trip report: Eight days in paradise


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Posted by mike on October 16, 2000 at 13:11:50:

I returned home from Zihuatanejo late last night and am still in mourning. I was torn between telling the world about this sacred little spot or just keeping it to myself. But in the end, altruism won out, and I sit here trying to think of words to describe what is now officially my home away from home.
All total, I read four thick books, walked miles of white beaches, swam in the warm, gentle waves of Playa la Ropa, drank 50-plus maragaritas and met the most amazing people, absorbing their culture like a sponge.
I stayed with the love of my life at Villa del Sol. I saved for months to afford this luxury and, believe me, it's worth every penny. I won't make this a commercial for this resort but it's impeccably clean, the service is extraordinary (they seem to have an uncanny sense to anticipate what you need while knowing to just leave you in peace. We ate only one dinner here (it was quite good but pricey). We ate most of our meals downtown. I can still taste the seafood tacos at La Sirena Gorda, the fresh snapper at Garrobos, that big steak at J.J.'s Bar and Grille as we watched baseball. One morning after walking the streets with two cappuchinos from Nueva Zelanda (I know, sounds yuppiesque) we had huevos rancheros at a place down the street. Total bill for breakfast: 36 pesos!! That's about four bucks. We left a tip as big as our bill. The waiter taught us some Spanish, gave us some shopping tips and was a joy. We couldn't remember experiencing such gracious service anywhere in the U.S.
We got up early every morning, walked an empty beach or went downtown to watch the fishermen bring in their catch. We spent one evening helping release hunreds of baby tortugas (turtles) into the bay as part of an joint effort between the hotel and an environmental group whose name escapes me. We went to the Central Market to watch the people start their day by picking up supplies. We bought fresh tortillas and ate them on the beach with cold beer we bought at Commercial Mexicana for roughly 45 cents each. I felt bad but I couldn't see playing Villa del Sol $3 for a Pacifico. We went snorkling and swimming but drew the line at parasailing and jet skiing. We wanted quiet and secretly hoped no one would patronize those activities. But the "action" on the beach was limited. Very quiet, very warm and it all served to gently pull the stress from a very weary body. I came home rejuvenated, almost spiritually cleansed, and I'm already saving for my next trip. Oh, also, I met Rob and his lovely wife Lupita. I thanked him then and I'll thank him now. His web site was so helpful. We planned our whole trip that way and found his restaurant list especially helpful. Our only regret was not being about to try them all!
My final piece of advice. If you can't decide between Zihua and Ixtapa or Zihua and Acapulco, or Zihua and Puerto Vallarta (whatever) the choice is very clear to me. This is my fourth trip to Mexico and Zihuatanejo offers the best of all experiences. It's quiet, beautiful and the people have a geniune, personable quality about them. All in all, it was the best vacation I've ever had. It's 1 p.m. on the West Coast and I can't work. I'm thinking about a certain palapa, where a thirsty white gringo plunked his butt in the sand and was miraculously brought back to life. Until I return ...


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