One of the common questions we get is if it is possible to live in Mexico and Huatulco without a car. It is not only possible, it is downright easy. If you're still unsure, be sure to check out our post on How to Buy a Car in Mexico.
Mexico has an amazing amount of public transportation. There are several different forms of public transportation to get around and it is also usually conveniently frequent.
Getting Around in Town
Huatulco, as a master-planned community, is pedestrian friendly as far as Mexican cities go. It is possible and safe to walk around town and easy to bike in some areas. The town center is especially easy to walk around and do some shopping.
Huatulco has many taxis and it is easy to hail one. This is perhaps the easiest form of transportation to get around town and run errands or do grocery shopping. These private taxis are inexpensive, ranging from 30-80 pesos depending on how far and where you are going.
Huatulco also is served by colectivos or shared taxis. These can be taken but are mainly available for destinations far from the center or from surrounding villages to get to the center.
Traveling Along the Coast
To travel up and down the coast going north, you can take an ADO or SUR bus towards Puerto Escondido. This is the most recommended, comfortable and quickest option.
Prices are inexpensive. It costs approximately 150 pesos to travel to Puerto Escondido from Huatulco or 80 pesos to Pochutla.
To visit Mazunte, San Agustinillo and Zipolite, you take one of these buses, descend at San Antonio crossroads and then take a taxi (100 pesos) or colectivo truck (10 pesos) to your destination.
You can continue further up the coast with the same ADO and SUR buses.
The route is also traveled by Los Delfines bus service with older buses stopping frequently to pick up anyone on the side of the road. Los Rapidos de Pochutla also travel the route with newer 10-12 passenger minivans, also stopping often to pick up passengers. The pricing of these two options is similar if not the same as the ADO and SUR buses. The only real advantage to these two services is that they are much more frequent than the ADO and SUR buses.
Traveling to Oaxaca City
The best option to reach Oaxaca from Huatulco is by plane. The 35-minute trip over the mountains can be flown with Aero Toucan or TAR airlines. Interjet has begun a route to Oaxaca to and from Puerto Escondido.
You can also reach Oaxaca with the ADO bus (300 pesos). This route goes south through Salina Cruz and then heads up over the mountains. This option also has a night bus. It is a longer but straighter route than the shorter route leaving from Santa Maria Huatulco. This route can be traveled by minivans leaving Huatulco. It crosses the mountains through San Jose del Pacifico and is a 155-mile trip that takes 6 hours and is incredibly curvy.
Traveling Around Mexico
If you are traveling south of Huatulco, these same bus lines travel to Tuxtla where you can change buses to go to San Cristobal de las Casas (500 pesos).
It is easy to travel around Mexico by bus from Huatulco. You can reach nearby destinations easily. You can also travel long distances by bus usually with few changes. For example, you can travel all the way to Mexico City (900 pesos) by bus without changing buses. That said, it is much more convenient to fly from Huatulco to Mexico City. And with the frequency and volume of flights out of Huatulco to Mexico City, there really is hardly any price advantage of taking the bus over the plane except around busy holiday dates. Even the high holiday pricing can be avoided by planning ahead.
All in all, Mexico is an easy country in general to navigate with public transportation. The transportation options explored in this article exist in some form all over the country: taxis, shared taxis or colectivos, larger bus services and minivan services.
I traveled around Mexico solely with these different options and have often traveled hundreds of kilometers at a time using only colectivos or minivans. Although not for all travelers, the charm of this form of travel is getting to know Mexican people who are always happy to help you get to your next colectivo to get on towards your destination. It is also always a good way to practice your Spanish.