Trip Report

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Escrito por Tia desde (?) el día martes, 30 de mayo, 2006 a las 19:07:24 horas :

My husband and I returned at 1:00 a.m. this morning from our first trip to Zihua. While I’m still a little delirious from lack of sleep, I can honestly say that Zihua was one of the best destinations I’ve ever visited. What started out as “Zihuatanejo—Murphy’s Law Style”, ended as a wonderful escape for my husband and me. Here are tales of our adventures and some of our misadventures in this lovely land:

Day 1
Delayed on Continental flight out of Chicago. We ended up missing our flight out of Houston to Zihua. I wish that I had given myself more than an hour to make the connection. Continental got us on a flight to Mexico City where we could connect and make it to Zihua later that night. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to us, we were stand-by in Mexico. I said to my husband as we stood cluelessly at the swamped ticket counter in Mexico City, “I think I should have paid a bit more attention in my high school Spanish class,” since I had no idea what was going on with our stand-by status. Despite a few minutes of thinking we would never make the flight to Zihua and many pathetic moans and sighs on my part, the agents were able to get us the last two seats.

We made it to Zihua by about 7:30, but our bags didn’t arrive with us. (Note to self—Next time pack a carry on with a day’s worth of clothes!) Our taxi driver took us to Solimar Inn sans bags. The Solimar wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but Edison and his family couldn’t have been nicer. Edison helped get us acclimated and pointed us in the direction of a pharmacy where we could pick up a toothbrush, shampoo, etc. After that, we ventured the short walk downtown for a nice dinner at Coconuts. Our waiter, Arturo, was wonderful, and we were sad to hear that the place would be closing that Friday for the slow season.

Our first night at the Solimar was pretty rough. Apparently, there was a major power outage in the hotel district on Wednesday night. Both the A/C and the fan were gone in the room, which made the temperature rather unbearable. To top it off, there was a dog chained across the street, which spent most of the night barking. The combination meant a total of about 3 hours of sleep for my husband and me.

Day 2
Started the day a little worse for wear with little sleep and no luggage. We did a quick shopping trip downtown and bought some comical tourist gear to get us through our first day. Next, we went to El Arricife (on the corner of Benito Juarez and La Boquita) for breakfast. I highly recommend the restaurant for breakfast. We became raving addicts for the chilaquiles there, and the bill was never more than 90 pesos.

After breakfast, we donned our tourist gear (matching t-shirts, no less!) and headed to La Perla for a day lying on the beach. We loved the service at La Perla. Our two favorite staff members, Luis and Javier, took excellent care of us. We met some other Americans sitting at nearby palapas and enjoyed trading travel tales with them.

I wanted to mention how clean I thought the beaches were in Zihua. After hearing some horror stories about the bay, I was expecting the worst. After a nice, leisurely swim at La Ropa, I was really impressed by the water. It was heavenly!

After sunning ourselves to the extreme, we headed back to the Solimar by cab and were thrilled to discover that our bags had arrived from the airport. Oh, happy day! We got ready and headed out to dinner at Café Del Mar on La Madera. The locat1on was absolutely beautiful and we were the only patrons for most of the night. The service was wonderful and the food was good, as well. We split an excellent shrimp salad on mixed greens with a ginger vinaigrette. For our entrees, my husband had the tuna tartare “Mexican style” and I had the tuna steak in balsamic glaze. We followed it off with a decadent chocolate mousse and a bottle of Chilean chardonnay. After that, we stopped by Jungle Bar next to Coconuts for several beers.

Day 3
After another night at the Solimar, we decided to move to a new hotel. Edison, the owner, and his family were absolutely wonderful and the locat1on was good. However, we decided that we want to be a little closer to the beach. We moved to Hotel Irma on Friday morning. We were on the 6th floor with an amazing view of the bay. So I guess we traded the personalized service of Solimar for the view at Irma. In the end, it was a good choice for us.

