Best Huatulco Beaches Playa Cacaluta

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Last Updated on August 20, 2021

The coastal beach destination of Huatulco, Mexico spans 26 km of gorgeous coastline, with a whopping 36 beautiful beaches tucked into nine different bays. Discover the secrets of Huatulco, Oaxaca and plan your vacation with this ultimate guide to Huatulco beaches, hotels, and things to do!

Santa Maria Huatulco (known by locals just as Huatulco, pronounced “wah-TOOL-koh”) is a popular destination for travelers who want a resort experience with the option of adventurous day trips to hike, snorkel or dive, zipline, and see waterfalls and pristine beaches.  There are more luxury hotels here than most beach towns on Oaxaca’s Pacific coast, but it’s still a lesser-known gem.  

In this guide, I’ll share tips on everything you need to plan your vacation, starting with the most beautiful beaches in Huatulco and where to stay in the bays of Huatulco for a perfect trip.  Plus, I’ve also got advice on the best things to do, from day trips to snorkeling, scuba, and more!

Oaxaca beaches - Huatulco aerial view of Bahias Tangolunda and Conejo
Huatulco aerial view from my flight: Bahias Tangolunda and Conejo

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In this Guide to Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico:

Best Time to Visit | Best Huatulco Beaches | Where to Stay in Huatulco | Getting Around Huatulco | Huatulco Sights & Day Trips

Oaxaca, Mexico Bucket List: The Best Things to Do in Oaxaca

Why Visit Huatulco, Oaxaca?

Huatulco is a lesser-known Mexico beach gem with a stunning natural setting. It’s a perfect way to end a trip to Oaxaca City, after exploring the museums, restaurants, and history of that colonial city. Huatulco also offers quiet resorts and calm bays that are great destinations for family vacations.

In Huatulco, you can stay closer to action and nightlife, or relax at a resort with all the amenities you expect from Mexico hotels. These can include onsite dining, multiple pools, beach access, private beach clubs, fitness centers, etc. But overall, Huatulco has a more authentic vibe and less of the all-inclusive resort culture found in some parts of Mexico like Cancun or Puerto Vallarta.

The nearby town of La Crucecita is where many resort workers live, and is also a tourist destination with budget hotels, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife.  La Crucecita has beaches within walking distance or an inexpensive taxi ride away. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly base to explore the beaches of Huatulco and things to do here, La Crucecita is a good option.

If you’d rather chill out at a resort for your getaway, I’ll also recommend hotels in the most popular beaches with mid-range to luxury Huatulco beach resorts.

Bahias de Huatulco National Park

Rather than being densely packed with high-rise hotels, the resorts in the bays of Huatulco have a lower profile. Some of these bays have been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, protecting them from development. This biosphere offers many opportunities for nature experiences in the region including hiking, bird and animal spotting, and snorkeling and scuba diving. There are more than 250 animal species, 700 different birds (including hummingbirds), and 470 types of reptiles including iguanas, salamanders, and snakes. Dolphins, whales, and turtles are often seen off the coast, in addition to 100 amphibian species.

Other Beaches on the Oaxaca Coast

The Oaxaca coast has many beaches to choose from! If you want to do a road trip or explore the coast with a day trip, I’ve got all the tips you need. Chill out and surf in Puerto Escondido, experience hiking and yoga in Mazunte, or kick back with surfing and the bohemian vibe in Zipolite. Or learn about all of the beach towns of the Oaxaca coast.


The Best Time to Visit Huatulco, Oaxaca

There really is no bad time to visit Huatulco! October through February are the driest months with the most sunny days.  Expect high temperatures to reach the 70s. Huatulco’s rainy season is from June through September: these months average mid-80 degree days, and the humidity is high.  September is the wettest month.

Check out weather averages for your vacation dates from HolidayWeather.com.

Huatulco experiences a small tourism peak at the start of November following Dia de los Muertos; and again from December to April. Keep an eye also on holidays like Semana Santa (the week preceding Easter), as hotels and flights are usually in higher demand.


Don’t miss my other tips for travel in the region: guide to all of the Oaxaca beaches, best things to do and where to stay in Oaxaca City, and how to plan a trip for Dia de los Muertos!

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Must- See Huatulco Beaches

Huatulco beaches are the star of the show! Whether you’re looking for the best beach to stay at, or options for day trips, I’ve got tips for you. If you want to explore beaches on your own, many are accessible by rental car or taxi. Others, particularly beaches located within Huatulco National Park, are best reached by boat tour.

Map of the Best Huatulco Beaches


Best Huatulco Beaches | Huatulco, Mexico Beach Gems

These Huatulco beaches are easily accessible by car or taxi – or from your resort depending on your hotel choice!

