Trip Report---might be long!


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Posted by Tammy from MN on April 30, 2001 at 17:04:47:

For those of you, like me, who like the daily details read on. But if you are more interested in a Summary skip to the end.

DAY 1

Arriving at the airport in Zihua was a perfect way to start our vacation. The beauty of the land seen from the plane is phenominal! We made it through customs (got the green light) and were on our way. I have to say that even though I researched this place and knew a little spanish, it was very overwhelming to be the foreigner in a foreign country! Feeling a little lost and just wanting a taxi to our hotel, we fell into the Time-share trap that everybody warns about on this board. Ended up paying $27.00US for a cab to our hotel. Oh well, Lesson learned for next time.
After checking into our hotel, the Puerta del Mar(more on that later), we decided to walk around town and get to know the area. We met Lucia at Villas Paraiso (beautiful hotel from what we saw of it). It was nice to meet up with someone familiar. She guided us around and helped us find a place to eat (Mamma Norma's). Thanks Lucia, we were a little lost until we found you! After dinner we stopped at Senior Frogs and Carlos n Charlies for drinks. I will talk more about these places at the end of my report.

DAY 2

Checked out of Puerta del Mar and into Pacifica Club in the morning. Our room had a beautiful view of the entire beach! We ended up with a 2 room suite because we traded a 2 bedroom timeshare, it was more than enough space. Ate breakfast at the beachside resort resteraunt. Had the buffet which was good but we felt overpriced($35.00US). Then spent the rest of the walking along the beach. Had my hair braided ($22.00US). Loved it! Went to Carlos n Charlies for margaritas (2 for 100pesos). Bought some silver from a vender there. 4 bracelets for 400peses (about $40.00US). We thought that was a good deal. They are all stamped. Next we went to Zihua for lunch and a little shopping. Cab ride to Playa Madera was 60pesos and he even stopped at the bank and waited about 20mn while we got money. Our drivers name was Edwardo and he was one of the nicest people we met. We gave him 100pesos for his waiting. We had a couple of Corona's ate Madera Beach Club--40pesos. Much cheaper than in Ixtapa. And the atmosphere at the Madera was very relaxed! They even have hammock's hanging by the beach. After our seista in the hammocks we walked around town for a awhile. We loved Zihua! It was so "homey" feeling. And everybody has a smile for you and wants to help you find your way. We stopped in a little bar (I think it was called El Faisan?) to cool off 'cuz it was "Africa Hot" as my husband likes to say. The bar was VERY small with only three tables and 2 chairs at the bar. There were only 4 people in the place and they didn't speak any English. None the less, they made us feel very welcome and we communicated with our limited Spanish. They gave Mark a free beer and right away turned on American music, had us write our names on the wall, and made sure we sat in front of the airconditioner. They really went out of their way to make us feel welcome and we sure appreciated it! I don't remember the owner's name, but I would recommend this place to anybody wanting to cool off with a beer and be treated like a regular! Anyway, we took a cab home after we left this place ($20pesos) had another seista in the hotel. What a life! Dinner at La Valentina's with some friends we met from MI was excellent and not too overpriced! Next we all went back to Carlos and Charlies for some night life. Mark had a little, well OK ALOT, too much to drink became the life of the party. He was on a mad search for a Gecko and chased one right into the ladies bathroom. He was immediately escorted out by a couple of senoritas who worked there. We all had a good laugh over that. In fact we laughed at Mark all night long. Escpecially when he got up on stage to dance with the waitress' who could actually dance. Mark on the other hand looked like a reject from Saturday night Fever! But it was fun. Cindy and Tom went home early but the rest of us were up for more fun and decided to go to Senior Frogs and then back to our resort to top off the night. We had told our friends (Amanda and Gary) that our resort wasn't too far and that the Gondola ride was worth the walk. We didn't know that the Gondola shut down at 11:00, so when we got there we had to walk up the steps to our room. We stopped counting after 250! By the time we made it up to our room, they were so tired that they caught a cab home. Sorry guys! If we'd have known, we would have taken a cab!!

