Posted by J. Hill on July 05, 2000 at 21:43:32:
We just returned from a very relaxing week in Ixtapa and Zijuatanejo. Your board was very helpful for the planning stage of our trip.
Here's a brief report: Before consulting your board, we had traded into a timeshare unit via Interval International for a 2-bedroom unit at Hotel Puerta del Mar. While certainly not a 5-star hotel, it wasn't too disappointing. The location was its major downside. We had to walk about 10-minutes (leisurely) to the beach. The pluses: the staff was great; rooms cleaned very well daily; lots of pool activities for the kids (water polo, pool volley ball, trampoline, soccer games, etc.). A great plus for our family may have been a negative for others--the vast majority of the other hotel guests were vacationers from Mexico City--giving even my 8-year-old daughter an opportunity to work on her Spanish. The two 12-year-old boys with us were the focus of attention of a gaggle of young Mexican girls vacationing there with their families, and the two developed a fair amount of fluency in our too short week. Back to the rooms: they were good quality (by Mexico standards) and of very spacious size for
two adults and four kids. If one comes with no pretenses of being in a high-end resort, but instead recognizes the place as a "good bargain" hotel, you will be fine. By the way, their restaurant is only just getting started -- having just been acquired by a fellow named Amador, who has great plans, but hasn't yet executed them. He was open for breakfasts and lunches, but not yet for dinners. His prices were better than most places in town.
Re activities, we probably spent more time during the days out and about than at the hotel, making up for the location. We fished, surfed, rode horseback, visited the markets in both Ixtapa and Zijuatanejo, and generally went sightseeing. We did NOT have anywhere near enough time, and we are planning the next trip south already.
We highly recommend Catcha L'Ola for surfing needs and assistance. Leon, the owner, and his brother, Edquardo, took us under wing for the week, introducing the boys to Playa Linda and Saladitas (swell was well overhead). One of our best meals was at Leon's aunt's restaurant on the beach at Saladitas. Don't miss it.
For fishing, we tried out several different panga fishing operations, and settled finally on Whiskey Charters--nice covered panga, great captain (Arturo Lara) and good equipment (although it was a good idea that I brought my own light tackle (five rods/reels)). The trolling tackle was tops--all Penn International, some on custom rods.
Others should learn from us--avoid the "guides" hawking "their" boats on the beach. We tried it, and got the classic "bait and switch." The promised boats and captains didn't appear, but their "brother" was on hand to take us in another boat.... Whiskey was professional and even better priced when we went directly to them at their office in Zijuatenjo.
Our best meals were at El Faro (the view can't be beat) and Tequila Shots (mainly because we were so impressed with a simple dish--chicken tamales (thin and delicate for a tamale) wrapped in banana leaves.
Also, we had super meals at Casa Morelos (owned by a friend of Leon).
The girls especially liked their visit to the Royal Holiday Hotel Barcelo and have declared that we stay there on all our future trips, which hopefully won't be too far into the future.
Again, thanks for the help.