Posted by Roberto! on December 09, 2000 at 16:54:09:
October 27th - November 11th.
This was our third trip to Zihua for my partner Wynn and me. Every year it has been better and better. With the help of all the information posted on Zihua Rob's board we were looking forward to the trip because we had already decided to visit certain restaurants and locations rather than do them on the spur of the moment, or learning about them while we were sitting in the airport waiting for our flight home.
I had taken copious notes from comments and information posted on the board, plus having been there twice made it somewhat easier, but I would suggest to anyone planning a visit that a notebook with some of the valuable suggestions from the board is a definite asset.
With the Canadian $ exchange as it is, CND $1.54 to an American $, I don't want to give the readers the impression that we were on a super strict budget, but we were perhaps somewhat more "price sensitive".
Getting there. We had flown down to Zihua from Vancouver B. C. via America West which required an overnight stay in Phoenix. Our fare was CDN $ 565 and our hotel in Phoenix was CDN $ 65. The flight from PHX was an hour late getting into Zihua but clearing customs and immigration was quick, easy and we were delighted to see the new facilities at the airport. Once through the gauntlet of taxi drivers, we (there were four of us) walked our carry on luggage to where we could pick up the combi to take us into Zihua. There was a momentary flurry of activity by some of the local taxi drivers as we placed our carry on luggage into the back of the combi. The taxi drivers were exchanging heated words with the combi driver regarding our boarding the combi and temporarily blocked the combi with their taxis. (The exchange was confirmed by a English speaking local who was on the combi at the time). The combi driver couldn't care less. The cost of the combi into downtown Zihua was 4 pesos each and dropped us off right by the main taxi stand. Then it was another 20 pesos to the Sotavento where we had planned to spend our 2 week vacation.
The Sotavento. This was our third year staying there. We have found the rooms clean, the staff friendly and accommodating, the view spectacular, the steps to La Ropa beach "exercising" and the prices reasonable. Another 6 people from B. C. joined us within a couple of days plus we met a number of people from previous years' visits. It was like having a reunion in Zihua and everyone enjoyed the Sotavento.
Since this was a holiday, a great deal of time was spent on La Ropa beach sipping on the cervezas or the margaritas, walking the beach, bobbing up and down in the surf which was somewhat more active this year and sacrificing another pair of prescription glasses to the mighty "surf gods".
A number of our meals were in the Sotavento. We had managed to have our breakfast included in our room costs so the day usually started off with a hefty meal. Lunch was usually some fruit or snack under the palapa and dinner was directly dependent on exactly how much was consumed during "happy hour"- dos por unos- at the Sunset Bar or someone's balcony watching the sun set.
Twice we walked down to Rossy's on La Ropa and had a great, reasonably priced meal. If you ask in advance, we found that they would generally give you a complimentary refreshment. We did notice that there was a lack of facilities offering the 2 for 1 drinks along the beach, unlike last year.
On a couple of occasions we bought B-B-Qued chickens from downtown and ate them in the hotel. We also went out for pizza and highly recommend Pizza Locas which is situated across from JJ's. The vegetarian pizza was unique with carrots and celery among some of the ingredients and the medium size - plenty for 2 people - was 54 pesos.
One evening a gang of 16 went to Laura's Rubens, across the street from The Radisson in Ixtapa. While we enjoyed the hamburgers, pappas, etc. the mosquito and no-see-ums appeared to enjoy their meal of us. The place is located close to a swamp and once the sun went down the insects came out for the feast. The most annoying feature of the place was the Arcade they have on the main floor. As a Canadian, when the word "hockey" comes up, a number of us rise and place our hand over our heart, however, when the word "air hockey" comes up that is a different story. There is an air hockey game in the arcade that when played, was so loud that the group upstairs can barely hear themselves think. The clackety, clacking was so annoying, echoing and distracting that, while we could tolerate the insect bites, this racket drowned out most conversation so we packed it in early and gave the joint a 32 thumbs down. Try the other Rubens in Ixtapa or cut the plug on the air hockey game.