DAY 3

We slept in today. Too may cervesas the night before! Skipped breakfast and headed for the Melia to meet up with Cindy, Tom, Amanda and Gary. Cab ride to Melia was 60pesos. The Melia was absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for luxury, this is the place! The pool alone is worth seeing. But they won't let you in if you are not staying there. In fact, none of the hotels will let you come in without either being a guest there or going for a time-share presentation. We signed up for one at the Melia, and that is how we got in to find our friends. We found Cindy at the pool, but everyone else was still sleeping. So we hung out for a bit and then headed over to Ixtapa Island for the day. We found someone to take us over for 200pesos round trip(Ramundo). It was a too expensive we thought but he said he'd give us a boat tour around the Island so we figured OK. Never got the boat tour and we found out later that we could have walked another 30feet and taken the ferry for about 40pesos. More lessons lerned. Ramundo was nice though, and he got us set up at Coral Beach under a palapa. He told us he'd be back to get us around 4:00 and he was there at exactly 4:00.
Ixtapa Island was fun. The food WONDERFUL. They bring you a plate full of fresh fish and seafood, you pick what you want and then they grill it in garlic butter and serve with rice and vegies. We had the Lobster Tails and they were to die for! I don't normally like Lobster because I think it is to rubbery, but these melted in your mouth. MMMMM
After lunch I had a drink (Mark was not ready yet, in fact, he didn't drink for a few days after Carlos and Charlies).I had a COCO LOCO and it was the most spectacular looking drink I have ever seen. It comes in a whole pineapple that they take the core out of and make a face on the front complete with eyes, nose, mouth and ears. It was very good! We walked along the beach and collected shells, rocks, and coral (dead of course). We quickly learned that you are not supposed to take or even walk on the live coral, even if it is not attatched. OOPS! We had a great day on the Island. Bought some more silver from Nacho. He had great stuff and we wanted to come back the next day to buy more but never made it. SORRY NACHO! Definately next time! We also bought a wood carving from a man there who had the most beautiful stuff. I forget his name, but his carvings are awesome! Later that night, after another siesta, we met up with our MI friends again and went to JJ's Lobster and Seafood. Again the food was terrific! And there was a mariachi who came over and sang for us. Romance was in the air. Mark and I decided to head home early for some ALONE time! We sat out on the balcony and let the lullaby of the ocean rock us to sleep. It was absolutely serene!

DAY 4

Today was an action packed day! We took the TRI-STAR at 10:00am. The cost was $55.00US per person and worth every penny!! We sailed, snorkeled, saw some cool fish, drank some good beer, met some great people(Dan and Beth from CA, and Fred and Linda from WA-Hi Guys!, ate some good food, saw some dolphins, drank more good beer, spinnaker sailed and soaked up the sun. It was AWESOME!! I would recommend the TRI-STAR to everyone! The Captain and crew were fabulous! And the food good! We loved it! When we were done we went home for another siesta(you know, I could get used to this life)and then got up and went horseback riding on the beach. Another wonderful adventure! We started the ride at around 5:30 and watched the sunsetting into the ocean. Our horses were very big, tame, well taken care of and obviously used to people. My horses name was Tortuga (which means turtle) and that was a fitting name 'cuz he didn't want to move too fast! Maybe he was just enjoying the scenery as much as I was. I was happy with him! The stable is at the very end of the beach, Playa Linda, just past the Melia. I can't remember the tour guides name but Benito (aka Donkey) from Ixtapa Island set it up for us.
It was another perfect way to end another perfect day! Dinner that night was at Casa Bahia in Zihua with our friends we met on the TRI-STAR. We started off at El Faro(at Pacifica) for drinks and then headed over to Zihua. All of us (6 people 3 big guys and 3 women) squeezed into a little cab was an adventure in itself! Casa Bahia was a very nice resteraunt overlooking Zihua Bay. The food was good and cheaper than Ixtapa. 3 drinks, 2 pops, appetizers and 2 meals was $40.00US. Not bad I thought. The only bad thing was the Tuna Steak. Not that it was bad. Everyone else loved it. But I'm just not a big raw fish fan and my steak, done medium well, was pretty raw. The flavor was good though, and if you like tuna you would probably love it. Mark's meal was very good (seafood cabobs).

