love with that place. A friend of mine and I went by Magnicharters, it is a very organized company; but if you go from Monterrey by Magnitur and you have home-airport transportation included, Confirm it by phone one hour before, because I almost missed my flight because the driver was so late at my house. Other than that, the flight was good. I stayed at the Sheraton resort; it is a five-star hotel, literally. Service is good. Three meals were included in my travel pack, so I tried the two mayor restaurants there in the hotel, food was good. We had free drinks too from 11 am to 11 pm, it was nice. I want to say that the bar Jorongos (Horongos) is so nice and there was live music by the Maraca's Group, they have excellent music, they turned on everyone, we spent a wonderful time there.

First I want to say thanks to Tom for this smart site, your maps were useful there. Thank you.

The tours are great, we went on the Bay Tour by a catamaran (a kind of boat), we visited almost all the beaches there, and snorkeled a lot. The tour guides are so funny. On another day we went to La Crucecita and Santa Cruz by a bus called "Iguana" with the funniest tour guide of all Huatulco, Don Oscar, he took us to the Conejos Beach and there we took a mud bath; it is fun when kids are putting a lot of mud over your body; it is relaxing.

I went to Chahue beach and saw the sunrise by my left side, (it was a romantic time). The view from the Sheraton is great, and even though Tangolunda bay is not the best for swimming, we played in the waves and swam there; most of the day the sea was calm. The best beach undoubtedly is La Entrega for swimming and snorkeling.

As a recommendation, use a large amount of sun block. You are going to get a beautiful tan and without pain. If you swim a lot, spend time tanning the front part of your body, you'll need it.

You can find souvenirs in the market at La Crucecita and you have to visit the family who make textiles. I bought a very beautiful cotton curtain for my bedroom. If you want to buy food, go to the Probadita and you will taste the best "mezcal" and "moka".

I think, I'm missing a lot of my trip, but if you have questions about it, I made some friends there, and they can tell you a lot about that beautiful place.

August 1999

Honeymooners from Norway

My husband and I spent our honeymoon at the Sheraton, Huatulco [photos 141K], September1998. Highly recommended! Coming all the way from Norway (Scandinavia) Huatulco and Tangolunda beach was worth every penny (and every hour traveling). We bought the trip through a traveling company here in Norway, and yes, it was very expensive. I now see (thanks to these pages) how it can be done cheaper. We hardly knew anything about the place before we went, and had never traveled for longer trips before. As you can imagine it felt like paradise coming from cold and windy Norway to hot and humid Huatulco.

It took a couple of days getting used to it! A few hours by the pool the first day made us realize how strong the sun was. We looked like pigs and had to use approx. a bottle of aloe-vera gel each... It didn't affect our holiday too much though. As someone said earlier -watch out for local fisherman Acapulco-SAM. He is not to be trusted and did not show up when he said he would.

If you meet a lovely lady at the Sheraton named Norma (we called her the towel-lady, but I think she now is working in the hotels kindergarten), please say hi to her from her Norwegian pen-friend. We started exchanging letters but I have not heard from her recently. We'll be back some day....

August 1999

About The Gala

Found the comments on here very, very helpful. We are just back from our stay with our three children, ages 15, 11 and 5 and just want to let anyone know out there who is contemplating this area...GO!!

The resort is very comfortable, without being upscale or sterile. Same goes for the Gala [photo 39K]. The rooms are big enough and comfortable, but not furnished in grand scale. Most rooms have great views. Our first rooms were a bit disappointing (saw the ocean if you leaned out over the balcony and screwed your head to the right) so we asked to be moved and we got rooms with much nicer ocean views and a cooling breeze. The bathrooms are very clean and large with great hot water and showers with full tubs, in case you are a bath fanatic. The staff are wonderful, very polite, speak English pretty well and if they don't understand you, which happened with us as we have English accents, which they found harder, they go and get someone who can help! They check the pool chemicals twice a day and are constantly cleaning every nook and cranny in the place. We loved the fact the management obviously got out and about and stayed on top of the staff. They also mucked in when needed and didn't just issue orders. It seemed like people really liked their work.

Whilst we were there the hotel was not full and most of the guests were Mexican families having their annual holiday. The beach never seemed busy, the pools always had space and there was plenty to do if you wanted to or nothing if that was your cup of tea. We used the water sports extensively as we like to sail and my husband dives.

A couple of things worth knowing, which we wish we'd been told: under 18's cannot go on the snorkelling trips, use kayaks etc. Our daughter, who is very capable and had snorkelled extensively in Hawaii, was upset at this news. Whilst we recognize that they don't want kids who slow the trips down or are a nuisance this seemed a little too rigid for family enjoyment, and the all inclusive idea.

The river rafting company was supposedly back in town but the whole time we were there they didn't restart business. Make sure that when you do this trip that you go when there is plenty of water. We met people who had done it and virtually walked some parts of the white water experience, due to no water!

Your evening drinks in the bar on the lobby floor are so much more superior than the round the pool ones. They tend to throw them together during the day. Watch out for the wasps around the coke machine if you fancy doing a self refill on the soda!

The Happy Hut, ugh what a name, is great for breakfast and lunch because it gets the breeze. It wasn't doing dinner when we were there.

Valentino is back on the beach and has excellent English. We actually didn't do any trips at all, which is rare for us because we like to explore, but he was very useful just in general about the area and where to go for things. We were so burnt out this year that we simply used the hotel and water. We did venture out for one dinner to the Steak and Lobster place across the road. It was very good, but not that cheap. The service was friendly and the kids loved the crepes.

We also tried the reservation only Italian at the Gala. We were a little PO'd because we'd made arrangements for our brood as we were told no kids and then a family arrived at 10.pm with their two kids, and were all dressed in jeans. We happened to be celebrating our 18th anniversary and it kinda spoilt the atmosphere. A couple of guests mentioned to me that they had seen rules being bent at the hotel for Mexican guests that American guests were not getting the same treatment over. I hope that isn't happening.

The youngsters who work the beach, sports etc. are a good crew and very friendly. They have a lot of fun...watch out for Marco in the water! Out kids took windsurfing classes with Ben, who made them laugh! My daughter said she got the sail up and was about to get going when he made her break up with giggles, so she was down again.

If you are contemplating trying this place, go for it. I really hope they do maintain its current "look" and don't spoil it with over development, hotels and so on.

We went with Apple Vacations .. hmmmm... all went fine until day of departure when they didn"t come for us so we had to get 2 taxis and drive like the clappers to get to the airport for our flight. They claimed we weren't there at the hotel on time and that they waited 10 minutes for us. Well somehow 5 of us missed them, even when we sat on the steps outside for 25 minutes, rang their office 3 times and had Michelle at guest relations trying to track them down too. It was a sad end as they were very rude at the airport, where we found them as we drove in, and I boarded the plane pretty mad about their bad attitudes and inability to say, "Sorry, we screwed up."

Feel free to email if you want any questions answered.

August 1999

Anyone know about Salina Cruz?

Thank you for a very informative website. Does anyone have information about how long it takes by bus from Oaxaca City to Salina Cruz? We wanted to stop in Juchitan and see the museums and then spend a few days at the beach. Are there any small hotels on the beach at Salina Cruz? We mainly want to relax under a palapa and enjoy some seafood before returning to Oaxaca City.

Kathy Lynn

July 1999

Receiving a Visitor from Mexico

Hello Tom, We returned from our second trip to Huatulco on June 29th. Our first trip was March 29th-April 6th. Our second trip was even more perfect than our first, if that's possible. As I mentioned before in an earlier e-mail, we are helping a young man and his family that live in the Colonia near the Huatulco Airport. They are such a warm, loving and friendly family. My heart breaks when I think of not being with them. We are trying to get a visitors visa for our Mexican amigo to visit the U.S. We have given him all the paperwork required of us to be a "sponser" and he is trying to get a passport in Oaxaca, Oaxaca. The American Consulate there said that he needs to complete Military Service first. Have you heard of this, and if so, can you explain this to me? Also, do you know where he could go to obtain a passport other than the Consulate?

Also, I was reading your web page about "Mail in Mexico". I have sent several packages to the Huatulco area and so far all have arrived. I only send them Registered though from the U.S. You also mention DHL but you might want to let everyone know that a package under 10 lbs. costs approximately $160.00 U.S.

I love this web site and check it regularly for any new info. about the area that I love so much. We are also inquirying about buying land to build a home on. Do you have any info. regarding this? If so it would be much appreciated.

Thanks for such a great escape from reality (reading anything on this site). We are returning to Huatulco again and will stay at the Gala Resort (formerly Royal Maeva). We can't wait to go back and see all our wonderful friends that we have made there! Until next time - be happy!

Loretta Podeszwa

July 1999

Tom does not have good answers to these questions. Anyone else? -Tom

Hi there. I've just read the mail you sent to Tom. My name is Carlos Ramos and I'm a SCUBA instructor at Action Sports Marina, at the Sheraton. Probably, if you come to Huatulco and stop in the Gala, I'll have the pleasure of meeting you personally, because GALA and we are neighbors (just walk ten steps from water sports in gala to reach water sports in Sheraton).

I think your friend is in big trouble if he doesn't have his Cartilla del Servicio Militar Nacional. Mexican law, obligates all male mexican citizens to register for a boring and long long year of military service. This practice was established in the Mexican Constitution, due to the WWII, when Mexico became allied with Americans and all the good guys. The war finished 54 years ago, but the law remains the same.

When a Mexican citizen (males only, that's discrimination fortunately for women, isn't it?) reach his 17 years, he (including me) has to go to the Junta Local de Reclutamiento (local recruiting office) to get a paper called Precartilla (this is a sort of booklet, with all your data and a photograph). Following this, all the Precartillas go to a "lottery" and those unfortunate ones getting a "white ball", must serve for one full year in the army or the navy when they reach the age of 18. Right now, as Mexico is at peace, the guys "winners" of a white ball who have a high school or higher educational level, have to go every Sunday to teach adults and other illiterate people to read and write. That's the only good side of the military service. Guys without this level have to go to the military installations to spend a half day learning how to march, to stand up and salute officials and all those things that the military loves. If you get a "black Ball" in the military service lottery, then you don't have to do anything except wait for one year to obtain the Cartilla.

After one year, the Precartilla is turned back to the owner with an attached document called Liberacion de Cartilla that is only a paper to certify that the owner has completed his military obligation. The problem with the Cartilla is that it is required in order to obtain some other documents, such as driver's license and passport. This is especially true with passports, because even if you get a fake Cartilla, it is easily detected at the passport office.

So for a Mexican citizen to leave Mexico legally, first you have to get your Mexican passport. This is easy if you are female, or male younger than 17 (under 17 need parents' permission). If you are a male older than 17, you need your Cartilla, as I explained. The closest place to obtain the passport is in Oaxaca city.

The visa is another story. Once you've got your passport, you have to go to the American Embassy and ask for a visa. This is not easy at all for a poor person. The requirements of the American government to give you even a temporary, no-immigrant visa are not easy to fulfill. You need to demonstrate that you have a job and an account in the bank. If you own property in Mexico it is easier to obtain the visa. I'm not sure if is easier to obtain the visa if you have an American sponsor. But, the embassy asks for the passport anyway, because they stamp the visa on it, and I think they keep a copy of the passport, just in case.

So I think that your friend will have to wait a little bit before getting his passport. I hope this letter answers your questions about the Cartilla.

I appreciate your feelings toward the family you mention, even though I don't know them, but is always nice to know that somebody is taking care and helping to a poor family of Mexicans (I'm Mexican too). Hoping to meet you, receive my best regards.

Carlos Ramos
PADI Scuba Instructor - Sheraton

see Carlos' article on scuba diving
July 25, 1999

Tom Richards Fishin Show

Hola Amigos from Tom Richards Fishin Show, I produce the show and we visited Huatulco the week before the July 4th holiday. We had a ball. We've visited the west coast of Mexico 4 times in the past 18 months, all at locations further north. We've had great fishing every trip, but Huatulco really was a surprise. A really cool mix of old and new; both the fishing and the place. We stayed at the Crown Pacific [photos 79K] on [near] Tangolunda Bay, and part of the media trip we went on was a tour of the other hotels of the area. I think you'll be pleased with any hotel you choose on Tangolunda Bay, but the Crown Pacific, the Sheraton, and the Gala are all A+++, all inclusive, very cool places. All of Tangolunda Bay is kinda like Disneyland...like I said, a mix of old and new and this is definitely the new. Wide streets, no poverty, friendly people. It seems as though the government saw the problems they had with other resorts and really went all out to make this place world class. But my favorite part was the old. The downtown area is a real glimpse of old Mexico. Lots of culture, too. In a town of 10,000 we saw an orchestra, watched kids take guitar lessons, saw some great local art, and met some great people. We travel to lots of resort locations, and its funny to me that the very thing that makes a place a great spot gets ruined when people find out its a great spot. Well, this is the first undiscovered great spot I've found. There are 2500 rooms now and plans for 20,000 are in the works. Hurry!

The fishing was off due to 2, that's right 2, tropical storms but we still caught a sail that went over 8 feet, mahi mahi, tuna, and dorado. The beautiful thing about Huatulco is all these fish were caught less than 2 miles offshore. Blue water comes extremely close to shore here, so it should become a real haven for guys who don't want to go 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 miles out to catch marlin and sails. Sometimes they're caught at the entrance to the bay!!!! Also old and new...we saw guys hand line 15-20 lb. tuna off a boat trolling at pretty good speed. By hand lines, I mean just that 100 lb. test let out off a 2x4, wrapped around your hand till the strike, then you pull him in. They also do this off the cliffs using a stick they spool with line and throw(the old). The new is my first personal plug. All the boats out of Santa Cruz catch fish, but Ventures Huatulco with David Garcia is the boat to hire for a world class trip. They caught ballyhoo the night before and were absolutely top notch in every way. Great mate with personality... whistles and calls for fish... all kinds of good luck stuff we'd never seen before. In fact, all our mates threw coins, whistled, called, begged; did everything they could to give us a good trip. Many thanks!


BAR- - -La Crema coolest bar in Mexico, period.
FOOD---walk out of The Crown Pacific on Tangolunda Bay and go left for 1 1/2 blocks till you see an old covered wagon. Ask for Memo and eat the steak and shrimp. Tell him Rod and Michelle from a TOM RICHARDS FISHIN SHOW say hi and keep the grill warm.... we'll be back.

Rod Thomas
T V Concepts

July 1999

Hyperbaric Medicine Symposium

On August 14 and 15, 1999, a Hyperbaric Medicine Symposium will be presented in Huatulco. The symposium is going to be conducted by the following Naval Medicine Doctors:

Cap. Carlos Alcala Guerrero. Director of the Hospital Naval de Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo. Guerrero.

Cap. Ricardo Cruz Montiel. Sub-Director of the Hospital Naval de Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.

Tte. Angel Novelo Lopez. Director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Section of the Hospital Naval de Veracruz.

The symposium will be hosted in the Hotel Marlin. The recuperation fee is only $200.00 (US $25.00) and this fee includes a cocktail aboard a yacht.

Some of the topics that are going to reviewed are: Oxygen Toxicity, Hyperbaric Oxygen in Diabetic foot, burns, gaseous gangrene, osteomelitis, bends, decompression sickness, pressure related injuries, among others. The course is oriented to Doctors, nurses, paramedics and divers.

For further information, contact with: Doctor Isaac Santiago. Phone (958) 7 01 04 FAX ( 958) 7 07 43 or email to Carlos Ramos charlie_diver@hotmail.com


Simposium de Medicina Hiperbárica

El próximo 14 y 15 de agosto de 1999, se llevará a cabo el Primer Simposium de Medicina Hiperbárica, conducido por los Médicos Navales:

Cap. Corb. SSN MC. MIN Carlos Alcalá Guerrero. Director del Hospital Naval de Zihuatanejo. Cap. Corb. SSN MC. MIN Diplom. En Med. Hiperbárica.

Ricardo Cruz Montiel, Subdtor. Hospital Naval se Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.

TTE. NAV SSN MC MIN. Diplom. En Med. Hiperbárica Angel Novelo López. Jefe del Serv. De Med. Hiperb. Del Hospital Naval de Veracruz.

El evento tendrá lugar en el Hotel MARLIN de Huatulco y tendrá un costo de únicamente $ 200.00 mn.

Algunos de los tópicos que se expondrán son: Toxicidad del Oxígeno, Gangrena Gaseosa, Pie diabético, aeroembolia, enfermedad descompresiva, barotraumas, entre otros.

Este evento esta dirigido a Médicos, enfermeras, paramédicos, instructores de buceo y buzos en general.

Para mayores informes, contactar al Dr. Isaac Santiago al tel. (958) 7 01 04 FAX (958) 7 07 43 o bien por correo electrónico con Carlos Ramos charlie_diver@hotmail.com.

Carlos Ramos
PADI Scuba Instructor - Sheraton

see Carlos'
article on scuba diving
July 21, 1999

Quinta Real

My wife and I just returned from a great trip to Huatulco. We stayed at the Quinta Real [photos] and it was probably the most luxurious hotel experience we've ever had. They upgraded us from a small room to a suite with a pool at no charge. Everyone was extremely friendly and charming. We went in July and had practically the entire place to ourselves. A little bit of paradise.

Robert Duncan
July 1999

Hyperbaric Chamber Arrives in Huatulco

Hi Tom. A few days ago, I wrote about the Navy Hospital in Huatulco and the possibility of having a hyperbaric chamber on it.

GOOD NEWS for the diving community of Huatulco. Today (July 12, 1999) the hyperbaric chamber arrived to Huatulco. A big navy trailer brought it in a low-boy platform. The truck was parked right in front of the hospital, and I had chance to take a closer look to it. The chamber is for two people (that's what the driver told me) and I think it's big enough to be true.

The hospital is almost finished (probably in another 30 days it will be working), so I can't tell you when the chamber will be working. But it is already here and that's great. I'll send more information as soon as I get it.

About the weather, we have a lot of rain (a tropical wave is affecting the south of Mexico from the Yucatan's Peninsula, South of Veracruz, Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas y Oaxaca. The last forecast (taken from http://www.smn.cna.gob.mx/SMN.html Comisión Nacional del Agua) is that we will have rain for another two days. About ocean conditions, we are being affected by a mild "REBALSE" which started yesterday.

As always, I'm sending you this update, as well as all other interesting or useful topics I've sent to our always welcomed visitors, wishing that these comments help them to enjoy their stay in Huatulco.

Tu Amigo.

Carlos Ramos
PADI Scuba Instructor - Sheraton

see Carlos'
article on scuba diving
July 12, 1999

How About Gala Resorts?

I am inquiring about the Gala Resorts. My husband and I will be traveling this July 23rd from Dallas, TX and returning on July 27th. We have not been to the Gala Resorts, but have heard many wonderful and fantastic comments about it.

1. What is the weather like in July? What should we anticipate?

2. How should we handle tipping at the Gala Resorts?

3. Is there anything "special" that we need to know?

4. What archeological site would be recommended?

5. What denominations of American $$ was most useful to have while you were there?

6. I am under the impression that there is a tour operator in the Gala Resorts. How do they compare with the others?

7. Any chance that there is a Spa facility?

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments to the internet and taking the time to answer my questions.

Alicia M. Slay

July 1999

Club Med

We just came back. We were there the 3rd week in June. Just the start of rainy season. Not really a problem though. Some rain during the part of our week long trip. Since it was the low season, NO crowds. Only 1/4 full. It was like having the whole place to ourselves. Two teen-agers with us, loved the trapeze! Food was great, staff a lot of fun. The only drawback for ours kids was not meeting more their own age. They want to go back again next year.

I got stomach cramps. Went to infirmary, they gave me something called Buscapina. Problem gone. Went on tour to Santa Cruz, boat ride, snorkel and lunch, had a great time. Going here is like adults being sent away to camp. We never dressed up! Accommodations are adequate but clean. No bugs really, they spray daily. This is not a place for those who want to be pampered, but for those who want to kick back and do their own thing. [Club Med photo 21K]

Emil Eger

June 1999

Buscando Empleo   Looking for a Job

Hola , mi nombre es Adriana Acevedo , recientemente fui a pasar unos días en Huatulco, lo cual me sorprendio como ha crecido y sin embargo mantiene esa atmosfera "virgen". Este mensaje es para solicitarle información de como podría contactarme con los servicicos turisticos (hoteles,tours, etc) para solicitar empleo, mucho le agradecería cualquier comentario.

