Trip report August 13-26 and Villas del Palmar


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Escrito por Talon desde 69.64.208.25 (scbamersprx2.us.standardchartered.com) el día miércoles, 31 de agosto, 2005 a las 14:34:58 horas :

This trip report will provide a full account of my family's Mexico trip in August 2005; our stay in Zihuatanejo ran from the 18-24. I put Villas del Palmar in the title because there aren't any reviews on this place. The most useful info will be at the end of this post under the "Summary" heading, the rest is just a read.

Background:

Every other year, the family goes to Mexico, we live in NY. Up to this point, the family meant my wife Estela (Mexican born, now legal immigrant from Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla) and myself (French/American background)-this year our 1 year old daughter Arianna became part of the roster. This vacation ritual started in 2001 (which by the way ended an 8 year time span during which my wife hadn't seen her immediate family-lots of tears...have pictures). In 2001 we went to Veracruz, in 2003 we visited Puerto Escondido, this year was Z and 2007 will probaby be Tulum(BY PLANE!!). All these trips always last 2 weeks during which we usually spend a week in Izucar and a week at the beach. This year was different from our last trips because my Dad (lives in France) was also in Mexico visiting, with his wife, my half brother and his wife who moved from France due to a work assignment and now live in D.F.

Aug 13th:

Woke up super early for a 6:50am flight. When I booked the tickets, I decided to save $140 by taking a connecting flight through Charlotte, in the long run this was a bad idea...when travelling with an infant the priority isn't saving money but instead minimizing travel time. Nevertheless the baby is/was a great sport and the trip went well. We picked up a rental car which we had reserved at Advantage Rent A Car. The only bad part was that we got completely lost leaving the airport on Zaragoza and looking for the cuota to Puebla/Izucar (on past trips this didn't happen and getting lost seemed to be the theme for this trip). I HATE DRIVING IN MEXICO CITY. Though my Dad was staying in Puebla at this point, we opted against having dinner there together and instead went straight to Izucar from D.F. When we finally made it to my wife's Mom's(suegra) house the smiles made it all worth it. Immediately, we broke out the goodies (clothes, toys etc.) and I felt like Santa Claus.

August 14th:

We went to Puebla and met up with Dad and E (his wife). For the record, from this point on when I refer to "we" I'm referring to the wife, the baby, the suegra and myself. Hotel Colonial looks like a nice and not overly expensive place. Breakfast was nice and my I was very pleased that my father finally met his one and only grandaughter. After breakfast we decided to go to Cholula. Cholula has a church and a mostly buried pyramid which you can visit. As is the case in many locat1ons in Mexico(and probably the world) the church sits right on top of the pyramid (other religious site) loudly proclaiming its (supposed) superiority. The worst part of the day was that we got seperated from my Dad and E. A cab took them there, didn't even pause for us to follow, and we hadn't agreed on a plan on where to meet in Cholula. For the next 5 hours I felt real crappy about the whole situation. Luckily, the day wasn't lost because I resolved to stop by their hotel on our way back to Izucar and we were able to have a nice dinner together.

August 15th:

Went back to Puebla and we spent half the day with Dad and E walking around from one tourist spot to another, they had to head back to D.F. that afternoon. All in all it was a peacful day.

August 16th:

Woke up early and headed to my brother's in D.F. They live around Bosque de las Lomas so the road trip was quite long and we got lost again. Once we arrived and got settled, we did have time to see the Palacio Nacional and the Catedral. Their apartment is really nice, they graciously gave us the master bedroom and from my perspective it was a welcome change from Izucar. This was an important day because it was Arianna's 1 year birthday. We had a delicious French dinner, Arianna got some really nice gifts and it felt really good to see my Dad and Estela's Mom sharing this day with their grandaughter:)

August 17th:

In the morning we had an appointment with a photographer who took some really nice outdoor black and white family portraits. In the afternoon we did some touristy stuff in D.F.: Torre LatinAmerica and Bellas Artes. Dinner was once again delicious with some home made zuchini and cheese risotto.

August 18th:

Finally, off to Z! We took the Toluca-Morelia-Nueva Italia-Z route. Unfortunately, we got into a fender bender on the periferico in Morelia-in the split second my eyes went to the map to show something to Estela I rear ended the car in front which had stopped at the red light. Last trip to Puerto Escondido had been hardcore driving through mountains and no mishaps. The girl I hit was nice enough and was planning to go to Z the next day. After a long story (see Summary tips at end)with the insurance aspect we continued on and made it to Z around 10pm. Ruben the owner from Villas del Palmar was there to greet us and get us settled in...when I didn't seem to enthused at the array of alcohol in the fridge, my moochi moochi concerns were immediately settled.

