The Best Beaches on the Oaxacan Riviera: You Told Us!

By Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken

Way back in December 2011, we launched the first monthly Huatulco Eye survey. We asked readers to tell us what beaches on the Oaxacan Riveria were the best to snorkel, surf, sunbathe, people-watch, walk, eat a great fish meal, watch the sunrise, watch the sunset and the best beaches for activities we left up to readers to specify. Well readers, those of you who took a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire, have made it clear that we have an abundance of great beaches – 20 beaches were nominated as the best in one or more categories.

A majority of survey respondents (71%) agreed that the very best beach for surfing is Barra de la Cruz. A minority (39%) thought that La Bocana should be designated as the best surfing beach. Obviously, since that adds to 100%, no other beaches were named.

Reader respondents were also pretty much in agreement (66%) that Zipolite, the clothes-optional beach, is the best beach for people-watching. The runner up was Santa Cruz – and one reader specified that people-watching is best there on days that a cruise ship is in dock. Perhaps the numbers will reverse if a nudist cruise ever decides to dock in Santa Cruz.

A majority of survey takers (62%) also told us that the best beach for having a great fish meal is Maguey. We didn’t ask for readers to name a restaurant on Maguey – but if you’re new to the Oaxacan Riviera, ask any local and they are likely to steer you in the right direction. Other beaches nominated for great fish restaurants are San Agustín and Santa Cruz.

Fortunately for those of us who love watching fish (and also fortunate for the fish we watch), there is no majority agreement on the best snorkeling beach. While 36% of survey-takers of the snorkeling kind said San Agustín is the best snorkeling beach, 6 other beaches were nominated as the best place to snorkel. Entrega, Maguey and Violin were each named as the best for snorkeling by over 10% of respondents. Let’s keep our snorkeling spread out, folks, so we can see more fish fins than human legs.

The top honors for the best sunbathing beach (nominated by 50% of reader respondents) was split between Conejos (29%) and Maguey (21%). But seven other beaches were also named as best places to strive for that perfect tan. Interesting that although readers are pretty much in accord that Zipolite is the best place for people-watching, they didn’t include Zipolite as the best place to sunbathe without getting tan lines.

The early-risers among us pretty well split the votes on the best beach to watch the sunrise between La Bocana (47%) and Chahue (40%). And the two top beaches named for watching the sunset are Coyula (36%) and Tangolunda (18%). The vote also split on the best beach for walking with Punta Arena receiving the most votes (36%) and San Agustín trending slightly behind (21%).

For those of you looking for a romantic beach for Valentine’s day, readers suggested that Cacaluta and Rescalillo Bay are the best places for privacy, romance, secluded dates and picnics. And finally, according to reader responses, based on the number of “best” categories in which an individual beach was nominated, San Agustín is the best beach for a variety of activities (6 activities), closely followed by La Bocana and Santa Cruz (5 activities for each)..

We hope these results are useful for planning a great time in Huatulco. Remember to give us your response to the current survey published in this issue.

Drs. Marcia and Jan Chaiken have conducted surveys for many US Federal Agencies and private foundations. They live in Huatulco and Ashland, Oregon.

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