In 1984 the Mexican tourism agency Fonatur, began to develop the area of Huatulco and its nine surrounding bays as a tourist area, in hopes of it becoming the next Cancun. During the early development the existing population was moved to Santa Maria Huatulco, freeing up 21,000 hectares of land for the government to develop. It also set up protected areas, or “green zones”, that would make for an ecologically friendlier development and help to preserve the beautiful but fragile aquatic ecosystems surrounding the bays.
The Bays of Huatulco and the numerous small coves stretching along 26 kilometers of jagged coastline, includes 36 white sandy beaches. The most centrally located bay is Bahía de Santa Cruz, which is just south of the town of La Crucecita. It is also the center of commercial and tourist activities, with a large pier where cruise ships dock, as well as the small Marina Chahue, just to the south.
We anchored in Bahia Oragano with S/V Ardea and after 2,500 nautical miles of searching we finally found warm, clear-ish water!!!
We anchored in about 20 feet of water and watched our big Rocna hit the bottom! I was so excited to jump in and play that I totally forgot how tired I was after our overnight passage. We spent the day swimming and snorkeling the rocky point.
We even broke out our scuba gear, and for the first time since coming into Mexico we used it for something other than cleaning the bottom of the boat! Although I did end up also using it for that as well.
We would have loved to stay here longer, but after getting an updated weather forecast found that a hurricane was forming off of Guatemala and El Salvador, and the early prediction models showed it making land fall just north of Huatulco. If it formed, it would be the earliest recorded hurricane on record and would be Rachel’s and I’s first. We decided to not take any chances, and after only two days in the beautiful water we pulled anchor and headed into the nearby marina that offered limited protection. 24 hours later it was down graded to a tropical depression and after pushing its way through the Tehuantepec ended up being a low pressure system. But, better safe than sorry.
At this marina, as it is with many others we have stayed at, it’s about the same price for the discounted weekly rate as it is for three or four regular priced nights, and since we thought we’d be riding out a possible hurricane we had paid for a week up front. With Agape safe on the dock, we decided to stretch our legs and spend Rachel’s birthday doing a mini road trip up the coast to Puerto Escondido.
We rented a small car and took three days to explore the coastline to the north. Puerto Escondido is one of the largest surf destinations in Mexico and the waves can be monsters! When we arrived there was definitely surf, but they weren’t the waves that would make the cover of a magazine. We found a nice hotel just off the beach called Hotel Santa Fe and enjoyed a great dinner overlooking the water with champagne for Rachel’s Birthday.
Birthdays and holidays in general are hard for us as we travel. We really treasure our friends and families, and when it comes to these special days we wish we could spend them with the people we love most. I know this rings especially true for Rachel as she tends to get a little more home sick than I do. This is one thing that many people tend to overlook when dreaming about cruising.
This entire stretch of coastline is amazing, with so many beautiful and protected bays, white sand beaches and palapa restaurants. You could spend months here exploring and playing in the water and still not see it all.
Upon returning to the marina we had a choice to make, return to the beautiful bays to the north or continue our voyage south. With rainy/hurricane season in full swing we decided it would be wise to make the dash across the Tehuantepec as soon as we got a good weather window.
We waited out one more system and when it looked like we’d have a few days of calm conditions, we said our goodbyes to our friends on Ardea, Grace, and Halcyon and began what we hoped would be an easy passage across the dreaded Tehuantepec.