Coherent diffractive imaging (CDI) experiments are adequately simulated assuming the thin sample approximation and using a Fresnel or Fraunhofer wavefront propagator to obtain the diffraction pattern. Although this method is used in wave-based or hybrid X-ray simulators, here the applicability and effectiveness of an alternative approach that is based solely on ray tracing of Huygens wavelets are investigated. It is shown that diffraction fringes of a grating-like source are accurately predicted and that diffraction patterns of a ptychography dataset from an experiment with realistic parameters can be sampled well enough to be retrieved by a standard phase-retrieval algorithm. Potentials and limits of this approach are highlighted. It is suggested that it could be applied to study imperfect or non-standard CDI configurations lacking a satisfactory theoretical formulation. The considerable computational effort required by this method is justified by the great flexibility provided for easy simulation of a large-parameter space.