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Beach Adventures in Huatulco, Oaxaca, MX

“Wait for it,” comments my husband from our lounge chairs on the beach while we watched 2 guys barely halfway down the rocky, sloping terrain of a mini-island just off the coast from our resort dive into the deep blue waters and swam to shore.

Moments before they were standing at the top of that tiny island changing out an old torn Mexican flag out for a new one on a pole at the peak of the island. The next thing we know, the old flag is down, and the new one is hoisted up.

A friend of mine who has lived in Mexico most of her adult life calls this type of ‘get it done’ attitude, Mexican ingenuity. As I have come to know more about Mexico and its people, I think she is right. This was our first trip to Huatulco in Oaxaca in southern Mexico. It was January 2017 and we wanted warm ocean waters. We live in San Diego where the grey winter skies and cold Pacific Ocean is scenic but not good for swimming.

As we often do, it was a last-minute long weekend type trip. Franco loves to find ‘pinpoint on a map’ places to go to. Known for its more relaxed, quieter feel, Huatulco is a favorite with surfers, snorkelers and scuba divers.

We are lucky because when we fly to Mexican destinations, we use CBX (the Cross Border Xpress) the Tijuana airport terminal in San Diego. The CBX bridge connects the Tijuana International Airport with its terminal in San Diego, making our travel fast and easy, while avoiding the long lines at the border.

We flew Aero Mexico with one stop in Mexico City. With one carry-one bag and one handheld duffle with our snorkeling gear we were off. We became fans of Mexico beaches with our first long weekend in the Riviera Maya just south of Cancun in 2000. Since that time, we have visited various beach locations over the past 24 years.

When we go for a short stay, with a beach focus getaway, we like staying at all inclusive resorts. I know what many of you are thinking, a formula type stay. That can be the case. We have stayed in all-inclusive retreats from the east cape in Baja, to a rustic snorkeling focused resort in Akumal with our kids to resorts in Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Loreto, and Todos Santos.

What we enjoy about an inclusive beach escape is that we don’t have to plan much, we can just take in the beach, water, water activities, eat when we want, and relax when we want. A beach getaway escape for us doesn’t usually involve touring and exploring like we do on other trips.

Here’s what my Top 5 Tips are for enjoying an all-inclusive stay at the beach if your goal is to rest, rejuvenate, and relax.

  1. Avoid the swim-up pool bar, that’s usually where the guests who want to drink all afternoon and get sunburned are hanging out.

  2. Be selective at the buffet restaurant. Choose wisely, eat fresh, and don’t overeat.

  3. If the resort offers different dining options, try a different restaurant each night and eat as much fresh and local cuisine as you can.

  4. Find your palapa on the beach a bit away from the groups and crowds, you’ll connect with the ocean, sea breeze and nature.

  5. Keep it simple... swim, rest, kayak, relax, eat, and repeat.

During our first trip to Huatulco, we stayed at the Barceló. We went on a snorkeling tour, kayaked around the mini-island I mentioned in the beginning, took walks on the beach and walked around the shops in the area adjacent to the resort, buying a beautifully woven tablecloth from a local artesian.

On our second beach trip to Huatulco was in October 2022, we stayed again at the Barceló. This time, we kayaked, swam, spent more time at the beach as the water was a bit too rough for snorkeling, and spent an afternoon in La Crucecita. The weather was on and off during this trip and we enjoyed sun and tropical rains. I also surprised my husband with a private dinner on the beach to celebrate his October birthday.

Our next trip to Oaxaca won’t be so beach centric. I am ready to spend time in this culturally rich region of Mexico where we will explore everything from the local mole, coffee plantations, art, textiles, and mezcal boutiques to its historical sites, nature along it protected shoreline and landscapes.


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