Nov 13

OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN HUATULCO

by in Central America

Port of Huatulco

Port of Huatulco

Perched along the southern coast of Mexcio, the port village of Huatulco is a sleepy, quaint enclave, where the cruise ship is the largest building in town.   Stepping onto the docks, we immediately felt a different vibe – a slower pace, gentle people,  a safe haven to the chaos and bustle of Acapulco and Cabo.

With only a few hours in port,  Marcos, our guide for the day, promised to show us the local culture, off the tourist track of Huatulco’s planned community, and up into the mountains where the locals call home. He didn’t disappoint.

Along the bluffs overlooking the port, the views are breathtaking.  Huatulco’s rugged coastline

Marcos gets us a pass from the local authority

Marcos gets us a pass from the local authority

harbors nine sheltered coves, each more idyllic than the next, and most still largely undeveloped and untouched.   Our first stop, a bluff overlooking the harbor, we encounter a local officer patrolling the area who doesn’t seem to think we belong there.  Words were exchanged, and soon we’re snapping photos under his watchful eye.

Leaving the neatly paved streets behind, we hit the dirt road, past goats, cows and horses and into the local village nestled in the foothills of the San Madres Mountains.  The local drivers have cultivated a niche for off-the-beaten-path tourism in the village, and a few local families open their homes and farms to visitors.  When our planned kitchen stop had more vans than cows surrounding the home, Marcos regrouped, deciding instead to take us a bit further up the mountain to a spot he knows well . . . the home of his wife’s family.  Narrower roads, deeper potholes, and local authenticity confirm this will be worth the trip.

The traditional adobe homestead – several buildings and huts connected by thatched walkways smothered in bougainvillea – was unlike anything Dundee and Sacagawea had ever seen.  A bit uneasy at first, the warm hospitality and welcome put them quickly at ease.  Gloria, Marcos’ mother-in-law, showed us how she makes the adobe disk on which tortillas are cooked, one of several products she sells at the local market.  His father-in-law , a corn farmer, showed us where the corn is stored, then picked some cactus and tangerines for us to try. Inviting us into her kitchen, Gloria stoked the fire and showed us how to grind the corn for meal, then knead it, flatten it, and toss the perfectly round tortilla on the fire. Soon, she’s got an entire meal cooking – the cactus is grilling, several tamales appear and are cooking, and fresh eggs are added to make breakfast burritos. Hot peppers, salt, and a bit of salsa round out the spread. It’s magic, and the kids and I dive in with Marcos gently leading the way.

Breakfast!

Mindful of the time yet captivated by the magic, we reluctantly bid farewell and head into the local village, stopping in the market, church and city hall for a sense of lifestyle and culture.   We’re hooked, and as we head back towards the port – eventually noticing that we’ve re-entered the tourist zone – we’re already planning our next visit to Huatulco, and quizzing Marcos on what other adventures he can pull out of his sleeve.

One Response to “OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN HUATULCO”

  1. From FSW:

    Neat place — does look like a great place to come back to again!!

    Posted on November 13, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

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