Trip Report

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Escrito por Chad desde ( el día miércoles, 09 de mayo, 2007 a las 09:55:44 horas :

First things first, thanks to all the many contributors to this board that has made our trips more pleasant! This was our second trip, first being about 4 years ago and this one with a 22 month baby girl in tow. After many delays we ended up going down the week after Easter Week—[late April this year], it appears to be when some consider it off season. We like the direct flights on Alaska out of SFO, which in early May dropped to about $250 RT w/ tax. Our first trip we took the local bus from the airport, this time as we had considerably more luggage and we wanted to explore so we rented a car. I followed a poster’s advice and rented about 4 days before we left via Orbitz/Hertz. I decided on Hertz as people said they would not require the un-needed insurance as I was covered with my Visa Platinum. I also took the advice to rent the smallest car as they never have them at short notice and they upgrade you. After a ten minute debate and them showing me signage in the shop that said the $15 per day mandatory insurance was mandatory they let me rent with out it.
I received my Visa bill the other day which had the $120. charge for 8 days in a great brand new Fiat – 4 door sedan. Watch out for the parking lights that often stay on and drain the battery.

The first two nights we stayed at Las Brisas Del Mar on Playa Madera ($120 per). We like the closeness to town—a seven or so minute walk along the elevated paved path that hugs the shore, the views, the pool, the staff and the ability to get palapa service:) We had dinner at Tamale Any’s one night in town which we also liked on our last trip. This was the only hotel we made reservations in advance and they were very good at responding via email and had free parking, free wi-fi and a free computer to use in the lobby.

After two nights on Madera we headed to Patzcuaro on the toll road via Troncones.
It cost us about $20 to get there.. on roads better than some in USA. We had a great breakfast/lunch at Inn at Manzanillo Bay in Troncones. The food was inventive and the setting beautiful. It took us 3 hours+ on the toll road to get to Patzcuaro (I drive fast).

Patzcuaro is a wonderful old colonial town with a quiet energy. It is considered a mountain town around 7,000 ft, it has 3 principle plazas and sits near a large lake. We planned our trip to be there on Friday – market day, but turned out this was not that big a deal. Their everyday market was much more thrilling. We stayed at La Casa Encantada ($90 per on Dr. Coss #15, they normally do not allow children but they made an exception, and we were asked to have the awesome included breakfast in the courtyard rather than inside with the other guests. We loved our private dining patio. This is a great smaller B&B with a variety of rooms in a great locat1on with very helpful and super nice staff. We spent one afternoon driving part way around the lake, checking out many small villages—each specializing in a craft. We wanted to go to the ruins at sunset, but it closed before that time. Our daughter with her blond curls made a big splash at the market in town. Great tacos at “Carnitas Las Plazas” on Iturbe street between two main plazas for a quick and easy bite. We also ate at Priscilla’s in Las Suenas hotel [great shop associated with hotel right next door] and Cha Cha Cha both OK but nothing special. It was recommended to us to eat at El Viejo Gaucho on Iturbe #10 by a Patzcuaro lover, and they did have music on the Friday and Saturday we were there, but not until 9pm. My wife checked out the “hotel rincon de josefa” [] across from the carnitas place mentioned above, and thought it looked like a great place to stay a little less $$ than Encantada, yet equal in locat1on points. The main plaza of Patzcuaro was rather loud on a Saturday night especially along one street … several hotels right there I don’t think would be so nice to stay directly on the square, especially with many great options 1/2 block away. My wife walked around both main plazas on Saturday night by herself at 10:30pm.., seemed safe…. many families still out and about, roving music bands, well-attended food stands.

On the way back to the coast we visited the town of Uruapan and checked out the national park they have in the middle of town…many waterfalls and a trout farm. Fun place to spend a couple of hours and a great chicken roti across the street. We also went to the textile museum in town, interesting place to walk around – great old buildings. We bought in the States an International Travel Maps map of “Mexico Pacific Coast”. The road to and on the toll road was signed well, enough, but good to have big picture.

Back on the coast we wanted to stay on Playa La Ropa this time. We settled on Ecological ($70) the room was right on the beach with AC but it was small and not the cleanest. It did pass the service at your lounge chair test. We walked down the beach to Rossi’s deck where we had spent some time on the last visit. Highly recommend the mixed shish ka bob. We also had OK meals at Elvira’s (Breakfast) and La Perla (Dinner). We drove down to Barra el Potosi one late Sunday afternoon..interesting drive..many many restaurants with very close seating all under shade, but not our thing.

Spent the last two nights back at Las Brisas…They have excellent chipolte shrimp tacos:)
We tried to eat dinner at Casa Que Canta the last night but were turned down as we had our daughter. We had a GREAT meal there on the last trip and I would recommend at least having a drink there. Ended up having dinner at Kau Kan. Excellent service and good food with views. While on Madera enjoyed the morning cappuccinos at the La Casa Café – also good breakfast! We checked out Playa Larga—which is on the road to the airport from Zihua-one large sign hard to miss. A beautiful small hotel there, the Casa Kau-Kan [] recommended we eat at Popeye/papaya. Playa Larga is a 3 mile? long beach… very clean and gorgeous, and can rent 4 wheel ATV. On a Tuesday afternoon there was hardly anyone there.

Misc. Tips: If you need to make calls, buy a phone card and you can use the pay phones all over – much cheaper than hotel or phone stores. When leaving check on the Internet for the status of your flight, flights are often a few hours late. We used the extra time to have lunch on Playa Larga. Great --I believe Costco owned --large market now in town to stock up on anything you might need…even organic milk for our daughter. You can find places that will do laundry same day for a very reasonable price – bring less! I used the little market across from Los Brisas. Alaska airlines is very accommodating with lap infants, we always book isle and window and call reservations and al3rt them of the lap infant. We bring the car seat with us and they let us use this in the seat on the plane unless there are no seats open, then you can gate check the car seat. Many people in our area afraid to bring their small children to Mexico. This was Amelia’s third trip and she spent hours playing in the surf and sand, and we have had no issues on any of the trips. Both beaches of Zihua have gentle waves and it takes a long time before it gets deep, so great for young children—not scary! La Ropa’s sand is much softer… Madera’s is rather compact which is great for the soccer playing youth. The culture embraces children and Amelia thrives on the attention. She can now say hola and Adios.

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