First Timers Trip Report

by fismic81, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 07:13 (3925 days ago)

My wife and I recently returned from Zihua after 8 nights. We absolutely loved it and I'm going to try and break down the highlights so that other first timers may get some info.

We stayed at Hotel Palacios. We had the best room in the place for about 80USD/night. It's not a luxery hotel but it's clean, on the beach, and the staff is wonderful. They let us pay when we got around to it and even let us move to a higher room halfway through the week. The pool was small but no one was ever in it. We had it to ourselves for a quick afternoon dip. Couldn't have asked for anything more from this hotel. Also I might add, I think we made the right choice by staying on Playa Madera vs Playa La Ropa. We liked going to town and it was only a 5 minute walk. Also, there were far fewer tourists on Madera.


We had looked on Trip Advisor and ZihuaRob's message board for restaurant recomendations but found that we liked the street food much better and was a heck of a lot cheaper.

La Rena Rene - Right on Madera Beach. Fantastic food and service. One waiter, who is always there, speaks English and was very helpful. Also, they had the cheapest margaritas that we found.

Elvira's - On La Ropa. This was the only day we went to La Ropa. We didn't really like the atmosphere as much as town. Too touristy. We had red snapper and shrimp salad. The food was good but we had better for less.

Lety's - Across the walking bridge past the pier. Obviously had to try the coconut shrimp. It lived up to it's reputation as fabulous. They also had the best guacamole we had. Good margaritas too but you better like tequilla because they are strong. Wonderful little family atmosphere.

Bandito's - In front of artisan market. Noticed it catered to exclusively tourists as soon as we walked in. As I was sipping on my 7$ mojito I noticed a gentleman at the next table putting A-1 sauce on his steak. We left. We didn't go to Mexico to eat like Americans. I'm sure they have good food but we didn't like the atomsphere.

Banana's - In town near Scotia Bank. They had a real good breakfast and coffee. Service was very nice and a nice atmosphere.

Mi Chayito - In town. After 5 days of Mexica and seafood we needed a meal with carbs so we had chinese. It was very good and a nice change of pace.

Anys - In town. It was Thursday so we had the pozole. It was absolutely fantastic and cheap. Would definately recomend.

ITA Cafeteria Restaurant - Down the road from our hotel between Rufo's Grill and El Perla Negra. Best breakfast in Zihua. They also had the best coffee by far.

Vivan Las Pizzas - Very good pizza. Different but very good. You can sit up on their balcony and have a beautiful view of all of Zihua. We also had Jungle Pizza one night but to be honest, it tasted like a bad frozen pizza.

Things to do:

We went fishing/snorkeling with Julio's Tours. We got breakfast sandwiches at the pier and then headed out around 8. We ended up catching several fish and having them for lunch on Playa Las Gatas at Otilia's. We also got to see whales, sea turtles, dolphins, and a sailfish. He took us snorkeling at Playa Manzanillo. There were lots of fish around the corral but the visibility wasn't the best. I will say that Julio's crew explains that flat out in the information. It was still pretty cool. The only downfall was that the mask didn't fit my wife's head right so she didn't really go. Otilia's prepared our fish well and the ceviche was excellent. All in all a very good day.

We also took a tour with William Mertz. We went out to some different farms, an archeological dig, and the animal refuge at Barra De Potosi. He is very knowledgable and showed us a great time. I would highly recomend one of his tours.

Zocolo festival - Every Sunday night at the Basketball Courts. Good entertainment and great food.

Things to think about:

Eat street food - There are all kinds of street vendors out in the evening. The food is great and it's the best deal around. Also check out the Taqueria la Flama's. They are little restuarants that are open in the evening. We could get 5 tacos each and two beers for about $6. The tacos were absolutely fantastic.

Go to Rafa's for live music. I forget which street it's on (It's one of the walking streets downtown). A gentleman and his two sons run the place. They are all very nice and they have wonderful authentic music there a few night a week.

Stop at Zorro's for a beer. They have abou the cheapest beer in town and it's a nice change of pace.

Buy some of the little wooden figurines from the beach vendors. The're cute and make a good conversation piece.

We had absolutely no stomach problems and never worried about the ice or the food. No one drinks the tap water.

Be careful with the Taxis. I always make sure(before I get in) that they know where I want to go and I also always ask the price. Twice we were charged a different amount that was quoted once we got to our destination. My spanish isn't good enough to argue fluently so I just paid it. I feel it's important to mention that the one time was from the airport to our hotel. The driver ripped us of 100 pesos.

When at the artisan market you will pay the Gringo tax if you allow it. Touch up your Spanish enough to negotiate a price.

Make sure to check out the Mercado Central. It's two blocks past Scotia Bank. This is a very interesting market with everything from clothes, fish, chicken, veggies, wares, etc. etc. Eat there at least once. The food is good and cheap.

If your Spanish isn't up to par, think about picking up a pocket size translation dictionary. It will come in handy.

If your out late at night (past 10 or so) don't carry anything but enough cash for the night. Although I believe it to be an isolated incident, I feel it's important to mention that a couple was robbed on the road off Madera beach. They don't want anything but your money so you give it to them and that's that. We were out about every night late and never once felt uncomfortable or threatened. I would take the same precautions in any US city.

I hope this report helps someone. We had an absolutely perfect vacation and look forward to going back.

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