DAY 5 MARK'S B-DAY

We had no plans for today, except for Mark's B-Day surprise dinner that evening. So we just walked around town and hung out at the beach. We had breakfast at The Cookie Shop. Great food, ok price. The Orange Baby Smoothies are yummy! After breakfast we layed out at the beach and drank Corona's all day. Tough Life. Mark did end up going parasailing, which he enjoyed but said it wasn't really worth $25.00 since you are only up for about 5-10 mn. None the less, he had a good time! At around 3:30 we headed back to the resort. Just missed the crocodile feeding but still got to see them up close. Then we got ready and headed out for his surprise dinner at Villa de la Selva. Mark had no idea where we were going and I just said we were going to dinner. Lucia had made the reservations for us about a month in advance and we were set up with one of the best tables at the front overlooking the ocean. Thank you Lucia. You are the BEST! I asked our friends from California to meet us there to surprise Mark. He LOVED it! The view was absolutely spectacular!!!! And the food terrific! This was the most expensive meal of our trip ($100.00US) but so well worth it! If not for the view and food, then for the service! They would come around with a fine toothed comb and clean the tables between each meal! And the presentation fo the food was outstanding! After our meal they brought Mark out a Tres Leches ( a mexican B-day cake) complete with candle. It was very good, and cute how they wrote "Happy Birthday Marck" on the plate and spelled his name wrong. We got a little chuckle out of it. After dinner we headed back to Carlos and Charlie's for some night life. We had fun drinking and dancing. Although Mark didn't get as crazy as he did the 1st time. He did do a shot of something for his B-day. They brought it out while banging pots and pans and singing. Then they light it and have you drink it through a straw. Mark got nervous that they straw was going to melt so he blew it out first. All in all it was a good day!

DAY 6

We were supposed to have breakfast at the Barcelo and listen to their timeshare thing. But we couldn't find it along the beach side and by the time we finally did it was too late. So we took a cab to Playa La Ropa instead. Had lunch at Paty's Mar y Mar. Again very good food. There was a cute little dog on the beach who stayed by our palapa all day. Then he followed us off the beach and down the road all the way until we got into the cab to town. Poor little thing. We felt so sorry for him and I wanted to take him home but Mark wouldn't let me. So we said goodbye to him and set out to find Rob. We found him about 1/2 hour later and stopped in for a few minutes. It was Africa hot again and Rob had the A/C off but it was still cooler in his office than outside. We chatted for awhile, had good conversations, Rob broke out the Mezcal (I can see why more than 3 shots of that stuff would be enough to do you in-it put hair on my chest! But it was good, better than regular Tequila) and I e-mailed our kids. It was so nice meeting you Rob. I'm glad there are people out there who share the same humanitarian views as I do. And not only believe in them, but ACT on them as well! We left Rob's and wandered around Zihua for awhile before going back to take our daily siesta. By the way Rob, we didn't find your Tatoo buddy, and I never did get one.
Dinner tonight was at JJ's Lobster again. Had the Coconut Shrimp again and it was excellent! Went to Carlos and Charlies with our new friends again. I see a pattern here. Had a good time again , but since it was our last night we headed home early. I sat up after Mark went to bed to take in the view for the last time. And yes, I shed a few tears at the thought of leaving the next day!

DAY 7 EARTHQUAKE AND ILLNESS

Mark was sick all night last night and all day today. I don't know what he ate but he had all the classic symptoms of Montezuma's Revenge, only not quite as severe as we had heard, but still bad none the less! So I spent the morning by myself on the beach, letting the sand soak up the last of my stress! On the way back up the gondola to bring Mark some breakfast, the whole place started shaking. They shut the Gondola down for about 10mn. I thought something was jammed in it. But when I got to the top, I noticed that some of the shingles were torn up from the buildings, and Mark said that the whole place was shaking. He had to hold on to something to keep from falling. Later I heard the waiter talking about it with another guest and I gathered from their conversation that it was indeed an earthquake. I guess it was a 4.2 located in the mountains above Troncones. How far is that from Ixtapa, Rob? Was there any damage other than to the shingles on the buildings?
Anyway, it made for an exciting way to end a perfect vacation!

OVERVIEW

IXTAPA:

Since this was our 1st time to Mexico and we didn't know our way around, we enjoyed the convienience of Ixtapa. Everything is just a short, or long, walk down the beach depending on where you want to go. The beaches are clean and the water was Ok for swimming while we were there. The waves get rough at night but they were fun to watch. The only down side is all of the timeshare people and vendors trying to sell you something. I know they are just doing their job and we did buy alot of stuff but after awhile we just wanted to relax on the beach and every 10 mn someone was approaching us. I had fallen asleep on the beach 1 time and someone even woke me up to try and get me to go to a timeshare breakfast! When I said no thank you to that, he offered fishing, boating, horseback riding etc. And would NOT take no for an answer! There was very little if any of that in Zihua! Also, the prices of food and drinks were very expensive in Ixtapa. Other than those 2 things, we liked Ixtapa very much!