August 19th:

Stayed at hotel due to arduous trip...hung out and swam. Went to Comercial Mexicana to load up on supplies

August 20th:

Spent the day at Patty's on La Ropa. The food there is average, the service great and the surf on La Ropa is great for body surfing! Stopped by Casa Sun and Moon to get my refund from my cancelled reservation-no problemo menos 20% de gastos administrativos. Again,went to Comercial Mexicana to load up on supplies. Made dinner at home.

August 21st:

Spent the day at Chez Arnoldo's on Las Gatas. The food there was quite good and the service is great. Las Gatas is ideal for folks who dislike big waves. As expected, when I was taking Arianna into the moderate surf her hat blew off...who picked it up?...the girl that I had hit on the way to Z. Was glad to help some elderly mexican ladies (reminded me of beached whales) get up from their sitting position as you walk towards the end of the beach. Again, made dinner at home.

August 22nd:

Spent the day in Barra de Potosi. Forgot the name of the place we stayed. We were hoping to visit Casa Frida due to the parallel French-Mexican connection but they were away; looks like they're selling the place anyways. We didn't visit the lagoon. This beach is great for long walks. Our neighbors at the restaurant were retired expats...looks like they must be Z residents for at least 6 months a year. We then went to the Mercado de Artesania's and loaded up on souvenirs...bargained prices down to 75% of initial quote...probably could get it for 60% but not worth the hassle IMO. Stopped by Lupita's(very nice lady) and left a message for Rob in his book. Again, made dinner at home.

August 23rd:

Rain day spent at Villas del Palmar...read, swam in the pool and slept. All meals were made at home.

August 24th:

Spent the morning at the fancy shmansy Villas de Sol on La Ropa. Great food. We took the Z-Acapulco-Cuernavaca-Cautla route back to Izucar without any mishap.

August 25th:

Spent the day in Izucar with Estela's family. As a 2nd b-day party for Arianna(to share with the mexican family) I bought a pinata which I filled up with toys and sweets. My cunado even had a winch(?) so we could easily pull the rope to raise and lower the pinata as desired. Some extended extended family kids showed up. It was a blast and I got it on tape...Arianna started crying once the pinata ruptured and everyone rushed for the goods.

August 26th:

Back to the US no mishaps thank God...actually felt like kissing the driveway, I must be a homebody even though the cicumstances of my life has lead me to visit 30ish countries.

Review of Villas del Palmar:

This establishment is made up of 6 condos set amidst a groove of palm trees with a beautiful tropical garden and very nice pool made from rocks. It is located slightly inland from La Ropa and the beach is an easy 3-5 minute walk. We had their largest 2BR condo@140/night. Downstairs consisted of a full bath(both bathrooms had good water pressure and hot water), a large living room (1 couch, 1 loveseat, 1 hangout chair/dining room (marble top table seats 6-8), fully functional kitchen(with an excellent selection of pots, pans, utensils, diningwear, full size stove/fridge/sink and ample counter space) and an outside patio with a hammock and wooden table seating 8. I didnt particularly like the fact that the people in the pool could see me if I was sitting on the patio. Upstairs was a small corridor, full bathroom, master bedroom, additional bedroom and balcony. Both bedrooms had ample closet space. All rooms had ceiling fans and the master bedroom had A/C, though it was August, we never felt hot and sticky. Furthermore, the place was clean, bugless(ok we did see 2 centipedes but they were escaping the rain) and all windows and doors had screens and shutters. Services-cleaning service is daily(for the most part, hey it's Mexico), sheets and towels are changed every 3 days, laundry service isn't provided but you can make a deal with the cleaning lady (which we did-no dryer however), and we didn't see any security (also doors can't be locked from the outside and they dont have a safe (or front desk for that matter)so keep your valuables with you at all times). All the guests we saw were Mexican(which was fine by us).

Summary tips:

1> Mexican directions-I'm fluent in Spanish but if you want a slow painful death then I suggest asking for directions in Mexico. Right and left don't exist in this country (in fact they often mix these up...now I know why the wife has problems with the same). They will tell you to to dar la vuelta por abojo or por arriba..what are they referring to, elevations? They will tell you to go to the esquina where Dona Procesa has her tortilla shop...I DON'T LIVE HERE DAMMIT! They will tell you to go hasta topar pared...now I know what this means thank God!!

2>Insurance and renting a car-The deductible
will be covered by AMEX travel insurance thank God, I took the most insurance I could when I rented thank God...net-net should be 0 out of pocket. Also make sure the car you rent has all the required documents: Permiso de Circulacion and the Insurance card with the policy number.

3>Puerto Escondido to Z comparison-PE is smaller and cheaper. PE has bigger surf. Both places are beautiful and hard to get to.

Conclusion

Had a nice somewhat relaxing trip...too much driving and some bad luck escpecially for an inaugural baby trip.

p.s. not enough time/energy to proofread...tenses are mixed up...pls forgive

Adios



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