my notes from 2 week visit this month

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Escrito por jon desde ( el día jueves, 20 de enero, 2005 a las 13:58:47 horas :

This is the last major Mex resort I've visited...have been dying to go here & appreciate the good tips picked up from here & other places. I'm an opinionated, somewhat picky, but well seasoned beach traveler & keep in mind everyone has different tastes. I always like to hear people shoot from the hip here without hedging, whether agree or not...because at least you know where they are coming from & can utilize intelligencia from there. OK, my dos pesos:

1) Playa Madera sucks compared to Playa La Ropa. I thought I'd like Madera & the lodging there. I always travel w/o hotel reservations because I like to pick out my own ocean view room. Went straight to Irma – liked it ok but they were too crowded & wanted $140 per night. Checked out Villas Miramar, La Quinta, & a few others down the block. More reasonable but La Quinta was dirty (saw a few rooms) & rusty. Miramar seemed ok but too smallish of a pool. Decided to see La Ropa. Checked into Catalina after making a deal for a nice casita w/ spectacular view. Pool is to die for. Eva & staff are awesome. Best beach front of any place there. Plenty of beach lounges. La Ropa is the most gentle ocean beach I’ve ever seen, and surprisingly clean, very clean for having the boat activity it does. We have an eight year old and he swam in the ocean like it was a pool. Great place for kids! Downside of Catalina (very hot w/ no AC- much hotter than Barra De Potosi hotel we stayed at w/o AC - Catalina's rooms have too low of ceilings). Old. Clean, but the rooms are not that nice except for the great locat1on & surroundings plus you do have killer decks with hammocks. The deck is better than the room. Immersed in nature. Appreciated the refrig. Walking the maze of stairs was cool for us – enjoyed the workout & surroundings but others I saw there bitched quite a bit about it. Restaurants down on the beach are very good. Fresh fish caught that day plus killer guac, fruitas, VIEWS! Great sand – especially compared to Madera. Madera lodging seems just as expensive as La Ropa – I dunno why anyone would choose it with this in mind. La Ropa eateries much better too. Paty’s, Elviras, La Pearla & good places at Las Gatas too. You could catch NFL at La Pearla too – Francisco was very kind to us, bought us kalua & ice cream after dinner as were watching USC kick butt.

2) Get pesos right away – best exchange is with your ATM card at bank. 11.24 pesos I saw when back home w/ only 3 buck service charge from our bank. Next time I would get all my $ this way. You’ll get clipped with any other exchange. Brisas Ixtapa is the most fair of non-banks (11). Catalina was 10.50. Paying with U.S. or travelers checks, you get only 10! So you pay 10% plus premium when you pay this way.

3) Commercial Mexicana is more than 15% cheaper (or more) than Duty Free for your liquor. Great place to stock up on everything including the best deals on vino. Killer Cuban tortas in their snack shop too. Plus they have bank. Long lines but use ATM! It’s a Mexican Costco! The Gran Centenario 100% agave tequilas (blanco & reposado, 140 & 202 pesos) are the deals of the century down there. Less than a third of the price here in the states. Don Julio is a good deal too @ 230 pesos! Expect to pay about $4 more per bottle at the airport duty free...still a decent deal but Commercial Mexicana is the bomb. Take the $2.50 cab ride there & stock up!

4) Didn’t think I’d like Ixtapa and it was a culture shock going there from Barra! And Ixtapa proper is a rip…too touristy, too Cancunish. The Marina restaurants are not only expensive but served my only bad meal the two weeks there. They will nickel & dime you to death. Wine that is $6 here will cost you 700 pesos there! Trust me, just cab it to Zihuat every night for dinner. $10 rt taxi from Brisas. You can’t get a designated driver @ home for $10 at your beckon call! And the restaurants are so much better in Zihaut. Café Sanka was my favorite and so reasonable. Best part of Ixtapa is Brisas Hotel. Decided to stay here because I heard it was an architectural marvel and it truly is. Great place, pools, private beach is paradise. Service is outstanding. Food is better (expensive) than Ixtapa proper. The rooms are killer w/ those balconies. Very private and just beautiful. Our kid loved the place (he hates those kid club places) and met some cool friends there. The kids there are much more refined it seems. Couldn’t believe my research was down to Brisas & Dorado Pacifico. Check out Dorado – had some amigos staying there. No comparision! Same money too! Brisas is stunning. Dorado seems like cheesy like an old Reno hotel. Too many brat kids too.

Ok…I’ll get back here later with what you really need to know about Barra, ocean adventures, Tortugas, y mas comida.

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