Adriana Acevedo

June 1999

Casa Costeña Gets a Positive Review

I had intended to write some comments after my (second) trip to Huatulco last summer via FunJet's charter from DFW to Huatulco. A group of 8 of us stayed at the very comfortable, spacious, and attractive privately owned Casa Costeña. Our arrangements were made via the internet (email to the owner) and everything worked out wonderfully well. We had, on a daily basis, a housekeeper and gardener. One of our group had a fall, and the housekeeper accompanied us to a very good doctor in La Crucecita and stayed with us until we were satisfied that all was well - certainly above and beyond her duties - and all done with cheerfulness. The pictures on your web site of Casa Costeña don't do it justice. It truly was lovely, well maintained, and in a very safe part of the town. We walked easily to the marina, where there are restaurants, etc. But we were also able to take full advantage of the spacious kitchen and make our own meals when we wanted. The kitchen was very well supplied with the necessities (ie, coffee maker, blender, pots, pans, dishes, etc.etc.). The pool was beautifully maintained and was a nice escape from the beaches. I unhesitatingly recommend this home, especially for families who are self-sufficient and speak Spanish.

The first trip to Huatulco, I spent at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K] - again an outstanding experience, especially for my first visit. I am disappointed that there seem to be no more inexpensive charters in the summer to Huatulco from Texas. I was hoping to go again this summer, but could only find a three day package from San Antonio.

Because of our numbers, we arranged for our own tour to the coffee plantation in the mountains. That was a very nice experience - the plantation now has a sort of bed and breakfast, and were I to go again, I'd spend a couple of days there.

Snorkeling and diving was so much worse the second year that I don't recommend it to anyone for whom that is a priority. Thanks for your website - where I got my original info.

Molly Lamphear

June 1999

Scuba Diving; Dredging La Entrega

Diving has been changing every day.

We had by mid June the longest rebalse [period of heavy "rebellious" seas] I 've ever seen. We had 16 days with huge waves and surf. Diving was terrible in those days. Particles suspended in water made the visibility drop to less than 3 feet. So I spent a long time on the reserve. We have had some rain, especially in the afternoon and night. Rain has been stronger on the sierra. In Pochutla it is raining almost every day, but without major problems. One of my co-workers lives there and he comes and goes to Pochutla everyday.

Two weeks ago, lots of fish appeared dead on the beach. At the beginning, I thought that the reason was a fishing boat catching shrimp. But the amount of dead fish was impressive. Diving, I observed many fish with strange behaviors: swimming head down or erratically. The skin of many of them presented white dots and scratches. The most affected were damselfish, triggerfish, green moray eels and parrot fish. In those days, I got a very painful skin infection in my right armpit. At first, I thought it was produced by fungus, but the doctor sent me to the laboratory for a clinical test, and they found that it was produced by bacteria. I took antibiotic and an ointment called garamicine and the infection disappeared in four days. It was very painful and disturbing.

The water conditions change everyday. Two days ago, we had 30 ft. Yesterday was 60' ft and today dropped again to 30 ft. That's the Pacific Ocean.

About news of the area interesting for your site, is the fact that the Mexican Navy is building a military base in "La Yerbabuena", in Santa Cruz Bay, next to La Entrega. They are building (and they almost compelted the construction) a naval hospital. That's very good for the people, because they will attend emergencies, and probably they will have a helicopter. Is said that they will install a hyperbaric chanmber. Thats music to my ears.

A huge Navy dredge is digging in Santa Cruz Bay. The federal government is going to build a dock to receive cruise ships. I think this pier will affect very badly the La Entrega reef. Top ranked politicians came to Huatulco to place the first stone of the dock. There is not any environmental impact study done.

Carlos Ramos
Scuba Instructor

see Carlos' article on scuba diving
July 3, 1999


Debido a que en septiembre del presente año se realizara el Congreso Internacional de Biotecnologia en Huatulco, Oaxaca, y a la distancia que nos separa (les escribo desde Neuquen, Argentina) me interesaria conocer los precios de distintos hoteles ya que los organizadores del curso me informaron unicamente acerca de los correspondientes al hotel Sheraton, donde efectivamente se va a llevar a cabo el congreso, y queria saber si en algun hotel cerceno a este los precios no son tan elevados ya que yo tendria que gastar tambien en el pasaje desde Argentina. Asimismo agradeceria me envien informacion acerca de como pagar las reservas de los mismos y la forma en que me podria trasladar desde Mexico capital hasta alli. Desde ya agradezco su tiempo y me despido atentamente esperando una pronta respuesta.

Lic. Christian A. Lopes
Lab. de Microbiologia y Biotecnologia
Univ. Nac. del Comahue
Neuquen- Argentina

June 1999

Laredo to Huatulco

We got back to Laredo from your small patch of Paradise late last night. Am not sure whether I should pass on the word that this is a wonderful place to visit or not. I am afraid that so many people will hear about it that they'll head down there "en masse".

I was very pleasantly surprised to see so many mountains. I had no idea that it would so remind me of my native Arkansas. No one has mentioned the foliage they will see down there. The tropical plants we try so hard to cultivate in most parts of the U.S. as houseplants are so interesting to see in their native habitat. I think you should devote a section to that at your web site. That will draw quite a bit of attention. I would suggest a picture of what we call tabachine (the trees that are beautiful with their red flowers). I must admit that I am currently trying to cultivate some in my garden right now. Be sure to tell your readers that bringing trees to the U.S. is against the law. I was given these seeds by someone here that has been successful with them.

We were part of one of those Magnitur groups. I never saw them mentioned at your web site. My guess is because these tours originate in Mexico. We were able to get plane fare from Monterrey, Mexico, to Huatulco easily with a local travel agent. Our round trip airfare for two adults, tour bus transport from airport to the Sheraton, three nights and four days, all inclusive (drinks & buffets), bus back to airport, and then in Monterrey we were taken by Chevy Suburban to the regular bus station was a total of $1,000. I think this is excellent. Our bus to and from Monterrey which is 2-1/2 hours was about $24 each! The buses were more comfortable than the Boeing 727 that took us from Monterrey to Huatulco. We saw an American movie in perfect air conditioned comfort. The bus ride included NO chickens or other livestock. There were a few passengers that might cause some people a little discomfort but they just local working people and can be a wealth of information if you speak Spanish. The bus did pick up two guys outside of Monterrey that gave us all a serenata. That is an experience that isn't easily forgotten if it is your first. A nice gesture is to donate a small amount to them (50 cents is fine). Another nice gesture is a small candy to the children seated near you or to share with your fellow passengers. There were a few comments about the architecture of the Huatulco airport. I found the palapas charming. The lack of air conditioning was not too overpowering. The buses from the tour company were all top of the line. Not at all what most Americans would think of as being available. The guides were entertaining and charming.

I do have to agree that the shopping did lack. We rented two motor scooters in front of the Sheraton and had a delightful morning's experience in town. No where in the information did I see the mention of the area's famous black pottery. It is unique and deserves a mention. The embroidery needs mention too -- I knew about it but most do not. I expected to see more of a variety of the famous Taxco silver and the beautiful folk art. Beware of a shop across from the church that sells folk art plates -- this guy claimed to be the artist "Roberto" and really tried to "poke my eyes" on the prices. His work is better quality than any other that I saw but he was VERY insistent. If you know the guy of whom I write tell him that I was the guera that in there this past Sunday.

The people were very friendly and I enjoyed visiting with several of the local ladies who were universally pleasantly surprised that I spoke Spanish and was willing to visit.

The Sheraton was a very pleasant stay. The cafe de olla was exceptional. It will become a frequent beverage at my home. The various buffets and restaurants at the hotel were a feast for the senses. The serving staff were always very quick to satisfy my addiction to mango which isn't commonly served. At almost every meal one of the waiters would bring me something made with mango. Every day is a different menu. we greatly appreciated the taco night with fajita, carne al pastor, and mollejas ( sweetbreads). Delicious. The view was beautiful, the pool crystal clear, and the grounds immaculate. Good job.

We, too, did the beach tour. It was okay. We had one that was a lot more fun when we were in Puerto Vallarta and there were no snacks and only the most basic drinks. The snorkeling was okay if you've never done it before. Xel-ha and Xcaret near Cancún are many, many times better than at Huatulco. The water is also much clearer on the Caribbean side of Mexico.

Huatulco is worth the visit but for my money the charm of Puerto Vallarta is more romantic (you can't beat Liz Taylor & Richard Burton's passion for the place) and Xcaret and Xel-ha are the most beautiful places on the planet. Tell people to come see Huatulco before it gets too commercialized like the other resorts in Mexico.

Thanks to your web site I was pretty well prepared and we got our much deserved respite from our hectic business -- at least for a long weekend. Thanks Tom.

Sandra Sauceda
Laredo, Texas

June 1999

Fishing Report

Our boat Ventures has been doing great in the waters for the last few weeks. Even though the weather has been pretty nasty, the fishing has been terrific. We have been raising at least one Sail fish every hour, lots of Tuna and Dorado to be had and we catch an occasional Marlin. All the fish have been caught within 2 miles of the harbor. The earthquake [6/15/99, mag. 6.7, centered on the Puebla/Oaxaca state line] was somewhat scary, but I've been as unsteady after several margaritas. The roads are still in great shape except for one giant sink hole on the right side about half way to the airport. All for now.

Tony Fellner
Ventures Huatulco

June 1999

Gala Resort?

Have read so many good things about Royal Maeva in Huatulco, was working on setting up a trip there. However, am wondering if any significant changes have taken place (or are to take place) since it changed to Gala Resort? BJPalmer

June 1999

Azomalli Awesome

"Awesome". There are truly no words to effectively describe Villa Azomalli, which is made up of a three people that actually runs the Villa (without them there would be no Villa) and the beautiful scenery that surrounds it. Arecelli, Rebecca and Don Jose.

"Celli" whom I called Chili, Chelsy and God knows what else and she too gave me a new name "Evelyn". We planned our days around her meals. No need to eat out unless you just want to be kind and give them a break.

Our daily routine consisted of the Banco, La Crucecita y Casa. Our taxi driver had our routine down after 2 days (Poncho) we called him. We also went on a fishing expedition, where one of us became "sea sick" and had to miss out on the remainder of the trip. There was also snorkeling and finally a picnic on the beach at which the fish that was caught was prepared by the locals. We also ventured out one night to disco but our luck it was during the week and the place was closed so we just walked around Santa Cruz and enjoyed every minute of it with our tour guides.

If you have any questions or are hesitant in any way about making the trip please email me at:

June 1999

Bugs? What to wear?

Tom - what's the bug situation down there - mosquitoes, beetles, roaches what kind of "stuff" should I bring for a November trip. Also, what is the typical evening dress code - are shorts ok or is it more formal?? I appreciate your web site and all the work you put into making it so great. We got an Apple package for 7 days at the Zashilla (room with the pool and breakfast daily) with air for $2000 - we have had it booked for a while. Cheapest flights I could find at that time from LA were $500 each on Mexicana.

Promise to do a trip report when we return! Thanks for your help.

Ellen Garland
Los Angeles CA

June 1999

You should be prepared for mosquitos. See http://www.eden.com/~tomzap/mosquito.html

There is a small chance you might see a scorpion. Best thing to do with a scorpion is squash it.

Here's what Phil Minch says about clothing:

"WHAT TO PACK: Huatulco's climate is very tropical year round. Dress is very casual day or evening. Leave jackets and ties and fancy evening attire at home. Pack cool and comfortable clothes. Swim suits, cover-ups, shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, comfortable shoes, tennis shoes, beach shoes or thongs. Hats or visors to shade the sun or purchase them in Huatulco. Get the picture?

"A definition of dressed up in Huatulco would be light weight slacks and tropical shirt for men or light weight casual summer dress or slack outfit for women. You may want to bring one pair of jeans or old slacks for horseback riding."

Phil rents condos at the Zaashila. He provides this info for his guests. You can read the rest of it at: http://www.eden.com/~tomzap/minch3.html.


Proyecto Acerca de Huatulco

Hola, soy una estudiante de administracion de recursos turisticos, en la Universidad Autonoma de Guanajuato. Tengo que hacer un proyecto acerca de Huatulco, en donde me piden varios punto a desarrollar, pienso que talvez alguien de ustedes podria proporcionarme algunos de los puntos que nesesito; son los siguientes:

Cabe aclarar que en todos y cada uno de los puntos se tomaran en cuenta debilidades y fortalezas; por suerte yo ya cuento con la mayoria de las fortalezas, vivi 10 años en Huatulco y continuo visitandolo, pero unicamente en las vacaciones, debido a que mi familia aun reside ahi; en fin, es más dificil ver las debilidades de un lugar asi , que si alguien me puede ayudar estaría plenamente agradecida.

1.-sitio (debilidades y fortalezas)
2.-acccesibilidad (debilidades y fortalezas)
3.-atractivos (debilidades y fortalezas)
4.-actividades (debilidades y fortalezas)
5.-servicios (debilidades y fortalezas)

Si alguien pude mandarme alguna informacion antes del 25 de junio, me ayudarian muchisimo.

Primavera Rubalcava Kareaga

June 1999

Weather, Fishing

Sunday we went out and caught 2 very large sails, 2 medium dorados and (1) 20 lb. tuna. The weather has been somewhat nasty, some rain, pretty windy. Due to the heat, a warning has been put out not to eat lobster and shrimp for a few weeks. there are a lot of dead fish being washed up on shore.

Ventures Huatulco

June 9, 1999

Club Med

I loved Club Med [photo 21K] and I loved Huatulco. So few people have heard of Huatlulco in New Jersey that I feel it is like a secret paradise. I would definitely come back here. This was my fourth and by far my favorite Club Med resort of all that I have been to.

June 1999

Finca La Gloria

Tom, just saw your pictures on the finca you went to. This was exciting to us as their son and wife are very good friends of ours that use to have a wonderful bakery and coffee shop in Huatulco and now live in Oaxaca, their coffee from this finca is some of the best and they are trying very hard to make a name for themselves with this coffee.

Cheryl and Dixon Leavers

June 1999

Condo at Zaashila

I had a great vacation. Your [Phil Minch] condo exceeded my expectations. It was nice that it is stocked with so many useful items, like the water bottle holder (I used it a lot). I can't think of a thing that I needed that I didn't find. Gino said he can't get the Mexico City newspaper (covering the US) anymore. I'll bet he would greatly appreciate a Chicago paper. Tell him and Lupe I said hi. It was great talking to them.

For your info: Royal Maeva is now Gala, Bings in La Crucecita is out of business (the one in Tangulonda is open), Bella Venesia restaurant is out of business.

Stanley, Bill

June 1999

Villa Azomalli

Just returned from two weeks in the state of Oaxaca. The first blissful week was spent at Tony Palos' beautiful and restful Villa Azomalli. Anyone who likes to get away from it all and enjoys being pampered will love his villa. Aracelli, who cooks for company, is a delight and a wonderful cook. One can hardly believe the view from the swimming pool and the outdoor living areas which include living room and dining room.

We went on a private bay tour that Aracelli arranged. Caught fish and had a blast snorkeling. The waters did seem calmer during the mid-moon cycle. Used the private beach down the street from Villa Azomalli. Great place to play in the ocean. Mostly, we lazed around the Villa and played in the swimming pool. If you're interested in staying at Villa Azomalli, contact Tony @ info@huatulcovilla.com.

We had no problems with our Mexicana flights from L.A. Huatulco was empty the end of May. Weather was fine, with an exciting mini hurricane, but no other rain. No mosquitoes either!

The last week was spent in the charming city of Oaxaca at a terrific hotel - Hostal de la Noria. Wish my vacation would never end!

Kacey Jurgens"
June 1999


I worked at the Maeva-Gala from Dec. '94 to Mar. '96 in PR. I am Sheryl, from Canada. I find it very amusing reading all these comments. I still work in tourism and have lived in Varadero Cuba, Punta Cana D.R. and Cancun. The best time was definatley with my "family" in Meava. Some of my best friends were made and met at Meava, and relations continue with most. We try to keep in contact by phone if not visit. I will never forget Huatulco. And to all I met there a big hello!   Trabaje de animacion relaciones publicas a Maeva-Gala de dic '94 hast mar'96. me llamaba Nani (guera, alta canadiense). Muy interesante a leer todos los comentarios. Mientras todo es mis recuerdos de Huatulco y mi "familia" de Maeva que me encanta mas que nada. Gracias a dios mis amistades continuo con huespedes y "amigos". Tuvimos oportunidades a vernos mucho la mayoria en Playa Car y por lo menos hablarnos por telefono. Basicamente, NUNCA ovlidare mi tiempo en Huatulco. Y todos mis amores, abrazos y besote!

Sheryl, nanita

June 1999

Sailing on the Luna Azul

Just returned from 10 days vacation in May in Huatulco and loved every minute of it. Stayed at the Posada Chahue [photos] which is perfect in every way. The staff are most helpful and make you feel very welcome. It has wonderful meals in its restaurant and we seldom ate anywhere else. My eleven year old daughter could even get her favorite - hotdogs and french fries. The rooms are large, clean and bright. It is within walking distance of the town and the marina. If you like the comfort of a home away from home - this is the place to stay.

Another great activity that I haven't seen listed in your visitor's comments that we thoroughly enjoyed is the sailboat Luna Azul. It is owned and operated by Jack and Lorena Hennessy. The captain is Chavis (not sure of spelling) and they are all wonderful, friendly and accommodating people. Reservations can be made on the hotels but certainly at the Posada Chahue if anyone is interested. We enjoyed the afternoon cruise so much that we went on the evening one as well. We saw manta rays, sea turtles and dolphins. On the evening tour the dolphins played at the bow of the boat for about 1/2 hour and it was great. We even caught a couple fish which we could have taken back to the restaurant for a meal. The evening tour is planned so that you see the sunset as you sail back into Santa Cruz marina. Beautiful. On the afternoon tour we anchored in a bay, took the dingy to shore where we had a drink and something to eat at one of the beach front restaurants, swam, sunbathed, collected shells and snorkeled the coral reefs. The snorkeling equipment is provided so it is actually two activities for the price of one. During our sail we saw the "blow hole" where water shoots up the side of a cliff through a hole in the rock, a face carved into the rocks and many of the popular bays. The Tangolunda Bay tour showed the many resorts and architecture of the area. Jack and Chavo are a wealth of information about the area. Anyway I highly recommend the Luna Azul sailboat tour. Food and drinks are provided and there is a washroom on board. We intend to keep in touch with them and I believe the Luna Azul is setting up a web page and I will let you and your visitors know when it is completed.

Huatulco is a great place - wonderful weather and beaches, friendly people, good food and shops, lots to do. I enjoyed reading all the other comments. Keep up the good work.

Klaus Ehrhardt

May 1999

Acampar y Pescar

Me gustaría que me enviara información sobre playas donde se pueda acampar y pescar.

Carlos Diaz
tucacas@df1.telmex.net.mx (Atte Carlos Diaz)

May 1999

Sandals at the Gala Resort?

Just got done reading all the comments on Huatulco. We are going at the end of June and I had some questions. We are staying at the Gala Resorts, used to be called Royal Maeva. Read all the great input on it and am really looking forward to it. One quick question on dress at the a-la-carte restaurants. The Apple Vacation book says no sandals. Well, most women wear sandals in the summer. Will that not do? Should my husband take a tie and jacket? I imagine it will be quite hot. Any other input that you may have on the change from Royal Maeva to Gala Resort is appreciated. I hope it is still as good as so many people have said. Thanks.

Claire Coront

May 1999

Learn Some Spanish

The most important thing for you to do before you go is to LEARN SOME SPANISH!!! It's not just that speaking Spanish will help you in town. We stayed at the Sheraton [photos 141K] (which I highly recommend) and found only two or three people in the entire staff who spoke serviceable English and none who were fluent. So, every little bit helps. Basic stuff, directions, prices (numbers!), food and drink.

I had read many comments to this effect on this excellent page, but I was still taken by surprise by how much Spanish I needed. The Spanish I've picked up from a lifetime in Texas was definitely not enough.

Huatulco is favored by Mexican tourists, which means it feels more like a foreign country than a resort. I happen to consider that a major plus.

Tangolunda beach, where several of the big resorts are located, is not very swimable. The flags were black every day but one. If you want to swim, head out to Entrega or somewhere rather than waiting for the surf to calm down, because it probably won't.

Don't let the restaurants and rental shops and public baths on La Entrega fool you: this is a very basic, cash-only environment. No one takes credit cards and there is nowhere to change money (though everyone takes US dollars).

One thing you will find on Tangolunda are some of the pushiest touts and peddlers I've encountered since Turkey. One tout I encountered in Santa Cruz became rather insulting when we turned him down, but that was an isolated event. The fishing-boat touts will sometimes come right up into the poolside area to bug you. [A tout is a solicitor. -Tom]

Simply put, everywhere you go outside your hotel, you're going to get the hard sell. Cab-drivers, silver merchants, fishing boat rentals, little wooden bookmarks, hair-braiders, trinkets, everything you can imagine. If you so much as make eye-contact, it takes a minute or so to extricate yourself, Spanish or not. If you ask them any questions, they'll be on you every time they see you thereafter. So, be warned!

