Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by bav, Sunday, January 23, 2011, 19:06 (2464 days ago)

Thanks to all those that contribute to the message board that led us to the activities that made our trip a week in paradise!

High points

A fantastic tour to Cascadas Mesa De Bravo with William Mertz/ Blue Morpho Tours. The biologists among us were thrilled by his knowledge and enthusiasm for spiders, insects and reptiles (seriously!!) Birds and animals vary depending on daily conditions and seasons. Wil was always alert to what was acually there (and told us what we were missing, guess we will have to go again next year). He had researched information on unusual things that he has seen to share on his tour. We all enjoyed seeing Mexico beyond the city as we drove into the mountains, the beauty of the waterfalls (even in the dry season), the refreshing swim, the delicious local lunch, and walk through village. Great for those interested in something off the beaten track and willing to risk walking over boulders, cable bridges and the more primitive facilities found away from the tourist hotels.

Bicycling through the countryside to El Refugio de Potosi with Alexandro Juarez from Bi-Zihuanas. Another great way to see more than hotels, beach and shopping areas. The route was mostly on unpaved back roads on good mountain bikes. You should be able ride in the heat and ride steadily for an hour or more with brief stops.


No matter how you get there, El Refugio de Potosi is great way to see the local wildlife up close. We have only seen waterfowl and small birds, iguanas and crocodiles in three visits to the ecological park near Ixtapa. So it was interesting to see up close the birds the Refugio wants to breed, reptiles, butterfly house, coatimundi, wild cat, and young porcupine here. Most important the effort seems to be centered around education and improving the area, not just development of a tourist attraction.

Snorkeling at Las Gatas. Franco at Otilio’s suggested that we try the area near the point at the west end of the bay. Rougher water than in the bay, however we did see bigger groups of fish there. We also swam along the inside of the reef in the bay which was easier and also saw quite a few fish. We didn’t swim out to view the sunken statue. On the beach Franco frequently checked that we had all we needed and the seafood lunch was good. Continual stream of hawkers but they moved on when we said no. Since we usually split the bill between the several couples, we end up checking the bills. This was the only place we found an error - 10% overcharge for unordered items and math error-no apology was offered.

Fishing and then feasting on sailfish at Lilly’s. One of our group arranged for a fishing trip by going to the pier. We were on panga Minerva captained by Luis. Three others of us came along more to see the ocean than to fish. It was a beautiful day with many jumping porpoises and sailfish, occasional schools of small fish, several swimming turtles, even a whale spout on the horizon. Unfortunately (from my point of view) a sailfish was caught. We had requested catch and release, but the (small?) sailfish had a damaged stomach and captain said it would not survive. He recommended Lilly’s restaurant at the end of the pier if we wanted to eat it. Not knowing of any alternative, we arranged to leave fish at Lilly’s and return that evening with friends (fish was enough for 10). Pauli at Lilly’s first served us raw fish with lime, soy sauce and wasabi which most found delicious. We chose to have the fillets grilled with garlic which were very good. Pauli cooked the “extra” fillets with hierbes fines (a mixture of herbs seemed to include thyme) that was as good if not better than the garlic fish. The resident parrot entertained us with cat mewing, kazoo like humming, moaning, and “music”. Finished the evening off with ice cream from shop across from the basketball court.


Food and lodging
We enjoyed meals at Lety’s (great coconut shrimp), Rufo’s (grilled tuna), Los Braceros, Don Memos. Made one to two stops at Panadería el Buen Gusto (bakery) every day. Bought cheese and avocados at the market to make sandwiches. The Hotel Irma food was pricier but always good when we didn’t have the energy to go elsewhere. Hotel is clean, staff friendly and helpful, love the view and balcony’s on upper floors. Has worked well for several years for family vacation of 3-4 couples.


Thanks again!

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Sunday, January 23, 2011, 19:53 (2464 days ago) @ bav

Otilia's... This was the only place we found an error - 10% overcharge for unordered items and math error-no apology was offered.

This is really getting to be an old story, years and years old, and reinforces why I simply cannot in good conscience recommend this restaurant.

Thank you again for such an excellent and detailed trip report!

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by opalnoir, Monday, January 24, 2011, 07:29 (2464 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

I am amazed that people continue to support Otilia's. Franco may be a friendly gracious host but he is also dishonest. We too were seriously overcharged and had math errors on our bill. If you are a part of a group watch out, he is banking on that you will not notice the extra charges. So sad....

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by PHIL @, Trinity, NC, Monday, January 24, 2011, 09:32 (2464 days ago) @ opalnoir

The legend of FRANCO and his magic pencil continues. Do you think maybe he refigures the bill if you do not catch the mistake and the overcharge goes towards the FRANCO FOUNDATION.

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by karin, Monday, January 24, 2011, 13:09 (2464 days ago) @ PHIL

PHIL-I think your on to something. How many of us would have jobs if we continued to do that? Shame on him!

