Posted by Bonnie from 22.214.171.124 (dialin-678-tnt.nyc.bestweb.net) on Monday, February 18, 2002 at 08:29:53 :
We had a really good time, again.
Ira and I were at the Barcelo from 2/6 to 2/14. We were very pleased with the accomodation and service. We did manage to get a king bed, ocean view, balcony on a non-smoking floor. This was everything we requested. We suspected we got a few perks because of being repeat customers.
We were not all inclusive and found that the best of all worlds. We did have breakfast included though, so we didn't have to trek out of the hotel first thing in the morning for a meal.
A few minor glitches at the Barcelo--some of the adjunct organizers (e.g., concierge, and day trip arranger) were rude; it seems that it is necessary to sign up to eat at Barcelo restaurants early; reservations seem to go quickly, but we were not informed of this. We skirted the problem of not getting into their sunset restaurant by going straight to the maitre d' who was more than happy to help. The day trip guy seemed very stressed out. Its probably better to arrange your own trips.
We went to Troncones by rental car which we found very dramatic and beautiful. The road is terribly rocky, however, so drivers should be warned.
The beach chair/palapa situation is unbelievable (see earlier postings for delicious descr1ption by Rob, I think, about this obnoxious trend). We were conscr1pted into the system of going down at the crack of dawn to reserve our chairs, lest we lose out on the chance. But we did use our chairs!
We loved Villa del Sol's Mexicana fiesta ...probably its best to not eat for the better part of the day before going to this feast. The food was excellent, but there is so much to try that one needs to be quite hungry to sample the variety.
La Perla still has, in my opinion, the best whole fish (snapper) dish.
We also loved Godwanda (indian food) and people watching in the Zihua centro.
Generally, the prices have risen since last year but still reasonable. Meals at most mid-level restaurants ran $35-$45 a couple. Places like Kau Kan and VDS were closer to $85-$100.
We had some weird exchanges to report:
--a duena from a silver shop on the main drag in Zihua warned us not to buy silver that did not contain "three things" -- the number 925, and two words: "Mexico" and something else-- I think perhaps the name of the silversmith. I knew this to be wrong and misleading. A cheesy way to destroy the competition. She was very pushy.
--A few of the cab drivers were not as above board as last year. The prices varied where they shouldn't have (e.g., we were asked for between 65-80 pesos from Ixtapa to La Ropa when the sign in front of the hotel clearly states 65 pesos). I think we were overcharged to return to the airport (150 instead of 120 pesos). And one driver, when asked the price when we got into the taxi, laughed and said "barrato" and though he was trying to act playful (when I was serious in my question) he did not budge to give a price until we arrived. Anyway, the details are not important. But this kind of slippery style is not something we'd encountered last year, and I don't know whether it represents a larger trend. Perhaps the locals' ambivalence about tourism is stronger than it used to be.
We tried to go on a sunset cruise and got strange information. We were told by the trip organizer from the Barcelo that Nirvana only wanted to book "jet set" customers ... whatever that means; and that the Tristar was not operating now (the latter part we already knew). The bit about the Nirvana was peculiar.
My honey Ira went hang-gliding on Palmar and loved it.
Well this turned out not to be so brief. Feel free to write for any more specific questions.