Legend of Cavendish and the Holy Cross of Huatulco

Santa Cruz beach, Huatulco, Oaxaca.

I briefly close my eyes and the scene appears easily on my mind. The past time comes to life in just a second and stays forever; a half-buried pirate sword standing on the sand and huge galleons anchored on the greenish tranquil waters of Santa Cruz bay. Small boats on the beach awaiting for water and food supplies and, at the same time, tough men looking for something worth enough to be stolen.

Santa Cruz: a legendary beach

There is a lot more than just tremendous beauty at this port; the legend says that an old man, who was supposed to be Apostle Thomas, left a wooden cross in Santa Cruz bay. Spanish found that native people worshiped the cross. In fact, the name of "Huatulco" comes from the Nahuatl language "Coahatolco" which means "place where the wood is worshiped".

Pirates in Huatulco, Cavendish arrived.

Huatulco was an important port between Acapulco and Peru since 1540 to 1560. Then, the pirates showed up and ravage the area; Francis Drake in 1579 and Thomas Cavendish in 1587. Cavendish arrived at Santa Cruz bay, where he saw the cross the Indians were worshipping. Believing it to be the work of the devil, he and his men tried to chop it up and burn it. Failing at this, Cavendish tied his ship's mooring ropes around the cross and with sails unfurled he tried using the force of the wind to pull it down. Frustrated, he finally sailed away, leaving the cross of Huatulco still standing on the shore.

Nowadays, the beautiful bay has not lost some of the mystic charming which attracted to pirates. It is easy to imagine a huge galleon with unfurled sails moving slowly at the pace of the blowing wind of the sunset.

Santa Cruz: the past and the present

The bay has five tiny beaches where the crystal waters display the whiteness of the sand and small coral reef formations. Some of these beaches are only reached by boat. Some time ago, before the tourist complex which conforms today the whole place of Huatulco, a seasonal lagoon could be found at the rainy season where today the marina is located. For many years, Santa Cruz was the main port of the surroundings. Most people who lived here used to work in the sea. In fact, Santa Cruz was a fishery along several years. The waters of the coast are rich in many species of fish and other species; octopus, lobsters, mantas, sharks, snails, clams, tuna, marlin, and sail fish. Travelers who could reach this spot in the eighties, in a journey of ten to twelve hours by the old road from Oaxaca City, tell that they found a tiny village at Santa Cruz bay where local people sell fish and fruits of the sea almost for nothing. Some of them have returned several years after and they can easily recognize the place as the one they visited once in the past. Worth to say that the place has not lost its beauty due to the tourist development factors; If it is a natural paradise, respectful of nature, it is due to the structural planning of the whole tourist complex. Santa Cruz is indeed the starting point of cruses by boat to the rest of the bays. There are banks, restaurants, hotels, marina, houses, a chapel, scuba diving and fishing services, the Mexican Army, immigration office, convenience stores, taxi service, handcrafts and souvenirs market, drugstores, telephone booths, discothèques, a park, cafeterias, and many other services. Where it used to be a tiny village where camping under the stars, eating fish and finding local and joyful people have become into the same beautiful spot at the beach with luxurious services. The good thing is that the beach remains clear and clean and many families visit it and get surprised by the greenish and warm water rocking softly the sand as it has been for many years.

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