The Huatulco Question
Today is 15 October and it was partly sunny in the morning, giving away to thickening cloud later in the day. The temperature was 29C. Sunrise was 7:16am and sunset was 7:03pm. We arrived at Huatulco at 8:00am and departed at 1:30pm, a short day.
I really did not know much about Huatulco (hu-tel-co) but had heard my brother talk about how beautiful he thought it was. It is south of Acapulco on the west coast and has only been around since the mid-1980s. I had always discounted it because it was Mexico. I just thought he had been out in the sun too long but after our visit here today, I must admit I think I agree with him.
As the Mexican pilot nosed our huge ship into place on one side of the single long ribbon of concrete that served as the cruise ship dock, our majestic Westerdam dwarfed everything around it, including the city and everything in the marina. From the dock, we were presented with a beautiful image of a well cared for small scenic Mexican town. What appeared to be the main town site from the ship, turned out to be just a small beach with restaurants and shops for tourists and locals to use. The steep hillside contained elaborately constructed high-end homes you might expect to find on House Hunters International and a modern marina full of beautiful boats. Everywhere else was virtually undeveloped forest. It was stunning!
Due to the short duration of our stay, we took a city tour by bus and found we were in a beautifully sited small-scale community along the Pacific Ocean where it meets the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains. We proceeded to the main town site a short distance away from the dock where the town square is beautifully landscaped, maintained and being used by a number of people, seeking relief in the shade from the blistering sun. The buildings all appear well maintained and everything is clean and painted! I had to remind myself from time to time that I was still in Mexico! All the buildings are low rise, seldom exceeding three floors in height. The low-rise nature of the construction adds to the impression of it being a small town.
The Catholic Church, in the square, sports a freshly painted exterior and has a large painted mural from end to end on the ceiling. A local artist, took 40 weeks to complete the work, including recovery time from a fall from the scaffolding while he was working, painted it.
The coastal terrain here is hilly, rocky and rugged so it provides spectacular scenery into which are woven seaside businesses, beaches and homes. What I was most taken with was the small-scale. This is no tower ridden Cancun or Puerto Vallarta big city and everything is relatively new. Roads are wide, with elaborately landscaped medians down the center. Sidewalks are enough to walk three or four abreast and are without the normal Mexican people loosing holes. The area comes with nine stunning bays for sunning, swimming, snorkeling, and water sports. Fishing is restricted in the area.
Our last stop on the tour provided a spectacular view of the bay containing our waiting Westerdam. It provided some good photography opportunities to shoot the ship from a distance, for the first time. I must admit that this place intrigues me and I would love to return to explore it in more detail before I make my final decision about how much I really like it. It is slow, laid back, and has a quiet way of life,
Just before we sailed, an ambulance drove down the dock and the attendants hauled a stretcher onto the ship, returning shortly with it fully loaded. Looks like another medical emergency! Hope this trend slows down or there will not be anyone left on the ship!
Shortly after departure, the Captain announced a change in course was going to be necessary due to a storm approaching from the west. Our new routing will have us hugging the Mexican coastline and it is predicted to be a little rough until we get south of the disturbance. We went for dinner and noticed a bit of roughness but nothing to be concerned about. I mean, the dishes did not slide off the table!
After dinner, we passed by the Explorers Lounge to find wonderful classical music emanating from it. Two Ukrainian girls, one on the grand piano and the other on a violin were generating beautiful music. We stopped and determined this was where we would digest dinner. By the end of their shift, the bar was full, as people leaving the dining room could not get by the place without stopping to listen and come in.
Tomorrow we are to be in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala at 10:00am, and will be off on tours again.
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