Trip report


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Escrito por George I. desde 69.218.109.181 (adsl-69-218-109-181.dsl.chcgil.ameritech.net) el día lunes, 14 de marzo, 2005 a las 16:23:26 horas :

We're just back from a wonderful week in Zihuatanejo. We did little but rest, read, and eat, and we managed to have a terrific time.

USA3000's flights from and to Chicago went off without a hitch, and both arrived early. This is the best way to travel to I/Z from Chicago, as they're non-stop flights - four hours door to door. The flights, however, are discontinued sometime in late-April. These are public charters, so they can be booked directly through the airline's website, www.usa3000.com.

A quick cabride brought us to Amuleto, where we stayed in one of their main suites. The property and view are breathtaking. Our suite had a private entrance, huge terrace, top-of-the-line amenities, small private pool, and a cool covered outdoor bathroom. Ricardo is a gracious host, and takes great pride in his property. All the staff worked hard to make the stay worry-free and relaxing. Lack of beach access proved to not be a problem, as La Ropa beach was a quick three-minute cab ride (or a downhill walk) away.

We had some great dinners too. Here's the rundown:

Amuleto - The food was wonderful, though the restaurant (or rather the several tables set up poolside each evening for dinner service) is currently sub-contracted to Kau-Kan. We quickly learned on the first evening that Zihua is not the place for fine wines (with one major exception, to follow), mostly because proper storage is not assured. Sure enough, the first bottle we ordered arrived corked; our second choice was fine.

Casa Bahia - Laid-back, casual, and pleasant. The outside deck is open to the lights of Zihua Bay and the stars. The justly famous spinach salad was etherial. The Maui Tuna appropriately exotic. Relaxed service.

El Faro - Beautiful hilltop view of Ixtapa. Nice wine list, polished service.

Kau-Kan - Another beautiful rooftop setting (it's easy to take these for granted when staying at Amuleto!), friendly service. The busboy noticed us admiring the view and said in halting English, "I am very pretty!" Assuming he meant, "IT is very pretty," we politely corrected him and all had a good laugh! One strange note: the same bottle of corked wine we sent back at Amuleto a few evenings earlier was being poured by the glass at Kau-Kan. We sent that glass back too.

Coconuts - Delicious local seafood in a beautiful walled garden setting. Get a table away from the outside wall if you don't want to be bothered by the "Chicklets Kids." Delicious desserts, though the house Coconut Cheesecake was rather plain, the only coconut flavor coming from toasted coconut sprinkled on top; delicious cheesecake, however.

Zi - This was the real find of the trip. So good, we ate there twice (we'll typically revisit a favorite restaurant on our last night). Say what you want about the presence of Club Intrawest on La Ropa beach (and the grounds, indeed, are quite "Mexican" in their design, with colorful buildings and lush foliage everywhere), but their restaurant is world-class, with a keen eye to using all local, mostly organic, ingredients. And not one flaming coffee in sight! Highlights inclded fresh huachinango served in a banana leaf with garlicky shrimp and scallop stuffing; "drunken" quail appetizer; medium-rare duck breast with a fresh fig compote; and last but not least, a heavenly Kahlua souffle, cheap at 50 pesos! The wine list, overseen by hands-on manager Yesenia, is adventurous and extensive - and they wines are stored at the right temperatures! Add a beautiful terrace overlooking the property and La Ropa beach and you have a near-perfect dining experience.

We ventured into Ixtapa one morning, and I was disappointed to see that it's gotten a bit run-down (at least the shopping areas), worn around the edges, and overrun with tourists. One woman I spoke with at Barceló didn't even venture further than across the street. Her loss, I suppose. RE: the shopping, where bargains were once easy to find in the stores (I used to get long-sleeve Polo button-down shirts for $20, easily a third of what they sold for in the States), all the designer stores are now charging big-city US prices. I hadn't been to Ixtapa in 17 years and felt a bit sad at its current state.

All in all, a great, relaxing week of sun, beach, pool. Sorry to have to come home, but planning the next trip is half the fun of going in the first place.



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