There are twelve officially recognized beaches in Huatulco. Some are only accessible by sea. Most you can get to on foot. Some are extremely hazardous, some suitable for children. We did not bother with the ones that you can only get to by boat. In all, we have visited 5 beaches in the area. Two of the ones we did not visit, Playa Conejos and Playa El Organo, are accessible by walking narrow paths through the woods or down the cliffs. Maybe next time!
What really struck me was the clarity of the water here. Although it is the Pacific, it reminded me of the Caribbean in many ways. Just look at the color!
Although I have no pictures of it, we really enjoyed Playa Santa Cruz. This beach is located right in town and is plenty wide. It gets deep quickly so it is not one to let small children play around in. It is great for swimming because you get into deeper water so fast. There are the obligatory restaurants lining the shore but no pushy salespeople walking the beach trying to get you to buy some crappy bracelet. Or crappy overpriced whatever.
There were two things I did not like about this beach though. The first is that there is where the pier is located for the cruise ships. Huatulco hosts two cruise ships per week. One was docked while we were there. They don't interfere with the enjoyment of the beach or water but it is just too modern or something to have these mammoth things looming over you so closely.
The second thing was the birds. People feed them. There are whole generations of seagulls living there that have never caught anything from the sea. They would probably starve to death if people did not continue to feed them. A big problem with this is that they have no fear of or respect for humans. They will swarm you and dive bomb you and fly within inches of your face if they think there may be food around. It's a little off putting to have a flock of seagulls suddenly surround you because you made some movement that they interpreted as feeding them.
The second beach that we liked is a ten minute car ride out of town. It is Playa La Entrega. This is actually the beach where the Mexican Independence leader, Vicente Guerrero, was betrayed by his army in 1831 and delivered into the hands of the Spanish. He was then taken to a small town near Oaxaca and shot.
La Entrega is a wide beach, surrounded on two sides by cliffs. I hear that the snorkeling is fantastic here also. There is a line of restaurants and rental shops on one end of the beach. Nobody comes around here to hawk their wares at you either. Quite a different story in the adjoining parking lot though! There is a narrow channel in the middle formed by marker buoys and that area is reserved for boats. Swimming takes place on either side of these.
The water here is calm and pleasant. It is the thee most popular beach destination for locals and tourists alike. Don't even think of going to this beach on a Sunday! The bottom here is gently sloping sand and is suitable for small children. At low tide, it is difficult to find even waist deep water. We went to this beach several times. I felt safe in this water.
We did not visit Playa Cacaluta this time around. It is the beach that was featured in the movie, Y tu Mama Tambien. The road to it ends and the last 1.5 km must be done on foot through a scratchy, narrow footpath through the forest. But oh, it is so worth it.
Make no mistake about it though, this is a very dangerous stretch of water and you should not get too close. See where the waves come up onto the beach above? As soon as you set foot in that wet area, it starts to pull you down like quicksand. Scary stuff. Also, see where the brown meets the blue above? That is a shear, almost 50 foot drop off. The water slams down to the bottom before returning out to sea. Stay out of this water. Unless you have made a suicide pact with someone.
The beach is immense. This is the view looking right from the center of the beach.
And looking left.
But there was one beach that is not listed in the guidebooks. One that we returned to over and over again. It is the last beach in the bays of Huatulco. And it's a good one.