Trip Report. Very Long.

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Escrito por terry desde ( el día domingo, 04 de junio, 2006 a las 19:07:18 horas :

After a fantastic 19 days in Mexico I'm now back in the cool and damp interior of British Columbia so I thought I would put this trip report together. I'll break it into three parts, Part 1 - Zihuatanejo, Part 2 - Ixtapa, and Part 3 - Taxco / Mexico City.

Part 1. " Zihuatanejo "
After a long day's flying we hit the tarmac at Ix/Zih and the warm humidity was a nice change, to the cool dry of the north. Green light, a $29 taxi voucher (ouch) and we were heading to La Ropa. Home for the next 6 days was the "Villas Los Arcos". This is a great property on the southern end of La Ropa, about 150yds from the beach, and the hosts Nancy and David are wonderful helpful folk.
After unpacking we walked up the beach to Paty's and while our 7 y.o. son frolicked in the water we sat back with an icy bucket of beers, had dinner and watched the sun go down. La Ropa was good, most days the water was clear, not crystal, and the waves gentle.
We spent the next 6 days exploring the sights of Zihua town and nearby. Took the bus, then the camionetta to Barra de Potosi, which was nearly deserted. Enjoyed the beach and lunch at La Condessa, a great place to relax. Enjoyed the markets, fantastic fruit and really cheap. Our son loved the tourist markets and bought about 8 different musical instruments. Cafe Arcadia on the Playa Municipal was always a welcome respite from the heat of the day with an ice cold $1 Indio.
Took the local buses nearly everywhere, always running and ridiculosly inexpensive. Was never overcharged once, in fact was undercharged 100 pesos at M.J. and Richies ( great place ) and they were happy I pointed it out. Had great meals at El Mare (killer view) and Capprichios ( Joachin, I think, the owner was great). Food everywhere was good even tried Stew's favourite Cafe Rico Mar ( very economical ).
All the businesses were very helpful and tolerated my poor broken Spanish. There are 3 great little businesses just over the bridge from Plaza Kyoto, a laundry ( self serve and same-day ), a little bar with 90 cent Victorias's, and a beer shop run by Daniel (great guy)cheap beer, lots of info, and speaks wonderful English. Walked up to the entrance to El Parteon and could have got in if I had taken some cash.
Higlights: Warm friendly people, casual laid back attitude, great food, and ease of getting around.
Disapointments: Rubbish, plenty of trash lying around everywhere. Air quality, lots of haze from fires I think. Las Gatas, was expecting more after reading lots of trip reports, but the water quality and visibility were poor and hardly any fish.

Part 2. "Ixtapa"
We had a free weeks timeshare at Ixtapa so couldn't knock it back so it was interesting to stay there and compare the two destinations. Park Royal Villas at the southern end of Playa de Palmar was our home for the next week. It is a small, older complex, next to the Barcelo, and we found it very satisfactory, our unit was oceanfront on the 3rd floorwith an amazing view. It's style was a little dated but we thought it had a lot more character the the towering megopolises around us. Concrete and marble floors kept the place nice and cool.
The beach at Ixtapa is great, and the water is really clean. The surf was no real problem being originally from Australia, but not so strong swimmers could get into problems. Nearly everything at Ixtapa is more expensive than Zihua, some things a lot more (laundry for example). Get your supplies from the Bodega in town, it's on the way out to Ixtapa.
Food: The good, Ruebens for a burger if you need a change from totally Mexican; the not so good, Emilios way overpriced, just the toppings on 1 pizza was more than a meal for 3 with drinks at Cafe Rico Mar. The outstanding, Any's Tamales new to Ixtapa and just fabulous sensational food we went back twice ( for green pozole )and insanely low prices.
Highlights: The beach and water, and a special mention to Isla de Ixtapa. If you enjoy snorkelling make the trip, the water is really clear and the fishlife abundant. On the far side of the Isand, Restauarant Indio is great. Take the local bus to Playa Linda and jump on the water taxi.
Disappointments: Expensive and a bit too touristy, the high rise all inclusive resort thing is not my scene. Hotel pools, all so shallow, (I guess so drunken A.I. guests don't drown) but by afternoon they are all like warm baths.

Part 3. "Taxco and Mexico City"
After nearly 2 weeks chilling at the beach it was time to head inland and do some touring. A very helpful lady at the Estrella de Oro terminal helped organise our bus tickets, again the broken Spainish came in handy. The bus services are fantastic, our primera class bus was more comfortable than Alaska Airlines, lots of legroom, A/C, and speed limited to curb any excessive zeal of the driver, always on time, and very cheap, 3 of us to Acapulco for $20.
Taxco was fascinating, beautiful little hillside colonial town and if you love silver you will go nuts. Stayed at the Hotel Posada San Javier, beautiful little oasis, if you need A/C, minibar, fridge, icemachine don't bother; if your'e looking for a genuine retreat, this is it. "Sotavento" restaurant was fabulous, best steak I've ever eaten.
I was pleasantly surprised by Mexico City, after all the stories of pollution, crime, shanty towns, hustle and bustle , I wasn't sure what to expect. It does have all the previous but it is modern, charming, with lots of green space, beautiful avenues and great museums.
Highlights: Bus Services. All of Taxco ( with the exception of the traffic) Teotihuacan and the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon ( north of Mexico City )
Disappointments: Lots of street beggars, and not enough time to explore everything, and a protest that made it unsafe for us to get to the Zocalo.

In Summary: Zihua is a fantastic place to visit, we are already planning our return visit.
Tips: Learn some Spanish, even some basics, it really helps. Don't worry about the reports of violence, Zihua is scarier on the internet than in real life, we saw no evidence of violence at all, we were always in bed by 10p.m. though. By all means arm yourself with lots of info, there is great stuff on this web site, but be prepared to free wheel as well, there's so much to see and do..
Some photo's at

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