But most people were exceedingly nice. Be sure to visit El Sabor de Oaxaca for dinner one night. Also, Ve el Mar in Santa Cruz (ask your cab driver to take you directly there: it's in a little corner of the square and you might not see it otherwise), and go to the Cactus, for drinks at least. Ask for Ramon, and then ask him about his football career ;->. In Tangolunda, I recommend Jarro's, but on the opposite side of the block and to the right is El Burro Charlie's, which makes an excellent Arrachero (marinated steak).

If you're a coffee drinker and you get sick of the Nescafe they serve at the hotel and most of the restaurants (the Mexicans call it "No-es-Cafe," get it?), go to Cafe Huatulco, which has recently moved closer to El Burro Charlie's. They also sell whole-bean and ground coffee to take home with you, which I am enjoying as I write this.

The regional alcoholic drink of Oaxaca is mezcal. You really should try it, though it is an acquired taste (even if you're an accomplished bourbon or scotch drinker, this stuff will challenge you). Alternately, ask for cafe Huatulco (not the cafe, the drink!), which is an elaborate, flaming coffee drink with mezcal. Little bottles of mezcal are available everywhere, and everyone in Huatulco has an opinion as to which is best. El Sabor de Oaxaca even bottles their own house brand. If you go to a liquor store, sometimes they will stage a spontaneous tasting for you so you can decide for yourself. But beware! All those tiny shots add up! There is also a cream mezcal ("for the ladies," I was told).

Many of these bottles are actually charming, hand-made jugs and jars, and you might buy one just for the container. However, pack it very carefully in water-tight plastic AND cushioning towels or whatever. I had a bottle leak on the way home, much to the amusement of US customs when they opened my bag...

John St.Lawrence

May 1999

Comments on Driving to Huatulco?

I am planning on driving from Brownsville to Huatulco in the late summer or early fall. I would love to get some pertinent road and lodging information from someone that has performed this feat. Please reply to apf@sierra.net

Tony Fellner

May 1999

Worked for Royal Maeva

I worked in the Royal Maeva Resort Huatulco from Dec. '97 to Apr. '99. If you have any questions you would like answered about Huatulco you can e-mail me with questions. The best tour is the rafting tour with Río y Montaña, and the best places to eat are the Argentina Grill, and La Crema Bar.   Trabaje en el hotel Royal Maeva Resort Huatulco de dic. '97 a abr. '99. Si tienen preguntas de Huatulco me pueden mandar un e-mail. El tour mejor el el tour de rafting con Río y Montaña, y los mejores lugares a comer son el Argentina Grill, y La Crema Bar.

Vancouver, Canada

May 1999

Choco Loco

- Hi! I'm Isacc "Choco Loco". I worked at Maeva from Sept. 98 - March 99. I worked at the main pool and I had a great time! Looking for any guests that I ran into during that time!

May 1999

Recommends Posada Chahue

My husband is from Mexico City and has lived in the United States in the Chicago area for the past ten years. Last summer, August of 1998, we took a month long trip by van to Mexico. We visited many fabulous places, but the highlight of the trip was certainly Huatulco. We did not have reservations anywhere, but we were staying a few hours away with his mother's family south of Oaxaca. We drove down to Huatulco and found inexpensive, spotless, and comfortable accommodations at Posada Chahue [photos]. We had four adults and 3 children. They found us a room with 3 double beds so we could be together. Posada Chahue shares a beach club with a larger resort hotel.

We spent three days I will never forget in Huatulco, and my husband and I are planning a return trip by air without the three kids!! I would highly recommend Posada Chahue for its cleanliness, service and charming little restaurant. ENJOY!!

[Tom agrees, Posada Chahue is a clean, comfortable, economical hotel and restaurant with friendly staff. You can even contact them by email. -Tom] Sergio and Tammy Perez

May 1999

Help Getting a Package to Huatulco

If anyone is going to Huatulco in the near future, and wouldn't mind taking a small package with them, please email me and let me know. I have a friend that I met that I can't send anything to. Thanks for any help.

[Shipping packages by the Mexican postal service can be unreliable. I have had about a 75% success rate. -Tom]

May 1999

Mexican Consumer Protection Agency

The Mexican government has a Federal Attorney for Consumers Protection. If someone receives unfair treatment or a bad service, or if a commercial establishment charges more than the official price, or there is an abuse against the consumer, the consumer can submit a claim to that office. Well, this office also works via internet. The name of the office is: Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor (PROFECO). This office attends local and foreign claims in http://www.profeco.gob.mx in this site, the PROFECO has a section to attend foreign claims. The best of all, is that, at least for local claims, this office is very effective, and most of the time, the consumer gets a favorable solution to his/her problem.

Carlos Ramos
Scuba Instructor

see Carlos' article on scuba diving
May 1999

Airfares Sky-High in Denver

Hello Tom, I am planning a trip to Huatulco in Oct. 21-29th, there will be three of us, 1 child. Want to stay at the Royal Maeva, I am having problems arranging airfare out of Denver, do you have any suggestions or any other travelers input? The prices are outrageous, there are 4-hour layovers in Mexico City. Only late night flights out of Huatulco. Can you suggest any tour operators to go through? Thanks for any info.

Marie Burows

April 1999

[We now have reduced airfares. See Vista World Travel. -Tom]

The Maeva (now the Gala) with Kids

My husband and I along with our two children ages 4 and 5 stayed at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K] and had a marvelous time. The staff their was very attentive to our needs. Public relations people were wonderful. The people who worked at the mini club were more than wonderful, if that's possible. My husband and I were able to spend some time together without having to worry about the safety and happiness of our children.

The food was great and the shows were very entertaining. The presentation of the nightly buffets was very eye-appealing ice carvings and fruit carvings just like on a cruise ship. I would highly recommend the Royal Maeva.

April 1999

Beautiful Huatulco

What a wonderful web page! So many people haven't even heard of Huatulco. I've been to Huatulco twice and only have good things to say about it.

The last time I was in Huatulco was 3/16/99-3/23/99. I went through MLT worry free vacations out of Minneapolis, and their service was great, and super cheap. I got roundtrip air for $202 (including tax) and spent an additional $265 for a weeks stay at the Villablanca hotel [photo 30K] (also including tax) in a master suite. The hotel is very clean, and the staff is very nice and helpful. The food and drinks were cheap at Villablanca. The breakfast buffet was fabulous and included in the ridiculously cheap hotel price. The hotel was on the playa Chahue, and I wasn't crazy for it, so my friend and I always cabbed it to a different beach. This worked out well, we had the chance to see other places.

I would highly recommend dining at Ve el Mar, its cheap, and very tasty. There's seating available right on the beach, and a musical group that will sing to you while you eat for a small fee.

Go to Cactus for awesome pina coladas. Go to La Crema for cheap drinks, and great pizza.

Finally, I was wondering, if you or anyone could give me information on what I would need to do to be able to work in Mexico? I'm fluent in Spanish, so there's plenty of opportunity for me in a place like Huatulco. My father resides, and is a Mexican citizen. I imagine that this could work in my favor, somehow? Any info. or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!

Oh, and if you have any suggestions on how to send small packages to Huatulco, please tell me. Federal Express and UPS are a minimum of $50. The postal service is unreliable. What do you recommend? The last package I sent, I sent registered/insured mail. I hope it makes it.

Anyone with any suggestions/answers to my questions may e-mail me. Thanks.

Carmen Martinez
Eau Claire, WI

May 1999

Childrens' Day in Huatulco

In Mexico, April 30 is a party dedicated to the children. Is the Children's Day. This day is celebrated in schools with gifts, cakes, candies, piñatas and festivals.

In Huatulco, there are two schools for handicapped children. These schools give and provide special education to these boys and teenagers. They survive with donations, part of this support come from a federal government office called DIF (Office for the Family Integration). These schools are attended not only by children of Huatulco, but also by many boys and girls coming from the rural communities in the sierra.

Today, the snorkeling guides and some restaurants of La Entrega beach, as well as the dive center located at the Sheraton, offered a party to these children. At 9.30, all the kids and their parents and teachers came aboard of the El Tequila catammaran for a trip around the bays. After that, they landed at la Entrega beach, where the snorkeling guides and scuba diving staff of Action Sports Marina, took them into the reef, some using mask and snorkel and others boards with a clear acrylic window to show them the corals and fish of the reef. For some of these kids, this was the first time that they had seen the ocean.

After the in water experience, they celebrated with sodas, cake and a big party. There was a clown and a sweepstakes in which the winners received gifts.

The experience was very emotional. Was a great experience that made that all participants, especially those not directly involved with the education of these handicapped children and young, felt more aware about this sector of the population, who needs a big amount of care and support.

Carlos Ramos
Scuba Instructor

April 1999

Driving From Huatulco to Cancun

Hey Tom (or anyone else out there!) I'm contemplating driving from Huatulco to Cancun and would like any info possible concerning safety, travel tips, renting a car and best routes to travel. (Especially safety concerns). Any tidbits would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

April 1999

Fishing with Acapulco Sam

In the middle of March we completed our second trip to Huatulco in 2 years and have had nothing but a fabulous time. We stayed at the Royal Maeva again (soon to be Gala Resorts) and were greeted and treated with the utmost care and hospitality. The food was outstanding and staff were most accommodating and pleasant.

We have traveled the Caribbean, Mexico, Venezuela along with Hawaii and have been at many "all inclusive" resorts but the Royal Maeva beats them all. I recommend the 7-bay tour (it's a fun trip extremely interesting to see the land while it's still in its almost native form). This year again we were lucky enough to see whales up close and personal--Grey and Orca (obviously not together) along with dolphin and sea turtles.

I have gone Deep Sea fishing on both occasions (4 trips) with a local fisherman named Acapulco Sam and have had a great time. He has always been on time and we have always caught fish. The first year we caught an 8ft Sailfish and some smaller game fish. This year we caught several (almost 2 dozen Tuna about 12-15 lbs each). The cost is pretty much standard (about $35/hr). I have never had any problems with the local fisherman and enjoy talking with them about the area customs and their families. Sam seems to know his business very well and we have never come back empty. I felt that I always get my moneys worth with him. Give him a try and tell him that Tony from Chicago sends his best.

We will definitely go back again to this beautiful part of Mexico and will most likely stay at the Gala Resorts.


April 1999

How About the Castillo?

Hi, I am planning to visit Huatulco in May 12th. I was reading some of the comments and recommendations re: hotels.

Has anybody stayed at Hotel Castillo [photos 35K]? Any opinions on this? Thanks, Hope to hear from some readers out there!!

Carmen Cenko

April 30, 1999

Missing the Royal Maeva

My family and I spent one week down at this resort last February. Tom, that was a beautiful place and the people were so sweet! I speak pretty good Spanish for a gringo and it was a dream of mine to one day visit Mexico. I had dreams about what it would be like where everyone spoke Spanish and my best friend is from Mexico. He always told me how beautiful it is. I had the best time there and I hope to return this Feb to the same hotel.

I made a lot of friends with the workers there and I miss them a lot. I remember the security guard at the main entrance, I gave him a lighter for cigars which he wanted very much. I also remember a guy named Isaac who wanted my cap. He was really nice, too. I would love it if you could tell those people and everyone else there that my parents are definitely coming back in Feb but I might go to Mexico City instead to visit someone. However, I still think about the vacation as a dream come true. I love this website and I will visit here to make comments or be available to give suggestions or recommendations of things to do while in Huatulco.

Last, if anyone wants to do Water Rapids, no better group to go with is Rio Montana!! Those guys are great and it was a blast. Unfortunately I had to be the only one to fall out of the raft!

April 1999

Old Times in Huatulco

Hi Tom. First of all, I wanna congratulate you with your website about Huatulco. It is definitely my favorite one.

I'm from Belgium, but my husband is Mexican. We've been living in Huatulco from Nov 94 till April 95. I loved it. I've been working at the reception of Royal Maeva, for about a month.

I didn't go back to Huatulco since. Reading the comments at your site, it seems that a lot of things have changed in Huatulco, the last 4 years.

I almost have no contacts with Huatulco anymore. A lot of my friends there moved to other places in Mexico. But we got quite along with the people from Jarro Café. I went to Susi's bachelor party 4 years ago. Wow, what a night. Susi's dad, Don Jesus, was the one that was all the time at Jarro Café, but nobody mentions his name in your comments. They only talk about Rafa and Susi, so I was wondering if he's still in Huatulco.

I would like to get in contact again with Susi. Do you have an e-mail address or something, where I could write her.

Another good friend in Huatulco was Patty Heinze, one of my colleagues at the Maeva, but I lost contact with her too.

Tom, it would be great if you could help me, with giving some contact addresses or something. Even some news about Susi and Rafa would be great.

A little remark: People say that snorkeling in Huatulco is not that good. I don't understand why they say that !!! I've been snorkeling in Cancun, and at the Maldives, in the Indian Ocean, but I can tell you that Huatulco is, or maybe was, the most fabulous place to snorkel. We went snorkeling a lot at the Conejos bay. Well, it depends of course from the weather and the stand of the moon.

Greetings from Belgium

April 1999

How About Casa Costeña?

I know you asked that people write in about their experiences but I would like to ask a question about a particular place - Casa Costeña. I am thinking about renting it for four days while we are in Huatulco and am wondering if any one has done this. It is a home for rent in Santa Cruz and sounds very nice according to the ad. If anyone has been there I would be interested in knowing how it was. Thanks so much.

April 1999

Maeva Not Quite Perfect

Just got back from a week at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K]. From reading the visitor comments prior to my trip, I expected perfection. My opinion was that it was great, but not quite perfect.

Food and drinks Very nicely done at this resort. Great assortment and quality. Drinks were good and you didn't have to wait long to get them at the several bars. My kids liked the plentiful french fries at lunch and the 24 hour room service. The kids only complaint was that they didn't have grilled cheese sandwiches. The wait staff was always attentive and pleasant.

Entertainment The nightly evening shows were really lame. In fact, after 2 of them we stopped going. The people in the shows also have many other roles at the resort so entertainment might not be their main talent. I would have liked more live music entertainment.

Scenery The view from our room was magnificent. A very pretty place and the resort is nicely configured so you can take advantage of the view.

Sickness They said you didn't have to worry about getting sick from the food but my husband got ill. They have a doctor in the resort on 24hr call. We only had to wait 20 minutes before he showed up in our room. My husband had what they termed a stomach infection. He received a shot and oral antibiotics. I presume that a fair number of people get sick in order to warrant a doctor on 24 hour call.

[Most people don't get sick, but it can happen-in one case to an entire family. When traveling far from home, there is a risk of encountering bacteria to which you have not developed a resistance. -Tom]

Rooms I expected a better quality room since it was considered a top-notch resort. No carpeting in the room and the furniture was rather rickety. The kids appreciated the cable though. And the bathrooms were good.

Pools The pools were beautiful and plentiful. A word of advice. In order to get prime lounge chairs along the pool, you have to stake out your territory by 7am. I'd set the alarm to handle this and then go back to sleep. You will want to position yourself to get some shade, otherwise you will fry. The sun is really powerful. Reapply sunscreen often and liberally.

Water Sports Snorkeling was pretty good but don't expect Caribbean type snorkeling. The resort has 2 trips per day. Each allow 45 to 60 minutes of snorkeling. While there my husband learned to sail which was fun. Also we took a few rides on the banana boat (extra cost) which was fun for the family.

Excursions We only took the 7 bay tour. The scenery was spectacular and the snorkeling was horrendous. Too choppy and the currents were scary. We had lunch at St. Augustine beach and it was only OK. Don't let them usher you to a table at one of the restaurants the minute you get off the boat. Look around and make an educated decision. We didn't. The real highlight of this trip was that we got to see dolphins and a pair of mating sea turtles.

Overall assessment I'd give this vacation an 8 out of 10. I am glad we went there but I am not ready to give up my quest for the perfect spring break.

April 1999

Scuba Diving with Buceo Sotavento

We dove several days with Hector Lara Ocampo and his assistant, Alejandro. A very rewarding dive experience. Very accommodating and reasonably priced. This was my teen-age son's first dive experience, and Hector and Alejandro were quite reassuring. I would highly recommend them for I worthwhile dive.

[Buceo Sotaventos (958-10051) is located across the street from the Sheraton. -Tom]

Charles Ammeson

April 1999

Surly Sam

My wife and I recently returned from Huatulco and the Royal Maeva [photo 39K]. We had a wonderful time and highly recommend the place. We did some fishing and caught 29 fish, mostly Bonita. The hotel cooked some for us and they were delicious. Our fishing guide was Bruno, who charged 35.00 dollars per hour for the boat. There were four of us. We did have some problem with another fisherman from the beach. His name was Acapulco Sam. He was surly, bad-mouthed the hotel, and did not show up when he said he would. That is why we did not hire him. All in all, the trip was wonderful. We will go back.

Gil Sutherland

April 1999

Those Airfares!

Tom, I was amazed at the discrepancy of the airfares that you have been able to find from what I have been paying to Mexicana Airlines. I have made 7 trips to Huatulco on business in the past year and have paid from a low "special sale price" of $571 to $949 with the average fare being $730. These are all advance purchase tourist class prices from the S.F. bay area. Mexicanas' web site is showing $1200 for tickets for the months of Dec. and Jan. with most flights sold out. Perhaps flying from Texas you are more fortunate in being able to find a reasonable airfare to Oaxaca but the rest of the country is cut off. I agree the real losers are the businesses of the area and until would be visitors to this wonderful place complain, the area will remain economically out of reach. I also would encourage your readers to voice their frustration to Mexicana Airlines and the Oaxacan government.

[Mexicana seems to be getting their asking price-with overbooked flights and all. My flight last March was also overbooked. The competition seems to be taking a snooze. -Tom]

Russell Harris

April 1999

A few comments on Huatulco

We just got back from a week's stay at the Camino Real Zaashila [photo 66K] with our four children (ages 4 through 9). We had a wonderful stay, but Huatulco is definitely not for everyone.

The hotel is situated right on the beach and completely filled with Mexican tourists. The architecture and grounds are beautiful, and the rooms nice. Relatively inexpensive (about $200 per room which is cheap compared to the Caribbean at this time of year) and good food. There's a wonderful pool which is huge and completely shallow throughout -- great for kids. The surf was too rough most of the time, even for adults, so snorkeling was out of the question. It was extremely hot. Bring 45 spf for the kids if you can, and you don't need pants or sweaters. Even the nicer restaurants are fairly casual. Don't count on using the hotel's "workout room." It has 4 old rusted out machines, none of which worked. The running was excellent (the roads have sidewalks all the way into town about a 5 mile run) as long as you get out early am!

We ate out most nights and had some interesting experiences. Oasis was mediocre, as was Casa del Mar (horrible, horrible service and lousy, Americanized, expensive food). However, we loved El Sabor de Oaxaca (great sangria and chicken mole) and also enjoyed Ve el Mar (go with the fresh fish) and Dom Cecilia's. The town is charming, though I didn't think that there was that much worth buying. (Maybe some pottery and silver and tshirts!)

The snorkeling was nothing compared to the Caribbean, but we tried anyway! We also enjoyed the 7 bay tour and deep sea fishing. We opted to arrange this through the hotel itself (not through Apple vacations, more expensive), instead of finding the guys on the beach, simply because with small kids, we wanted to make sure that we had a reliable boat and crew. But everyone we met was extremely friendly, and polite!

All in all, it was a great family experience, but anyone who's not adventurous and is looking for a more "American" feel to their vacation should go elsewhere.

April 1999

Questions on Visas and Shipping

I love this site! Returned from Huatulco on April 6th, 1999. We stayed at the Royal Maeva/Gala Resorts. This place is nothing short of paradise!

During our stay, we met a local boy on the beach who we are now looking into obtaining a visa for him to visit the U.S. This is not an easy process. If anyone can help or give insight to this subject we would greatly appreciate. Another dilemma we are facing, is how can we send packages to Huatulco, Mexico? We have heard that regular mail is stolen all the time at the post office in Mexico. DHL, UPS are extremely expensive, i.e., a 10 lb package runs $100 - 150. Can anyone help? I need to send some things as soon as possible. Is anyone going to the Royal Maeva/Gala Resorts from the Chicagoland area from Antioch to O'hare that might be able to take a package to this poor local! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Please e-mail me.

Loretta has decided to make a return visit and bring the packages herself. Thanks for all the helpful responses. -Tom

Loretta Podeszwa

Fox Lake, IL U.S.A.

