My fingers are crossed. When visiting Huatulco, Oaxaca last week, I was told by various visitor industry contacts that Mexicana Airlines plans to launch much-needed nonstop service from LAX to HUX this summer. The destination certainly warrants the convenient West Coast access with its emerging eco-tourism options, remarkable cuisine, sparkling bays, rich cultural diversions, roster of fine accommodations and commitment to continue development on a very well conceived path.
For me, the only downside to this destination is that lack of accessibility. If you live in Houston, you’re in luck since nonstop service is operated via Continental out of George Bush Intercontinental Airport several days a week. The schedule fluctuates with the season.
From the West Coast, however, it makes for a very long day of traveling. I had to change planes in Phoenix, and switch from the International to Domestic terminal in Mexico City (an airport I purposely avoid when I have an option) before finally reaching this jewel some 13 hours after my initial San Diego flight departed. And that’s a shame since I arrived at the Crown Pacific after dark and was unable to soak in all the beauty of the setting for another 12 hours.
Bear in mind that the distance is a mere 1,756 miles. I can fly 2,600 miles from San Diego to Hawaii in about five hours. There needs to be an easier way to experience this sliver of Mexican paradise!
On my first visit in 2004, I fell in love with Huatulco for so many reasons – but especially because it wasn’t over-developed and it was void of American fast food franchises. Sure, it has definitely grown since then. But it’s still very much under control. And it’s still franchise-free. I recall going to another Mexican resort area after being away for eight years and not really recognizing my haunts from the previous adventure. If they still existed, they were now buried behind some new shopping strip or restaurant. The charm was missing. That’s not the case in Huatulco.
All this said, I did have two memorable experiences during my much-dreaded layover at Mexico City International Airport. The first occurred when I asked a finely clad woman in my finest Spanish “A donde esta el bano?” And she remarked in even finer English “I don’t speak English.” I now realize I didn’t have my A game going. Had I, I would have likely said something unpleasant. And had she reacted, I could have confirmed she was not being honest about her lack of ability to speak English. If she said nothing, I could have gloated in getting away with one. By the way, she could have easily pointed to the bano since she definitely knew that word and it was directly behind me.
A much more pleasant experience came while checking in for my flight to Phoenix. In line in front of me was Lorena Ochoa, the pride of Guadalajara and the top player on the LPGA’s Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. Close up and in person, she looked just as clean and fresh as she did on a billboard I had passed earlier outside the check-in area. I’ve always been a fan, but I’m an even bigger one now. Seeming very humble and grounded, she was free of an entourage. It was just Lorena filling out a tag for her behemoth golf bag.
After clearing customs and immigration in Phoenix, I was checking the flight board for the final leg of my return. Lorena was coming through the deceptive revolving doors with her behemoth golf bag sideways on a luggage cart. I say deceptive because the entrance is wide, but the exit is much more narrow and somewhat awkward for squaring off. So she found herself in an airport rough of sorts. With a little help, Lorena tweaked the direction of the cart and made her way through. I’m sure she’ll be just as precise in tight situations when she shoots for a three-peat at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International by Mirrasou Winery in Phoenix March 26 – 29.
Stays in Huatulco, www.hoteleshuatulco.com.mx
A freelance writer based between Honolulu and San Diego, Dawna specializes in destinations and adventures in the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, the South Pacific and Western United States. Her stories have appeared in publications that include The New York Times, Global Traveler USA, San Francisco Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Smart Meetings, Family Fun, Hemispheres, Outside and Travel Agent Magazine. She is a frequent contributor to TravelAge West, a bi-weekly magazine targeting retail travel agents and wholesalers in the Western United States. An avid marathon runner and photographer, Dawna is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Visit www.dawnarobertson.com