Home Restaurants & Food How to find the “catch of the day” in Huatulco

How to find the “catch of the day” in Huatulco

by Brent May

Huatulco is tucked into the Oaxaca coast where the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains collide with the Pacific Ocean. A short distance off the coast, the shelf drops off into the deep, blue ocean allowing many species of aquatic animals to thrive. An abundance of fish and a large variety of seafood can be found year-round.

You will find fish year-round in Huatulco but there are certain times of the year when you’ll find different types of fish in abundance. You’ll find lots of mahi-mahi from July to November, tuna from September through January, wahoo and sailfish from late summer to early fall, marlin from July through October to name a few. Even though these may be some sort of yearly standards, you have to remember that the availability of different fish will also depend on currents, water temps, weather and tide phenomenon.

Of course, in Huatulco, you’ll find the catch of the day in many outstanding restaurants, in small mom-and-pop eateries and of course in tacos all around. And if you want to cook up your own fresh fish in your favorite style, you’ll find the freshest fish for sale every morning in town. You have several options to get fresh fish at a good price. You can purchase directly from the fisherman, from the fishmongers or shops.

Where to find the “catch of the day” in Huatulco

By far, the easiest option for fresh fish is at the corner of Guarumbo and Bugambillia, a block from the square. Women sell the fish here in the mornings and the huge advantage is that it is cut up and you can buy by the kilo. You can always ask them for something in particular and they’ll hold it for you. Cut it into big chunks perfect for grilling. You will find crab here in season also.

If you like filleted Doradao/Mahi mahi or sail fish, a block away down Guarumbo to Carrizal, you’ll find local families selling the fish out of coolers on the corner.

The meeting point for the local fisherman at the dock is around 5 in the afternoon. They may sell you a whole fish, but it is not cut up. Sometimes, they already have all of the fish sold so this is not always a sure option. You may also find the local fisherman returning in the morning at the Marina with fish ready for sale around 8:30. But again, they may have already sold all the fish. The times given here are rough, they depend on the season, fishing, the tides and practical considerations like if there was a party the day before.

Another option to buy fresh fish at an affordable price is at Tomas Fish shop on Macuhitle. He comes in with fresh fish from Puerto Angel at about 10 every day. You may find Huachinango/ Red snapper, Pargo/Perch, Tuna and Mahi mahi.

Also, you’ll find shops in town that sell fish and seafood in different presentations. Frozen and fresh. Sarabia’s and Martha’s on Guaraumbo.

How to select your fish

The basic rules to selecting your fish is to make sure it is fresh and in good condition. Fresh fish has shiny scales, firm meat, firm and transparent eyes and a fresh smell.

It is always best to consume fish and shellfish the day you purchase it. If you’re cleaning the whole fish yourself, you should empty the guts right away to not contaminate the rest of the fish.


How to preserve your fresh fish

To maintain the quality of your fish and seafood, they have to be kept in the fridge or frozen. After buying the fish, it is recommended to clean it, wash it and put it in a container without the guts, head or scales. You shouldn’t keep the fish in the fridge for more than 2 days and it should be kept between 0 and 4 C.

If you’re freezing the fish, they will keep their original quality for months. The freezer should work at -18C avoiding changes in temperature.

After a day out playing in the surf, nothing is more satisfying than making your own fresh fish dishes with all the market-fresh ingredients you’ll find in town. Here is a handy list of fish names in Spanish and English. Enjoy!

Let us know your helpful comments below!


Names of Fish in Spanish/English
Aguja Azul Blue Marlin
Ahi Atún Yellowfin Tuna
Anchoa Anchovy
Atun Tuna
Baqueta Grouper
Botete Puffer fish
Cabrilla Sea Bass
Cochito Triggerfish
Dorado Mahi Mahi
Huachinango Red Snapper
Jurel Yellowtail
Lenguado. Sole (Mexican cod)
Lisa Mullet
Mero, Garropa Grouper
Pargo, Snapper on the Oaxaca coast
Pargo Amarilla Yellowtail Snapper
Pargo Colorado Colorado Snapper
Pargo Prieto Dog Snapper
Peto, Guahu Wahoo
Pez Espada Swordfish
Pez Fuerte Amberjack
Pez Vela, Sailfish
Róbalo Bass, Snook
Sierra Mackerel
Trucha Trout

Almeja Clam
Anguillas Eels
Calamar Squid
Camarón Shrimp
Callo de Hacha, Vieira Scallop
Jaiba, Cangrejo Crab
Langosta Lobster
Langostino Crayfish, Crawfish
Ostion Oyster

Miscellaneous Terms
Mariscos Seafood
Pescado Fish (food we eat)
Pez Fish (in the water)
Ahumada/o Smoked
Ala Fin
Filete Boneless piece
Lonja Thick slice
Trozo Thick piece
Escamas Scales
Sin cabeza Without head
Espinas Pin bones




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