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Posted by Gerald Welch on February 28, 2001 at 19:35:01:

Trip Report - Solimar Inn part one

This trip report is more looking for a place to return to next year for a longer period of time than just a vacation. The price of food both in the restaurants and the markets; the ease of travel and the safety of the area was a concern both for ourselves and for our kids if they decided to join us with their kids. A lot of people travel on a budget & ask the people of Rob's message board the cost of different things. I hope this trip report will help in some small way to answer some of these questions. The meals at the different restaurants will only have the main items ordered & not the extras given on the plates. For example at breakfast besides eggs, almost always you got refried beans, homefries, toast & coffee or tea. O.J. was sometimes included with the meal. The cost of the meals does not include the tip.
Please keep in mind that on all of our previous trips to Mexico, we have always stayed in the tourist resort areas and this is the first time staying in a small hotel & not on the beach so this is something new to us. When you get to my age (61) & my wifes (57), the beach & a lot of sun is not something we travel to Mexico for. Sitting on the balcony in the shade, feeling the warm breeze, reading and enjoying a cold cerveza or margarita is is our idea of relaxation. Please forgive any spelling mistakes & if at times this report seems to wander off in different directions.

We left Toronto Feb.1, 2 hours late which is normal for Air Transat. If you are over 5'10" & scheduled to ride in their 310 Air Bus you will be more cramped than in any other plane. Try for a bulkhead seat or pay the extra for a club seat. You won't regret it. After arriving in Zihua, going through customs, pressing the button on the stoplight and if lucky going through without having your luggage checked, the ground transportation booth is right in front of you. Cost for 2 people is $19 US. to the Solimar Inn in Zihua which is near the Kyoto Circle & just before entering the Madera Beach area. I talked to a couple later who had a copy of Rob's rates & they said they had showed it to the lady at the booth and after some arguing they got it for $17 US to their hotel in Madera Beach. That's something to remember. I did not tip the driver.

We arrived at the Solimar Inn at 8:30 P.M. When you pull up to this hotel after dark, don't let the hotel or the look of the area scare you. Daytime, the look of the area changes dramatically. The reception area is small & normally "Blackie" their Rottweiller is tied up & there in their office. He won't hurt you as long as you stay back & don't try to pat him. The owner "Edison" or one of the family will greet you and take you to your suite. By the end of our holiday, we felt like part of the family except for "Blackie". This hotel has 12 Suites-1st. floor being the owners living quarters, 2nd.&3rd. floors, 6 suites each and the top floor is used by Edison's mother. The centre court area has a beautiful pool (4 foot deep) with lounges, both in the sun & the shade. There is a small bar with tables and chairs, with flowers and ferns everywhere. Our suite on the 2nd. floor (580 sq.ft.) was great. Very large balcony, very clean and all appliances worked great. More importantly to some people, the bed was firm & the T.V. showed English speaking films on 2 Movie Channels. The only thing a bit shop worn was the tile grout around the sink in the bathroom. The balcony overlooked a small park that had palm trees, flowering bushes, and benches and each night lovers walked through doing their thing, whatever that is. I can't remember.

DAY 2.
Coffee on the balcony. Every day, I need 2 coffees to kick start my heart. From here you can see the mountains and the homes on the hillside and in the mornings the smoke of the cooking fires above them. Every day, people would go by our hotel on their way to market to buy fresh produce or to pick up Tortillas from the small Tortilla maker up at the corner. Around the corner from the hotel is a bakery that Anne, my wife, would get sweet buns or apple or pineapple turnovers (yum, yum) each day. Beside that is a small store for milk, water, etc.
Brkfst - BANANAS Restaurant - Scrambled & Eggs Ranchero - food & service good. Total 53 Peso's
Stopped at Bancomer to change travel cheque's. If you have to do this, arrive before 11 P.M. or be prepared to stand in line for at least a 1/2 hour. Taxi to Comercial Mexicana. Cost of taxi's anywhere in Zihua is suppose to be 13 peso's but we found more and more are demanding 15 Peso's. I got tired of trying for the lower fare. The Mexicana is a large, modern supermarket with A/C. Here you can get just about anything you need. Buy your cerveza's here. It's the cheapest we found.
LUNCH - Sandwich's or buns. Each afternoon was the same. Balcony, Beer & Siesta - B.B.S.
We found it too hot to walk around after lunch so we stayed home & relaxed.
DINNER - LA CASA VIEJA - Madera Beach Area - Quail & Pork on a Stick - 2 Margarita's - Total 250 Peso's.
We were also given free after dinner liquer's. Food & service excellant. This was a very nice restaurant that filled with patrons fast. If you intend to arrive after 6:30 P.M. be sure to reserve.