We spent Friday at La Perla again drinking beer and eating fish tacos and guacamole. That night we took the wonderful advice from several on the message board, and headed to La Gula for dinner. I cannot say enough about our experience at this restaurant! It’s in a rather odd locat1on right near the canal, but it’s a beautiful space. For most of the evening, we were the only patrons, and the staff treated us like gold. To start, I had a huge hearts of palm salad and my husband had a pork skin soup. For the entrée, I had an incredible dish of shrimp wrapped in bacon in a saffron sauce. My husband had the filet, which was delicious. For dessert, we split the bananas flambé. The owner of the restaurant was so kind to us, and even asked us to sign her visitors’ book. I highly recommend a stop at La Gula for an outstanding and reasonably priced (about $70) meal.

Day 4
After yet another breakfast of chilaquiles (this time at Daniels), we hopped one of the boats over to Las Gatas. True, the beach is rocky, but I really thought the beach itself was beautiful. I also love the fact that the restaurants are right on the water, so there’s no desperate scurrying over hot sand to make it to the water. We spent the day at El Arrecife (apparently, it’s no relation to the one in El Centro). Our waiter, Jose, was great, and he even took us to the back of the restaurant to show us the amusing zoo they had accumulated. (A parrot, a squirrel, and a pigeon in hanging cages) We returned to Irma on one of the last boats back. We stopped by La Perla for dinner, as my husband wanted to buy some more cigars from Don Francisco. We both had the delicious lobster and shrimp stuffed chili rellenos and watched an incredible sunset over the bay. After dinner, we hopped in a cab and headed over to Bandidos for live music.

Day 5
After yet another chilaquiles breakfast at El Arrecife (an addiction? perhaps), we took a cab over to La Perla for our last day on the beach. As soon as we arrived, we met another American couple, who we spent the day chatting with. We agreed to join them for dinner that night, so we headed back to Irma at a decent time to get changed. We ended up a Club Intrawest for dinner. While I’m normally not big on anything to do with a fancy resort, we were quite happy with the restaurant. The view was extraordinary, as was the food. They also had an extensive wine list. After dinner, we all headed back to Bandidos for music and dancing. (watching the dancing; not actually participating in it) It took all my strength and persistence to drag my slightly drunk husband away at the end of the night, as I knew we had a long day of travel ahead of us.

Day 6
Breakfast at Irma (no chilaquiles this time) before heading to the airport. Unfortunately, our flight ended up being delayed for several hours so we once again missed our connection in Houston. Houston was a complete and total madhouse because of weather, so we had to try a few flights on stand-by before finally making it home to Chicago at 1:00 a.m.

A few thoughts…

Travel to Zihua in May
While it was hot as blazes in Zihua, I loved how quiet the town was in May. There seemed to be very few American tourists and many more Mexican tourists. It made for a more relaxing and, dare I say, authentic experience. We’re considering a trip again next May.

Hotel Solimar
I can’t say enough nice things about Edison and his family. I think the hotel is a good choice for people who want a fair amount of space and don’t mind being a little bit away from the main tourist areas.

Hotel Irma
The staff wasn’t super friendly, but I loved our view. It was a hike to get up the hill to Irma and then another hike to get up the six flights of stairs to our room, but I rationalized that the walking helped make up for the excessive food consumption on the trip. Also, the beach walkway is very pleasant and takes you right into town in about 10 minutes. Do note, the gate is locked at night, so you’ll need to walk up the hill to get back into the hotel once this is locked.

Zihua Locals
I lived oversees for a few years and have traveled quite a bit, but few places have compared to Zihua. I can’t begin to express how kindly we were treated by everyone in the town. All of the locals were so friendly and ready to help with any questions we had.

Overall Experience
What a wonderful, wonderful town! My husband and I are already planning a trip back and would like to bring our families with us, as well. For anyone looking for a quieter get away, I think that Zihua is a perfect choice.

Sorry this was so long!

Tia K.
President and Founder
Chilaquiles Lovers Society
Greater Chicagoland Chapter

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