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Parque Eco-arqueológico Copalita, Bahías de Huatulco, Oaxaca

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Recently opened in 2010, this ecological park, bisected by the Río Copalita, which spills into Pacific at the parks eastern edge, melds the natural biodiversity of the Oaxacan Coast with ruins that predate the Zapotec and Mixtec peoples. There are several kilometers of stone trails, the irregular stones meticulously chipped, fitted, leveled, a herculean task for its builders on the scale of the creation of the parks ruins almost three thousand years ago. The trails head south to the bluffs west of where the river enters the Pacific, giving stunning views of both bodies of water, and north along the river through a riparian ecosystem with trees ascending to 45 meters.

The entrance to the park is about 14 km east of La Crucecita, on Boulevard Benito Juarez, the east-west artery of Huatulco, some 500 meters east of the turnoff on to Playa Bocana, the mouth of Río Copalita. To visit from La Crucecita, take a taxi or colectivo, a colectivo costing about MX$15. The taxis/colectivos queue up along Guachumil in front of the Plaza Madero Mall, one block east of the Zocalo. As for the difference between a taxi and a colectivo in Huatulco, as one driver succinctly put it, "If you want to pay for a taxi then it's a taxi; otherwise, it's a colectivo, and you wait for it to fill up before we go." In Chahue, these same colectivos pass by the sitio at the intersection of Boulevards Chahue and Benito Juarez and can be flagged down there as well, or anywhere else along the Boulevard east towards the park. From Santa Cruz, flag down any colectivos heading east on Blvd. Santa Cruz towards Tangolunda, not La Crucecita. From the park, to return to all points west, flag down a west-bound taxi or colectivo at the turnoff to the park.

The park is open from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and costs MX$100 for persons over 5 years of age, steep by Mexican standards. However, 50% discounts are available for Mexican students only and all seniors with an INAPAM card, formerly known as INSEN.

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