Playa Santa Cruz | Santa Cruz Beach

Playa Santa Cruz is located in Santa Cruz Bay, which is Huatulco’s cruise ship port. This beach has calm water perfect for swimming and families. It’s also one of the most popular beaches, since it offers a wide variety of hotels and restaurants as well as boat rentals and tours. The beach is about 250 meters long, which offers room to spread out and enjoy its golden sand and blue water.

Safe for swimming? Yes | Good snorkeling? No | Restaurants? Yes

photo of Bahia Santa Cruz port
Playa Santa Cruz

Playa La Entrega | Entrega Beach

Playa Entrega is another Huatulco beach popular with local families. It’s also located in Bahia Santa Cruz. Restaurants here are plentiful, and this is a calm beach for swimming.

Safe for swimming? Yes | Good snorkeling? Yes | Restaurants? Yes


Playa Chahue | Chahue Beach

Playa Chahue is the closest beach to La Crucecita, and is located in Bahia Chahue. Waves are large at Chahue Beach, and swimmers should watch for warning flags. Playa Chahue has beach clubs which offer day passes for use of the swimming pool and beach loungers. It’s also a popular place to watch sunset, and you can book tours from the marinas here.

Safe for swimming? Experts | Good snorkeling? No | Restaurants? Yes

view of footrints in the sand at Playa Chahue
Playa Chahue

Playa Maguey | Maguey Beach

Playa Maguey is located in a quiet cove of Bahia Maguey. This is one of the farther beaches you can reach by car rather than boat. There are many restaurants here and the waters are safe for swimming and snorkeling.

Safe for swimming? Yes | Good snorkeling? Yes | Restaurants? Yes


Playa Conejos | Conejos Beach

Playa Conejos is a secluded Huatulco beach, located on the east side of Conejo Bay.  There is a resort here, but you can access the public beach area down a hidden path from the parking lot. The beach is beautiful, but the waves are too dangerous for swimming.

Safe for swimming? No | Good snorkeling? No | Restaurants? No


Playa Tangolunda | Tangolunda Beach

Playa Tangolunda is another secluded Huatulco beach in Tangolunda Bay. To visit the public beach, be sure to bring everything you’ll need for your time here, since there are no services other than the resorts.

Safe for swimming? No | Good snorkeling? No | Restaurants? No

Playa Tangolunda - Best Huatulco Beaches (2)
Playa Tangolunda resort

Lesser-Known Huatulco Beaches | Huatulco Beaches Via Boat

For beach lovers, these Huatulco beaches are not to be missed! Book a tour at either of the marinas in Santa Cruz or Chahue. Or I’ll also add some links for tours with online bookings and ratings that you can review.

San Augustin

Playa San Augustin is another favorite beach for both locals and tourists. It’s possible to get here by car, about 45 minutes from La Crucecita. Or visit as part of a boat trip. There are restaurants here, and it’s excellent for both snorkeling and scuba diving.

Safe for swimming? Yes | Good snorkeling? Yes | Restaurants? Yes


Playa Cacaluta

Playa Cacaluta is one of the most beautiful beaches in Huatulco. Accessible most easily by boat, it’s a half mile of white sand and strong waves located in the Huatulco National Park. Just offshore is Cacaluta Island, where scuba divers can explore coral reefs and underwater formations.

Safe for swimming? Yes | Good snorkeling? Yes | Restaurants? No

Oaxaca Mexico beaches - Bahia Cacaluta in Huatulco
A deserted beach at Bahia Cacaluta in the Huatulco National Park

Best Huatulco Beach Boat Trips

Check out these top-rated Huatulco beach day trips with online booking availability and instant confirmation.

If you’d like to book a private tour, check out this half-day option.


Where to Stay in Huatulco, Oaxaca

It can be difficult to decide where to stay in Huatulco and to understand the locations of the different bays.  I recommend choosing an area or resort that fits your trip style, whether you want to be able to walk to shops and restaurants or just relax at the pool and beach. 

Perhaps you like to snorkel or scuba dive, relax on pristine beaches, and explore jungle waterfalls?  Huatulco has this too! Once you decide where to stay, you can book day trips to round out your itinerary.

Below check out my top picks in each of the different bays, with links to view their rates, reviews, and availability on Booking.com. Booking is my favorite hotel site because of the flexible cancellation options many hotels offer there. It’s easy to use the app to manage your reservation, and they have a “Genius” loyalty program that offers discounts after just 2 bookings.

Oaxaca beaches - map of bays of Huatulco

Bahia Santa Cruz & La Crucecita

photo of Bahia Santa Cruz in Huatulco

A cruise ship port with shopping and restaurants, Santa Cruz also has three calm swimming beaches: Santa Cruz, Yerbabuena, and La Entrega. Two of Huatulco’s dive centers are located here, and it’s possible to book local tours at the marina.  Santa Cruz has a number of affordable hotel options and is a popular area to stay.

