Trip Report

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Posted by viv in Vancouver on April 03, 2001 at 20:45:18:

Our family of 5 (three children ages 11, 10 and 7) spent 2 glorious weeks in Zihuatanejo from March 14 - 28th.
We had 5 bonus tickets to fly anywhere Air Alaska flys. We had barely heard of Zihuatanejo before, but we decided to visit there because it was as far south as our passes could take us. We had travelled to San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta before -Zihua is our favourite.
Here are some of our highlights and observations:
Accommodation: We stayed at Hotel Brisas del Mar (in the newer section of the hotel) for US$69. plus tax. It was perfect for our needs. It is a charming Mexican style hotel. Our room was very spacious and we had a huge deck with hammock, table/chairs, coffee maker and small fridge. Large jugs of water were outside the rooms so you could fill up your own pitcher . The staff was very gracious. Our room was clean and our children loved the way the towels and beds were decorated with flowers. It was difficult convincing them to “mess up” the towels and use them. We had a nice pool with a slide and we were directly above Playa Madera, not too many stairs to climb. The waves were perfect for us all - we brought along our own boogie board. Boogie boarding was a blast - definitely bring your own along. (They are about $100 Canadian to buy in the Zihua supermarket, I bought ours here in Vancouver for $12.00 at Costco). We also brought along all our own snorkels and masks. We don’t have our own fins but they would definitely be an asset. Be sure to bring “water shoes” for the snorkelling beaches.
We found Playa La Ropa to be a prettier beach, but we were very happy with our Playa Madera location. It was a quick, easy walk into town and the beach itself was very quiet and visited mostly by locals.
Eating: In general , we found the heat made us less hungry. For breakfast, we bought yoghurt , milk, cereal and fresh totopos (chips) at Commercial Mexicana - a big supermarket. We often just snacked at lunch. We bought fruit and tomatoes and avocados at the market downtown. When ordering dinner off a menu, we would often order only 2 meals for our three children to share and they had more than enough. We didn’t have a bad meal in two weeks and we ate at a different place every day! We did eat twice at RicoMar on Calle Carlos Pellicer - I really loved the pozole. I even bought some of the dried corn for making pozole back home - any good recipes out there? The prices at RicoMar were incredibly low. My husband, Dennis, had their pollo frito dinner and it also was delicious. The bill for our family was about $20 Cdn. and that included beer and soft drinks. We had a great meal at J.J.s Bar and Grill on the corner of Guerrero and Alvarez, a great breakfast at Bananas on Calle Nicolas Bravo (fruit milkshakes for the kids, huevos rancheros for us), fabulous abalone (45 pesos) at Barro de Potosi and fresh snapper on the beach at various places. We ate Carnitas at the market at a stall called Carnitas Uruapan where we ordered a 1/2 kilo of carnitas (roast pork) for 50 pesos. It comes served with tortillas and salsa - it was awesome. We did “take out” from them another day and ate on our deck at our hotel.
Casa de Cafe on Calle Adelita had good coffee. Across the street at the fruit stall our kids got to help squeeze their own fresh orange juice - 7 pesos for a big glassful.
El Sanka Grill on Calle Juan Alvarez was fun - we all made our own tacos. I heard that they also do baked potatoes with lots of toppings - a meal in itself.
Dinner at Puesto del Sol between Playa Madera and Playa La Ropa was very good. Much of the food was prepared at the table. Our kids were really impressed when they made flaming Spanish Coffees at the next table. Casa Bahia has good Asian influenced food, professional service, and an excellent view of the entire bay. Unfortunately the place was almost empty when we were there.
Really nice breakfast at La Madera (French style) right on the beach. A bit more pricey than most, but worth it. I think dinner there would be time.
We did find that the shellfish everywhere was VERY expensive by our standards. We are probably spoiled living in Vancouver where we can order lobster or prawn dinners for less than $20 Canadian. (That’s $13 US. now that our loonie is so miserably low). So mostly we stuck to the less expensive restaurants and had wonderful, filling, authentic Mexican meals.
Entertainment: For a fun evening especially for kids, go to Atole y Tamale Any, at the corner of Guerrero and Eljido, on Thursday evening for their Mexican entertainment and hearty Mexican meals. Be sure to go to the basketball court area on Sunday evenings when all the local families come out for the entertainment - singers, children’s dance performances, tae kwon do demonstrations etc...Try the fried banana chips with hot sauce or the Pulparindo (tamarind chili candy).
We were lucky to catch a parade celebrating the arrival of Spring. All the children from various elementary schools came out in costumes - very, very cute.
The following day we saw classfuls of older children “Spring Cleaning” the beaches.
Excellent Adventures: Did the bus/pick-up trip to Barro de Potosi, snorkelling at Isla Ixtapa and Las Gatas, bus trip to Petatlan. Everything was most excellent - our kids loved it all.
(Only one) Negative: The mosquitoes drove us nuts at night - we weren’t expecting them. One mosquito in the bedroom and my husband becomes obsessed with hunting it down. I heard from someone that mosquitoes weren’t usually such a problem - perhaps the storm earlier in March had provided extra water for them to breed.

We got our photos back, but they just don’t capture what we experienced in Zihuatanejo. There is so much more than the scenery - squawking birds, the surf crashing, the smells of tropical flowers, the warm sunshine, mango dripping down your chin, hammocks in the sand, smiling gracious people,lumpy sidewalks, Mexican music blaring on the bus, the taste of an ice cold cerveza with lime and salt, the glorious feeling of having absolutely nothing that needs to be done.
Muchas Gracias to Rob and all of the contributors to this site that helped make for an unforgettable holiday.

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