Spring Break in Oaxaca

Over spring break, I visited the beautiful state of Oaxaca with a friend from OU. It was a great experience, and I learned a lot about traveling in Mexico! Despite a few roadblocks, we really enjoyed seeing a new place and spending some time at the beach. Oaxaca is located just south of Puebla, on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast. We stayed in Huatulco, a beautiful beach town with its own national park. I was worried it might be full of tourists on spring break, but it was actually fairly quiet. It seemed like we were the only American college students in town!

Getting to this paradise was a bit rocky, especially for someone with very little experience traveling in Mexico. The bus trip from Puebla to Huatulco would be about 9 hours, so we decided to look for flights. Unfortunately, all flights out of Puebla’s airport were very expensive, and we had to go to Mexico City to get a flight we could afford. On our 2-hour bus ride from Puebla to Mexico City, I realized that I had forgotten my passport at my apartment! I called our airline hoping that they would tell me not to worry about it (I had my US ID and a copy of my passport) but no such luck. I had to go back to Puebla, get my passport, and return to Mexico City in time for our flight. Thankfully, we had given ourselves plenty of time and I was able to make the 4-5 hour trip. However, I ended up spending about 7 hours total on buses, (including our initial trip to Mexico City), and found it would have been cheaper and more efficient to just take a bus to Oaxaca in the first place!

Once we arrived in Huatulco, things went much smoother. We stayed in a very affordable Airbnb that was walking distance from both the beach and the town center. The apartment was great—there were even hammocks in the living room! It was the perfect place to come back to after a long day at the beach. We did manage to lock ourselves out at one point, but our host was able to come by with a spare key after not too long.

My favorite part of the trip by far was a beach called Cacaluta. It was nestled away in Huatulco National Park, and took us an hour to hike to! The beach itself was over a mile long, and completely deserted! In retrospect, it isn’t hard to see why—the walk through the national park was a bit intimidating. We saw about a dozen enormous mud wasp nests, and a ton of really big spiders. Even more concerning were the snakes. We only saw two, but they were huge. On our walk to the beach, we noticed a 4-5-foot-long black snake slithering in and out of a hollow tree trunk. Higher up in the tree was a large hawk chasing a mouse that was scurrying from branch to branch. We stopped to take pictures (at a safe distance) and were enjoying our brush with nature until a truck came along. It was a park ranger, and he stopped to roll down his window and tell us in Spanish that we should keep moving. We nodded, assuming that he was concerned about the snake. But he kept going, telling us that this particular spot was dangerous because of “los cocodrilos”. It took us a moment to figure out that he was talking about crocodiles, but when we did we got out of there fast. We were actually able to get a ride from this park ranger on our way back from Cacaluta, and we were glad we did. At one point, he stopped the truck and motioned to the trail in front of us, where there was an at least 6-foot-long snake slowly crossing the path. Cacaluta itself was practically paradise, and easily the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. However, I definitely would not recommend making that walk on foot!

Despite the difficulties in getting there, I’m glad that we chose to spend spring break in Huatulco. The little beach town had such a relaxed atmosphere, and it certainly helped that there weren’t too many tourists. Our trip made me want to see the rest of Oaxaca— hopefully I’ll have time for another trip south before the semester is over.

Cacaluta from above

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