It’s that time of year again….
Time for Canadians to flock south as old man winter prepares to tighten his grip on us.
Winter in Winnipeg can be long, hard and extremely frigid.
Escaping our reality, even for a week or two, really helps to make the unforgiving wintry season more bearable.
One of our favourite holiday escape destinations is Huatulco, Mexico, a beautiful Mexican community situated near the small quaint town of La Crucecita. Huatulco can be found in the state of Oaxaca in an area where the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean approximately 500 km south of Acapulco. Population tops out at around 50,000.
One of the primary reasons we keep going back to Huatulco is the weather. There are few places in the world where you are virtually guaranteed to experience clear blue sunny skies and smoking hot temperatures every day. With an average of 330 days of sunshine per year and daily temperatures reaching around 28 degrees, Huatulco has the medicine snow bound Canadians so desperately need.
Our last trip was March 2012, our Hotel, Dreams Huatulco for a two (2) week stay.
The Hotel was outstanding, as were the drinks and the food, but it was one of our excursions that made the trip special.
I’ve never been one to book excursions outside of the relative safety and comfort of the Hotel concierge desk, call it trust issues if you like, but I would always rather pay a bit more cash then get ripped off or have a bad experience with a shady “bandito.”
For this trip I decided to get outside of my comfort zone and book an excursion with a local guy. We were interested in doing some snorkelling and wanted to tour all nine (9) of the beautiful bays of Huatulco.
Right after our arrival I noted that several local vendors were selling their wares and booking tours on the beach just off of the Hotel property.
I chatted up a few of these guys but was immediately impressed with a smooth talker I would later come to know as Pilo Vazquez. Although Pilo spoke “muy rapido” his English was good and it was clear he had an engaging personality and great sense of humour. Our negotiations were going well, up to the point when he asked me for a $50 deposit, this was a deal breaker I thought. I could just see giving this guy my cash and then never seeing him again. No one ever wants to be a “lolly pop”….the humiliation is magnified for those of us who earn a living in law enforcement.
As negotiations continued my resolve weakened, Pilo’s ability to sell himself simply wore me down and I begrudgingly gave him my $50 bill.
The next day Pilo arrived at our prearranged spot (on time no less) and promptly hired a taxi for us to get us down to the Harbour.
We would spend the next five or so hours being thoroughly “wowed” by Pilo and his innate ability to entertain and offer awe-inspiring, unique experiences.
Pilo was a fantastic tour guide! His boat was in great condition, was properly equipped, had a large canopy for shade and was outfitted with a cooler full of water, beer and pop. Pilo was eager to please and went the extra mile for us in every sense of the word.
His knowledge of the sea almost immediately paid off as we found ourselves in the middle of a gigantic school of magical dolphins swimming within arms length of our boat. I had never seen dolphins in the wild in these numbers, it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. The water literally teeming with hundreds of dolphins all around us, my wife and son both standing in stunned silence, almost overcome by excitement and emotion.
Pilo’s knowledge of the bays and best snorkelling spots was invaluable.
He is an expert swimmer and snorkeled with us at every stop, his efforts and ability to find puffer fish, star fish, sea spiders, sea turtles and other incredible sea creatures amazed us.
(Most other tour operators we saw stayed in their boats while the customers snorkeled by themselves.)
He even had a high-resolution digital underwater camera that he used to take great photos that he emailed to us a few weeks after we returned home. (At no extra charge.)
If you are heading to Huatulco this winter and want to save yourself some leg work, do yourself a favour and book a tour with our trustworthy amigo Pilo, you will not be disappointed.
For my trip advisor review of our vacation at the Dreams Hotel go here; http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g150789-d152279-r127694236-Dreams_Huatulco_Resort_Spa-Huatulco_Southern_Mexico.html
*Elder-statesmen in the slide show is Pilos father….
**Updated version previously published in The Power of Words…