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by SuZih, Monday, January 24, 2011, 13:18 (2464 days ago) @ opalnoir

He took two couples we were traveling with last year on some "tour" to what he claimed were some "ruins" that was a dig that was just in the beginning stages and to see the "largest cactus" in Mexico and lunch with a family of rice and beans for $200 US Dollars. It smelled fishy to us so we passed on it...pretty spendy for four hours and to see a cactus and not much of a ruins dig. We just got a funny feeling about him and now I see why!! :devil:

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by frostbite ⌂ @, Hamilton MT, Monday, January 24, 2011, 15:38 (2463 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

We've been regulars at Otilia's for over a decade and have, indeed, been overcharged on occasion and not just there. The last time I caught it, he swore that he doesn't write out the bill, but that his boss does. I enjoy Franco's antics and will continue to spend time there, but I watch the bill very closely.

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Monday, January 24, 2011, 17:43 (2463 days ago) @ frostbite

The point is that you shouldn't have to watch the bill closely here. I trust the people I do business with to treat me with honesty. It's one of the reasons I live here. The only reason I ever even bother counting change or looking at a bill is so I know how much tip to leave.

An error once can be an honest mistake, but an error repeated time after time year after year at the same establishment is a definite pattern that should not go ignored and should not be rewarded with your repeated patronage.

I certainly hope this place isn't one of your recommendations on your "First Timer's Sheet". If it is you are doing our visitors a great disservice, and you should probably be getting a percentage of "the take" from whoever is padding the bills and fleecing our visitors.

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by Dave, Monday, January 24, 2011, 13:23 (2464 days ago) @ bav

Great report. With so many good, honest restaurants on Las Gatas, I do not know why people continue to patronize that restaurant and grease his palm. Always sceptical when someone you do not know, instantly becomes your new best friend.

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by clint, Monday, January 24, 2011, 17:52 (2463 days ago) @ Dave

We made the mistake of buying some cigars from him several years ago.

Needless to say, we haven't returned.

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Monday, January 24, 2011, 18:04 (2463 days ago) @ clint

I don't get it. What was wrong with the cigars?

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by clint, Monday, January 24, 2011, 18:44 (2463 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

They were terrible tasting.

OTOH, the cigars they make at the shop in Centro are excellent.

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by Pam in NJ ⌂ @, Morristown, NJ, Monday, January 24, 2011, 21:13 (2463 days ago) @ clint

I remember Franco on my first trip to Zihua, 10 years ago. I had seen posts on this board & in Frommers/Fodors recommending Otilias. I was not impressed. I found him to be pushy & annoying. Have not been back since. That guy would try to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge!

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by Kim in Wa, Monday, January 24, 2011, 21:44 (2463 days ago) @ Pam in NJ

Sure is a bummer reading these remarks yet again.

ANY RESTAURANT, CLOTHING STORE, GROCERY STORE, etc... has and will continue to make mistakes. But to blackball Otilia's place on a public forum is a bit much.

If you think FRANCO did something wrong on purpose, talk to Otilia.
Afterall, isn't it Otilia you're hurting when you post on a public forum such as this. For those of you who don't know her, Otilia is a nice lady who has owned this fabulous restaurant for years and is a dam* hard worker.

We all know the economy is effecting tourism. Lets not make it harder for the other employees and Otilia to survive during this rough time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT defending Franco. That B.S. needs to stop.

I may be mistaken, but I don't think you can't just fire an employee in Mexico without pulling out your wallet.(?) She can't afford to do that or I bet she would have a long time ago!

Do as you would anywhere else ..... CHECK YOUR BILL!

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by frostbite ⌂ @, Hamilton MT, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 14:12 (2463 days ago) @ Kim in Wa

I'm with you, Kim. Overcharges are not unique to Otilia's; I've caught them all over the place in my travels. Can't count the number of times cabdrivers in Zihua have tried to overcharge me, so I keep the rate sheet in my wallet.

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 14:26 (2463 days ago) @ Kim in Wa

I have the utmost respect for the family that runs Otilia's. However, I can't help but believe this issue has been brought to their attention on numerous occasions over the years.

Reputable Zihuatanejo businesses rely on clients who trust them. It's all about confianza here. That is a core principle of our community's values.

Yes, you are right about firing someone, it costs dearly, especially if they have worked for the business for 10 or more years. If Franco is indeed the culprit they would need at least two witnesses willing to testify to make a case against him to be able to separate him without paying him a small fortune in severance pay.

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by clint, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 15:06 (2462 days ago) @ ZihuaRob

I find it hard to believe that if someone's employee has been overcharging and pulling such shenanigans for many years that they aren't aware of it and condone it.

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by LadyM in Zihua @, Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 15:57 (2462 days ago) @ clint

Being aware of something and condoning are two separate things altogether.

--
[image]
www.juliostours.com

Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by clint, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 17:05 (2462 days ago) @ LadyM in Zihua

If yopuy know something is happening in your business that is not proper and you don't stop it, you are condoning it.

DUH!

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by LadyM in Zihua @, Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 17:22 (2462 days ago) @ clint

Some things are not as easy as you make them out to be. Let us just disagree on this and get on with our nice time here.

--
[image]
www.juliostours.com

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Trip report - What to do in Zihua

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 18:21 (2462 days ago) @ clint

I agree 100%. An act of omission by a person in authority is the same as being an accomplice. It's the same problem I have with another beachfront restaurant.