We also ate at Pollos Loco which wasn't too bad, disappointed to see Tamales closed and certainly enjoyed the frosted mugs of beer, food and the air conditioning at Glob's restaurant.
Shopping. The majority of our food shopping was done in the local markets. Souvenirs etc. were at the many variety of stores throughout Zihua. Adult refreshment was purchased at the Liquor Distribution store on Calle Gonzalez. We found the prices there to be better than some of the Duty Free prices. The new La Comercial Mexicana was certainly a very impressive store. If you need a variety of products that is the place to go, however, we found a lot of the prices were higher than you could find in the local downtown markets. For the coffee lovers there is a great little stall in the mercado that sells a superb variety of coffee, ground or beans. I brought back a kilo (50 pesos) and regret I didn't bring back more.
Getting around and about. We spent a good deal of time using the local busses or combi service for transportation. One of our group rented a brand new Dodge Stratus from Thrifty for 990p a day which included Insurance and unlimited mileage. They delivered and picked up the car right at the hotel. It was an ideal way to get around and explore a lot of territory in a short period of time.
The bus service from Zihua to Ixtapa was 4p. Wynn and I went to Troncones for a day and it was all we expected and then some. We picked up a Omnibus du Petatlan bus from the small depot on Calle Las Palmas which is the street across from the Bancrecer Bank on the main street. The bus we took was to Lazaro Cardenas and asked to be dropped of at the Troncones turn off. The cost was 9p each and took 45 minutes. We were told the bus to Lazaro Cardenas leaves every half hour. Once dropped off at the Troncones turn off we waited for a combi service that was available to Troncones for 5p. We waited about 15 minutes before a car going to Troncones stopped and offered us a ride down and were we ever in luck! The gentleman that picked us up was Michael Bensal who was a long time resident and a previous owner of a couple of establishments in Troncones. He took us on a Royal Tour of Troncones and filled us in on all the history of Troncones. We visited Las Chozas on Manzanillo Beach, walked the beach while Mike attended to business then he drove us to Burro Borracho where we met the genial Marty who showed us around the accommodations. Mike offered us a ride back to Ixtapa, however, we decided to take a walking tour of the Troncones area, had lunch at the Tropic of Cancer then took the combi service back up to the main road and caught the local bus back to Zihua. If we had more time we would have arranged for an overnight stay in Troncones. We will definitely be staying longer in Troncones next trip and a number of our group that are planning on returning next year indicated, after discussing our adventures with them, that they would be willing to spend 3-4 days in Troncones too.
Getting to Troncones on the local busses during the day wasn't a problem. I would imagine there would be some difficulty if one had a lot of luggage so a taxi would be quicker and more convenient.
We took Canadian $ in cash and Travellers Cheques with us, had no problem exchanging them and also a few US $ to see us through Phoenix. We also used the ATM machines and haven't experienced any problems with them to date.
A couple of other observations - during our walks to and from town we commented on how much cleaner the streets and roads were compared to previous years. There was better street lighting during the evening and the sidewalks did not have the wide open man traps that tried to capture us last year. The taxi drivers were extremely helpful, not as aggressive as we have seen before and other than the brief episode at the airport, we utilized them and their local knowledge quite a bit. The people were warm, friendly, considerate and enjoyable to converse with even with my limited Spanish which improved immensely.
In conclusion I would like to thank all of those that have posted information on Rob's board. It contributed immensely to our holiday. Our thanks to Rob for his hospitality and suggestions when we visited with him. We had a great relaxing holiday with new and old friends in Zihua and are looking forward to our next visit. If anyone is seeking any additional information, please feel free to e-mail me or post your questions on the board and my apologies for being a little long winded but it is my contribution and way of saying thanks to all. Enjoy your holiday in Zihua.