For what it's worth: Trip Report from Aug 2-6

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Posted by Gray from ( on viernes, agosto 09, 2002 at 17:31:02 :

Please excuse me if I am a bit verbose. I won’t go through a blow-by-blow account, but thought I would share a few of the highlights (and perhaps a lowlight or two). You were all so helpful to me. Perhaps my account might help someone else…

Highlight - Villa Carolina. I have a hard time believing that there could be a more lovely, well-designed, well-kept or comfortable accommodation anywhere. If you are looking for a lot of people-watching or nightlife, you will have to go to one of the other large hotels, but for intimacy and relaxation with excellent service, this place is tremendous. We stayed both in a Master Suite and in a Garden Suite, the difference being that the Master has a separate “living” room with a hammock, a small, private, soaking pool and a little view of the bay. The Garden Suites all open up onto the pool in the back, so don’t have a view of the bay, but the pool and the grounds are so attractive and well-kept, it is not clear that one misses anything. And while there is no “restaurant” or “bar” on the premises, very good food and drinks are available via room service from a service bar and kitchen that is tucked away out of sight. Playa la Ropa is about 100 yards away down a narrow, paved street that wraps around the south side and back of the Villa Carolina grounds. The only little downer is that the corner on which the hotel sits is also a bus stop. Therefore, a couple of times a day a large bus will sit just outside the campus walls for 15-20 minutes. No big deal for city folk. Maybe a bigger annoyance for those from quieter environs.

Highlight – The Food. We didn’t have a bad meal this trip. But then, we had this message board to thank for the restaurant recommendations. Being low season, nearly every place we went was deserted. But that, of course, usually means dedicated service. We ate dinners at Casa Bahia, Villa de la Selva and Puesta del Sol. Villa de la Selva is a cut above the others (though you pay for it), but all were unique and good.

Highlight – Playa Las Gatas. Crowded, yes, but all that people watching we weren’t doing at Villa Carolina in the evenings we did at the beach during the day. Nice to have snorkeling right off the beach and just a generally festive atmosphere, even in the extreme heat. Wading not quite as good as Playa la Ropa, as the coral pieces on the bottom can be hard on the footsies, but other than that, big fun.

Lowlight – Troncones. Maybe I was just in a bad mood, because I’ve had great luck in the past going to the outer beaches in tourist areas like Puerto Vallarta (Punta Mita) and Los Cabos, but I was pretty darned disappointed in the beach out front of La Gaviota and Puesta del Sol. I can see how the surfers would like it, but none of the establishments seemed in any frame of mind to provide meals, beverages or seating. Once again, I’ve read other people rave and I don’t think I’m usually a stuffed shirt-type, so maybe it’s me.

One last thing. I suppose I’d call it a tip. I know that many advocate NOT getting a car when visiting Zihuatanejo for a variety of very good reasons. However, I cannot express enough the feeling of flexibility one gets when their wheels are parked just outside. I think you are more likely to venture out more often to more places for longer if you know that you won’t have to worry about how long it will take to get there, whether you will have to wait out in the heat to get back and whether you are carrying small enough bills. You don’t need to drive the 100 yards to the beach, but when you want to go dancing in Ixtapa, drinking in downtown Zihuatanejo and surfing in Troncones, I feel it is very much worth the money to rent a car. Just my two bits.

Once again, thanks to all. It’s been over 10 years since I was there last, but I guarantee it won’t be that long until the next time. Zihuatanejo remains my favorite place to visit in Mexico.

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