Trip report, June 18-26, long...long

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Escrito por Golden Bear desde ( el día sábado, 09 de julio, 2005 a las 06:11:12 horas :

We recently returned (June 18 to 26) from our first adventure to Zihuatanejo and are pleased to report our holiday was everything we had hoped for and more. I am not ashamed to admit that after traveling to the Caribbean for our annual beach vacation for the last eight years, we came to Zihua with some trepidation because we were not sure it would measure up to our trips to our favorite deserted island in the Caribbean.

How happy we were when we arrived at our room at the Catalina and looked out a Zihua Bay and La Ropa. As soon as we hit the beach that first afternoon, we knew our choice of vacation locat1ons was wise and that our 8-day holiday would be wonderful.

An added bonus for us coming to Zihua is our ability to get there in just two flights, one day of traveling, and arrive before sunset. Our favorite little place in the Carib takes us two days of traveling and at least three flights. How wonderful for us to arrive at La Ropa at 3:00 in the afternoon and quite literally have an extra day in paradise.

In planning for our vacation, we had originally chosen another hotel (not located directly on the beach) but because of a snafu with our reservation (their fault), we ended up rebooking at Catalina. After our first day at the hotel, we realized how fortunate we were to have changed our reservation. The Catalina is simply a wonderful place to stay. We booked one of their new, Linda Vista suites since A/C is important to us when we sleep. These new rooms are fantastic. The views from their terraces are simply spectacular. The rooms themselves are well designed and we both agreed we could have lived on the terrace. The double lounger on the terrace was especially inviting.

My wife and I only had three small complaints about our accommodations. The beds were awfully stiff compared to US standards, due mainly to the fact that our mattress, which was top quality, was laid upon a cement bed rather than a box spring. Did it keep us from sleeping at night? Not really. Second, in the LV suites, if you want hot water in your shower, you need to let the water run for a fairly long time before it warms up, unless other guests in LV suites are running their showers…plenty of hot water once it starts flowing, though. Last, we did not mind hiking up the 250 stairs from the beach to our room at the end of each day, but it really does make you plan ahead since this is not a journey you want to make often, unless of course you are training for the Olympics.

As I said, 3 small complaints. Overall, we thought Catalina was outstanding. The staff could not have been more friendly and accommodating. The service could not have been better. Each day our room was spotless, the beach was clean, the food was excellent, the beers were cold, and the margaritas were wonderful and cheap.

This vacation was a much needed getaway for the two of us. We quickly got into our beach routine of waking up by 7:30 and reading on the terrace. Breakfast at Catalina around 8:30 or 9:00, on the beach and walking the length of the beach and back each day, in our chairs and soaking up the sun, reading and relaxing. Some days, we would drag ourselves away from the beach and have a light lunch at Elviras, Paty’s or La Perla, but most days we just relaxed in the sun, swam, body surfed, and basically hung out. By 6:00 or 6:30 each day, thoroughly relaxed and at the same time energized by our day in the sun, we would hike up the steps to the Sunset Bar to relax some more while we enjoyed Juan the bartender’s expertly poured margaritas, dos por uno.

We would end up hanging out at the bar until 8:00 or 8:30 each evening, chatting with Juan, playing cards, or chatting with our newfound friends at Catalina. We were lucky to meet several other couples, even going out to dinner with them on several occasions. How fortunate we were to meet such wonderful people.

As far as food goes, we ate breakfast each day at Catalina. I loved their chilaquiles con pollo and my wife especially enjoyed the huevos Mexicanos. One morning, we did venture down to Elvira for breakfast, which we found inferior to the food at Catalina.

For lunch, we ate at the local beach establishments and found them all about equal. The service at La Perla was very slow and indifferent. The service at Paty’s was outstanding.

We fell in love with Tamales Any, eating there twice for dinner and once for lunch. We judged their mole rojo just slightly better than their mole verde. We also thought their guacamole was the best we had in Zihua.

For other dinners, we had a wonderful meal at Il Mare. The view was to die for, the service fantastic, and the food top quality and reasonably priced. Had a great dinner at Elviras, wonderful langosta in garlic, but wondered why they wrap their steak al tun in bacon? I’m not a bacon eater, so I guess I don’t get this one. We enjoyed a fun and tasty dinner at Paty’s where I got my fill of pulpo, which was outstanding.

We finished our trip with an absolutely delightful meal at La Gula. We can’t say enough good about La Gula. The service was impeccable, the ambiance was excellent, the food was top notch, and the prices were very reasonable. We’d go back there again in a heartbeat.

Our only disappointment in terms of meals was a dinner at Caprichos. After reading some excellent reviews of the place on this Board, we went there expecting a great meal. It must have been an off night for the staff because our food was served cold, the margaritas were watery and flavorless, they never brought the appetizer we ordered (they did not charge us for it), the service slow and indifferent, and they had made a mistake on our bill (which, to their credit, they corrected immediately and with many apologies…mistakes do happen). Maybe it was just our waiter, but we just cannot recommend this place.

I am sad to say we were so happy with the beach and palapas at Catalina, we never did get to Las Gatas or Potosi. We went to town many times and enjoyed our shopping experiences, especially at the Mercado. For us, the most important thing is time at the beach and we certainly got our fill.

We were most impressed with all the people we met in Zihua, including the gringos and gringas. The level of service and attention we got from all the local staff members was excellent. We had no bad experiences with people trying to take advantage of us; rather, the opposite was true. We found our service providers in Mexico to be honest and accommodating beyond levels we are used to in the States.
The only time we were bothered by time-share folks was when we arrived at the airport. No one tried to overcharge us, hide the tip already added, make us pay extra for running the A/C in the cabs, or many of the other maladies mentioned far too often on this Board.

One quick anecdote for illustrative purposes. When we had dinner at La Gula, we did not realize they did not accept credit cards. Our hostess presented us with the bill and saw our chagrin when she told us we could not pay with plastic; she immediately said, “It’s okay, come back tomorrow and pay us.” I don’t imagine that would ever happen to us anywhere in the States (incidentally, we solved the problem by paying with pesos and dollars).

Overall, we had a fabulous time in Zihua. We came back with beautiful tans, we were well rested, and we were as happy as could be. We would go back tomorrow and plan to come back again in the future. When we returned home, a friend asked me if there was anything disappointing on the trip. I told him my only complaint was that while we were there, the waves at La Ropa were mainly beach break, making body surfing difficult if not impossible (one day, I got physically pounded by the waves and thus restricted myself to boogie boarding, which was a total gas). I figure if that was my only complaint, it had to be a great trip.

We are hooked and we will be back, sooner rather than later.

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