Trip Advisor is my best friend. Let me just get that out of the way first and foremost. When I began researching things to do in Huatulco, Hagia Sofia was one of the first things I found. I absolutely love everything naturally beautiful, so I decided we would check it out. I emailed them using the information provided on the website, and they provided me with costs. We went with the traditional package, which includes breakfast and lunch, and was $600 pesos per person (about $40 USD).
Armando picked us up on the day of the tour around 9am. I was so delighted to find that he was in an air conditioned pick-up truck. It seems NONE of the taxis in Huatulco make use of their A/C, so it was great to ride in a little comfort. The drive up there took us about an hour. As we were driving through, Armando took time to narrate our journey. We passed through Huatulco town (not to be confused with where we were staying, which I THOUGHT was Huatulco town, but is actually Bahia Huatulco, or Huatulco Bays). It was an older town. As we drove by a Church, I was taking photos out the car window, and he asked me if we would like to get out and take photos. Umm.. does a kid love candy?! So we hopped out, walked over to the Church and I began (or should I say continued) snapping away. I’m still always surprised by these Mexican churches that you can just walk right in.
We went in, and it was beautiful inside. The ceiling was adored with beautiful images and designs. We walked up front, and passed by a lady who appeared to be coming out of the confessional. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to walk in a snap pictures, but I walked near there and took some pictures from outside. It smelt really good, there were candles going, and it was very serene. I had never been (or seen) inside one before.
We finished up in the church, and walked over to a little pavilion that we were told was previously the first market for Huatulco. Across the street was the municipal building. I was taking picture of both near the pavilion, and a man sweeping the area stopped me…
Him: Habla Espanol? (Do you speak Spanish?)
Me: Poquito (My new word taught to me here, which means a little bit)
Him: (in broken English) Why are you here?
Me: (slightly panicked, after seeing the armed guards in the area) Just visiting.
Him: First time?
Him: You should go over there… inside (as he points to the municipal building). There’s a big mural. Very nice. Go look.
Me: (breathing again) Gracias, can we just walk in? (again, armed guards by the door).
Him: Yes, yes. Go ahead.
So we walk over and locate the beautiful murals he was talking about. Moments later he joins us inside to explain what everything is. I was overtaken by the sheer hospitality he showed to us. I couldn’t believe he would stop what he was doing to show some random people who don’t even know the language a little piece of history. The pride as he spoke about the mural of Vicente Guerrero, former President of Mexico. There was a painting of a bird with a snake in it’s mouth, which he told us is meant “good things.” There was also a map of Huatulco and a model of a hospital that was built there… After a quick history lesson, we thanked our kind tour guide, and headed back to the truck where Armando was waiting.
The rest of the ride to Hagia Sofia was breathtakingly beautiful. We rode into the mountains, passing rivers, trees, flowers and fruits. When we arrived, we were introduced to Laura, who was finishing up our breakfast. Armando brought us over to a table where there was a spread of fruits I’d never seen nor heard of. Mangostan (or Mangosteen) and Rambutan are fruits that he brought over and started harvesting from Asia. There was also concuat, star fruit, an apple banana, and another kind of banana that I can not recall the name of. The mangostan and the rambutan were delicious. When you open the mangostan, it looked like garlic cloves on the inside. I wasn’t a fan of the concuat or star fruit, and I didn’t notice a huge difference in the flavors of the bananas.
Breakfast was some cheese quesadillas, served with some amazing coffee, and some lemon-tangerine water. Again, AMAZING! We finished up and began our tour, where we saw some exotic flowers and learned a lot about trees. One tree is supposed to give you energy if you hug it. Not sure if it was the tree or the coffee, but I was feeling pretty energized. LOL. Halfway through the tour were some hammocks by a river where there were swarms of beautiful butterflies. We relaxed in the hammocks for a moment, soaking up the sounds of the birds and the water rushing by. We then headed up some stairs to some gorgeous views of the Huatulco mountains. Armando explained that he would be adding in some cabins in the future. We made our way back to the eating area, then hopped back in the truck to the waterfall.
When we arrived at the falls, the scene quickly when from calm and serene to kinda scary. PSA: Parents, please teach your kids how to swim. So to get to the falls, you can either swim from rock to rock, jump/propel yourself from rock to rock, or if you are a great swimmer, you can swim up. The current was a bit strong, and I’m not in the best shape, so I chose to doggy paddle/swim from rock to rock. My non-swimming friend attempted to jump.This is where the story goes downhill. I make my way up to the falls, and Iook back to find my friend “stuck” on one of the rocks. Imagine huge guy on little rock. Oh.Em.Gee. I asked if he was OK, and he said he was fine, and go ahead. He clearly was NOT OK, so I asked Armando (who was already inside the cave in the falls) to go help him. Armando went back to help him back to the shore. PSA #2: PARENTS TEACH YOUR KIDS HOW TO SWIM! Anyway, with my friend safely back on shore, I enjoyed the falls for a while. When we were finished, we headed back for lunch.
Lunch was again prepared by Laura. It consisted of Fish, Rice, Beans, and fresh corn tortillas. I tell you, if you have never had tortillas prepared over a wood grill, you are truly missing out on life! We ate and chatted a bit over lunch. With lunch, we had what looked like an orange, but was actually a limon (or lime as we say in America). My friend learned this the hard way! LOL.
Awesome does not begin describe the day. Hagia Sofia is a MARVELOUS place! I was intrigued by the passion Armando showed towards the area that he put so much work into. Apparently he bough the land 12 years ago, and planted, harvested, and developed the area into what it is today. On the way back, he even stopped to pick up some trash that had been thrown on the side of the road. He told us about many other areas of Oaxaca that we should visit. I smell another trip coming up in the near future!