Beyond the Beach: Hagia Sofia

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 8.43.00 AMBy Brooke Gazer

The organic gardens of Hagia Sofia offer a remarkable contrast to Huatulco’s sun and sand environment. Located about ½ hr. from the airport and well into the mountains, the temperature can be considerably cooler and with the help of irrigation it is green year round. This sustainable agro-ecological development has some 30,000 plants and trees in addition to hosting a broad range of butterflies, birds and other wildlife.  

Upon arrival you are offered a cool glass of fruit water or hot Oaxacan coffee along with a selection of fruit, grown organically on the plantation and warm quesadillas. While relaxing under a canopy of foliage, birdsongs serenade you accompanied by the music of the rushing river.

This is a walking tour and it begins with a stroll through the exotic flower garden. No ordinary rose garden; it includes about 230 flowering plants from Oaxaca in addition to over 60 ornamentals from Asia and South America. Many tower several meters in height with spectacular colors and unusual forms.   (See July 2014). From there you enter the herb garden with shaded walkways draped in delicate mauve Regina. These herbs are grown both for medicinal purposes and for flavor. Each flower and herb is labeled so that visitors know what they are seeing.   Bring your camera!

The lion’s share of this enormous 130 hector property is taken up as orchards and wandering among the eighty varieties of fruit trees quite pleasurable. Under a vast range of foliage the cool air is deliciously perfumed by an array of tropical scents as the river continues its musical refrain. Benches are scattered throughout the properly so that visitors can rest and drink in the ambiance.   Mangos, guavas, cashews, passion fruit and star fruit are but a sampling of the numerous exotic trees. Every month offers different delightful delicacies.

Back at the visitors center Blanca prepares a scrumptious lunch over a wood fired stove offering a choice of beef or fish. Marinated tilapia, fresh from the river, is wrapped in banana leaf, baked to perfection and served with rice, beans and tortillas. The late afternoon is spent by the river where you can change into swimwear and have an invigorating dip in the cool spring water.

The entire enterprise is committed to organic practices; creating compost and preparing their own natural fertilizers, using alternative energies and biodegradable products. Hagia Sofia offers a day of spectacular natural beauty and serenity that is dramatically different from nine pristine bays which are the primary draw to the region.   Do not miss it.

For more information or to book a tour:

Tel: (958) 58 7 08 71, Cel: 958 583 7943, reservaciones@hagiasofia.mx

Brooke Gazer operates Agua Azul la Villa, a Bed and Breakfast in Huatulco, www.bbaguaazul.com

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