Royal Maeva, Huatulco in April Highly Recommended

My wife, two sons (12 and 15) and I spent the week of 4-11 April 99 at the Royal Maeva in Huatulco. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

We found the accommodations and food service at the Royal Maeva to be absolutely superb. (For several snapshots refer to our personal web site at http://www.tindall.org/huatulco.htm)

A few observations: April temps were just perfect for us sunbelt folks--highs in mid 80's, lows in mid 70's. No need to exchange any US dollars. Royal Maeva offered exchange rates better than anywhere else (then 9.4). There was little incentive for pesos, except for dining downtown. I recommend taking a wad of small bills for taxis etc (which only cost 2 bucks to go almost anywhere.) Rented a very nice super panga named Isla de Lobos for $100 for 3 hours. Caught 5 of Bonito which we left with the captain. The "fisherman" with whom I made the arrangements was named Julio. Gave him a $35 deposit and he and the captain were to show up with beer, cokes, and boat at the beach at our hotel the next morning at 6:30am. The English-challenged captain showed perfunctorily, but with no beer or cokes. Said Julio had too many tequilas and he didn't know about our beverages. We otherwise had an enjoyable outing even without Julio who was to be our translator. As has been said before, choose your fishing days with some care. The water can be quite choppy or calm. We experienced both during our week. We rented little scooters from Peter and Vivian (Ecotours) across from Sheraton. They were most friendly. I'd pay $25 for 4 hours and he would let us split them up over multiple scooter trips.

Seems as if Mexicana has a monopoly but avoid it if you can. Flights were overbooked but we didn't get bumped. Had to make an unscheduled stop in Puerto Vallarta for fuel since we couldn't take off from Mexico City with a full load of people and fuel.

The Maeva is "family friendly" with programs for the kids. The nightly shows were not Broadway-caliber but yet reasonably entertaining. This place was truly all-inclusive, didn't even have to leave a credit card and had "no extra charges" when we checked out.

You only need shorts and swimwear--no need to overpack. If you want to dine at one of the two special reserved dining rooms, you will need at least one "business casual" attire.

We are seasoned travelers to Mexico but this was our first visit to Huatulco. It is definitely on our list of return trips.

web: www.tindall.org
home e-mail: je@tindall.org

April 1999

A Thing or Two About Club Med

We just got back from Club Med Huatulco [photo 21K] on April 10, 1999. We had a great time there! The Club was full - 1,070 people - 700 Americans, the rest Mexican, Canadian, & European. The food was great - exception the Kasba (Morrocan). Not even close to decent Moroccan food. The Mirador (Italian) was mediocre. But then, who wants Italian food in Mexico! The best was El Puente (Tex-Mex). The main dining room Mercardo, had a different theme each night (French, Club Med, Fish, etc.). Beer & wine served at meals - Cerveza Corona & Mexican wine (barely drinkable). The main dining room had great breakfasts' & lunches. Cheeses, fruits, sandwiches, Guacamole (unlimited supply), tacos, etc. The kids could have their usual hamburgers & hotdogs.

The water sports were great. Water temp was about 80 deg. Visibility about 20 - 30ft. Met a lot of great GO's & GM's. There were of course the usual unhappy people (the ugly American syndrome) there. Why these groups of people come to these types of clubs is beyond me! The rooms all have a view. We stayed at Mar blue area (best) and had a great view of the bay.

About the only complaint I have is the cost of drinks at the bar. One buys a book of tickets (beads no more) to pay for drinks at the 3 bar locations. Cokes cost (US dollars) $1.75, beers $2.25, mixed drinks $2.75 - $3.50, margaritas $4.25. DID NOT APPRECIATE the gouging by Club Med! This complaint seems to be universal - Club Med - pay attention!

Also, if you go deep sea fishing, $125.00 per person, ask if there has been anything caught lately. We went out & caught nothing. I talked to the Mexican skipper & he said oh yeah, the water has been unusually cold & dirty, with nothing caught the past few weeks! Club Med forget to mention that fact when I signed up! It was an expensive (but scenic) boat ride! Overall it was a great vacation. Beware, lots & lots & lots & lots of stairs there which I didn't mind as it helped burn off calories from all that food we were eating.

One more note - we flew out of Los Angeles to Mexico City then to Huatulco on Mexicana Airlines. We had problems (mechanical delays, overbooking, loss of seats) both ways. Fly another airline like Aero Mexico if possible. Have fun!

Chris Chaney
San Diego, California

April 1999

Golfing the Back Nine

My wife & I traveled to Huatulco the last week of March. We stayed at the Sheraton [photos 141K], room 403, very nice view of the ocean & pools. We enjoyed a very relaxing vacation. We spent a lot of time reading your web page & planned a few side trips. We ended up spending our days on the beach & trying out a different restaurant each evening. I'll let my wife provide those details on a later message.

I did play on the golf course next to the Sheraton on 3 separate days. Very interesting & enjoyable. The course had the typical sand traps, water hazards & heavy rough. But the trees gave me the most trouble. There are lots of them & some very big ones right in the middle of the fairways. If you like golf, at least play the back nine, which has one hole on the ocean. Enjoy this area while it is still quiet. We capped off each night with a walk over to Bing's Ice Cream shop. Have fun.

Gordy Norlin

April 1999

Mexicana Airfare Monopoly

I'm a recent convert to Oaxaca and Puerto Angel in particular. I made my first trip in January of this year and I liked it so much I returned again in March. I stayed in the El Faro area between Zipolite and Puerto Angel, which for me was perfect, because it was a relief to escape from both at times and the El Faro has a quiet neighborhood quality. March was in general was much quieter and more laid back than January. Not only had many of the tourist left but even the little drug dealers on Zipolite had deserted their usual haunts for greener pastures elsewhere.

I enjoy your readers' comments on favorite places and would like to add my own. In addition to Tres De Decembre restaurant (Great music and so clean!) and Lo Cosmico, both in Zipolite, which many people are already familiar with, I would like to suggest people try Javier's Hard Times Pizza in Puerto Angel, just up from Panteón beach. Don't let the name fool you, you'll have no "hard times" when you eat here. Javier is a master chef and the food is both excellent and inexpensive. After the first meal, I ate there almost every day. Be sure to say hello to his pet Owl sitting up in the rafters. What makes these places so enjoyable is that the owners both cook and wait tables with a personal sense of pride in their restaurant. In contrast are the numerous 'meal with a scowl and an attitude' places in Zipolite, a place that is in dire need of a waiter training school.

Unfortunately I will not soon be able to return to Oaxaca thanks to the excessively high rates Mexicana charges to get there. Meanwhile the small business owners blame the lack of tourists on the bad press of hurricane Pauline when in reality we can't afford to get there because of of Mexicana's strangle hold on the area. I encourage other readers who feel that Mexicana is bad for both tourists and the people of Puerto Angel to e-mail Mexicana at dirgenmx@mexicana.com.mx and the govenor of Oaxaca at gobernador@oaxaca.gob.mx and express your concern for what Mexicana's greed is doing to the local economy. I would appreciate if someone could send me or post the e-mail address for Mexico's tourist agency Fonatur. With restaurants empty and the streets of Puerto Angel and Huatulco almost deserted of tourist, Mexicana has a lot of questions to answer.

[Yes, airfare is a big problem for travelers to Oaxaca. From Texas, airfares to Huatulco have ranged from $99 to $460, and are currently close to the top of this range. Meanwhile, the regular fares to any other Mexican resort are about half that. Of course this has an effect on tourist traffic to Oaxaca. I don't think it is so much a monopoly situation as other airlines are not so interested in competing in a limited market. However, on my recent trip down, when Mexicana had lowered their fares, every seat was filled and some passengers had to be "bought out" due to overbooking. -Tom]

jim reinders

April 1999

A Week in Huatulco

My husband and I just returned from a one week stay in Huatulco, Mexico. Your email page and the many reader comments were a big help (we printed out a number of pages before we left). We returned last night and, before our memories of Mexico are absorbed by the daily grind, we'll add ours. If any one has some questions, they can email us at: bsbeal@earthlink.net.

We arrived in Huatulco on March 30, 1999 from Minneapolis, MN. We booked our flight and hotel accommodations through MLT Vacations. For your reader's information, this was our fourth trip to Mexico--prior trips were to the state of Colima. We are in our late 30's, no children, and one of us is a chef and the other works in the environmental field (so we were intrigued by the fact that this area is still relatively undeveloped and we always appreciate the food of Mexico). This was also the first time we traveled to Mexico with a hotel/air package.

Note: the exchange rate during our stay was about 9.35 pesos to the dollar (that was the rate at the bank in Santa Cruz--there's a slightly better rate at the bank in La Crucecita). The hotel, many restaurants and stores will give you about 9 pesos to the $1. Since we arrived the week of Easter, the banks were not open on Good Friday and they do not exchange money on the weekend.

Hotel accommodations.

We stayed at the Hotel Villa Blanca. We chose that hotel over the Casa del Mar because the package was a bit cheaper ($1,150 for two round trip tickets plus a week's accomodations) and our travel agent told us our suite included a kitchenette. WRONG. No kitchenette. We were also told the hotel is located across the street from the beach. NOT REALLY. There is indeed a street separating the hotel from the beach--but the beach is actually more like two blocks away (we could sort of see the bay from our balcony on the third floor). The street has lots of traffic noise too. [Depending on who is staying at the hotel, the poolside may be quieter--there was a high school group there so I think we ended up being in the quieter spot].

As other readers have pointed out, the hotel has a good breakfast buffet (included with the room). Lots of fresh fruits, juices, yogurt and some nice Mexico dishes--particularly quesadillas stuffed with the regional cheese, tamales and enchiladas.

The beds are indeed very hard. The water coming out of the tap is not purified, so they provide you with a mere liter of drinking water when your room is cleaned daily (you can buy more from the hotel for 12 pesos or purchase it for about half that at the store in Santa Cruz). [It is my understanding that all of the water (other than that used for irrigation) in the Huatulco area comes from the same treatment plant and is potable. It hasn't bothered us yet at least. -Tom]

We found the hotel help to be wonderful--friendly, polite, very hardworking (several of them have two jobs). The hotel is clean, has a nice pool, good drinks at the bar (request a glass otherwise you'll get plastic out in the bar or poolside--the drinks taste better in glass and, as you'll read later, no need to add more plastic to this already plastic-ridden area).

We suggest any one staying at the Villa Blanca (or any where else for that matter) be generous with the help with their tips. It's been our experience that the price you pay for your "package" has little connection to the pay the help is receiving. Why else would they have to work more than two jobs? Leave a tip with the maid and the waiters and others who have made your stay so comfortable all week long.


As you can imagine, we were a bit disappointed not to be able to cook some of our meals, but we found the breakfast at Hotel Villa Blanca really held us for a good portion of the day. We'd advise that you bring a portable cooler (not styrofoam--apparently you can't bring that back) to keep things cool in your room. The bar will provide you with ice at no cost. If you're on a budget, you can buy juice, liquor and beers at the stores in Santa Cruz or La Crucecita (at the Villa Blanca, beers cost about 10 pesos--about $1--and mixed drinks about 25 pesos--about $2.50).

We highly recommend:

El Sabor de Oaxaca in La Crucecita (other readers have commented elsewhere). This is a pretty little restaurant that is attached to a hotel just off the main square in la Crucecita. Wonderful wait staff. We had chicken, tortillas and four kinds of mole (Oaxaca is famous for its mole sauces), guacamole, grilled cactus, and three beers between the two of us for about $18. On their menu is a sample plate for two that introduces folks to a variety of regional dishes--that's about $18 for two.

Walking around La Crucecita--away from the square--we saw a lot of more local restaurants. We stopped in one (Pollo Imperial?) and had a chicken dish--grilled chicken, soup, tortillas, fries--for about 17 pesos each--that's about $1.80!

There's a liquor store on the square that appears to have some of the best prices in the area.

Meson De Las Flores in Santa Cruz. This is a new restaurant that has opened on the southwest side of the main square. Beautiful restaurant with very professional waiters. We dined there with friends. Two of us had an excellent fillet of fish with garlic, rice, vegetables. The tortilla soup had lots of seafood. We split a bottle of wine (besides a cocktail and two beers). The desserts were out of this world--we split one order of crepes with cahete--a wonderful caramel sauce made with goat milk--and three-milk cake that the region is known for. The total bill was about $65 for four. [Yes, this place is great! -Tom]

Casa del Mar. This is worth it for the view, particularly at sunset. The waiters here are very professional, but the service is pretty slow (even for Mexico time). Just make sure you have at least two hours for dinner. We took a cab from our hotel for about 20 pesos. We were a little rushed because we told the driver to pick us up at a certain time--you could just as well have the hotel call a cab for you when you're done. This is not an experience to be rushed.

We had caesar salads (not the greatest), I had an appetizer order of seafood crepes that filled me up and my husband had stuffed shrimp, small potatoes carved to look like mushrooms and other vegetables. The desserts looked great, but we didn't have time. Drinks were a bit on the high side--38 pesos for a mixed drink and 20 pesos for a beer. Our total bill was about $50. Other friends went there another night--one of them had a lobster and their bill was more like $35.

While at Casa del Mar we asked to look at their rooms (which run about $100 a night during high season and include breakfast). The rooms are gorgeous. Each room has a spacious balcony with chaise lounges. Rooms include a wet bar. Only down side to this hotel is you'd be quite a ways off the beaten path and it could get pricey to eat much in the restaurant.

Others: We tried a number of eateries along the beach in Santa Cruz. The water is calm, but crowded (of course, we were traveling during one of the busiest weeks in Mexico--spring break and Easter!). One day were sat in the midst of a lot of Mexican families--in fact, we were the only "gringos". We ordered ceviche and beers and felt very safe--the beach vendors pretty much left us alone. Another restaurant had excellent fish tacos.


Compared to other areas in Mexico, this is not a great shopping destination (we understand that the city of Oaxaca is the place to shop for arts and crafts of the region--but that's a ways off when you're only there for a week). Prices seem very inflated compared to other areas we've been (but, prices are still very cheap compared to what you'd pay at home--just don't accept the first price you are told!), There's a little grouping of shops in Santa Cruz--we bought a Mexican blanket for $17, a set of six placemats for $10, and a t-shirt for $6--we bought more on the beach in St. Augustine Bay for $3). There are two stores on the west side of the square that have groceries (you can buy a large returnable bottle of Corona for 10 pesos). The one on the south side also has masks and carvings--I bought a mask and a small cat carving for $120 pesos--saw the same mask in La Crucecita for $150 for the mask alone. The best place to buy coffee is in the middle of the square in Santa Cruz for 100 pesos for a kilo (this is also the best place we found for a good cup of coffee).

Day Trips

We took one MLT sponsored trip. It was the 7-bay tour that included snorkeling. It cost $30 per person and we were told we could expect drinks, snacks and two stops for snorkeling. Snorkeling equipment was extra at about $6 each. The trip is indeed a chance to see the bays and there is a certain amount of safety in groups. But, it was a slow trip and I didn't feel that we received any instruction in snorkeling, nor were we carefully supervised. [There's a gentleman called Enriche who owns the dive shop---he's the local expert on sea turtles and a leading environmentalist--I'd try to book a trip with him]. Our first stop was at a small, isolated bay. We had life preservers and the water was a bit choppy, and not the greatest visibility. After the boat ride, the sensation of bobbing on top of the water in a life jacket made me almost sick. It was quite a swim back to the boat and it didn't seem any one would notice if I returned or not (note: the help on the boat seemed to drink more beer than any of the guests and I never did see any snacks. In fact, it seemed more like a fishing expedition for the guys working the boat--they caught about 4 tuna in about 15 minutes). We also saw dolphins swimming near the boat. The second bay--St. Augustín--was much better. You can just walk out into the water and there's a large reef. In less than 20 feet from shore, we saw all kinds of fish, including what looked like eel and puffin fish. [Incidentally, when we arrived at St. Augustín, we were taken directly to a restaurant on the beach under a "Sol" umbrella. Food prices seemed very inflated, but waiters seemed to be keeping a good eye on our things.

We returned to St. Augustín on our own. We rented snorkeling equipment (this time for $4 instead of $6 in Santa Cruz), but bought separate mouth pieces in the market--kind of gross to think of how many people have that same mouth piece in their mouths, eh? Hired a taxi for about 220 pesos round trip. He took us to the far end of the beach that appears to less frequented by gringos--it's where the local fishing boats are tied up. In retrospect, we would've been better off returning to the restaurant where we had been. We were swarmed by vendors. The owner wanted to charge us 300 pesos for a large fish. And, most disappointing, we later discovered that our $400 camera had been stolen. It was in a book bag next to our chair. There was always at least two of us at the table. Still, we should've left it at the hotel, kept it on the table at all times, or brought a cheap camera.

Other MLT trips. We talked to people who went on the Jungle Tour, Sunset Cruise and Coffee Plantation Tours. The Jungle Tour didn't received high marks; the Sunset Cruise sounded beautiful; the Coffee Plantation Tour seemed interesting, but involved some scary mountain driving (also, the coffee we purchased in Santa Cruz was cheaper than what our friends purchased at the plantation).

Trash and Poverty

Unless you take the head-in-the-sand approach and isolate yourself from reality at one of the area's all inclusive resorts, be prepared to see some serious poverty in this area of Mexico. [Of course, what better way to be reminded about how bloated our lifestyles are back at home]. It seemed poorer than any other area we've seen on our travels. It appears that there is little other industry except the tourist industry--and that makes people pretty desperate to sell you what they got while you're there. On our taxi ride to St. Augustín we saw some terrible living conditions and it's hard see the positives when thin six year olds are walking up and down the hot beach all day selling trinkets and food.

The bays are exquisite, but we also saw a lot of trash along the roadsides and walkways. That's the problem when we keep enthusiastically producing plastic and don't concern ourselves with whether or not we can dispose of it. It was disheartening to snorkel over the reef and see styrofoam and plastic floating here and there. We also saw a lot of dead coral and you've got to wonder just how exquisite this area will be when the big developers get through with it (and where the wildlife and the poor will go).

Packing Suggestions

This is a hot, hot, spot. It was well into the 90's every day. The nights cool down, but not much. Bring lots of sunscreen, a hat, and preferably some kind of beach umbrella or beach shelter--particularly if you're going to try out some of the less inhabited beaches. The beaches have very little in the way of trees. One beach we were at had a dozen vultures circling above--maybe observing the gringos frying below! It's nice to have a light weight long sleeved shirt (any thing else will be too hot) to give your skin a break and to bring along to Casa del Mar for dinner. Also, if you go horseback riding, long pants are a must (though why any one would want to ride those poor skinny beasts in the hot sun is beyond me). As mentioned earlier, it's nice to have a portable cooler. Also, binoculars are good for the bay tours. It's a casual area, but, for women, it's nice to have a short sleeved dress. Just keep every thing light weight.

We bought Teva sandals before our trip--those worked out great.

What you don't need: a hair dryer. The humidity will dry it quickly and maybe even give you some curl. There's many chances to get your hair done in little braids--that's makes upkeep easier. The prices vary--I only wanted a few and they cost 10 pesos each (at the beach, one girl had her whole head done for about $5). Negotiate!

Those are our comments. Questions? Email us at bsbeal@earthlink.net.

Sherrie and Brad

Minneapolis, MN
April 1999

From Canada to Huatulco

What can I say!!!!!!!! Huatulco was everything and more than we had expected. beautiful, quiet, non commercial, and very Mexico. a very easy place to fall in love with. My husband, my sixteen year old son and I arrived in Huatulco on feb18/99 for a two week stay. This web site gave us so much information before we went. Here are our thoughts of Huatulco.

When we arrived at 6pm the temperature was still 30 degrees. The airport is beautiful, very open, very small, and doesn't even look like an airport. It is made of papalas...and is cut right out of the jungle.

We stayed at the Sheraton. Would highly recommend. Beautiful hotel, spacious, fabulous pool area- I thing the nicest of all the properties in the area..All the staff very friendly......remembering....Carlos...the bellboy,,Louie the bartender at happy hour.....and all the lifeguards on the beach.

Most of the restaurants we tried were excellent.

Tangolunda Bay

Jarro's Café - Jarro's Café, across the street from the Sheraton, was excellent for breakfast and very inexpensive.....Excellent fruit pancakes....They also had a very good dinner menu, especially some of the Mexican dishes. My favorite was the chicken enchiladas verde. (I even got the recipe.) Great entertainment from 'Poncho' the parrot. The staff were extremely friendly.

Casa del Mar - excellent food, beautiful sunset, breathtaking views. You can actually walk there from the Sheraton. It takes about 20 minutes and it is all uphill. You are definitely warm by the time you get there. A cab ride is about 15 pesos. This restaurant is higher priced, but still reasonable. The shrimp and the pasta were excellent, definitely worth the trip!!

Argentina Grill - This restaurant was a few yards from Jarro's Café, across the street from the Sheraton. We had a shrimp pasta one night...The shrimp were excellent, but the pasta was very bland... we later had pizza....We thought it was very good; very very friendly staff.

La Crucecita

La Crema - We had read a couple of good reports on this restaurant, that their pizzas were excellent. My son and I had pineapple/ham and if wasn't bad, but my husband had sausage pepper pizza that was not very good at all. We were quite disappointed in this restaurant.

The Oasis - I would not order steak from here, as my son had one and it was quite dry, tough, and not very good at all. The chicken mole was very good, and my husband had the tacos; very good also.

