Trip Report 2/10/06 to 2/24/06

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Escrito por Sara desde ( el día miércoles, 01 de marzo, 2006 a las 22:12:59 horas :

The very first thing I have to say is Thank you to everyone who took the time to get it through my thick head that ATM cards are the way to go. Luckily, on our first night at Las Brisas we ran into a couple who we met last year. We went into Ixtapa for dinner and they showed us how to use our brand-new, very own ATM card. There's a Banamex right next to the Super Mercado in Ixtapa. We made four withdrawals during our stay for the mamimum amount of $400 (US). The lowest exchange rate was 10.38 pesos per dollar. The only service charge was a $2 charge by our bank. We paid for everything in pesos including all our hotel charges during our stay and came back with pesos to use next year and no credit card bill. I can't remember the percentage that was tacked on to our bill last year at Las Brisas for paying by credit but I do remember we were floored by it. In addition, we had been exchanging dollars for pesos there our whole trip and on the day we checked out we got the lowest exchange rate of the trip. So, once agan, thank you all.

We booked through Apple out of Chicago and flew USA3000. We were served breakfast on the flight to Zihua and lunch on the way back. A free movie was shown on both no complaints there. Customs in Zihua was a breeze compared to past years. We were through customs, on the bus, drinking a corona and on our way to Las Brisas in 30 minutes....for real. Not a time-share person in sight. It was the same on the return flight. Probably the easiest travel experience we've had in years.

We can't seem to break away from this hotel. This was our 8th year there and we still love it. There are, however, some negatives. Their drink prices have really gone up. I like to have pina colados on the beach during the day. They now cost 70 pesos for a standard styrofoam cup. That's way too high for me.

The best food is still lunch at the pool or on the beach. Weliked la mexicana in the past but you can no longer eat outdoors and it was so cold in the indoor section that we had to leave without finishing our meal. The service on the beach is still excellent, though, as is the service in the entire hotel. We only spent one day at the pool but it has really improved since the last time we were there. They now have enough umbrellas for everyone.

The waves were really, really, big this year. We usually spend a lot of time in the water, especially my husband who is a large man....6'3" 210lb. Even he was leary this year. In one 48 hour period at Las Brisas, 2 dislocated collarbones and 3 broken ankles. I was present for both dislocated collarbones and saw all 3 broken ankles on crutches so this is not a rumor. The good news, however, is that the medical service in the Ixtapa/Zihua area is excellent. I also know this first hand because I had occasion to need it last year. This year we spoke to 3 of the injured people and 1 woman who came down with a urinary infection and all raved about the medical services they recieved. So have no fear. If you should need medical attention on your trip, you're in good hands.

Since we've been spending our vacation in Ixtapa/zihua for the past 8 years, we've been to many of the area's restaurants. All of them have been talked about on this board so I'm only going to mention the one's we tried for the first time this year and 2 favorites from past years.

First Time Restaurants:

LaCala...The most beautiful restaurant I've been to in Mexico. If you want romantic, this is the place. The best part for me was watching the resident sea turtle swim back into the bay after dark, fighting the waves to find just the right sport to spend the evening. I wasn't as impressed with the food but was still glad we went because it was so beautiful.

Marina Cafe...Now here's a place where you can eat some food. Certainly not fancy and very small but fantastic service (our waiter was...what?....delightful?,not a word I use, a character?...I don't know how to describe him. I'll just say he was great) and delicious food.

Emillo's...I wasn't excited about trying this place because it's known for pizza and ribs. But we were really tired one night and didn't feel like doing much so we tried it. The pizza was wonderful. I'm use to Chicago-style pizza.... heavy, greasy pizza. This was light with a thin, air-hole kind of crust. Really good and very inexpensive. Soooo we went back to try the ribs and they were great. If you're traveling with kids, staying at an all-inclusive in Ixtapa and looking for someplace to go outside the hotel, I would recommend Emillo's. The food is really good and the prices are very reasonable.

Soleiado....for dinner, not breakfast. In 8 years I've never had a bad meal until.....that's all I'm goin to say.

Restaurants from past years: (I think I said 2 earlier, I mean't 3)

Il Mare...We've been going here since Fernando first opened. It is, in my opinion, by far the best. The food is wonderful, the view is wonderful, the service is wonderful. And if you want to get all dressed up for a special night, great. If you don't, that's ok too. I love this had to go 3 times.

Elvira's (on La Ropa). It seems that everyone on the board has their favorite place on their favorite beach in Zihua. Well this is our's. I like to get to La Ropa about 5. Walk the beach. Get to Elvira's about 6 (in time for the 2 for 1) sit, drink, eat with my feet in the sand and watch the sunset. Now that's the perfect end to an always perfect day.

La Hacienda (Ixtapa)....I've written about this restauant before but have never seen anyone else write about it. This amazes me since it is our favorite Ixtapa restaurant. Their dinners are so delicious and so reasonably priced....wonderful garlic shrimp, Grande something, I can't recall. It's located across from the Inter-Continental. Every year my husband says to me "why do you keep complaining that nobody knows about this you want to stand in line."

We got really lucky. We were sipping Rick's Tequila in Rick's Bar on a Saturday night when he announced that he was selling tickets for a Guitar-fest fund-raiser on the Picante for the next day.....the snorkel and sail cruise. So, of course, we bought tickets. What a fun time. The owner of the Picante, Tony, drove from Texas just to captain this cruise. The regular boat crew voluntered their time(their day off) to man the boat....they were great. There was live entertainment, Josie who plays at Rick's regularly and two other guitarists but I didn't get their names. We had great wind so we actually motor... and we got a whale show. What a great day. We did the snorkle-sail trip when Picante was Tristar. It's the same crew and they are great. I really recommend it. I only wish we were going to be in Zihua for Guitar-fest. We met such great people who are all involved with it that I know it's going to be a fun time. It's the last week in March.

I met a woman at Rick's Bar who has written a great book on Zihua/Ixtapa, Linda Fox. I bought it for 120 pesos and it was well worth it. She has lived in Zihua since the early 70's. I asked her why she doesn't advertise and she told me that the shipping costs are so high that it's too costly for people to order her book from the states and have it shipped. So if you happen to meet her at Rick's or some of the other local places, I recommend her book.

There's a kind of hidden mall in Ixtapa. It's on the end of the strip in the direction of Zihua. In the middle is an outdoor bar. Right across from the bar there's a jewelry store. They have some really beautiful things. I'm not much of a jewelry person and usually never do any shopping on vacation but I did make some purchases there.

We did our annual beach walk on the hotel-strip beach in Ixtapa...Playa Palmer??? We walk from the Pacifica to the rocks right before the marina and back. We always stop at the pool bar at Krystal (not the swim up bar, the one near the snack bar) for a drink. They have the most wonderful fruit drinks made with real, fresh fruit...49 pesos, that's a deal for Ixtapa. Then we stop at the little place near the tram that goes up to Pacifica where they feed the crocs at 3pm. There's also lots of Iguanas to watch while you're waiting. It's a fun day.

Well, that's about it. I really could go on and on but it's been a long day at work and I'm sure my spelling shows it. So I'll just end with we had another wonderful vacation and can't wait until we do it again next year. Thanks again everyone for all the great info.

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