Trip report (Zihuatanejo - Irma Hotel...)

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Posted by Tom1 from (d117-122.D-FAC.UMontreal.CA) on lunes, mayo 26, 2003 at 10:53:11 :

Hi –

We just got back from our first week spent in Zihuatanejo. We really enjoyed ourselves, despite the first heavy rainfall (one night) and the oppressive humidity the next day.

We stayed at the Irma Hotel and think we made a great choice. Curly’s descr1ption of it (check the archives) is very good. The hotel is beautifully located, on the highest edge of the Madera beach overlooking the bay – gorgeous views especially at sunset. The Irma had a great deal for the low season – three nights for the price of two, with breakfasts thrown in for two adults for the two days that you pay. So our week cost at the Irma for a couple and daughter, all taxes included, came to something around $475 US.

The Madera beach is not as pretty as the Ropa beach but turned out to be better for young children – the water depth stays shallow fairly far out, which allowed my 7-year old daughter to learn to play in the surf; at the Ropa beach she could not do that. The walk on the path along the beach to downtown was great fun, especially in early evenings – that is where many young Mexican lovers go to talk and kiss as the sun goes down. As Curly says in his report, bring a flashlight with you if you plan to walk back after dark – there are a couple short stretches with no light.

The Irma and the Villa Mexicana have the same owners, meaning that you can stay at the Irma and use the VM facilities (ie, the lounge chairs and shade on the La Ropa beach). The manager of the restaurant at VM occasionally asked us to eat/drink if we wanted to use the facilities, but the Irma and VM managers indicated that that was not necessary. The VM pools are big hot bathtubs; the ones at the Irma are fairly small but much better.

We visited Ixtapa one day and won’t be going back. It felt sterile to us like Cancun/the Mayan Riviera, but with an uglier beach and ocean waves that are too strong for swimming most days. Apparently the sunsets there are very nice, although I’d be surprised if they are better than at the Irma or the Catalina. We had 2 drinks and a pitcher of lemonaide at Carlos and Charlies in the afternoon and paid $26 US to surly waiters (the only people we expressly did not tip while in Mexico) – ridiculous prices for the worst margheritas we had during our stay in the area.

Food and drink.

The Catalina sunset bar is fantastic from 6-8PM (happy hour) – for relaxing and watching the sun slowly set on the beach. (The view at the Irma was about as good, but during low season the bar/restaurant closed at 3PM, and there is no fridge in rooms to keep your drinks cold.)

I didn’t like the VM restaurant. The food was alright, but we had a major problem. We are vegetarians (said so to the waiter) and we chose a dish (sopetitos classicos??) that spelled out what was in it – small sopes with beans and cheese. Well, it came with meat hidden below the cheese. So, anyone with dietary conditions, AVOID the VM restaurant – their complete disregard for our preferences and essentially dishonest advertising on their menu will keep us away in the future.

The Sirena Gorda has great breakfasts.

Try tamales at Tamales Any – very good. Their quesadillas however while good are deep-fried and very greasy.

The oriental restaurant across the street from Tamales Any was also very good – run by a Chinese Philippinian woman (Estelle??) who speaks perfect English, although it is not US-style Chinese. A welcome change for my daughter after a week of Mexican food, and the only place we saw with tofu, if you are looking for it.

We very much liked the Puesto del Sol (40 yds/meters up the road from the Irma) - very good food, great views, a real willingness to cook how and what you like whether it be on the menu or not, and their bananas flambé is a great show and dessert too. We didn’t try the Kua Kan next door – our one contact with them turned us off (snobby, seemingly less interested in going out of their way to make our meal enjoyable). But the place looked beautiful.

Anyway, we will definitely be going back – hopefully next time for 2-3 days at the Irma or the Catalina and then a short week at Troncones.

Thanks for all the suggestions… that I received on this board – they were very helpful for deciding what to do and where to go.


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