La Crucecita - My favorite Mexican food restaurant. Very small..all Spanish menu, and our waiter only spoke Spanish. The food was excellent. Excellent chicken enchiladas with verde sauce, and the fajitas were excellent. The prices were unbelievable! For two meals and a couple of beers each the bill was only about 11.00. We had a couple of meals here. We went another night with a couple we met and she had a dish called 'Tlaydu' it was like a Mexican pizza; was very good.

Santa Cruz

Ve el Mar - This little restaurant was a great find. A couple we met from New York told us about it. It is right on the beach. Tables in the sand next to the water, with candelit tables. The food was excellent, and very cheap. The lobster was pricey, but everything else was very inexpensive. I had a shrimp dish with peppers, that was excellent. My husband had whole red snapper that he said was great. The dishes were about 50 pesos each. We went back to this place a couple of times.

The towns Santa Cruz and La Crucecita Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz is the original little town. Some great restaurants on the beach. There is a little area where there are things to buy, like t shirts etc. Very reasonable. You can bargain here and get excellent deals. This is the best place to cash your travellers cheques. At the hotel we were getting 560 for the Canadian dollar and at the bank 650. There are three banks in Santa Cruz. The one on the end away from the town centre gives the best rate. You can tell by the lineup a 10am.

La Crucecita - We fell in love with this little village. This village was built for the Mexicans who work on the resorts. It is very Mexican. Beautiful church, a must to see. Very authentic Oaxacan/Mexican food. Some great little shops, one of them upstairs from the cactus restaurant. Great pottery,. lots of the native black clay pottery. Very orginal..La Crucecita is the only place you can shop for bread/pasteries (at a little bakery), and to shop for fruits and vegetables. There is a little market in the village.

Cabs - Cabs were very reasonable...15 pesos from the Sheraton to Santa Cruz, La Crucecita. Cab back to the airport was 100.00 pesos. We paid much more taking the tourist bus from the airport to the Sheraton.

Huatulco Rent a Bike - Across from the Sheraton there is a place to rent scooters. We rented a couple of times. These guys were great. Gave us an idea where to go, what to see, very friendly. Would highly recommend to do this. We took the scooters one day and drove to a little village called 'Copalita'. The drive there was beautiful. We stopped along the way and went down to bays and beaches that did not have one person on them. The drive was very hilly with very winding roads. Very little traffic. The little village of Copalita was very poor, but the people were very friendly and all the little kids had big smiles on their faces.

Flight - We travelled with Air Transat from Toronto to Huatulco. Excellent service, the flight attendants were great!

Overall - We are going back next year. We have already made our reservations at the Sheraton. It is truly unspoiled and hopefully will stay that way a little longer. People were wonderful, Mexican and seafood excellent. Lots of sun - and breathtakingly beautiful. Definitely a quieter place - no night life-very relaxing. A definite 10.

One last thing-

If you like discos
If you are looking for a party
If you don't like authentic mexican food
If you are not willing to try out your spanish

Then you should get off in Acapulco!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan, Graham & Mark Paul
Winnipeg, MB Canada

April 1999

Santa Cruz Marina

While strolling around the Santa Cruz Marina, we met Prospero Reyes and his friend, Jesus. They wanted to take us on the tour of the 7 bays, but we already had other plans. Services are generally less expensive here at the marina. Prospero charges $150 pesos for the tour, about $15 USD, which takes 7-1/2 hours and includes drinks. You can contact Prospero or his wife, Mariela, at 958-40632.

Tom Penick
The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca

March 1999

Eating in Huatulco

We ate twice at Sabor de Oaxaca. It was great as always. When you eat out in Mexico, consider having one of the aguas to drink. These are fruit juices with some water and sugar added; very refreshing, best to order by the jarra (pitcher). These are usually available in flavors such as piña, limón, tamarindo, naranja, etc. We like agua de sandia (watermelon). The Sabor de Oaxaca has these, although they aren't on the menu.

We were lured into the Cactus on the plaza in La Crucecita by the jumbo shrimp they had on display. These were delicious but quite pricey by Crucecita standards.

We had sushi at the Oasis in La Crucecita. It was okay, but a little unusual. There was something like crème cheese mashed into the rice on some of the pieces. An even better place for sushi is Origami, which is a block away on Flamboyan. It is a small place with two cooking tables and a sushi bar. We also had some fried rice with tiny shrimp in it-the best I've ever had. Prices are very reasonable too. Origami is the home base for Eco Aventuras, which gives guided tours of all kinds.

Another find on this trip was Meson de las Flores on the southwest corner of the square in Santa Cruz. This is a fairly large restaurant with tablecloths, flowers, a large menu selection, attentive wait staff, and some exceptional talent back in the kitchen. We loved everything we had there. The only thing this place lacks is the business it deserves. Give them a try.

Tom Penick
The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca

March 1999

Questions about Domestic Flights

1) Is the price for domestic air tickets within Mexico generally the same when purchased there as compared with purchase here in the U.S.? For instance, right now the U.S. fare quotes are showing $87 one way Mexico DF-Huatulco and $52 one way Huatulco-Oaxaca. 2) What size are the planes between Oaxaca and Huatulco these days, and who operates them? 3) On flights within Mexico, if given a choice between Aviacsa and Taesa, anyone have an opinion as to which is the better-run operation? We've always used Mexicana or Aeromexico before, but their fares are significantly higher, e.g. Oaxaca - Mexico DF - Cancun.


March 1999

La Crema Email?

I'm looking for an email address for La Crema in Huatulco. I've just returned from Zipolite and would love to talk with any of those people. If you have any info please send it to me, also any other news from that zone I would love to here. Thanks.

Bob McMahon
March 1999

To: tom@tomzap.com Subject: Vacations in Huatulco - March 12th thru 26th I went to Huatulco with my girlfriend for 2 weeks starting March the 12th. We stayed at the Meigas Binninguenda and loved that little hotel. First, the gardens around the hotel are beautiful and you see them all day if you stay near the swimming pool. The hotel was a lot better than what we expected. The breakfasts were excellent. If you go at the Meigas, ask Mario to cook you a Mexican Omelet. We had a 10-minute walk to the beach club. It was the first time we were not staying near the beach and it didn't bother us at all and we probably save lots of Pesos this way. You can have dinner at the beach or at the hotel as well. Just in front of the hotels were 2 banks equipped with ATM. So, it was real easy to get money. I recommend the Meigas to everyone who like a clean and quiet place to stay.

We took the 7 bays tour on our second week there and it was very funny. We also went to a tour in the country where we saw a Mezcal factory and we had dinner at the coffee plantation we visited.

Just 15 pesos away from the hotel was the Entrega bay where you can do scuba diving. It was one of the most wonderful places I went to for scuba. You can rent your equipment at the beach. You have to bargain before paying, we had the equipment for only 20 pesos.

We played golf at the course near the Sheraton. It's a long and challenging course and it was in very good shape even if we were in the dry season.

We also went out dinner at "La Crucecita" 5 times. It's full of nice little restaurants and you can do your shopping there or at the market in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is not what you can call a village but "La Crucecita" is where people are living. It took us 25 minutes to walk there. You can also take a taxi for 15 pesos.

We went to many places in the past years and Huatulco is one of the places we liked the most. We were told that in year 2018, Huatulco will be as big as Cancun. So, if you like little places, don't wait too long....

Patrice Trudel

March 1999

Posada Chahué

Following another visitor's tip, we stayed at the Posada Chahué [photos] near Bahía de Chahué. We were able to make our reservation by email. We found the hotel to be extremely clean with friendly staff and very comfortable. It's about a two-block walk to Playa Chahué where there is a beautiful public park.

The cost was $35/day, which included a continental breakfast in their restaurant. We agree with previous visitors in recommending this hotel.

Tom Penick
The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca

March 1999

Hotel Marlin not 4 Stars

On our recent trip to the Huatulco area, we decided to check out the Marlin Hotel in Santa Cruz. The hotel is located about 3 blocks west of the square. The first thing we noticed when we walked into our room was the smell of sewer gas. I was not too concerned at first because this can often be caused by the p-trap in a floor drain having dried out and allowing gasses to escape. However, in this case it was evidently a design or installation problem.

The room had a small balcony that was more decorative than functional. The doors opening onto the balcony had a rather large crack at the bottom and there was nothing to prevent water from running in under the door in a rainstorm.

The rooms are air-conditioned and the air-conditioner was very effective. Beds consisted of a mattress on a concrete pedestal and were hard.

The toilet paper roll and tissues had the frilly treatment done to the ends of them. I was surprised that the maid could take the time to do this and not notice a rather obvious streak of feces down the wall next to the toilet. I expect the location of the toilet quite close to the wall contributed to this accident. The bathroom sink did not drain due to missing mechanism; had to get underneath to open the drain. Toilet seat did not fit toilet. There was a TV but there were only two channels, neither of them clear; later another channel appeared.

The three-story hotel has an interior courtyard. This is not a favorite design of mine since one noisy person in the courtyard can keep the entire hotel awake. To complicate matters, there is a small vent window opening onto the courtyard from each restroom that cannot be closed.

This would all be acceptable for a $30 hotel room, but the Marlin bills itself as a 4-star hotel and charges $55 USD/night. Considering the design and the workmanship found in this hotel I don't see how it could be considered as a 4-star. I wouldn't particularly recommend it. Tom Penick
The Pacific Coast of Oaxaca

March 1999

Shopping Question

Have just scrolled through your website about Huatulco. Great information. My husband and I will be spending 5 days at the Zaashila and I wonder if anyone has information about any really good artesania shops in the area. (In truth, I don't expect much) I'm in search of an original "nacimiento", preferably one made of copal wood. Mil gracias.


March 1999

Fishing for Tuna

Just returned from Huatulco and the best vacation I've ever had. We stayed at the Zaashila and it was wonderful. The people of Huatulco were friendly and the weather was just plain pleasant, mid 60's in the morning up to about 90 at mid day for about 2 hours and then cooling back off. A constant cool breeze blowing all day.

We took the 4-wheeler jungle tour and had a blast, one word of caution though, wear me old clothes, it was very dry when we went and the dust was extreme. I had read about this tour on your web site so I was looking forward to it but was happily surprised at the quality of the 4 wheelers, we had nearly new Honda 300 4x4's. I also expected a ride down a manicured trail to the operators brother in laws beer joint. We got the beer joint but also a rugged ride and beautiful beaches.

I went with some fishing buds so we went fishing a couple of times. We hired a boat and captain at the marina in Santa Cruz, we only had to pay $20 an hour but business was slow at the time. Me and my rusty hook friends are not too particular about the boat we fish from, we could have spent more and got more, ours was a 25 ft. open launch with a 65hp. Johnson. We also brought are own tackle, calcuta 400's with light rods. Equipment is provided but is way too heavy, 6/0 senators, 50lb. line. We caught yellow fin tuna like they were going outa style. We fished a total of three different times during our stay, The tuna were schooling on top and covered with birds, it was like fishing in a barrel. Our Capt. didn't seem to know any more about fishing than he did English but was always willing to do whatever we wanted. Trolling is mostly what we did with some casting to the schools when we could. In three days fishing we brought back about 40 tuna. We had a couple of tuna grilled at Aitans on the beach in Santa Cruz, very delicious washed down with lotsa cold beer. Another time we brought back 3 tuna to the hotel chef at Zaashila, he was delighted to have it and prepared a wonderful tuna salad with shrimp and avocados. If you catch fish there don't hesitate to bring some back to your hotel.

Our last day we went snorkeling at La Entrega beach. It was so beautiful we wished we had done it every day.

Just a word about the prices. We found that the farther away from hotel row you got the better the prices. Don Porfirios was recommended on this site but we found it to be overpriced and the food only so so. Also the Argentina Grill pretty much sucked, they didn't have half of what was on the menu and what they did have wasn't worth eating, sad. On a brighter note, the food at the zócalo was great, we had shiskabob at the Oasis, 6 of us ate with 4 beers a piece and guacamole for less than $50. We also liked Don Portales, good tacos and cold beer. Pato Majados was good and cheap as well, lobsters for about $10 each.

All and all about as close to paradise as I think you can get. Don't wait to go as there is quit a bit of construction going on and it won't be this nice forever. There is a navy base under construction in Santa Cruz and talk of a cruise ship terminal.

March 1999

Recomendaciones Por Favor

Hola! Estoy escribiendo porque yo y mi esposo tenemos planeado hir a Celaya, Gto y tambien a Jalisco. Tenemos algunos amigos ahi y pues tenemos planeado hir en Septiembre.

Tambien tenemos ganas de hir a Huatulco e estado leyendo lo que la gente tiene que decir de cuando han hido. La verdad me encantaria hir. e estado en algunos otros lugares de Mexico como por ej: (Ixtapa, Cancun, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta) y pues quisiera saber si es parecido a Ixtapa porque la verdad me encanto Ixtapa.

Tambien quisiera saber si salen camiones de celaya a Huatulco y el horario y el precio si alguien tiene informacion sobre esto por favor escribirme. Tambien quisiera saber en cuanto sale rentar una Blazer en celaya me han dicho que por una semana sale mas o menos en unos $800 dolares y quisiera saber mas o menos sale .

Quisiera saber cual hotel me recomiendan agarrar una ves que llegaramos Huatulco tambien quisiera saber como es el ambiente de noche?

Quien lea esta carta y tenga la infomacion o si me recomiendan otras cosapor favor de escribirme.

Se los agradeceria mucho
Lara Fabiola

March 1999

All the Way from UK

I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful site. I am travelling from the UK to Huatulco for a holiday vacation. I'm due to meet my best friend who has been teaching English in Monterrey & is travelling down to meet me. I've booked myself into the Sheraton for 2 days until my friend arrives, when we'll be travelling along the coast.

I have contacted a few of the message board contributors directly to find out information on how to get from the airport to the hotel. I'm a female traveler and arriving at 11pm so wanted some help. Everyone I contacted emailed me back and were most helpful.

I work in interactive marketing and this is by far the best use of the web I've found! Thanks again, especially for the pictures which are now set as my desktop wallpaper and making all my colleagues jealous!

Lee Wright
March 1999

Huatulco Vacation

We went to Huatulco Feb.20-27. Went with one other couple. We weren't too sure about this place, had plans to go to Ixtapa. But the hotel we were booked had some problems with "apple" so they offered us this place instead. I am so glad they did. It was so beautiful. I had been reading the comments on your site, so I kind of knew a little. But would have never dreamed of this. We found no problem with not speaking Spanish well at all. We stayed at the Royal Meava (now known as Gala resorts). The hotel was great. Food was wonderful and the staff was very friendly. We did try the Don Porfiro's for dinner one night. This is located across from the hotel. Not what I hoped it would be judging from comments made. But it was ok. We did have a great meal in Santa Cruz. We ate at the El Mexicana. It is located on Ave. Mitla. The owner is Jesus Gatica, his wife is the cook. That was a wonderful meal at a GREAT cost. In fact we ate there two times. The owner is so friendly.

We only took one side tour and that was on the bay tours. We chose the smaller boat (only holds 30 people) the boats name was "The Zorro". Again great people and a lot of fun. This tour stopped for snorkeling and that was perfect. The guides show you where the best spots are and they pointed out several things that we probably would have overlooked. Like a baby octopus, star fish, and a huge blow fish.

The only low point of the trip (besides having to come home) was the flight times coming back to Chicago. Our flight wasn't until 10:00 p.m. but we had to be checked out of our rooms by 11:00 a.m.. This was a major hassle. But only one low point didn't spoil our perfect vacation. We are looking forward to a return trip. I really hope Huatulco stays that beautiful for many years to come. Thanks for all the information on the area. This is a great web site.

Kim Binzen

March 1999

Seems to Like the Maeva

Read this if you are thinking about staying at Royal Maeva, in Huatulco, Mexico!!! I just have to say: Royal Maeva [photo 39K] is the best resort I have ever been to!

I just returned from a one week stay at the Royal Maeva in Huatulco, Mexico with my family of five---myself being 16, and the eldest of three children (age 7, 12, and 16)-----AND WE ALL WISH OUR TRIP COULD HAVE LASTED LONGER!! We stayed from the 4th of March to the 11th; and the time went by way too fast!

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND STAYING THERE---The Resort was sooooo.... beautiful, kept exceptionally clean, the food was great, the service fabulous, and the activities kept my two younger sisters busy all day! And never could I express how wonderful, kind and genuinely friendly the people were that worked there. I met so many amazing people---I have to say, the nicest people that I have met in my entire life. Never did you see them without a sincere smile on their face, eager to help you, eager to make you smile, and eager to get you involved.


Activities were constant throughout the whole day, usually around the main pool, but usually not too disturbing if you just wished to relax---which I did a lot of! If you wanted there was an "adults only" section with lawn chairs to sprawl out on, which over looked the beach, which was as frequently as necessary patrolled by waitresses who took our drink orders. It was always quiet and peaceful---unless of course you were disturbed by the infamous...(Hector and Freddie)...uh...I mean "Batman an Robin!"

Some activities they had at the pool side were, water aerobics, water volleyball, movie trivia and cocktail classes (there were much more--too many to list!), snorkeling and scuba diving lessons happened in the secondary pool, with a snorkeling trip every day; scuba diving if you had a certificate. There were tennis courts, ping-pong tables, pool tables, and a mini club to leave or (abandon) your kids under 12 for the day; my youngest sister thoroughly enjoyed it, for their day was filled with fun! My 12-year old sister met many friends, went kayaking, boogie-boarded and played in the pool and on the beach, and never complained that there was nothing to do. The only thing we ALL complained about, was that the DAYS IN MEXICO SHOULD BE LONGER THAN 24 HOURS!


I felt that the team and the activities at water sports on the beach, were the best at Maeva. The people who worked there were attentive and could answer all of our questions; and there were many activities to choose from. You could rent sea-doos for $ U.S for a half an hour; sign out kayaks that could hold one or two people, sign-up for snorkeling or scuba diving trips or lessons, and take lessons in sailing, and wind surfing. The teachers were wonderful, and no matter how long it took you to learn, they stuck it out to the end, always encouraging you with kind and understanding smiles on their faces, for they once had to learn too.

Even if all you wanted to do was hang out there, (which I did a lot!) they would never tell you to go away, and always made sure that you were happy, smiling and having a good time, excusing themselves only when a lesson needed to be taught. The names of the people that worked there and were so kind to me were IVAN, BEN, LASSERO, RUBEN, ANTONIO, ERIN, and HECTOR. (sorry if I left anyone out) If you ask me.....THEY ALL DESREVE A BIG RAISE!


The nightly shows at 9:30 were fabulous---which all of the Maeva crew engaged in. Each night had a different theme; Latin night, Disney night, Mexican night are a few that come to mind. They also had a guest night, which got everyone involved...and was not annoying--it was FUN! My whole family participated and we all had such a good time!

The Bambola Bar was a great place to go after the show had finished, where you could order your choice of drinks, play pool and spend time with friends, reflecting on the fabulous day. (by the way, the average daily temperature way about 33 degrees Celsius, usually with a gentle breeze--the whole time I was there, there was not ONE CLOUD IN THE SKY!)

The Boom-Boom Disco was also a great way to spend your night. It opened around 11:00 and closed at about 2:00am. The music was great, ranging from Spanish Dance music, to Will Smith, to the Village People---and Y.M.C.A. I had such a good time, dancing with family, friends I met there, and my new found friends, the fabulous crew at Royal Maeva!

All and all I recommend this resort to everyone! People of all ages, and families are guaranteed to have a blast....... The only thing our whole family can complain about is.........................a week was way too short!

Please say hi to everyone for me, and send out two extra hellos to Ivan and Ben, who both made my week extra special!

Thank you for an amazing week in paradise!

Lauren Herz--Toronto, Canada
(email me if you have any questions)
March 1999

El Corazón Están a Huatulco

Es la secunda ves que to soy a Huatulco, me corazón están siempre a Huatulco... for ever.

Que d'amis et de gens sympathiques j'y ai rencontrer.

Que de biere j'y ai bu a la crema au Room Boogie ou le proprio, Jorge, vous receveras comme un ami...

Ramon de Monterrey, le proprio du cactus Bar vous ensorcellera avec son rire communicatif et ces assiette delicieuse...

A la prochaine

Yo te Gusto mucho Huatulco


March 1999

Decisions, Decisions...

I enjoyed reading all the comments on visits to Huatulco. We are considering a visit there in June and want to know if it is worth the extra money on flight fares from our origination, Atlanta. Last summer my family took a vacation to the Royal Maeva in Playacar. We absolutely loved it! We have three children, the 9, 14 & 16, met two other families, also from Atlanta. Everything was superb. I want to go somewhere different, but we love the idea of the all inclusive accommodations.

We are tossing around the idea, and your page really informed me of some differences. I am just learning how to use the computer, and the internet- it is fascinating, but frustrating too!

Thanks again, and would welcome any more info.


