On Land and Sea
Oaxaca abounds with natural wonders and outdoor adventures: hills and mountains for hiking and climbing; rivers for kayaking and rafting; caves for exploring; and coasts, offshore islands, and mangrove lagoons for kayaking, boating, bird-watching, and much more. Moreover, Oaxaca is a veritable wildlife treasury, home to myriad species, from iguanas and crocodiles to dolphins, whales, and white herons.
Hiking and Horseback Riding
River Rafting and Kayaking
When the water conditions are right (usually in the fall), outfitters take parties for rafting on the Río Copalita near Huatulco. Moreover, a number of other coastal rivers, notably (moving from east to west) the Ríos Zimatán, Colotepec, Verde, and Arena, appear negotiable during the fall and early winter seasons for skilled rafters and kayakers with their own equipment.
Fish thrive all along the Oaxaca Pacific coast. From the beach or shoreline rocks, pluck them out of the surf with a net or rod and tackle at Huatulco’s Bahía Chahue, at the Bahía Puerto Ángel, and at Playa Carrizalillo near Puerto Escondido. For deep-sea fishing, either launch your own boat or rent a lancha (launch) in Huatulco, Puerto Ángel, or Puerto Escondido. You can also rent a fully equipped fishing boat at either Huatulco or Puerto Escondido.
Caverns, Waterfalls, and Natural Springs
In the Valley of Oaxaca, start your exploring at the monumental limestone cavern complex near San Sebastián de las Grutas down Highway 131, south of Zimatlán. Visit Hierve El Agua Mineral Springs during the week and you’re likely to have the entire place to yourself.
Along the Pacific coast, take an excursion to the waterfalls at Chacalapa, near Puerto Ángel and enjoy the wildlife. Later, take advantage of the curative waters at Charquito Atotonilco Warm Springs within Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua.
At Huatulco, for easy bay boating or kayaking, start out from the sheltered Marina Chahue with your own boat or by kayak from Playa Entrega in the Bahía Santa Cruz or the beach at Bahía Maguey. More challenging kayaking opportunities abound in the less sheltered Huatulco Bahías El Organo, Cacaluta, and San Agustín. Near Puerto Escondido, easy boating or kayaking is doable from the landings at Las Hamacas, La Alejandria, or Isla El Gallo in Laguna Manialtepec.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition