First Timers Trip Report

by fismic81, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 07:13 (2458 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.

Food:

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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First Timers Trip Report

by LadyM in Zihua @, Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 08:06 (2458 days ago) @ fismic81

Sounds to me like you had a great vacation. That is certainly what I look for when I go on one. I will mention to Julio about the mask so he can take care of the problem one. Glad you had a good day on the water. Thanks so much for giving such a good detailed report. That is what I enjoy reading here.

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[image]
www.juliostours.com

First Timers Trip Report

by Paulf @, Mount Sterling, Ky 40353, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 09:07 (2458 days ago) @ LadyM in Zihua

So many of us had a good first time experience, and came back a 2nd time and have fell in love with the area. There are readers that have been coming to "Z" & "I" for over 25 years. We have met people after coming down a few times now spend their winters there. We come down 2 times a year now. Will be coming down in Feb. to get away from the winter and then in Oct. to charge our batteries for the winter season.

First Timers Trip Report

by K&B, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 10:23 (2458 days ago) @ LadyM in Zihua

Lady M,
Just curious, do you have some financial interest in Julio's Tours?

Thanks

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First Timers Trip Report

by LadyM in Zihua @, Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 11:28 (2458 days ago) @ K&B

Absolutely None. Julio's son is my Godson and I have known Julio since he was a baby. Julio is a good fisherman and I help him out with my English. I find everyone here needs a little help with something.

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[image]
www.juliostours.com

First Timers Trip Report

by K&B, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 11:37 (2458 days ago) @ LadyM in Zihua

I couldn't agree more. Thanks for helping out where help is needed.

First Timers Trip Report

by calirose, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 13:00 (2458 days ago) @ K&B

Thank you for such good and detailed information. I will be there in April (Semana Santa). I love street food too! Did you find a place with good chiliquilles? I know I spelled that wrong. Why did La Ropa feel more touristy? I am staying above this beach and I will probably visit there daily...but I don't want to be in just the "tourist" area.

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First Timers Trip Report

by Fran @, Evanston, IL, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 13:19 (2458 days ago) @ calirose

Zihuatanejo is a vacation area. Most any beach will have its share of visitors to the area from many places. But all the beaches in the area have many hotels and residences catering to tourists. That's the fact.

We have stayed on La Ropa for many years and while I would never say that there are not many tourists there, there are also many local people who come as well as people from the beach hotels and condos. I think you will find Semana Santa a busy and vibrant time with all kinds of people on the beach enjoying a vacation.

I doubt you will have a bad time on La Ropa. It's a beautiful and pleasant beach with some great people watching and good food (and Dos Equis everywhere). Repeat visitors to Zihuatanejo tend to have favorite spots. The original poster stayed on Madera and likes it a lot. As many do. Once you are settled, you will spend time in town and time on Madera as well as La Ropa and you will have a chance to decide where you will spend your next vacation. You will know if you want to stay with La Ropa or find a place on Madera or in town. You will know what appeals to you.

We decided that while we enjoy our time on Madera and we love to be in town, it will probably always be our preference to stay on La Ropa. We all have different tastes and that's what makes the world an interesting and varied place.

First Timers Trip Report

by calirose, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 18:38 (2457 days ago) @ Fran

Fran, I am looking forward to discovering all of Zihua or as much as I can in my short week. This way I will know for sure where I want to stay next time. Can't wait for the good food/drinks and people watching. I haven't met a beach yet I didn't like. Semana Santa should be a blast!

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First Timers Trip Report

by Fran @, Evanston, IL, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 19:18 (2457 days ago) @ calirose

I think it's worth mentioning that the first time we came to the area - which was many, many years ago- our travel agent (remember a time when you had to go to a travel agent) would not book us to Zihuatanejo at all. Even though I came in to book plane fare and a specific hotel.

TA said she would only book to Ixtapa. She told us to visit Zihuatanejo, so charming, she said, but at the end of the day, we would want to be at a hotel in Ixtapa.

No offense to Ixtapa and I have no bad things to say about our stay. But we went to Zihuatanejo. I was right. La Ropa and that hotel were exactly what I imagined and what I wanted.

So the next day, we went to the hotel and booked for the next year. And 20 plus years later we are still there.

You will know what you want. You will either have guessed right or you will encounter the place that suits you even better.

We went during Semanta Santa for many years because we were on an academic schedule. We liked it very much. Yes, it can be rowdy and crowded but we enjoyed the life and the sights and the sounds of it. It's a wonderful time to visit.

First Timers Trip Report

by bob/medhat, medicine hat, alberta, Sunday, February 08, 2015, 00:09 (984 days ago) @ K&B

Lady M,
Just curious, do you have some financial interest in Julio's Tours?

Thanks

He does now!! LOL

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Same answer as I posted before.

by LadyM in Zihua @, Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Sunday, February 08, 2015, 08:00 (984 days ago) @ bob/medhat

Absolutely None. Julio's son is my Godson and I have known Julio since he was a baby. Julio is a good fisherman and I help him out with my English. I find everyone here needs a little help with something.

--
[image]
www.juliostours.com

Same answer as I posted before.

by bob/medhat, medicine hat, alberta, Sunday, February 08, 2015, 08:03 (984 days ago) @ LadyM in Zihua

You are right ladym

First Timers Trip Report

by Janescruz, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 14:51 (2458 days ago) @ fismic81

Nice report! The only disagreement I have is the recommendation to eat street food- I have traveled all over MX in my life and NEVER EAT THE STREET FOOD!!!! Yes, it may be good, and lots of people on this board love it,but you are taking a HUGE health risk in doing so- Proper hygiene is not always a priority with the street food vendors. IMHO-stick to the restaurants!!

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First Timers Trip Report

by ZihuaRob ⌂ @, Zihuatanejo, México, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 14:55 (2458 days ago) @ Janescruz

Nice report! The only disagreement I have is the recommendation to eat street food- I have traveled all over MX in my life and NEVER EAT THE STREET FOOD!!!! Yes, it may be good, and lots of people on this board love it,but you are taking a HUGE health risk in doing so- Proper hygiene is not always a priority with the street food vendors. IMHO-stick to the restaurants!!

I couldn't agree more. It is the rare street food vendor that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

First Timers Trip Report

by fismic81, Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 19:20 (2457 days ago) @ Janescruz

I guess the decision to eat street food would depend on how one feels about their own immune system. If you're always using antibacterial soap then I may not recomend it.