March 1999

The Full Report

We just returned from a week at the Sheraton [photos 141K] with our 13 year old son, Matt. The comments on this page provided a great reference - unfortunately I forgot to print them out before we went but amazingly I remembered enough to get by.

We had a fabulous time. Would we go back? In a minute. We did not take the all inclusive package at the hotel since we enjoy getting out of the property to explore and eat elsewhere. We flew out of Toronto on February 25th with Signature Tours via Royal Airlines. Someone had negative comments regarding Royal in an earlier post - we found the flight there and back just fine and the service great. The transfer from the wonderful airport to the hotel went flawlessly, all of 25 minutes or so, and it's nice that the bus on the way to the hotels goes through La Crucecita so you can see what the town looks like and decide which stores or restaurants to visit on an excursion later.

Our check-in at the hotel was quick - we were assigned a room on the ground floor, and having remembered someone's post about scorpions, I asked for another room and we were accommodated with a pool-view room on the 4th floor, no questions asked. The service in the hotel was wonderful - we have been to Mexico a combined 11 times between myself and my husband so we know what to expect (Los Cabos, Puerta Vallarta, Cancun, Acapulco). I would have to say Huatulco met our expectations for a relaxed, easy vacation. The weather was beautiful, hot and sunny, a bit humid but not too much (kept the skin from drying out!). We managed to entertain ourselves within the hotel, and outside. We saw a lot of families with kids of all ages - babies up to midteens, as well as young and older couples, and many groups. What follows are a few tips if you plan to go to Huatulco, and stay at the Sheraton in particular.

Golf: My husband and son played one day, they booked a 7 am tee-off and left the hotel at 6:30 without breakfast assuming they could find something to eat at the golf course. Wrong. The cost was $100 US for the two of them, including cart. If you plan to golf, go early. It gets much too hot. They thoroughly enjoyed the course and found it challenging enough. The course is right next to the hotel, it is a 15-peso ride by cab.

The Pool: The hotel gives out pool towels at 7 am which you sign for and return by 7 pm that day. Best to go between 7 and 8 am to get your towels and put them on the pool chairs you plan to use that day, otherwise you may be out of luck to get chairs by a nice palapa with a table. Then you can go and have breakfast or do whatever, nobody will disturb your chairs if they have towels on them.

Fitness Room: There are scheduled aerobics each morning. I took the 8:15 am step class one day and nearly died from the heat. The room is air-conditioned but they had the door open outside. The instructor speaks only Spanish, and most of the participants were Mexican except for me and one other person but we had fun and got through the routine. Pace yourself if you take a class, especially if you are not used to the heat. They have a water cooler there, also free weights, a treadmill, and a Stairmaster. The cost for the class is 30 pesos.

Exchange rate at the front desk: It was 9.20 for the US $ and 5.65 for the Canadian $. In town (La Crucecita) it was 9.65 at an exchange centre (not the bank, never found it). [It's in Santa Cruz, a block or two past the marina - 2 banks]

Activities around the pool: Water aerobics anytime between noon and 1:30, it changed daily. Not a bad routine but if you're into fitness you really have work at it to get a workout. The guy who does the sports is new - the other one got fired or quit, not sure. The new guy (don't know his name) is on the go all day, after water aerobics he sometimes gives merengue lessons - very entertaining ! - and plays with all the kids. He also organizes pool volleyball and beach volleyball if you are interested, there is no pressure to participate.

Restaurants: We had a great meal at Don Porfirios - very entertaining - the waiters did a Spanish version of Achy Breaky Heart which was worth the price of the meal alone. We also had a wonderful meal at the Italian restaurant just down the block from Don Porfirios - unfortunately I can't remember the name of it. There was a 4-piece band playing on a small stage who were very entertaining, lent a nice atmosphere to the evening. One place I cannot recommend is La Pampa Argentina - very expensive and the food was not at all up to par. I ordered the veal cordon bleu - what I got was a huge piece of meat with cheese on it and french fries (the frozen kind!), my husband ordered the tenderloin which he sent back once and when it came back it was still not cooked to his liking - we ended up throwing most of it to the stray dog on the sidewalk. That meal cost $62 US for the 3 of us - by far the most expensive and most disappointing of our dining adventures. The one restaurant I would definitely recommend is the Ve El Mar in Santa Cruz. We got there at 8 pm so it was dark, but we had a table on the beach, we could see the fishing boats out in the bay, and I ordered the surf and turf shish kebab for 80 pesos, and my husband ordered the porterhouse steak for 50 pesos, and with 3 drinks, the entire bill came to $16 US. We couldn't believe it, and gave the waiter a $9 tip just because it was way too cheap. The food by the way was out of this world. We also spent a lot of time at Jarro's, home of Pancho the parrot, who didn't disappoint. He landed on the table next to us and took the top off the sugar bowl and started eating the sugar until the owner came to put him back on his perch. We also found out that when Pancho starts saying "ola" over and over again that means he's hungry, and if he doesn't get fed soon, he starts calling for the waiter in spanish!

Eating at the Sheraton: We had the breakfast buffet a couple times, but it is expensive (100 pesos for adults; 55 pesos for kids). I am a cereal and fruit in the morning type of person so I didn't indulge as much (Jarros is good for that kind of breakfast). The buffet is in Dona Rosa's - you can sit inside or outside, though if you sit outside the birds get a bit much. They are very noisy and will steal food from your plate. They even steal the sugar packets (not the sweetener though!). It is funny to see one strutting around with a sugar packet in its beak and the others trying to steal it). We had dinner in this restaurant a couple times - nothing special there. We did not get a chance to eat at the oceanside restaurant (La Tortuga) although we did order poolside lunch from there and it was fine. We also didn't eat in the Italian restaurant in the hotel - too expensive and we didn't feel like dressing up.

Stuff for kids to do: Our son got a bit bored but he hooked up with two other boys there, one 15 year old and one 11 year old and we hardly saw him again. They fished, they played soccer on the beach with mexican kids, they rented scooters across the street from the hotel ($15 for an hour), jet-skis ($25 for half an hour, you can go all over the bay, over to Club Med and back easily). They swam in the ocean which was a bit rough (we were there during the full moon) and had a great time. Matt (our son) was especially impressed with the swim-up bar in the pool, and the fact that the bartender would give him a virgin banana daiquiri every now and then.

Language: We didn't have a problem trying to speak with anybody - you pick up basic words and phrases anyway. The worst thing we had was when I asked for some butter for our bread in one of the restaurants - the waiter must have thought I was asking for the washroom (bano) and pointed me off in the direction of the washroom - even though I was motioning the buttering of bread with bread in one hand and knife in the other!! Once he realized what I was asking he ran off in a hurry to get it, and we could all hear him say 'Oh my God" once he realized what I had asked. He came back with the butter, all embarrassed, and we all had a good laugh.

Shopping near the hotel: There are a couple of good small convenience stores - one next to Jarros and one just down the street between the Argentina Grill and Don Porfirios - they have soda, chips, yogurt, mescal, kahlua, beer and other necessities. Far less expensive than the store in the hotel, and much more selection.

Mosquitoes: yes, the mosquitoes got us one evening as we walked along the beach. You can't see them, they are very small, and I didn't get any bites, but Matt got bites on his back which soon swelled up into welts. We went to the hotel store and bought some ointment called "Andantol" in a yellow and blue box which immediately took the swelling down and kept the itch away. Also we bought some "Autun Active" mosquito repellent in a yellow bottle with orange cap. Didn't have a problem with them again.

Sun: It is very very hot in Huatulco - humid and there is a breeze which can fool you into thinking it's not as hot as it is. Sunblock is a necessity. We used a 30 on Matt but he still got burnt - have to reapply it often when you are in the water and sweating, even if it is waterproof.

Taxis: Generally 20 pesos between the hotel and either town, Santa Cruz or La Crucecita. 15 pesos to the golf course. The cabs don't stop at the stop signs on the main road from the hotel strip to the towns. Don't be alarmed. Just hold on and enjoy the 'topes' (speed bumps)

Shopping: We went to La Crucecita on our first excursion, to get the obligatory souvenir shopping out of the way. Lots of silver, not much different from any other place in Mexico. Not a lot of bargains, however I did get a nice marcasite piece for $40 US (they wanted $96) it was a 'slow day'. Better bargains are to be had in the market in Santa Cruz - the usual T-shirts, pottery, silver. They will barter there, and expect it.

Last notes: All in all, our vacation was excellent. The weather was fantastic, and our idea of a vacation is to relax by the pool, wander into town, eat whenever, no timetables, no schedules - our lives are much too scheduled at home to do that on vacation. We woke up early, 7 am, got to bed around 11 pm, slept like logs, and really slowed down our lives. The service in the hotel is first class - the rooms were immaculate, towel service every evening, hibiscus on our beds at night. There is not one thing I could complain about, nor would I look for something to complain about. If you are looking for a paradise I would highly recommend Huatulco, and if the Sheraton suits your style and your budget then you will be very happy there. If you have any questions please send me an email, I'll be glad to help answer them.

Laura, Brent and Matt Chellew
Oshawa, Ontario Canada

March 1999

Where's Wayne?

Two years ago my wife and I visited Huatulco. We met an American by the name of Wayne who we have lost contact with. We would appreciate any assistance you could provide. He is the co-owner of a shop in La Crucecita that sells art from the local artisans. We are enjoying the update on all the happenings in Huatulco.

Rick and Kristie Purdy
March 1999

Huatulco - Best Pick

My boyfriend and I just returned from a fabulous 1-week trip to Huatulco! The only disappointment we had was leaving this land of paradise. We stayed at the Hotel Meigas Binniguenda and we loved it! It is a very quiet but lovely hotel! It had everything we were looking for! We had a short walk to the Beach Club but we actually enjoyed and looked forward to the the 5-minute walk each day. We found all the local people to be very pleasant and more than willing to help. We went with the intention of having a relaxing and peaceful vacation and that's what we got! We did take the 7-bay tour which is a must do! It cost us about $25 which included all beverages and a 6-hour tour of the beautiful bays! We stopped once to snorkel and then once again for 2 hours to indulge in some lunch and lavish up the sun rays! We booked our tour through our World of Vacations Representatives Vanessa and Andrea who I might add were EXCELLENT people all around! If you go please send our regards!!

We ventured in to the nearby town of La Crucecita to find that it was a delightful and pleasant little town! The church is a must see! There is a painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe which is said to be in the Guiness Book of World Records for the largest hand painted mural! We were there on Ash Wednesday and I'm sure every local resident in town and surrounding areas were there at the church as I wanted to take communion but the line up was so long it was I'm sure almost an hour wait easily!

Our meals were included with our Hotel package but we still ventured out for dinner once to El Sabor the Oaxaca and it was fantastic! We had the Steak dinner which is to die for! To add to the evening we payed the street roaming Mariachis 25 pesos to sing at our table! This is a must do!

I have traveled I'm sure to every resort within Mexico and although each resort has their own wonderfully unique and distinct characteristics I have to say that Huatulco so far would be my "best pick"! For anyone who is wondering about or planning a trip to Huatulco I'm sure you will find you will not regret it if you go!


February 1999

Posada Chahue, the Right Place

My husband and I just returned from a wonderful stay in Huatulco. The weather was perfect this time of year and we found that there weren't many mosquitoes either, which was a pleasant surprise. We were visiting some friends who had sailed there in their boat, so we had a chance to check out Bahía Santa Cruz as well as the town of La Crucecita and surrounding areas. We had much fun in the town! Practice your Spanish before you go, as any little bit helps! Also, even though we read that you can use your US dollars around town, I think you are much better off to exchange money and carry some pesos. We changed planes in Mexico City on our way there and exchanged a few dollars right at the airport, getting a very good rate. We were glad we did. With the approximate 10:1 exchange rate, it was very easy to figure prices in equivalent US dollars, any paying with pesos made it much easier for the shopkeepers and us alike.

Our visit was made even better because of the hotel where we chose to stay. I read many other people's comments about the different hotels and did some research at bookstores and the internet about hotel options. The larger resorts were too expensive for us, and are not our cup of tea anyway. We chose the Posada Chahue near Bahía Chahue, and were very pleased with our choice. That is the main reason I write this! What a wonderful place! If you want a spotlessly clean, beautiful, quiet, and comfortable hotel that is centrally located, this is the place. We were pleasantly surprised to find our room equipped with a small refrigerator. Fans and A/C are standard in every room also. They have a restaurant and bar, a pool with a nice grassy area and shade for lounging. The entire staff was wonderful! Claudia and Hector man the front desk and they both speak English, which we found very helpful. The hotel shares a beach club at Bahía Santa Cruz, offering free transport (1/2 km) which we visited one day. All this for USD$35 a night! And as I mentioned, the hotel is very centrally located. We walked from the hotel to town (La Crucecita), and to and from the marina in Santa Cruz both day and night. It was an easy walk and we felt very safe, even after dark. I cannot recommend the Posada Chahue more highly!

February 1999

Those Chocolate Banana Monkeys

My husband and I enjoyed a fantastic holiday in Huatulco. We stayed at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K]. We were with a group of approximately 150. The staff was very attentive to our needs... the barmen made great chocolate banana monkeys!

The view from our balcony was superb. The beach was beautiful, the food was good..... the shopping was great!

All in all, we recommend Huatulco immensely....

Y. Balian

February 1999

Huatulco Review

We just returned from a week in paradise - Huatulco. If you want calm, beautiful, laid back attitudes, no hustle or bustle, and spectacular vistas, then Huatulco is for you. We stayed at the Zaashila [photo 66K] in a beachfront room with our own pool. We left the doors open all night and slept to the crashing surf. Most of the information from past visitor comments is right on the mark.

Food: One should not be going to Huatulco for great food. It is, good, wholesome, spicy Mexican food. You won't find the gourmet food of some of the Acapulco or Cabo restaurants in Huatulco but ... with what you do get, who cares. The restaurant in the Zaashila was the best meal that we had. The fish was perfect as was each course of the meal. Casa del Mar is a must, the view is a must and the food was wonderful. El Sabor del Oaxaca was very good all around as was Oasis. Cactus served good food, great lobster but higher priced than the nearby aforementioned restaurants. By the way, spending more than $25.00 a couple is difficult in La Crucecita or in Santa Cruz. Even the best meals at Zaashila and Casa del Mar did not get much over $40 - $50 a couple.

Shopping: Very little bargaining in Crucecita. If bargaining is your game, go to Santa Cruz markets and you will walk away happy.

Hotels &: All that has been said about the main hotels is on target. The Quinta Real is the newest and most posh. If you want total rest, that might be the spot. Very well appointed and lavish, but you must want to stay in your room or close by. Getting to the main pool and the beach is a trek - pack a lunch. However, with your own suite with your own pool and you're own towering view of the bay, you probably won't want to leave the room.

Villa Azomali offers incredible setting with spectacular views. If you do stay there, we recommend a rental car as getting taxis can be a drag if you really have a time limit. The Villa is great, with two bedrooms sporting their own outdoor Jacquzzi's. Aracella is delightful and we hear that she is a great cook.

Getting around: Cabs are 15 - 20 Pesos wherever you want to go. You can rent boats for sightseeing or boating - this is where you can bargain. The two most reliable and trustworthy of beach walking merchants are Mr. Frisbee - Valentino and Gummay (spelling).. Valentino is a fisherman who really knows his stuff and will work for you. If business is slow, which seems to be the way in Huatulco, then he will take you for a bay tour and treat you just right. Gummay does boat and land tours and is a really great person as well.

Weather: Perfect - one week, no clouds, just sun and breeze and great temperature. The water is rough and beautiful, so choose your days for boat travel.

Golf: I really enjoyed the course. It is different, almost without a layout at times, winding this way and that. Some holes are very straight forward and others meander in and out of fairway trees. You do need to be fairly straight to preserve your ball purchase. Rates appear to be flexible - listed at 490 pesos for a round and 325 (or so) for a cart I paid between 400 and 600 for both depending on how hard I bargained. If you get there before they open, you can get a cart and start at first light, complete a round in 2.5 hours and pay when you have completed 18.

I am sure that as the days go by, I will recall more and add to this, but if you are looking for peace and quiet, and beauty and sanity Huatulco is the place. I just hope that it will never become another Puerto Vallarta or Cancun as it gains popularity, which it surely will.

Richard and Sharon

February 1999

Request for Fishing Advice

I'm planning a fishing trip to Huatulco in March and would appreciate any advice I can get.

February 1999

Coffee Plantation Visit

Recently returned from our 7th trip to Mexico and our 1st to Huatulco. We were delighted with the area and the people. One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to the coffee plantation. We took the MLT tour (seemed the easiest and best way) and spent all day learning about everything from growing coffee to termites! The highlight of the tour was the wonderful meal served family style (probably the best meal of our vacation) and the cooling swim in the waterfall. We recommend this trip to everyone!

Another excellent restaurant was Sabor de Oaxaca in La Crucecita. Excellent regional food and very attentive service. Would we go again? In a heartbeat.

Fran Johnson
February 1999

Anybody Stayed at the Marlin?

Has anyone had any experience with the Marlin hotel? I'm going to stay there or the Castillo, where I've been before, but I don't remember the Marlin. I have stayed at Castillo and it was fine although a little loud from the Santa Cruz festival happening during my last stay.


February 1999

Golfing in Huatulco

My wife and I recently traveled down to the lovely town of Huatulco, Mexico in early January. The trip was to serve to objectives, my wife could get away from the cold and snow in Chicago, and I could hit the links and test out my new Great Big bertha driver. Unfortunately, information regarding details on the golf in Huatulco is hard to come by.

After six rounds on the Tangolunda golf course, I am ready to share my experiences with the Oaxacan golf. As far as I knew, this course was the only golf area within 100 miles. Knowing nothing about this course, I had concerns regarding its condition and playability. In other words, is it worth lugging my clubs down there. Well I have to say that if you enjoy golfing bring your clubs along. The course provides a great number of interesting challenges and beautiful scenery. From the championship tees the course plays about 6800 yards, 6300 from the whites. I noticed that another bit on the golf course mentioned the trees. The trees represent the major obstacle on the course, one par three plays over a 100 footer, while most of the longer holes employ a tree or two in the middle of the fairway. After inquiring about the fairness of these hazards to the pro he replied that the course could use a chainsaw. The greens on this offering were basically slow, some larger than others, but no postage stamps (maybe 13 which brings you toward the ocean). The course has a fair amount of water, and other waste areas which ate a handful of my golf balls.

Overall I found the course very challenging, scenic, playable, and definitely worth the effort. Another side note regarding play, I often went out with my wife driving the cart without a problem and after 10:00 A.M. the course was wide open (sort of) I don't think I had a round over 4 hours.

Enjoy Huatulco, the people were great, the Tangolunda course played nicely, and I wholeheartedly recommend seeing Dennis, the local rental guy for a wonderful tour of the bays of Huatulco on a Honda four wheeler. My wife and I found this to be the highlight of the journey. Good luck and aim for the trees.

February 1999

Royal Maeva ... And More

We are a couple of Montrealers in our early fifties who just returned from our one-week honeymoon in Huatulco. It was the first such trip for both of us and, because of the way we were treated at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K], it certainly won't be our last. The quality of the room and the food at the two restaurants and buffets is incredible, the layout of the facilities is excellent and, there are of course the Maevamigos!

The reputation of the Maevamigos is richly deserved. Every one of these young people from the Public Relations desk (Michelle, April and Daniela come immediately to mind), the Sports and Entertainment, Water Sports really do go out of their way to ensure that everyone enjoys whatever type of vacation they had their hearts set on. For some, this means lazing around the pool or on a beach chair all day, every day. For others, the various Amigo-led activities throughout each day attract people from all walks of life. There is always something different to do or try for the first time. Then, after a full day of doing their thing, they still find enough energy to put on a very high-intensity nightly show. The theme for these shows changes every night. The one that really impressed us was the Latin Show. Great costumes and choreography.

Two other points that really stick out about the Royal Maeva are the cleanliness and the incredible friendliness of the entire hotel staff.

The entire hotel is spotless. The crews are constantly sweeping here, wiping there, painting this, moving that. Whirling dervishes, they are! And the chamber maids did our room over three times a day!

We have never seen so many genuine smiles in one place. From those who cater to you during mealtimes at the eating locations to the bartenders at the lobby bar or poolside bars, always smiling ... with lips ... and eyes! We also found this friendliness outside of the hotel, in Santa Cruz and in La Crucecita.

Experienced travelers that we met, some returning to the Royal Maeva for the 3rd and 4th time, have told us that they had been to the "usual" Mexican resort towns and hotels but keep coming back here every 2 or 3 years because of the warmth of the people and the quality of their stay. They also remarked on the constant changes (additions) to the hotel. For example, we gathered that the lobby bar and adjoining veranda weren't there a few years ago. Nor were the in-room safes and mini-bars. Also, some of the out-of-hotel activities that are now featured were not available during their previous visits. We tried and really enjoyed the snorkeling during the Tequila Bay tour (Tequila is a catamaran that takes you on a tour of some of the 9 bays and beaches that make up Huatulco). But our favorite was ...

