Posted by Bonnie on February 23, 2001 at 08:50:01:
well the memories are beginning to fade a bit since we got back 2/8 but I wanted to share a few highlights and low lights from the visit.
I had been to Ixtapa/Zihua in 1983, and to my great delight, not much had changed. It was still a pretty tranquil, unglitzy place to visit...
We had a terrific time.
We stayed at the Barcelo which was pampering and beautiful. We did a breakfast included deal which was great because we didn't have to leave the hotel in the morning just to get a bite to eat (and bite it was--the buffet was delicious!). It was also nice not to be locked into a full inclusive arrangement because we wanted to tour around a bit and check out other restaurants. The reservations people there seemed willing to tailor a plan for us...so if you wanted to arrange something on your own, apart from a tour operator, it can easily be done.
We did many of things suggested on the board (thanks to all for the recommendations!). We snorkled at Los Gatos, I got a massage on La Ropa, we ate snapper everywhere (La Perla-- 2X, Kau Kan, Mamma Norma's...) ... we shopped, parasailed, jet ski-ed, and walked, read, relaxed and watched night after night of dramatic sunsets. We shopped some in Zihua (check out Mexican pewter...its a relatively new craft and is lovely).
One trip we were not crazy about was to Petitlan and Barra de Potosi. We went on a Sunday, saw the church service in Petatlan, and walked around the streets a little bit. I have travelled pretty extensively in Mexico and found the church itself uninteresting (architecturally and historically) and the mass was ordinary. Unless you're into gold and want to buy jewelry, there wasn't too much else to shop for there either. Plus, one should watch the gold, because much of it is 10K...not the quality of better gold (14 or 24K).
Then going to Barra di Potosi was a disappointment. The dirt road of several miles to get there was difficult to traverse (dusty and bumpy on our rental car..which made us nervous in terms of damaging the car). Anyway, when we arrived, the lagoon was extremely shallow (ankle deep) but the bay/ocean was very beautiful and powerful. We walked through a place called "Hotel" because we wanted the amenity of a chair to sit on (and all of the restaurants lined up near the lagoon had chairs, it seemed, only for the restaurant...not for the beach). Anyway, the view of the water and beach was incredibly beautiful from out front of this "Hotel" but the scene at the hotel itself was a bit chaotic. There were several locals there on holiday, grilling, playing music, partying, etc. which would have been nice if we were in the mood, but we went to Potosi for serenity.
Anyway, we found La Ropa to be most tranquil as a beach, and loved the drama of the sea by the Barcelo in Ixtapa.
The locals were all very nice to us...everyone in the hotel and restaurants was playful and respectful.
Going up in the gondolas to El Faro was a hoot, and the view from El Faro was breathtaking.
My least favorite place was the marina (Ixtapa). It reminded me of the seaport developments in many major US cities-- e.g.,Southstreet Seaport in NYC, Harborplace in Baltimore, Fanuiel Hall, Boston... Anyway it just felt mall-ified to me...too packaged. Don't get me wrong-- the food at Beccofino was tasty .. but the concept was homogenized.
Thanks again to everyone for a lot of really useful information.