Huatulco (Photo:Galina Savina/Shutterstock)
2018 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera Destinations
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Huatulco

Founded some 40 years ago by FONATUR, Mexico's tourism development agency, Huatulco (located in the state of Oaxaca) encompasses a stretch of 18 miles of Pacific coastline, located at the foot of the Sierra del Sur Mountains. Here you'll find dozens of pristine sand beaches, spread across nine bays -- four of which have been designated as ecological preserves where no development is permitted.

The area is also dotted with small villages where many of the locals preserve native traditions including basket weaving, cactus horticulture and cooking. Most cruise lines offer at least one excursion that visits these villages. (Look for one that includes the nopale -- prickly pear cactus -- farm; the fruit is delicious.)

Designed to attract mass tourism, cruisers visiting Huatulco will also encounter numerous souvenir and jewelry shops, and yet crass commercialism seems to have taken a back seat here, unlike other purposely designed tourist cities like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Acapulco. Buildings in Huatulco may not be higher than four stories, so there are no tall structures to clutter the area, beaches are everywhere and the government is taking pains to preserve the indigenous flora and fauna.

Huatulco is composed of three smaller regions, as well as several outlying villages. Santa Cruz is the port area where cruise ships dock. La Crucecita is the main downtown area and Tangolunda is the hotel and resort zone.

Huatulco most commonly appears on Panama Canal itineraries, though it might also be included in Pacific coast partial Panama Canal transits and some Mexican Riviera sailings.

About Huatulco


Explore millennia-old ruins and unspoiled beaches


Travelers seeking a fully developed resort town alive with clubs and restaurants will be disappointed

Bottom Line

Huatulco offers a more peaceful experience than most Mexican Pacific Coast destinations

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Where You're Docked

Cruise ships dock at a pier in Santa Cruz Bay, right next to a beach and a small marina. As your ship pulls in you'll be able to see the beach to the left-hand side.

Good to Know

Huatulco is a safe port with less crime than many of the larger tourist cities but as with many ports around the world, leave your expensive jewelry on the cruise ship when you visit and keep an eye on your wallet.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The official currency in Mexico is the peso. Visit for current rates.The nearest ATMs are at banks in downtown La Crucecita, which is about a 25-peso taxi drive away from the port.


The official language of Mexico is Spanish but because Huatulco is a tourist town, most shopkeepers, restaurant workers and taxi drivers speak English.


Huatulco is located in the state of Oaxaca, which is famous for barro negro pottery, or "black clay" pottery. Look for some smaller pieces to take home with you from the Museum of Oaxacan Art in La Crucecita.

Best Cocktail

Tequila might be the drink of choice in most of Mexico, but in Oaxaca it's all about mezcal -- a liquor made from the green agave plant (as opposed to the blue agave, from which tequila comes from). You'll find lots of restaurants and stores offering taste tests.

Huatulco Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards

2018 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera Destinations
2017 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera, Central & South America Destinations