The White Water Rafting Expedition!

In the main pool one day, there was a contest during which a bunch of people had to stand on the outside edge of one of these inflatable rafting boats and, while the crew was shaking the boat, try to be the last one to fall off. I won the contest but didn't have a clue what the prize would be. Turns out it was an all-day trip down a fast-moving river, aboard one of these rafts! So we figured why not give it a try. We paid the $45.00 fee for my wife to join me and at 9:00 AM the next morning, we joined the crew and the other guests who had signed up for the trip and off we went in an open-aired truck/bus.

We drove for 2 hours, on mainly rough dirt roads, up the Sierra Madre mountains to a point 800 meters above sea level, where the rafts would be launched. On the way, we saw the gradual change in the vegetation. At sea level, except for the palm trees and cactus varieties, the vegetation is somewhat similar to what we have here at home. As we climbed, we saw the transformation into a rain forest (we drove by a coffee plantation way up in the mountains). On the way, we came across numerous little villages and isolated "homes". Although the poverty level (by our standards, I guess) is overwhelming, all the children and adults still had this incredible smile! This is something we are not about to forget. You have to see it to believe it.

At the launching point, Dario gave us the complete lowdown on what to expect, what signals would be used during the trip, what safety precautions are to be taken, what to do if you do fall overboard (!) and how and when to paddle.

We were provided with life jackets and helmets and then we boarded the 2 rafts. Arturo, Alex and Waldemar (one of the owners of the company) took to their kayaks, to serve as guides and rearguards. Dario was on board our raft but gave "command" of the craft to another one of the crew (I unfortunately don't remember his name). He is the one who controls the raft from the rear, barking out commands like forward, backward, stop paddling, and rock-and-roll. The rock-and-roll command is given in any precarious situation instructing us to leave the relative comfort of the edge of the raft and promptly sit in the bottom of the raft! But it's nowhere near as scary as it may sound.

It would be impossible to describe in detail every twist, turn and bump during the 31/2-hour trip down river (including a half-hour stop for a light lunch). Suffice it to say that IT WAS A BLAST! And, during the periods between rapids, we got a chance to look at some extraordinary rain forest scenery. Waldemar, being in the "extra" kayak, took video footage of some of the more exciting passages down river. He plans on using it for his promotional material.

For the record, my wife is a non-swimmer who will not normally go near water if she isn't able to touch bottom. She really enjoyed the snorkeling but here she had a ball! So did everyone else on the trip. This trip should be on the "must do" list of every visitor to Huatulco!

For the time being, anyone in Huatulco has to book his/her trip through the Bahia Plus (Signature) travel agency at the Royal Maeva. But we are sure that in the very near future, people from every hotel will be able to book with Río y Montaña Expeditiones (we believe it can also be done now through the Argentina Grill restaurant).

Speaking of ...

The Argentina Grill

After the rafting trip, we showered at the hotel and went out for supper.

This restaurant is not to be confused with the other one down the street with a similar sounding name (we were told by several locals and taxi drivers to keep away from the other one!). The Argentina Grill is located across the street, kitty-corner left from the Royal Maeva, roughly midway between the Royal Maeva and Sheraton. It is a little eight-table sidewalk restaurant owned by Adolfo Garcia that specializes in steak, fish and shrimp, all prepared by Adolfo himself, on the sidewalk grill. If you want a lobster, Adolfo sends someone 30 yards or so down the block to his father's restaurant, Don Porfirio, to get it!

Adolfo is at the fishing docks every morning at 5:00 AM to make his selection right off the boats, before the fish hits the market. This way, he gets the freshest fish and is able to maintain his very reasonable prices. His menu for that day will depend on the morning catch.

His beef arrives from Argentina (no, he doesn't go to the stockyards!). You should see the size of the steaks he serves! We weren't that hungry so we opted for the shrimp and pasta dish that was available that day. Excellent!

The background music is strictly Latin (Mambo, Cha-Cha, Salsa, etc.). For those who want to dance to this lively music, there is a dance area. It is currently made of concrete but Adolfo assures me that by the time we return next year, he will have covered it with a hardwood floor!

It was a very enjoyable (and inexpensive) evening out. We are sure that the food and the ambiance will leave anyone feeling the same way.

We are both looking forward to returning next year!

Fran & Chip Gillenwater

February 1999

Loved the Maeva

Just returned last week from a very enjoyable 1 week stay at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K] in Huatulco.To anyone considering a trip to this destination, we would highly recommend it! Everything and everyone was great! The weather while we were there the 3rd week of January was unbelievable. This place just doesn't seem to get rain! Don't forget your sunblock! Seriously, I would recommend a least a 40 sunblock the first couple of days or make yourself a couple of weeks worth of appointments at a tanning salon before going. One of our group who thought he was "going for a base" the third day out ending up "basting" his back! Ouch!! If you plan on being out in the sun come prepared!

Make sure you take one of the bay tours! We took the Tequila Boat and loved it. The snorkeling was good that day although the reefs are definitely not as impressive as some other locations in the Caribbean. We did see some sea turtles as well as a sting ray! As well there were lots of other tropical fish including a chance to touch a blowfish in the water.

The local people are very friendly. There are some peddlers on the beach and in town but usually a "no gracias" is enough to get them to leave you alone if you're not interested. Most locals were genuinely interested in where we were from and all we encountered were extremely proud of the area they live in. If you're looking for great weather, great food, great service and a real R & R vacation then the Royal Maeva in Huatulco is place to go. We usually like to try a different country and resort every time we travel but we just might have to try the Royal Maeva one more time!!!!

D & N Gilbert

February 1999

P.S. - If you go -make sure you say Hi to Hector at the pool. He put our friend Betty through the work-out in the pool every morning (while we sat poolside and ate nachos & guacamole and sipped on banana monkeys! - nothing like watching someone else exercise to work up a good appetite for lunch!)

Say hello to Edgar at the bar in the main lobby .He doesn't speak a lot of English but with a smile like his who needs a spoken language to communicate.

And give a big hello to Jorge, the lobby bar manager, but do not try to outdo him drinking shooters-especially the ones he makes personally. I guarantee you're going to lose.- You were right Jorge--It was the Tequila !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To everyone at Royal Maeva -Muchas gracias

Fishing, Fun, & Romance

Hi Tom,

First, let me thank you again for maintaining this page, which was such an invaluable tool in planning our vacation. My fiancée and I have just returned from a week at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K] and I wanted to add to the already significant amount of positive feedback they've received here. We found the service at the R.M. was it's strongest single feature. The wait staff are fast, courteous and patient with bad Spanish. How anyone could have complained that the buffets were "average" I will never understand, since I've had my share of all inclusive buffet food and we thought the presentation and quality of the food was FANTASTIC. It's a different theme every night and I don't think I had anything but the fish more than once 'cause there was so much to choose from. We also eventually got around to trying the a la carte restaurants and again the food was super but the service just knocked us out !! In Toronto, you simply don't find that kind of attentive, personable service no matter what you spend.

A note on the fishing, which was a big part of why I went to Huatulco. Like anywhere, conditions vary from day to day, and we experienced both ends of the spectrum. First, I would NOT recommend fishing with the Bahías tour operators out of the hotel. They wanted $180 US per person for 4 hours fishing, which is outrageous. Book with the captains that flog their services on the beach, but don't make the same mistake we did: You shouldn't pay more than $30 per hour for the boat (NOT per person). They'll go down to $25 if you really haggle. We made the mistake of not haggling on our first charter and paid $200 US for five uneventful and fishless hours on the water. When it became clear that we could try another boat and captain for $25 per hour we tried it again. Our captain/guide was Roberto ( or "Tusco" on the beach) and we had a FANTASTIC day chasing flocks of Albatross' who in turn were chasing huge schools of Yellowfin Tuna. We boated 8 tuna in the 25lb. range and two 10lb. Bonitos. It is definitely a different kind of open-water tuna fishing and VERY exciting as most of the fish came two at a time on double-headers. The boat crew gets just as excited by the visible schools of tuna as the customers do, as it does not happen every day there.

I HIGHLY recommend Tusco as a guide and I didn't think any of the other fellows on the beach seemed to have much REAL fishing knowledge, they merely know how and where to get a boat and crew. Valentino has been recommended on this web-page, but I never actually found him and heard he'd been thrown off the beach for accidentally hitting a woman right between the eyes with his trademark white Frisbee!

Most of these guides know some English but some effort and patience (or working Spanish) is necessary to communicate, but we had some great conversations and enjoyed the challenge. The real language of fishing is universal and we had no trouble understanding anything. From what I saw and heard, the winter Sailfish fishing is not spectacular, but the Tuna, Dorado and Bonito are plentiful. We also saw giant flying Manta rays jumping and lots of sea turtles. The head chef at the hotel took two of our catch and prepared it for us free of charge and it was spectacular! For those not very experienced with deep-sea fishing, a pre-departure Gravol is HIGHLY recommended as this is the Pacific, not the Caribbean, and the swells can make almost anyone ill. It would be a shame to ruin a day and waste the money due to sea-sickness. Same goes for boat tours.

So I got engaged on the Tangolunda beach at midnight under a dazzling full moon to the most wonderful & beautiful woman I will ever see, and that was the real highlight of my trip. We were accompanied by my best friend from high school and his fiancée and all of us will never forget this trip and WILL return. The only negatives at all were the airline (Royal Airlines from Toronto) who ran such a shoddy service (major delays and mechanical failures, bad pilots, etc. I will NEVER fly with them again, and the fact that we found the Maeva to be somewhat anti-social. We seemed to be the youngest guests there (I'm 30) and we hardly met anyone. During our week (Jan. 28th to Feb. 4th) the resort seemed to have at least as many Mexican guests as Canadians and Americans, and many were families and older couples who stuck pretty much to themselves.

The nightlife was lacking, as the disco played almost nothing but Spanish dance music and the surrounding area featured mostly cafes and restaurants. But we made our own by taking midnight swims in the deserted pool and keeping the swim-up bartender laughing with our fervent requests for more Tequila. Frankly, we were pretty loud and gregarious for such late hours but no one from the staff gave us any grief at all about it, which was kind. The premises is kept so IMMACULATELY clean that it is a 24 hour a day endeavor for the staff. The nightly shows sort of stunk but the staff try very hard to entertain and it's no worse that the other Mexican resorts I've visited (Cozumel & Loreto).

And one last note on the weather: It was BEAUTIFUL every day, 85-90 and sunny, so I'd recommend a 30 sunblock for tanning. Even a sun veteran like my fiancée (who's never been burned before) was shocked at the intensity of the rays. Also, CNN's weather web-site is NOT correct with it's forecasts for Huatulco. They showed highs of 75 degrees and lows of 47-50. And I packed for that, even though I had it on good authority (thanks Tom) that it couldn't be right. Huatulco has never seen 47 digress and likely never will.

It's a beautiful place with enough to do if you want to stay active and the perfect place to slow down, enjoy and recharge. At Maeva, bring your own group and it won't matter how social the guests are ( having such great travelling companions like we did made a huge difference). In terms of value for the dollar (even the souvenir shops were haggle-able) the area and the Maeva specifically, can't be beat ! See you soon Huatulco, and anyone fishing there PLEASE say "Hi" to Tusco from "bald-headed Steve" and Bob, the loco gringos from Toronto.

Steve Birnstihl
Feb. 7, '99

Ask For Jorge

Been to Huatulco many times. It's still the paradise it was the first time--the fishing, the beaches, the food, the people, the hotels; every thing is count less. The staff at the Sheraton very gracious, natives willing to please, what more can you ask for? Oh, the weather is the best in the world in Jan. For fishing, ask for Jorge at the beach. He has one of those boats docked on the beach. He will take you to do anything you want. Ask for Patti at the Sheraton. Her Spanish & English is very helpful and knowledge of the area is very helpful, If there are any questions feel free to e-mail me at scljr@netnico.net. Have a nice time.


February 1999

Río y Montaña

My husband and I went to Huatulco the 3rd week in January. We had a wonderful vacation and are already planning a return trip. Huatulco is everything we had hoped it would be and more! We did a lot of research on the area (including the visitor's comments) and were not disappointed. This is definitely a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful place to vacation - however, if you are looking for a lot of night life, this is not the place to go. You fly into a one-runway thatched roof airport and this is a pretty good reflection of the pace of life in Huatulco.

We stayed at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K] and loved it. The Maeva Amigos are great. We did the ATV jungle tour, snorkeling, shopping and a lot of relaxing by the ocean/pool, but the highlight of our trip was a river rafting tour we took through Río y Montaña Expediciones (river and mountain expeditions) (www.rioymontana.com). I guess Río y Montaña is an expedition company throughout Mexico, but they had only been in Huatulco for three weeks when we arrived which explains why we didn't hear anything about the tour prior to our arrival. We met Arturo, the lead guide, by the information desk at the Royal Maeva. I was a little nervous about going down a river in the jungle, but Arturo was so professional in explaining his company, the water certifications that all of the guides have and the years of experience for all of them, that I felt comfortable in signing up for the river rafting. We did this the first full day of our trip, and nothing else compared to it. We rode back into the jungle for about 1-1/2 hours on dirt roads (very windy and steep without any guardrails). We went through several small villages which was definitely an educational experience. We were on the Copalita River for about 3-1/2 hours with lunch about half way. Then we rode back on some different dirt roads for another 1-1/2 hours to the resort. We were there during the dry season, so the portion of the river we did was about a level 3. I guess during the rainy season, this section of the river is about a level 5 or 6. During the rainy season they have a different section of the river for amateurs like me which is still a level 3.

I am sure there are a lot of nice restaurants in the area. Since we stayed at an all inclusive resort, we only had one meal away from the hotel. We ate at Don Porfiro's Lobster and Steak House (across from the Maeva). We had the lobster and the shrimp and it was excellent.

The scenery is beautiful, the time spent there is peaceful and the beaches are pristine. Enjoy!

Mark & Diane Bybee

February 1999

Manta Rays

Dear Tom,
I'm writing again from my beloved bahías de Huatulco.
Gracias for updating my e-mail address in your wonderful pages. Let me tell you that there had not rebalse since the beginning of December. The sea had been calm, cold (between 72° to 79° F), and visibility for diving, as it is usual, changing every single day. During all December and January, we had been seeing manta rays. Huge manta rays. In past days we spent (two customers and me) 40 minutes playing and enjoying the companion of a beautiful manta. It was 12-ft. wingspan and it was the friendliest manta I had ever found.

John Williams did much to help people to know Huatulco, but there are some things that have changed. For example, hurricane Pauline destroyed the boiler and tractors of the dive site known as Las Orugas. The story of the quake felt underwater is very descriptive, and if there is a place in the world to experience quakes while diving, this place is Huatulco: I have experienced at least 5.

I will look forward for your reply and hope that you continue supporting this wonderful web site.

Tu amigo.

Carlos Ramos
Action Sport Marina at Sheraton.
(958) 100 55 ext. 842

February 1999

Our stay at the Royal Maeva Jan 19-26, 1999

We just returned from a vacation to Huatulco, the first -but definitely not the last! The area is so beautiful. Two years ago we were in Cancun and thought when we left that we would be there again, but after seeing Huatulco and how gorgeous it is, I don't think we will! We flew out of Chicago on an Apple Vacation Charter. We are from Minot North Dakota, so had to get to Chicago first. The organization of the trip was run very smoothly, from going through customs, getting on the bus, arriving at the resort and checking in. We were unpacked and on the beach in 1-1/2 hours from the time we landed! The weather was hot, in the 90's everyday. But it felt great! The ocean and all the pools kept us comfortable. The water activities available at the Royal Maeva were outstanding, something for everyone to keep busy. The grass huts on the beach were great for those who needed to get a relief from the sun. The snorkeling trips they take you are just the right length of time. We also sailed, and kayaked, right from the resort. Food selections were outstanding. There is a nightly theme buffet, all we attended were very good, and then there are 2 restaurants that you need reservations for, and men cannot wear shorts. One is Italian, excellent and the other was Mexican. We thought the bartenders by the pool could maybe benefit from some training, as the drinks, some of them, were "so so". The lobby bar made great drinks! You don't need to pack many clothes - swimsuits by day and shorts or something for evening didn't need long pants, long sleeves, or jackets.

We only did two tours, one being the sunset cruise - definitely recommend it! It's a great way to see the sunset, meet new people, and we even spotted dolphins jumping out of the water. It started at 3:30 and ended around 7:30.

The other fun excursion was taking a 5-hour tour of the area on little mopeds, which also included 2 hours at Entrega Beach for lunch and snorkeling. You can rent snorkeling gear right there for $4.00 If you have ever snorkeled in Hananmu Bay in Hawaii this is a real close comparison. The wildlife of the ocean was superb!! You could see fish in shallow water or go further out into deeper. The tour also took us up into the area to get a close up view of some of the beautiful new homes and resorts. We also went up on a cliff area to get a good view of the marina in Santa Cruz. The cost of the guided tour was $25. per person. There were six of us and the 2 tour guides go with, one to lead the way and one to bring up the rear to make sure everyone is together. The name of their business is "Huatulco Renta Bike" at the Bahia Tangolunda, located directly across the street on the corner from the Sheraton Resort. The owners are Roger and Guy, and they were so friendly, and knowledgeable of the area they can give you a good history of just about everything. They are both originally from Montreal, and their well spoken English was a real plus! Their phone number is #958-7-0428, the address is Chahue 15A, #302, Oaxaca Mexico, CR 70989. We really recommend this tour - it's a great way to get around and still be outside, vs. riding in a bus or van. Roger and Guy were great! If you see them, tell them hi from "Crash Norma" and the other 5 from North Dakota!

The only thing that wasn't as good as Cancun at the Royal Maeva were the shows (not nearly as professional) and the lack of music at night in the lobby bar. The only nightlife really was the disco, inside instead of outside, and it didn't really get going until midnight. 7 nights is not long enough, 10 would be just right!

On our way home in the Ixtapa Airport, we met a man from Chicago owns a villa - he rents it for 7 nights, and it looks absolutely gorgeous! You can look at his web site at www.huatulcovilla.com

We loved Huatulco, and WILL BE BACK AGAIN! The beauty of it is it is such a clean, undeveloped area. You don't have the shoreline of hotels that go on forever! We even saw Mexicans sweeping the roadside of the highways! The shopping towns of Santa Cruz and La Crucecita were neat, too - not the crowed flea market style of Cancun and other Mexican areas. With the beauty and combination of the jungle, mountains, and ocean/beaches, you can't go wrong!

Ken & Judi Kitzman
Minot ND

Jan 1999

Like Costa Rica

Our trip to Huatulco was three years ago, but very memorable. Our MD had recommended it and it was indeed a lovely trip. We recommend it to all that love the almost Costa Rica jungle-like atmosphere of Huatulco. We love to snorkel and the snorkeling was great.

We stayed at the Sheraton [photos 141K] and would VERY highly recommend it. Not only was our room VERY nice, the hotel has a gym that is very nice to have.

Warning! When checking in and the bellboy takes you to your room, DO NOT allow your purse or lugage with tickets and passports to be put on stack - CARRY IT BY HAND!

Judy K.
January 1999

Credit Card Fraud Alert

I just recently returned from a trip to Huatulco in early January and I had a problem using my credit card. I only used my credit card at two reputable eating establishments, Don Portifino's in Huatulco and Cactus in Las Crucetcitas. At one of these two restaurants, a copy of my credit card number was made and used by someone. So be careful using your credit card, even if you make sure to take the receipt.

January 1999

Looking for some Feedback

We are planning a March, 1999 vacation to Huatulco. Can we get some feedback on the Sheraton and Zaashila Resorts? Thanks

Gordy Norlin

January 1999

Getting Married in Huatulco?

My fiancée and I visited Huatulco last year, his 2nd trip - he has since returned several times. We are planning other trips in Feb & Mar '99 - and would like to get married at the old catholic church in Santa Cruz...any ideas on who to contact & how to arrange?

We have stayed at the Sheraton as well as another hotel across from the marina from which he leaves on fishin trips (marlin). Sheraton was the best of the two, although when I became ill and summoned the hotel doctor I was told I was pregnant - when in fact, upon returning to the states was diagnosed with an internal parasite - mucho painful - you would think the Sheraton could provide better medical assistance, especially for what I assume to be a common malady for foreigners... other than that Sheraton was great - rooms, food (great American breakfast daily for those of us who just can't eat Mexican food for breakfast yet).

We also visited Puerto Angel and Zipolite with our friends who run the fishing boat "Odyssey", and would recommend both places. We were, however, stopped by the "police" on our return trip (at night) and our car searched...a common occurrence, but a bit scary nonetheless.

