• Michelle Serafini

If We Were Ever Going to Get Food Poisoning...This Was The Place

We just proceeded ahead and ordered lunch. Our day had started early, we were picked up at our hotel by the snorkeling tour company, stopped at another resort to pick up one more couple, and then we were transported to the boat launch location.


My husband and I love to snorkel. Years ago, in college, I got my scuba certification. I’ve only been scuba diving twice, once for my certification in a cold lake in Iowa. The next time in warm the Caribbean Sea in Jamaica. What I learned from those two experiences, I am a snorkeler, not a diver. Why? Several reasons, so much equipment, clearing my ears is always a challenge, and the pretty fish are closer to the surface. So, I became a snorkeler. However, having taken the scuba diving classes I am a better snorkeler.


When my husband and I met, he also liked snorkeling and so that has become one of our favorite activities when our travel destination is a beach.


On this trip, we were staying in Huatulco, in the state of Oaxaca Mexico. And bonus, our snorkeling adventure only included us, our guide, and the other couple. The small boat took off and we skimmed along in open ocean at a brisk speed. We quietly gazed at tropical coastline as we whizzed by.

Snorkeling in Tangolunda Bay

After a 30-minute breezy boat ride we arrive at our snorkeling destination. Our guide gave the four of us instructions and inquired about our skill levels. We all hopped overboard and followed him as he snorkeled effortlessly along the reef. Diving down, he pulled up a starfish and handed it to me. My husband, who was breaking in his newly purchased water camera, had me pose while treading water and holding the starfish. Then gently our guide took the starfish from my hand and safely return the beauty to the sea floor. As we continued to snorkel, our guide pointed out sea urchins, schools of colorful fish and corals. There is a serenity, a calm that takes over your body when you snorkel. The rhythmic breathing, the movement of the water, the warmth of the sun.


As our snorkeling time came to an end, we all climbed back into the boat and off we went. Next stop…lunch. Our boat pulls into a large bay with a palapa roofed open air restaurant as the star attraction. The four of us hop off and our guide says he will be out in the bay waiting for us. “Enjoy your lunch, see you in an hour”, he states. We wade ashore and go our separate ways. My husband and I decide we should find the restrooms before finding a table and order. “¿Dónde está el baño?” we ask.


One waitress points to the back of the structure. Walking barefoot we weave through the tables, emerge from under the immense palapa, walk past a palm tree stump with a machete stuck in the side of the tree where a fresh cut pineapple had just been halved and onward toward to outhouse type structures…los baños. There was an attendant sitting in front handing out two squares of toilet paper per person. My husband and I look at each other, shrug our shoulders and each proceed into our own separate outhouse. As we emerge, we look at each other, weave back through the tables walk into the ocean and wash off our feet and hands in the clear turquoise salt water. As clean as we were going to get, we found a table under the palapa and proceeded to order.


Lunch at Restaurante Tangolunda

A beer for my husband and a marguerita for me, followed by a delicious meal accompanied by the local vendors hawking small Oaxacan painted animals and woven textile goods. As we paid our bill and waded through the warm sea waters to our boat, my husband said, “We have had many meals in Mexico and of all of them, if we are going to get food poisoning, this will be the place.”


I’m happy to say, neither of us got sick and what we do remember the most and yearn to do again is snorkel in the warm, transparent bays off the Huatulco coastline.

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