ZIHUATANEJO:

LOVED IT HERE! The people are VERY friendly, as I mentioned above, they go the extra mile to please you. It is not as sterile and touristy as Ixtapa. But it is real Mexico and makes you feel like you've come home! The beaches are fabulous fro swimming and sunbathing. Our personal favorites were La Ropa and Las Gatas. The resteraunts good and much cheaper than Ixtapa. And the over all atmosphere much more relaxed! People are not only friendly but they also repect your privacy!! Now that we are familiar with this place we will probably stay in Zihua next time! Or if we can't, we will definately spend time there!!

RESORTS:

PUERTA DEL MAR:

This resort is not on the beach. But what it lacks in view, it makes up for in the beautiful grounds and the architecture of the building! The grounds are covered in lucious plant life including coconut trees and banana trees! The rooms are nice and spacious but not very clean. And who ever said the beds were hard in a previous report was not kidding! However, we did enjoy our stay.

PACIFICA RESORT:

We stayed at Pacifica Club for 6 out of 7 days and we loved it! The rooms were clean and spacious each with queen size SOFT bed and balcony off the bedroom with amazing view of the entire beach! We had hoped for a room with a view and boy did we get it!!! It looked like the postcards we found in town! The service at this resort was outstanding as well. Everyday we would come home to fresh flowers and towel decorations on our beds and in the bathrooms! The resteraunts at the resort were nice but overpriced. El Faro has the same view as our room so it wasn't worth the price of the drinks. Tulipanes, beachside, has good food but again we found better prices elsewhere. They have an estuary and Jungle area on site, with crocodiles and tropical birds. We preferred seeing them in the wild having them right there is neat if you don't want to go looking for them. The gondola is a neat feature of the resort and a neccesary one! If you plan on coming home late, take a cab, as we learned the gondola shuts down at 11:00 and there are just too many stairs! Also, it is closed on Saturdays until 3:00 for repairs so keep that in mind too.

RESTERAUNTS AND BARS:(all resteraunts are open air
which we love! Obviously we
don't have that in MN)

MAMMA NORMAS: Food was good. I had House Snapper
and Mark had Shrimp. We each had a
a pop and a beer. The total was
$40.00US. A little expensive, but
not too bad.
CARLOS AND CHARLIES: Drink prices about what you
would pay in the States.
Great view. Nice people. This
was our favorite night spot!
CAFE MADERA(ZIHUA): Located on Playa Madera.
Relaxing atmosphere. Great
drink prices! ($1.50US)
EL FAISAN(ZIHUA): Friendly people. Great prices.
This is where they went out of
their way to please us!
LA VALENTINA: Great food! Filete Mignon was
wonderful! And so was the Crab
stuffed Quesadillas. Price was
$50.00US. About what you'd pay here.
SENIOR FROGS: Unforunately not our cup of tea. 2
Margarita's was 100pesos (about
$10.00US) They are in town and not
on the beach and without the sound
of the waves to break it up, the
music is deafening!
JJ's LOBSTER HOUSE: One of our FAVORITE's. The
Coconut Shrimp(180pesos)
melts in your mouth!
CASA BAHIA(ZIHUA): Very nice atmosphere. Beautiful
view of Zihua Bay. Food OK and
inexpensive. Nachos were great!
2 pops, 3 drinks, appetizer,
bread, and 2 meals + tip $40.00
THE COOKIE SHOP: Best breakfast we had. The
pancakes are the best I have ever
had! Get an Orange Baby smoothie.
Fabulous! Good prices as well.
Villa de la SELVA: Best view of all our dining
experience. Also the most
expensive ($100.00US). But the
food was excellent and so was
the service!
PATY's MAR y MAR(ZIHUA): This resteraunt is on La
Ropa Beach. It has
excellent food. The Taco
de pollo is wonderful.
And it is cheap.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

The TRI-STAR Sail and Snorkel cruise-a must do!
Horseback riding on the beach
The feel of the hot sand beneath my feet during the day
The feel of cold sand beneath my feet at night
The smell of the fires burning in the mountains
The sound of the waves crashing against the shore
THE PEOPLE (even the time-share's and vendors)
The food
The drinks
The EVERYTHING!

We had a fantastic time. I am having vacation withdrawl already and have only been home a few days. Well, my body is here in MN but my heart and soul are still "home" in Paradise. Thanks for the Memories everybody!





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