We went horseback riding at Tangolunda Mr. Ed - as a professional horsewoman, was glad to see the horses were healthy and well-maintained and well-mannered - had great fun going through jungle and riding on beach - stopping for time out to have a few beers on the beach.

One thing I would NOT recommend is the coffee plantation tour! A 2-hour drive up the absolutely worst "road" in a suburban with no shocks - only to find a couple of small coffee bushes (not the plantation we had envisioned), a trip to swim in a waterfall and an ok lunch - only to dread the two-hour trip back down that road! Was a complete waste of a day and also, was very expensive. Will be returning soon, and any info on the church would be appreciated!


January 1999

Condo Rental Saa-iba Realty

I was wondering if anyone has rented a condo at Zaashila through Lorenzo at Saa-iba Realty. How was it? Any problems with unexpected costs? Was the condo OK? How was the location of the condo--close to the pool and beach?


January 1999

Villa Azomalli

We visited Huatulco in mid December 1998 and loved it. It is much quieter than Puerto Vallarta, for example, but that is what we were looking for this time. We stayed at Villa Azomalli and loved it. The cook, Araceli, was excellent. Also, she soaked the fruit and vegetables in something that enabled us to eat raw fruit and vegetables without getting sick. One thing I would ask about before staying anywhere other than a big resort hotel is whether there is any construction scheduled for the period when you will be there. On our last two days at Villa Azomalli, workmen started hacking down the trees and undergrowth on the property next door. On the day we left, they started burning off the underbrush. Not very pleasant. Also, if you stay in the Bahía de Conejos area, be aware that they burn garbage sometimes and it is not a pleasant smell. In fact, for people with respiratory problems, this could be a problem.

We learned too late that one should not take a boat tour of the bays when the moon phase changes from full to crescent or vice versa. The tides are much stronger then. Many people on our boat tour were sick. Those who were not were often scared. There were huge ocean swells. The captain of the boat seemed very competent but it was not pleasant. Also, on days like that snorkeling (which is not great in Huatulco compared to, for example, the Caribbean coast of Mexico or Hawaii) is not worth doing because the wave action stirs up the sand too much and it hard to see anything.


January 1999

About the Golf Course

We stayed at the all inclusive Royal Maeva [photo 39K]. There is a lovely small town, La Crucecita which is a 15 peso cab ride (15 pesos gets you to the golf course too). It has some interesting shops, quite a few restaurants and bars. Very nice, very safe. People are friendly and many speak English quite well. There is a lovely church with a hand painted ceiling in town - worth a visit.

Beach is nice and scenery is lovely. You are about 35 mins from the "Flintstones style" airport. Have a great time! We did! The Maeveamigos put on some great shows in the evening.

We played golf twice, both early in the am, because of the temperature later in the day. The course was very nice; whites are 6366 yards, ladies are 5605 yards. Was well maintained, you can walk, ride or use a caddy. We walked with a caddy and also used a cart. The greens were slow the first day (weren't cut). Second time they were cut and were fine. It's faster to go off the back 9 if you play early. Price for 18 was 665 pesos. There was a package deal for 3, 5 and 10 rounds with a cart, which was cheaper. Depends on how much you want to play. Look out for some 'interestingly placed' trees, right in the middle of the fairway! There's also an alligator in the pond on the 10th hole. He seems to be well fed!


MIssissauga Ontario Canada

January 1999

Huatulco/Puerto Escondido

Tom, congratulations on you page! I think it's great and extremely helpful for everybody who wants to spend some time in Oaxacan coast.

We just arrived home from our vacations in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca. We were there from December 26 up to January 10.

First, my boyfriend, another friend and myself, drove from Mexico City to Huatulco. The road was good. We arrived in Huatulco on December 26 and stayed in Bahía Santa Cruz in Hotel Biniguenda, which has many nice rooms. I have to say that it was extremely expensive (considering what you get for your money), it costed us US$ 130 per night, however all of the Huatulco was full due to the Christmas season. The hotel itself is nice and I am sure that during the low season, the price is much lower. We had a nice and not expensive dinner at one of the beach restaurants at Santa Cruz and another one at the Argentinean restaurant in Tangolunda bay. The restaurant is nice and so is the food, but very expensive.

After two days in Huatulco we went to Puerto Escondido. My boyfriend and I first fell in love with Puerto Escondido in 1994 and have been there for 4 times since our first visit. We made a reservation in Posada Real in advance, because we stayed in this hotel 3 times before and loved it, especially its garden from where the sunsets are fabulous and the nice beach club with a lovely pool. However this time, it was a little different. The pool in the beach club was so dirty that it was impossible to see the bottom of the pool! After we complained to the manager, it got a little better. The hotel staff were also not as friendly as they used to be. Sometimes, we waited for our drinks at the hotel garden for 30 minutes, or we were ignored when we tried to order. Which I find weird is that when we were friendly with them and tried hard with our broken Spanish, they ignored us, however after we started to speak English only, it got better. Nobody at Posada Real speaks English. Maybe we will try Santa Fe hotel next time we come to Puerto Escondido.

During our previous stays in Puerto Escondido we usually had our dinners at Posada del Tiburon, a restaurant I considered to be the best in the world (mind you, I go to France a lot!). This time, the service was awful, to put it mildly. We made reservation for New Years dinner and paid in advance. We ate at that restaurant 3 nights before the New Year's, so they knew us. As agreed, we arrived to the restaurant at 10 p.m., waited for 2.5 hours and did not get any food whatsoever! After 2.5 hours we wanted our money back and left. They completely spoiled our New Year's party! Therefore, don't go to Posada del Tiburon! It was very good, but it went very bad.

After a week in Puerto Escondido we took a Cristobal Colon bus to Huatulco. We made a reservation in Camino Real Zaashila and we loved it! We had a very nice room with the ocean view and a private pool. We found out about this fabulous hotel from your page, Tom, and I am very grateful for it. As everybody that stayed there, we believe that it is marvelous and worth every dollar you spend for it. We spent a little more that we intended, but it was definitely worth it! The main pool in the Zaashila is huge, the beach is really beautiful and nothing can beat your own private pool!

We stayed in Huatulco for a week. My boyfriend went snorkeling to the La Entrega, said it was nice, but it was really funny, because on the day that we went there, there was a huge Celebrity Cruises ship parked in the bay (I still have no idea how something so huge could park in that tiny bay). We tried most of the restaurants in the La Crucecita Zocalo and all were nice, even though some were very expensive, like the Cactus.

We flew back to Mexico City and loved the Huatulco airport. It's the nicest air terminal I have ever seen!

I am sure that Puerto Escondido and Huatulco are ones of the most beautiful places on this planet and we will go there again.

Happy New Year and best regards from very cold Europe,


January 1999

Our Honeymoon

HUATULCO IS ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!!!! I would recommend going there to ANYONE!!! Once I get my scanner up and running again, I will e-mail you some photos that I hold dear to my heart! We went to Huatulco with 6 rolls of film, and I found that I wished I had brought more!!!

Beautiful, calm, serene, virgin, pristine, heaven on earth! We loved it! The people at the Maeva were GREAT! I can still remember going on the Mirador tour (just ask a taxi to take you to the Miradors), and even the driver would get out and look at the ocean! One can NEVER get tired of something so vast and beautiful that it is breathtaking!

I remember flying into Huatulco airport, not believing the plane was going to land on that little airstrip in the middle of the jungle, but it did. We got off the plane, and I was in heaven, literally. The Maeva was fabulous. Safe, clean, very nicely decorated. The waterfalls by the entrance took me by surprise and I always had to stop and look at them everyday. This was my first visit to Mexico, so the open building was something new to me. I loved it! The winds from the ocean blowing through the entire lobby! It was refreshing.

And the club! Club Boom Boom was a blast! The Maeva Amigos make sure you are having the time of your life!

We are looking forward to returning to Huatulco...especially before it becomes commercialized. I wish we could keep this area secluded, but with people like me praising it on the internet, it wont be the best kept secret for too much longer...sorry, I just want other people to experience this intriguing place!

We were there in August (8/23, to be exact) and that is supposed to be their RAINY season. Not a lot of people in the hotel, very quiet. I was worried when I found out it was their rainy season, but it only rained at night for most of our stay, and it rained during the day only once, for about 2-2.5 hours. So, for that one day, we went to La Crucecita to shop...the rain is warm, felt kind of good!

Puerto Escondido is neat. We went on a day that had low tide (my luck...mother nature knew I was coming with a camera with the intentions of taking photographs of HUGE waves...can't have that!) The drive is beautiful, watch out for Topes, though. (speed bumps...big ones, and not all of them are marked...try going 65mph over a speed bump and see how your neck feels...ouch) Go jet skiing! Do the jungle tour! Or, lay by the pool. It is, by far, the best place to actually feel like you have taken a vacation.

We loved it and cannot wait to return. Check it out, and if you go to the Maeva, say hello to the Maeva Amigos, we miss them!

Jacki & Kevin Bartosiewicz
e-mail us if you have any questions!
January 1999

Thumbs Down for Maeva

My wife and I stayed at the Royal Maeva [photo 39K] during the middle of October of 98 for our 10th anniversary. This was our second trip to Huatulco. We were not overly impressed with our stay. The food was so-so. There were no ice machines that worked. We had to have room service bring ice. It took anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get it. (it was the slow season) The type of room we had requested was not ready when we arrived and the hotel clerk tried to downgrade us instead of upgrade. No apologies were given. The air conditioning hardly worked at all. The chair cushions at the pool were dirty and many covered in bird droppings. The swim up bar was slimey and appeared it hadn't been cleaned in many days.

There were also two hurricanes that were approaching. First of all no one acted concerned from the management, second many guest had no idea that a hurricane was approaching, third no warning or opportunity was given to the guests of the impending weather that if they wished to leave it would be wise to do so and help them.

Last trip we stayed at the Sheraton. It was wonderful. This trip we went to the travel agency at the Sheraton to get weather updates because none were available at the Royal Maeva. The management at the Sheraton put notices under each guest's door informing them of the approaching hurricane in time for people to leave if they desired. The airport closed on Saturday and guests who stayed at the Royal Maeva found out about the hurricane too late, because they were not informed, were stuck in Huatulco.

I have traveled and lived in Mexico, Bolivia, and Paraguay. I am accustomed to the latin way. Many people are not. I love Huatulco and all its beauty and wonderful restaurants including Dona Celias and many more and will return hopefully this year,......but not to the Royal Maeva.

John Goerner

January 1999

Golf in Huatulco

I am going to Huatulco Dec 1. Can somebody give information on what is the golf course is like?

George MacGregor
Mississauga On Canada

December 1998

Paintings on Exhibit

We are having another exhibit of my paintings of Huatulco on December 11 at the Sheraton Huatulco. I invite the visitors to your web site to the opening which is at 6pm in the Casa Real restaurant. The new paintings can be previewed at my website: Welcome To Huatulco.

After the opening, the exhibit will move to the room across from the sundries store where the paintings will hang until March 31.

Keep up the great work you are doing with the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca web site.

Warren Keating

December 1998

Request for Comments on the Golf Course

Interested in jan/feb 99 trip to Huatulco. Wife and I play golf. Have seen nothing on the quality of the golf course. Has anybody played that could comment on it ? Would like to decide soon.

E.J. McCormick III

December 1998

What's new at the Sheraton?

For the last two years I have been a regular reading all about Huatulco. I will be there at Christmas time with 3 other families, that is 17 of us. We are staying at the Sheraton. It seems that there has not been much written about it for quite some time, and I was wondering if anyone has stayed there recently?

I was wondering if someone could give me advice pertaining to purchasing pesos there. Are money exchangers readily available, and are some giving better rates than others. Should I be concerned with arriving there with pesos in hand or can I buy them in the airport?

We are leavin on December 22, so I would certainly appreciate any responses.

Lester Appell

December 1998

Looking for a Large Villa

Looking for a luxurious private villa with about 5 bedrooms, pool, beach, a/c, etc. for a once-in-a-lifetime extended family gathering (including 2 sets of twins under 4).

Does anyone know if this even exists? Or is Huatulco just a big resort hotel kind of place? [see http://www.eden.com/~tomzap/saa-iba.html]

How about storms, etc. Has Huatulco been hit in recent months, and, if so, is it recovering?

Pointers appreciated for a Dec/99 trip.

Todd Sandrock
November 1998

Plateria Maitl

I won't recommend a hotel, but a silvershop Plateria Maitl. Besides, I would like to say that I loved this whole information about Huatulco, If you need some more info, just let me know. I'm a student of tourism, but I lived in Huatulco for almost 8 years. My family still lives there, and that's the reason why I'm writing you. I am planning coming back there. Right now I'm studying in Guanajuato, Gto. Mex.

November 1998

Honeymoon in Oaxaca

Just got back from my honeymoon in Oaxaca and Huatulco. After almost a year of reading the comments on this site, it was good to finally experience the beauty of Huatulco for myself. I hope you don't find these comments exhausting, I just wanted to pass on valuable information, confirm others' previous remarks, and perhaps be of help to others considering a trip to Huatulco. I'll save my Oaxaca City comments for another page.

We stayed at the Camino Real Zaashila [photo 66K]. We very much enjoyed the resort and found the staff to be very professional and attentive to our needs. I guess now is a slow time for tourists because we were practically the only people at the resort and in Huatulco in general. We didn't mind since this meant having the pool, beach, etc. to ourselves. We were pleased with the Camino Real. The only drawbacks to the resort would have to be the previously reported half shower doors. I don't know why there's only half a door, but it makes for a wet bathroom after every shower. We were also disappointed that the resort did not have a working gym or exercise room. We asked but were told it was being used for something else at the time. I don't know how long this will be the case but we missed the ability to take some of the guilt away of relaxing and eating up a storm.

Staying at a non-all-inclusive resort afforded us the opportunity to try many restaurants in La Crucecita. Don't get me wrong, all-inclusive plans are convenient, but if you want the true flavor of the land, go out and experience it. We ate at Oasis twice and found the food and service to be very good. We also enjoyed Sabor de Oaxaca having had dinner and a breakfast there. We dined at Don Wilo's for some pizza and found it to be just ok, although it satisfied our craving for pizza. Maria Sabina's and the Cactus Bar & Grill were nothing special but satisfied us nonetheless. The first night we ate in Huatulco at Don Porfirio's. We found it to be overpriced and not worthy of a second visit. We went to Bing for ice cream and agree with everyone that it's the best. They opened one in Huatulco on the other side of El Jarro. At all the above restaurants, we were the only people there. One thing to note, we were hounded by the local children for pesos and to buy chicle while we dined. It was hard to resist such cute little faces. We were also solicited by mariachi bands. We enjoyed them as they provided an authentic backdrop to our meal. Taxis everywhere are still 15 pesos.

We only went on one tour, a trip to El Pacifico coffee plantation. We enjoyed the excursion very much. The landowners were extremely friendly and were genuinely interested in teaching us about the coffee production process. The meal cooked by the family was amazing and by far the best we had during our stay in the area. On the way, we stopped in Pochutla and walked through the market there. We sampled some local produce and found it to be delicious.

The road conditions on Highway 175 were bad. There were potholes every five feet and twice our driver had to get out to see if we could continue our trip or if we had to turn back. We were able to pass, but with our hearts in our throats. Our guide told us that after the rainy season, the road is in bad shape but it would be fixed shortly in anticipation of the high tourist season. We thoroughly enjoyed the coffee plantation trip and recommend the El Pacifico plantation to all.

The highest exchange rate we found was at the Mexico City Airport (9.9 peso/dollar). At our hotel it was 9.4-9.6. In La Crucecita it was 9.75. I hate to say this given the poverty we saw but you can really enjoy your vacation knowing your dollars go a long way. Most of our meals were under $30 U.S. and included 2 rounds of drinks, 2 appetizers, 2 meals, and 2 deserts. We are from New York City and a meal here of that nature would cost three times as much. We were also able to buy souvenirs for our families with ease (Oaxaca City provided a better selection for this purpose).

My wife was bitten by mosquitos the first day because she wore shorts. I wore long pants and never had a problem. We did buy an effective repellant (brandname Atun) and no longer were bitten. We saw no scorpions but did see a lot of little lizards (geckos).

I know it has been reported many times that this place is the next Cancún but I don't see that happening. There is construction ongoing, but there are just as many abandoned projects to boot. Perhaps this view is just a result of the lack of tourists and action while we were there. I was told that the evolution of Huatulco into a tourist mecca is a very gradual one in comparison to the boom of Cancún or Acapulco. We'll go back in several years and see the progress. Thanks for a very informative web site.

Jim Dandey
November 1998

Villa Azomalli

This summer we spent 2 weeks in Oaxaca around the time of the Gelagetzo, very nice time escaping the heat of summer in North Carolina. I went down to Huatulco for a day-1/2 to dive and stay at the Villa Azomalli. Most taxi drivers know of it as Casa Tony Palos. A very nice villa overlooking the sea from a cliff, with tremendous views of other white sand bays out all windows. Hot tubs as part of both master suites and a lovely open area for a living room around the swimming pool. JC did a wonderful job of making me feel at home, taking me to town, finding a good place to eat near the zócalo, and filling me in on lots of local history and lore.

Tony and JC have a very informative and well-done brochure available on Villa Azomalli, and JC has a good cook and housekeeper to make the stay comfortable. I would recommend Villa Azomalli for a villa that is away from the big hotels and allows you to enjoy Huatulco on your own terms. Located in a neighborhood just up from the Sheraton. Tony's number in U.S. is (312) 226-7639 (voice/fax).

Jim Fink & Joanne Hershfield
November 1998

Balloon Rides, Bus to Oaxaca

Did you know that there are balloon rides in the area? The person to find is Richard Zaldo, I believe the company name is Space 2000. There is also a new fishing boat in Santa Cruz by the name of Bad Girl, the skipper Martin, had also had a lot of experience in Alaska with people who have wanted to go salmon and deep-sea fishing. Jesus, the mate is from the area, we got to go out with them for a day and tried our hands at fishing. Unfortunately we didn't catch anything, be it due to the bad weather we had had, bananas on board (the people who have been up to Alaska will understand this), the time of day (we'd arranged to push off at noon ), or the simple fact that it was our first time and we were more interested in keeping a look out for dolphins. We stopped off at one of the bays for lunch, the owner offered to cook us a huge snapper caught that morning with some rice and tomato salad, it was tasty. It made a nice snack but I don't think it was worth being charged 30 pesos each for it. We got some snorkeling in before heading off home. We preferred this approach than going on one of the bay tours as we decided where we wanted to go and for how long.

During the stay we found out that there is a lot of work done between the locals. If you can find someone that you REALLY TRUST, then it may be an idea to ask them to help you book other activities. This way they will introduce you to friends that they trust, and may be able to get you a special deal in the process " but ALWAYS check prices yourself to compare. A local friend had found a riding trip for 300 pesos but the day before we'd found one for 250 pesos. .A lot of people are involved in more than one business, so you could go fishing, diving, and to a coffee plantation with the same guide.

Buses: We decided to go to Oaxaca for a couple of days. The first class Plus bus was really comfortable and we made it in good time. Cost: just over 100 pesos. On the way back we took the first class, no free pop and cookie and a more scenic route, also a little bumpier but we still made it back to Huatulco in under 8 hours. My concept is if the second driver is willing to sleep with the luggage under the bus then it's gotta be safe.

The cheapest hotels can be found between the second class bus terminal (central) and the cathedral / indoor market at the center of the city, we stayed at the American. It was clean, toilet didn't flush that great, valuables were safe, hot water in the shower, cost: 140 pesos for three.

The area: We visited Mitla, it's not as impressive as Monte Albán but it was a nice intro to the culture of the region, if you're going for the artisan shopping, this is the place. Around the site is really good; if you know how to haggle you should be able to get things at half of the first price that you're quoted. We decided to take a second class bus, cost: 7 pesos, departs from Central.

Monte Albán: You've got to go. There is a bus that leaves from a hotel that will take you all the way up. It's 12 pesos which is totally worth it if you're like me and can't be bothered to climb all the way up. Anyway you do enough walking around once you're there. Get a guide, then walk around if you want to see things in more detail. A word of Warning, there are people who will try to sell you small pieces of artifact, these are ORIGINALS,. They are found when they are tilling the soil in the villages in the area. Buy at your own discretion, but always think of a nice Mexican prison cell when you try to leave the country. Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're NOT, the same goes for coral. If you're into history and culture you'll definitely need a whole day.

Overall we found that the people are really nice, helpful, and want to please, and we would have no second thoughts of going back just to see them. I think if the weather had been better (we got there at the end of the rainy season, then had hurricane Lester knocking at the port) and we had been more organized, we could have gotten a lot more out of the trip. The resorts are child-friendly. If you want to party go during the tourist season, we went before and there wasn't much. It is after all what you make of it.

If anything else comes to mind, or if we here anything we'll be sure to pass it on

Pooneh, Mel, Lo
November 1998

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