DAY 3.
Today we stayed around the hotel, enjoying the pool and just relaxing. While sitting on the balcony this morning enjoying my coffee, a woodpecker landed on the telephone pole near me & started pecking for bugs or something. Now, this is not unusual buy it was a concrete pole and not wood. It only tapped about 3 times and flew away. It was obviously the male by it's bright colours. No sooner had it left than the female landed a bit lower and proceeded to hammer away for at least 20 seconds non-stop. It sure proved who had the harder head. She finally gave up and left. At least tonight when she tells her mate, "Not tonight, I got a headache", she won't be lying.
DINNER - Joaquin's Taboga - Shrimp Cocktail with Avacodo Slices & Spare Ribs with rice & veg. - 2 Margarita's Total - 158 Peso's. Food & service excellant. We will be back. Walked along the beach to the pier, through some shops & then home.

Day 4.
Every morning we sat on our balcony, drinking coffee and watching the neighborhood come alive. kids going to school, ladies going to the market and the truck with propane tanks of gas, honking its horn and the guy in the back hollering "gas, gas". beside the hotel is a small warehouse where a young guy would load up his three wheel bike and deliver a large load of paper items to the shops in the market. Blackie would bark each time he went by and when he didn't, the guy would bark at him. This drove the poor dog crazy.
BRKFST - GLOB'S This is an airconditioned place (Rob's daughter's favourite) and is like an old fashioned malt shop. Very clean and great service. Eggs Ranchero and Scrambled Eggs- total 82 peso's.
The weather today was very hot. Walked to Rob's wife's shop and met Lupita. A very beautiful lady. Rob's office was not open yet, so we went through the craft market. TIP: when shopping here, if you see something you want try to find the same thing in one of the shops further in from the street. they seem to bargain easier and you can usually get it cheaper then in the shops closer to the street. Walked home, sweating bullets. Regular afternoon- B.S.
DINNER - DANIEL'S ON THE BEACH - Grillled Shrimp-Garlic Shrimp- 4 Margaritas-total 210 peso's. Service was slow, but it was Sunday and there was a cruise ship in. They were very busy, but we sat at a table on the beach with our feet in the sand and couldn't have cared less when we ate. The shrimp when they came were fabulous. We both agreed that we would return. During dinner we talked to a couple at the table beside us, who were travelling down the coast on a 30 foot sailing ship. Very pleasant and interesting conversation. The lucky so and so's. Walked through shops in the way home, looking fir a sunhat for Anne. She has a fairly large head (which I tell her all the time) and we just can't seem to find one that fits. Almost suggested that she buy an umbrella, but kept my mouth shut. The older you get, the smarter.

