Trip report

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Posted by HLM on March 11, 2001 at 10:23:51:

Thanks to all for the previous trip reports that we found to be very helfull. Just got back today after a week stay at the Villa Carolina in Zihu.
Villa Carolina - wonderful place to to stay - extremely clean and an architectural dream. Stayed in a garden suite and we were very happy. Good location - about a 2-3 minute walk to LaRopa beach. Only complaint was that they invited all the guests to a get together and food and drinks were provided (appeared to be free) then the drinks were put on bill at end of stay - however I would still recommend this place to anyone. Did visit the master suites - they are very nice but not sure it warrents the additional $$$ over the garden suites.

The people and culture: The people of zihu were nothing but pleasant, freindly and nice. I was very impressed with the smiles and the hard working nature of the zihu people. The fruit market is a must see first thing in the morning 8:00 am. Mexican economy and culture at it best. There were alot of armed police around and I saw no form of violence. Watched a school basketball game on the cement courts near the marina. It was fun.
LaPerla - was a favorite, the best jumbo margaritas we found, red snapper great, garlic shrimp good, and Don Rachel (sp?) simply outstanding. Owner has cigars but plan on spending at least 60-120 pesos for a good cigar.
LaBocanna - Very good breakfasts. Nice location to eat breakfast before hitting flea market.
Elvira - on LaRopa - Geat bloody mary's.. Good for breakfast and dinner - free shots of tequilla with dinner.
Kau Kan - Very good atmoshere. Blackened stringray was OUTSTANDING. Most exensive place we visited but the view and atmosphere make it mucho romantico. 1000 pesos with bottle of wine, appetizers, dinner,desserts and tip for two.
Daniels on the beach - good breakfasts and dinner menu looked good too.
Garrobos - great dinner - food very good. Waiters so attentive they were almost bothersome. Atmoshere so-so but lobster was outstanding ans shrimp were the biggest we found.
Ricks bar - nice stop in for good margaritas or cold beer. Rick sat down and had a couple beers with us and shared his views on things with us.
JJ bar and grill - we did get saturated with the local fare so we went to JJs for dinner and had cheezeburger and fries - excellent change of pace. Atlthough food was americanized the atmoshere was not as much as we thought it would be.
The beaches:
LaRopa - good resturants up and down. Beach and swimming fair at best.
Ixtapa Island - snorkling on coral beach a must do - get there early for best snorkling. We saw several fish with outstanding color - national geographic stuff - but water clouded as day went by - watch for sea urchins. Julio from the El marlin II was our waiter. My wife ordered a pina coloda and he brought it in a whole pineapple dressed with red flowers and a smilely face. The drinks were good and julio was attentive.
Las Gratas - Camped out at (I think) the second place from end, the waiter was franko. He was nice and attentive however drinks had questionable ice and were not that good. Snorkling was good but not as good as ixtapa island. Very nice beach to just hang out on though. Also walking there from Laropa across the rocks was fun.

Trip Tips:
* ALWAYS ask the taxi driver what the fare is before you get in. We found there to be some standards however some charge way over and some charge way under. Some will negotiate while other will not. Took over 30 taxis while we were there and all were very nice and helpful - especially the few that knew some english.
* The central commercial mercada is the place to get beer, liquor, and food staples. Small stores were much higher.
* If you want to try an interesting tequilla try Crema de almendrado crendian. It tastes like ameretto. Rick calls it womans tequilla.
* The fruit market is a must see in zihu.
* When negotiating in the flea market and other places it is easy to get carried away and the next thing you know you walk away feeling you got the "best price" but the local merchant gives you the look of being disgusted with you.
* Is some areas it is very competitive between places that have seating on the beach and resturants. It is best to evaluate all of your options and not always go with the smoothest talking "salesperson". We ended up eating lunch at a place that was not on Robs list and I got the most awfull concoction of octopi, conck, fish and cheeze.
* Money machines work fine but they are in spanish and everything is based in pesos. After my fist ATM visit - which was a disaster - they we very easy to use.
* There are many mariachi bands and you will be hawked. Songs go for 40-50 pesos each.
* Best times to be downtown are from 9-11 am and right around dusk or just after dark. These are the times things are must active and interesting.

We will be back, Leon and Sue Moore from Michigan

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