Posted by Sharon on August 07, 2000 at 15:09:48:
I would like to share thoughts and ideas from our recent 7 day vacation (July 29- Aug 5) to maybe give new readers some ideas of some things to do in the area when visiting. First of all I must say that I had never heard of Ixtapa until about a month ago. My husband and I (newly married in our late 30's) explored for hours deals and information on Mexico beach resort areas on the computer and then found this message board about 3 weeks ago and became mesmerized. Everyone's questions and input on the message board really helped us to decide that Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo was the place for us to visit.
We made all the arrangements only two weeks in advance. We booked our flight with American AirWest and made hotel reservation via computer separately. We chose to stay in Ixtapa at the Barcelo Hotel without the all inclusive so we could enjoy trying different restaurants in the area and go to town to enjoy things also. With limited Spanish speaking skills we found everyone to be very helpful and friendly. Being familiar with the currency,numbers, basic greetings, tipping and mannerly sayings really helped. The hotel had activities at the pool area for different ages with Spanish/English translation. I really enjoyed the water aerobics and playing water volleyball with non- English speaking couples. We went to a Fiesta Mexicana Dinner Show at the hotel and enjoyed the buffet and dancing. All the hotels in the area have their own restaurants,bars, and activities and it is interesting to visit different hotels.
Growing up in Florida and loving the beach I fell in love with the area immediately. This area is tourist developed- meaning high rises, jet skis, parasailing, but luckily there are no Taco Bells or McDonalds. Having vacationed in Puerto Vallarta years ago I thought Ixtapa was much nicer. We ate breakfast out at different places everyday then snacked or just had nachos and drinks in place of lunch then went out for late dinners. I suggest exploring restaurants and don't just settle for the ones that are visable from the street. Our food experiences would have not been complete if we did not take a taxi to town to eat at Tamales y Atoles Any for lunch and for a nicer special dinner Kau Kan with candlelight overlooking the bay.
I was pleased to be told by the hotel desk clerk about the Commercial Mexicana in Zihuatanejo
it is a new store very clean much like a smaller Wal-Mart Supercenter, all the taxi drivers know where it is. We took the taxi here on the way back from a visit to town for lunch and shopping to pick up a few forgotten personal care items. We stocked up on Gatorade, snacks, juices, but the panaderia department (bakery) was great! We took muffins and sweet breads back to the hotel for the following breakfast.
Exploring shops, bargaining with vendors, eating out, enjoying the sunsets from our balcony, drinking more pinacolada's and marquita's than ever in my life and getting a nice tan were some of the highlights. My husband 40 went para-sailing ( cost about $20) he loved it! I was chicken to do that so I chose to get my hair braided instead before leaving. I would have never thought that I would have done this but it is popular and easy to take care of because of all the swimming and the humidity in the area. We went to the Island and went snorkeling and really liked this. We took our snacks, bottled water,boxed juices with us and were glad we did. We arrived about 10 AM before the crowd.
Take lots of film on your trip, drink lots of liquid, don't forget to tip, and be willing to accept cultural diversity and differences- if someone has difficulty with that they need to stay home. We found the hotel workers, restaurants, and many other visitors very friendly. Think about it when is the last time you got on an elevator and everyone greeted each other with a hello, thank you or good bye?
Our two week prior planned vacation could not have turned out better. We have begun talking about our next visit to Ixtapa/Zihuanejo. Gracias to everyone!
Sharon and Allen