Development in the breathtaking Bahías de Huatulco (Bays of Huatulco) continues to march forward. Four of the nine bays have been developed, but only Bahía Tangolunda, with its golf course and luxury hotels, has the look of a resort. If you have a car, you can drive to one of several undeveloped bays and play Robinson Crusoe to your heart's content. Boat tours are a good way to explore. Standard four- to eight-hour trips—depending on how many bays you visit—might include a lunch of freshly caught fish. Fishing, diving, and snorkeling tours visit the beaches and reefs.
Museo de Artesanías Oaxaqueñas
The Museo de Artesanías Oaxaqueñas is really a store, not a museum, where you can find handicrafts produced throughout the state: woven tablecloths, chunky pottery, and colorful rugs. Artisans are occasionally on hand for demonstrations.
La Crucecita's Mercado Municipal is a fun place to shop for postcards, leather sandals, and souvenirs amid mountains of fresh produce.
Mantelería Escobar is a family-run workshop where you can purchase bedspreads, curtains, tablecloths, and place mats. Custom items can usually be produced in two to seven days, so plan ahead.
The Huatulco of the future is most evident here, where the poshest hotels are in full swing and the sea—in high season—is abob with sightseeing lanchas (small motorboats), kayaks, and sailboats. The site was chosen by developers because of its five magnificent beaches. Although there's a small complex with shops and restaurants across from the entrance to the Barceló hotel on Boulevard Benito Juárez, most of the shopping and dining is in the towns of Santa Cruz and La Crucecita, each about 10 minutes from the hotels by taxi or bus. By law, all beaches in Mexico are public, but Tangolunda hoteliers are notorious for shooing away nonguests from their stands of sand.
The beach parking lot has a lookout point, and the marina has 88 slips, though other services aren't yet in place. You'll find a swimming pool, changing rooms, a restaurant, and shaded lounge chairs at the public beach club. Though several hotels, shops, and restaurants (serving mostly lunch and dinner) are near the main road, Boulevard Benito Juárez, the area is still being developed. Internet access isn't yet available anywhere. The beach itself has a negative reputation: people reportedly drown here more than conditions seem to warrant.Xquenda Spa has a lap pool, tennis court, and gym, and provides massages, facials, and some spa treatments.
Bahía Santa Cruz
This bay was once home to a 30-family fishing community until development forced everyone to move elsewhere. Today the bay is a nice spot for swimming and snorkeling, although Jet Skis make a lot of noise on busy weekends and holidays. You can arrange boat tours and fishing trips at the marina. Dine on the beach, mingle with the locals in the central zócalo, or sip a cool drink or cappuccino in Café Huatulco, right in the middle of the plaza where the traditional kiosk should be.
It's off Carretera 200 and is the place in Huatulco that most closely resembles a real Mexican town. The central plaza has a church whose interior is covered with naive frescoes; on the ceiling is a fresco of what locals claim is the world's largest Madonna. You can dine, hang out at a bar or sidewalk café, and browse in boutiques. You'll also find banks, a modern bus station, and Internet cafés here.