Posted by Carol In Ohio on August 12, 2001 at 22:33:19:
Hi. I just got back last night from my first trip to Ixtapa/Zihua and after all the great advise I'd received here have to share my trip as well.
We flew in from Cleveland on Aug. 4 with Continental and had a quick layover in Houston and easy trip down. Our check in at the Presidente took a whole five minutes. The open air lobby was pretty to look out onto the beach.
We asked for a room near the beach and ocean and were given 3180 in the low rise area. It had a balcony facing the pool and you could see slightly the ocean from the balcony. Rooms there could use a bit of updating and a photo on the wall but everything was spotlessly clean so I can't really complain. (A previous posting mentioned that the water in the room was not drinkable but in our room it specifically had signs on it in 3 languages saying it was. We drank it all week and never got ill.)
With Mexico having all their kids out on summer break from school we were one of the 10% Americans at the hotel during our week. My vocabulary consists of single words and phrases and my husband can't even remember the word Buenos Dias but everyone was so friendly that by the end of the week his two best buddies were from Mexico City.
I can't say enough good things about the hotel staff. We befriended the bartender David who works at the swim up bar and he took us and several other couples into Zihua and showed us around our second night there. He was the best. Many of the other staff also went out of their way to be of service. I'm sure it didn't hurt that we tipped everyday when we were in the restaurants, at the bars, maids, etc. and they deserved it. Please make sure to tip even though it's supposed to be included. These people worked very hard to make our stay pleasurable.
We were in the mood to just be lazy last week with our main activity laying beside the pool with a good book and a margarita. One night we watched a sea turtle come up on shore and lay it's eggs. We golfed at the marina course. Beautiful layout but the greens were awful and water obviously non existent. Still they are running a special through I believe Sept. on Thursday to play for $40 including cart. Definately alligators on the course and on the 16th hole we couldn't putt because a crab was living in the hole! My husband tried to play the other course the next day but couldn't as there was a tournament going on at $350 a head. Heard it is nicer though.
Three nights we did go to Zihua for shopping and walking around. We had dinner at Casa Elvira and it was good although nothing spectacular. We loved Bandidos so spent three different evenings listening to this great guitar player/singer. He was excellent and had a beautiful voice.
I bought some nice silver from Abel Y Julia who have a stand at the craft market and also a storefront location several blocks away. They were easy to deal with and I feel we received a fair price. My husband's favorite purchase was a bottle of tequila that came in a little mini keg shape that has Ixtapa carved into it. The tap leaked a little so we put it in a water bottle on the trip back. I'm not one for straight tequila but this stuff was smooth. As I didn't quite understand where this is made, anyone have any insight on it? I did my damage shopping and to me the best part of the trip was just walking up and down the streets of Zihua in the evenings and watching the families, going into the local grocery, seeing the basketball games, etc. Everyone was just soooo great.
We will definately be back again. I think we will probably stay at the Presidente again because we had such a great experience. We had never done all inclusive before and you surely don't need to in either Ixtapa or Zihua as there are very reasonable prices. This was something we gave great thought to and personally since I have terrible seafood allergies and little espanol I felt safer taking my meals in the hotel. Also, we spend a lot of time just being beach/pool dwellers and those cervezas at $4 each at the bar add up. My husband and I do quite well but consider trips a luxury and so we really liked knowing everything was paid for in advance and then the rest was for extras. We spent about $800 on shopping/ golf / outside hotel food and beverage so I don't feel badly that I've deprived the Zihua / Ixtapa area by staying at an all inclusive. I know the all inclusives on this board have been disliked by many for what they do to the other area businesses and although the point is well taken, we came to the conclusion that in the future, we will probably start doing all inclusives in other cities as well.
I'm not here to debate on what all inclusives do to the economy. I just wanted to let everyone know what a great time we had in the beautiful city with the beautiful people. I'm going to be reading the board faithfully and watching for deals so I can start planning my return trip!!!!!!
P.S. Make sure to buy a painting on the beach in front of the Barcelo from Jorge. He paints with his finger and does beautiful work. Very reasonable.