Huatulco Life was inspired by people with a passion for Huatulco and the Mexican lifestyle. It is a place to find out more information about the region and enjoy the beauty of the Oaxacan coastline through the photo gallery. From time to time, other interesting tidbits about Mexico make their way into the pages of this blog. Enjoy!

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Copalita Eco-Archeological Park

Today's post is by Lic. Carlos Alejandro Becerra Ortega, Analista de Comercialización, Parque Eco~Arqueológico Copalita.  The English translation is by Sue McClam

The Copalita Eco-Archeological Park extends over an area of 81.14 hectares.  It offers a wide diversity of ecosystems and great cultural interest due to the existence of pre-Hispanic structures.  The National Institute of Anthropology and History has begun excavation work with economic help from FONATUR.  Evidence of human occupation that dates back more than 2000 years has been found on the site which is located along side the mouth of the Copalita River.  The park forms part of the pre-Hispanic settlements of great importance on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
Ball Court - Photo Mason Lindquist
A variety of structures can be found among the archeological remains, such as, pyramidal bases more than three meters high,  four platforms that form a ball court, and two stones engraved in the northern and eastern sides of the structure dating back to the Pre-Classic to Post-Classic ages (400 BC - 1521 AD). 

The importance of these ruins is marked by the distribution of buildings that reflects a design similar to other civil-ceremonial centers in Mesoamerica.  A stone popularly known to have been used for "sacrifices" lies on the edge of the cliff giving way to a spectacular view of the Pacific coastline.  All of these sites along with other remains of terraces, platforms, structures, and diverse rocks create points of cultural interest.

Photo Mason Lindquist
The sensations evolked by the remarkable scenery are reinforced by the spectacular landscape and the view from the main walkway toward the central wetland offering its own aesthetic quality.  The park contains a wide diversity of flora and fauna in varied environments and micro-climates of great scenic value.  More than 60 different species of animals have been identified including porcupines, armadillos, and opossums, along with reptiles such as large iguanas, an important variety of lizards and frogs.  Due to its diversity of birds, the site attracts observers that comr from different parts of the world with the objective of sighting certain species that can only be found in this area.  The vegetation found in wooded areas includes 40 different species among which stand out trees of impressive size such as the Ceiba and the Guanacaste.  Other notable sensations include the sound of the ocean perceived along the central axis of the walkway, the sounds of the animals, and the smell of certain plants, offering a deep richness of awareness for visitors.

View from the lookout - Photo Mason Lindquist
The northern portion of the site extends over the floodplain of the Copalita River while the southern border is delineated by igneous rock hills.  The elevated area of steep rocky cliffs facing the south is oriented toward the sea below where rock meets an extended beach and sandbar formed by deposits from the Copalita delta.

In order to create the park with the objective of respecting its rich environment, a Master Plan was developed that integrates a series of services including a visitors' center, a museum site, commercial and service areas, along with interpretive pathways and ecological contact.

Copalita Eco-Archeological Park Exterior - Photo Mason Lindquist

Museum - Photo Mason Lindquist

More information:

The Park is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Multilingual guides are available.
General admission is $50.00 pesos
There is a 50% discount for:
  •          students with valid identification who are Mexican nationals
  •          senior citizens with an INSEN credential
  •          children under 5 years old are admitted free charge
Boulevard Tangolunda-Copalita, tramo 15
Bahías de Huatulco, Oaxaca, México
Find us on Facebook: parque eco arqueologico copalita
                                                        Twitter: @parquecopalita 

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