DAY 5.
Normal morning. Coffee on the balcony, listening to the birds and enjoying the fresh morning breeze. It doesn't get much better than this. No snow, no sleet, and no Mike Harris. The people in Ontario will know what I mean by the last.
BRKFST-BANANA'S-2 Orders of Scrambled Eggs-total 48 peso's
Walked down and met Rob. Talked to him about his site being down and he was hopeful that it would be back up and running in a few days. Left 100 peso's with him to get 2 bottles of Mezcal. We gave him a bottle of single malt, which I know he also likes, besides Dr. Pepper and Reese's. This was a thankyou to him for his site, which has given me hours of entertainment this past 6 months. A very small price to pay and well worth it. Finally bought Anne's hat- 100 p. saw the same one later - 80p. Had 2 beers at Daniel's and sat and watched some crazy dog chasing the pelicans and he almost caught one. Walked back to the hotel. A very hot day. Today we locked ourselves out on the balcony. We forgot to check the lock on the sliding door before closing it. Had to climb over to the balcony next to us, where the door hadn't been latched and was vacant. Got spare key from office and let Anne in off the balcony. I'm getting too old to do stuff like that.
Afternoon- B.B.S.
DINNER- MI CABANA/PIZZALOCAS - Spagetti with chef's sauce - Spareribs- Coke and Margarita- total 142p. Food and service excellent. This is a small place across from Rob's and up about 5 doors. it has 2 levels. We sat on the street level. Talked to 2 couples who wouldn't sit upstairs in case of an earthquake. Pointed out to them that where they were sitting, the upstairs would land on them, if it did happen. They moved to the far wall. Walked through some shops on the way home. Every evening I would sit on the balcony, look at the lights on the mountain, and bug the lovers in the park, by being there. Each bench had a small lamp post, with three light, but 2 were broken. New lovers would sit facing the street and the more serious, sit facing into the park. "Ain't love grand".

Taxi to Playa La Ropa- 20 p. This is standard rate from Zihua to any part of Palya La Ropa, from the Fountain of the Dolphins( bottom of hill ) to the end.
BRKFST- PATY'S MAR Y MAR- Scrambled Eggs- Mexican Scrambled- total 108 p. Food and service excellent. This restaurant is beside the Villa Mexicana. From here we wlaked the length of the beach and caught a taxi home. This beach is nice, but nothing really exciting happening. Hotest day yet. Humidity high. afternoon- B.B.S. It's a rough life, but we are trying to copy with it as best we can.
DINNER- DANIEL'S ON THE BEACH- Beef, Shrimp, Chicken Fajitas and Tortillas- Grilled Shrimp- Coke and 2 Mango Margaritas- total 165 p. Service and food again excellent. Walked back to hotel. Very peaceful evening. Sitting on the balcony tonight, the lights on the hill look like stars falling to the ground.

Feb 7th- my birthday (61 today)
Because it is my birthday, I get to pick where we eat today. One day out of seven, that's not bad guys. Better than normal.
BRKFST- La MADERA- Madera Beach- 2 American Brkfst- total 120p. This is a nice place, but not worth the money. if you go, have a cab take you to the hotel Sotelo. Walk down the stairs (very pretty) to the beach. The restaurant is to the far left. Madera is a small beach, with very dark sand. if you stay at any of the hotels or apartments here, you might have a tough time walking back to your lodging from the beach. There is a very nice walkway, in front of the rocks from Madera to Principal Beach. Plenty of benches to sit and enjoy the breeze. Just as we got to the fishermen's walk, 2 guys started fighting over something. Both were about the same size, but one guy got in 4 good shots and then they started sparing, missing more than hitting. It was pretty good while it lasted. Walked back to hotel. Afternoon: B.B.S.
DINNER- VILLA DE LA SELVA- IXTAPA. Cab from Zihua 40p. Be sure to reserve at lest 3 days in advance. Tables 60 and 61 are up front and centre. Sunset and scenery fantastic. Be sure to take your camera and try to get there at 6 p.m. or shortly after. All of the tables were full by 7 p.m. Cesar Salad- Fillet de la Selva- Seafood Fettacini- Mango Margarita- 2 Cokes - total 450p. Food, service and sceenery, excellent. We were lucky enough that a full moon was showing us the way home as the taxi driver drove through the hills on the way back to Zihua. it was too beautiful to describe. This was a birthday evening that I will always remember.

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