$ Hostal Azul y Blanco | Hostel in La Crucecita with dorm beds or private rooms

$$ Holiday Inn Huatulco | Budget hotel convenient to the marina with bar and pool

$$ Hotel Castillo Huatulco | Family-friendly hotel with pools, restaurants, and nearby beach club


Bahia Chahue

view of footrints in the sand at Playa Chahue

The bay next to Santa Cruz, Bahia Chahue has three beaches: Chahue, Tejon, and Esperanza, all with stronger currents.  Less crowded than Santa Cruz, Chahue has shops, restaurants, and many accommodation options. There is a dive center at the marina here, and it’s possible to book local tours from your hotel or the marina.

$ Hotel Plaza Delphinus | Budget hotel with pool close to Chahue beach; some units have kitchenettes

$$ Xquenda Huatulco Spa | Inexpensive hotel with spa services, pool, and gym

$$$ Quinta Bella Huatulco | Located on Playa Chahue with clean, bright rooms, pool, and excellent restaurant


Bahia Tangolunda

view of Playa Tangolunda at sunrise

This is Huatulco’s largest developed bay with many beaches good for swimming and watersports. You can snorkel at coral reefs located off Tangolunda’s western beaches of Playa Ventura, Playa La Manzanilla and Playa Tornillo.  The resorts here are more secluded and luxurious (and consequently more expensive). Tangolunda also has a golf course.

$ Villas Fasol Huatulco | Bright villas overlooking the sea with a pool, restaurant, private beach, and friendly vibe; breakfast is included

$$ Quinta Real Huatulco | Large, modern resort on Playa Tangolunda with restaurants, pools, and views

$$$ Las Brisas Huatulco | Large resort with pools, restaurants and great service; located on good snorkeling beaches

$$$$ Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa | World-class resort with infinity pools, restaurants, bars and stellar service located on Playa Tangolunda


Bahia Conejo

View of Playa Arena and Bahia Conejos

Huatulco’s eastern bay of Conejo is the least developed of the bays with resorts.  Three of the beaches here are good for swimming and snorkeling; the fourth, Punta Arena, is only accessible by boat.

$$$ Celeste Beach Residences & Spa | Modern apartments overlooking Tejoncito beach with private terraces and amazing views.

$$$$ Secrets Huatulco | Adults-only luxury resort with private beach, pool, spa, gym, restaurants and bars. This is one of the best resorts in Huatulco, and one of the larger resorts as well with many amenities.


Other Huatulco Bays

Huatulco’s five other bays can be seen on day trips by boat: from west to east, they are San Augustin, Chachacual, Cacaluta, Organa and Maguey. Some, like San Augustin, may have rustic cabanas or camping bookable onsite.

More Huatulco Accommodation Options

Want more hotel stays and vacation rentals? Search with the map below.


Getting to Huatulco & Getting Around

The Huatulco International Airport (HUX) has connecting flights from Mexico City and Oaxaca. Airlines serving Huatulco include Interjet, Aeromar and Viva Aerobus.  Flights can be found for less than $100 round trip.  Try to book early during peak season for best availability.

You can also take a bus from Oaxaca City to Huatulco, which takes around 8 hours; find ADO bus routes here.  Buses and local transport also run between Huatulco, Puerto Angel, and Puerto Escondido.

To get to your hotel, grab a taxi at the airport, rent a car or make arrangements through your hotel.  Or here’s a private transfer option with online reviews and booking.

Once in Huatulco, taxis are cheap and plentiful. You’ll find that you can get to most beaches for less than $5 US one-way. Always agree on the price with the driver before you get in. There is currently no Uber service in Huatulco.

If you decide to rent a car in Huatulco, be sure to get my tips on driving a car in Mexico.

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The Best Things to Do in Huatulco, Mexico

Some of Huatulco’s sights are accessible on your own if you rent a car. But for most destinations, especially those only accessible by boat, book a day trip online, with the help of your hotel, or at the marinas. I’ve included links below for tour options with great reviews and instant booking confirmation.

  • Snorkeling and scuba diving: take a day trip to visit the reef ecosystem
  • Hagia Sofia: tour an eco-park featuring exotic plants, fruits and butterflies as well as waterfalls, hiking, and ziplining
  • Parque Eco-Arqueológico Copalita: visit a pre-Colombian ruins site overlooking the sea east of Bahia Conejo. The only other ruins site on a Mexico beach are in Tulum.
  • Shop for souvenirs in La Crucecita
Best Huatulco Beaches - Huatulco Hotels

Huatulco Beaches Packing Tips

Click to check out these recommended items for your Huatulco trip and be sure to grab all the tips in my Mexico packing list.


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Pin these Huatulco Mexico planning tips for later!

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Adrienne, The Haphazard Traveler

I used to be a hot travel mess, but I got better! I kept the name and now blog my best tips for culture and adventure travel from around the globe. Follow along for travel advice, destination info, and photography from faraway lands - and at home in Washington, D.C.

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