Friday, February 06, 2009

More Huatulco

Evidently FONATUR, the Mexican agency responsible for developing tourism, took a look at Cancun and scratched its' head. "We can do better than this!" they must have said. And they did.

In 1992 they decided to take the little villages of La Crucecita and neighboring Santa Cruz and turn the area known as the Bays of Huatulco into the next ultimate tourist destination. Except this time they are doing it right. No gigantic strings of hotels dirtying the coast, no forgetting the building codes and no helter skelter development. The development here is strictly regulated and controlled. No buildings over three stories. Lots of green space and parks. Wide boulevards that are well marked and well maintained. Attention to cleanliness. No encroachment on public beaches that were already established. And no hurry to get it all done. They are taking their time and getting it right this time.

There are lots of hotels in the area and certainly way too many condo units, but they are so spread out that they are not intrusive in the slightest. And, out of necessity because of the topography of the region, they are almost all built into the sides of or on top of hills. Nice.

The central tourist area being developed is Santa Cruz and Tangolunda. The former being more centrally located with a pier that plays host to two cruise ships a week. This whole pier area is being developed into a lovely walking area with shops, restaurants and lots of trees and parks. Further out amongst the bays is Tangolunda where you will find the larger, four to five star all-inclusive hotels. I can't even complain about these though because they are built off the main road and don't infringe upon the natural beauty of the area at all.

The small town of La Crucecita was designated as the "living" town where the people that flock to the area for jobs would live and sometimes work. It has blossomed into a municipal of about 30,000 people now and, surprisingly, exhibits a huge amount of civic pride. I say that because most of the people living there are immigrants from other parts of Oaxaca and neighboring Chiapas.

I think you can tell a lot about a town by its' town square. And La Crucecita has a fine one.

It is the kind most commonly found in Mexico. All spokes radiating out from a central band shell type building. Lots of old trees and frequently used benches line the walkways.

There are even a few fountains scattered about.

The square was a well-used, if not overly busy, place while we were there. One night a group of teenagers put a boom box in the band shell and played all types of various music. Hip-hop, American rock oldies and Mexican Nortena cowboy music were among the choices. People of all ages joined in the dancing, depending upon their appreciation of the music being played. I thought it wonderful that teenagers had such an appreciation for the fact that there is more than one type of music to be enjoyed. They played something for everybody and I saw everyone from toddlers in arms to grandmothers up there dancing at one point or another. Sweet.
La Crucecita as it exists today is not an old town. And yet it has the feel of being around for a long time. There is no one type of style of architecture, but it is all interesting. Here are a few of the buildings surrounding the town square, or just a block away.

They even have their own Hotel Las Palmas, painted almost exactly the same colors as the one here on Isla!

Next we will leave downtown behind and go explore a few beaches. There are nine bays in the area, each with its' own identity and beach. So grab your boogie board, mask and flippers, suntan lotion and maybe an umbrella as we explore them next. Oh, don't forget your bathing suit. There are no nude or topless beaches here. You have to up the coast about an hour to Zipolite for that!


K.W. Michigan said...

I'm on this vacation with you. Can't wait to hit the beach. Thanks for the ride.

Island Nana said...

Would you show those photos of the town square to the new Mayor of Isla. The "improved" zocalo is an abomination!

Islagringo said...

KW: ah, the beaches. The reason Huatulco exists!

Island Nana: there are many factors, IMHO, that have or are causing the downfall of Isla. I think the square you correctly call an abomination was the first bullet.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

It is so great to read this POSITIVE post about a tourist beach desitnation.

Thanks for great detail and pics.

Jamqueen said...

Thanks for taking us along on this vacation--looks like a very interesting place.

Life's a Beach! said...

It's always nice to see a beautiful square in Mexico. Can't wait to see if there are any little beach towns around that would make this a possible new destination!

Babs said...

You're killing me! I want to be THERE with you......what's the weather like - I've been told that in the summer it's unlivable - check that out, ok?

Islagringo said...

Am Mommy: And it is equally nice for me to be able to write positive stuff for a change.

Jamqueen: I found it interesting. It is so very unlike Isla though.

LAB: I could probably sit for hours in that square, eating ice cream and watching the world go by. Isn't that one of the functions of a square anyway? As for other little beach towns, they are basically non-existent. The closest one you would recognize is Puerto Escondido, about 2 hours up the coast via a twisty mountain road.

Babs: I asked about the summer weather. I was variously told that it is not so bad because it rains almost everyday and that it is horribly hot and humid. That makes sense if they get that much rain. Also, they trade hurricanes for earthquakes. There was a tremor while we were there. Oh so cool!

Kathy said...

If the water there is as cold as the Caribbean is, I'll just sit on the beach huddled in jackets, thank you. What a lovely little town. Thanks so much for the peek! Can't wait to see the black sand beaches.

Isla Deb said...

Great photos! I'll put it on my wish list!

Jackie said...

Looks like a nice place to visit.

Mimi said...

Have you found a house yet?