Trip Report: Grab a chair

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Escrito por desde ( el día miércoles, 05 de marzo, 2008 a las 18:13:48 horas :

Just got back from my first trip to Zihua and here is the report. Thanks to Keith, Laura, Stewbear, Tim and Rico for all their help planning.

Day 1:
After flying in on an evening flight, we rented a car through Thrifty only to learn that Thrifty didn't actually have the type of car we requested so we were foisted off on Dollar. Apparently this is pretty common; be warned that when you get to the rental counter at the airport, it could take a little longer than expected. We ended up with a VW Pointer. Word of Advice #1: If you are planning on traveling through the mountains (we were) or have to drive up a hill steeper than a 2% incline (ditto), I would strongly urge you to avoid this car as it has no power and tends to stall out on hills. Being ignorant of this, we loaded up the car and headed to Quinta D'Liz in Troncones. Great place- albeit a little spartan with smaller bungalows and cold water showers- with a wonderful host in Luis and great locat1on near the enramadas. Most of those were closed since it was Monday but we got a decent bite and some cheap, cold Indios at the third enramada down.

Day 2-
Took some surfing lessons over at the Inn at Manzanillo Bay. Word of advice #2: Question authority. I had been surfing for about 30 seconds when my guide decided it was a good idea to hit the big waves near the rocky beach. This seemed a little premature but I decided that since my guide had been surfing for over 20 years, I would trust him. Thankfully I managed to walk away with only a few scrapes and bruises. Surfing was more difficult than I thought it would be but definitely a worthwhile experience. Dan surfs regularly and thought that the break in front of Manzanillo Bay was one of the best that he had seen. We finished out the night at Burro Burracho with some decent camarones diablo, lots of tequila and a game of dominoes with the kitchen staff and owner. Great day.

Day 3:
We loaded up the car and headed out to the Michoacan Interior; I can't recommend this trip highly enough. The drive to Uruapan -about 3 1/2 hours on the toll road- was more beautiful and much easier than expected. We ate a late lunch at La Terraza de La Trucha before heading in to the National Park. Loved the park but hated the restaurant. The food was decent however that was eclipsed by the worst service we recieved on the trip. Thankfully the park made up for it and I think we may have covered every inch of path. I managed to rifle off over 75 pictures in a little under 2 hours! By the time we were done, we had run out of time to hit Tingambato and instead headed to Patzcuaro where we stayed outside of town at the Villa Patzcauro. Nice, quiet rooms and RV parking with a collectivo stop at the end of the street. Walking in to town is also possible as there are sidewalks/walking paths the entire way.

Day 4:
We started the morning with a trip out to the ruins at Tzintzuntzan. First people there and we had the site to ourselves. I've traveled pretty extensively through the Yucatan and seen my share of ruins but the curved Purepecha yacatas here were truly stunning. The Patzcauro area stands out to me as one of the preeminent archaelogical areas in Mexico for the proximity, ease of access and diversity of its sites. GO! GO! GO! After the ruins, we headed in to town and grabbed some really good and really cheap tortas for breakfast (35 pesos for two tortas, two cups of coffee and a coke). We then hopped back in the car and headed to Ihuatzio for more ruins and a great cathedral. I prefered the ruins at Ihautzio to Tzintzuntzan mostly due to the sheer size of them. There was a group of middle school kids there when we arrived and we didn't spend as much time here as I would have liked. We headed back in to town and caught a muelle out to Janitzio. The island itself didn't impress me overly until the very end. If you speak any Spanish, head out to the pier for the Muelle Las Garzas and head up to the store across from the peir. The proprietor has lived on the island his entire life and speaks the Purepecha language. Talking to him was the highlight of the trip. We finished off the night at Restaurant Cha Cha Cha and wasn't disappointed. The Cream of Poblano Chile soup was fantastic as was the avocado salad.

Day 5:
We slep in a little (see day 4 itinerary) and then headed back to Patzcauro to walk the town and check out the market. Dan rifled down about 3 liters of water so we spent most of the morning searching for public bathrooms. They do exist and the sights inbetween were pretty cool. Patzcuaro was a nice contrast to Zihuatanejo and the produce was top notch. We picked up some mangoes, bananas, and apples (we're from WA and couldn't resist)for the drive back to Zihua. The drive back took about 5 hours factoring in the 1 hour stop at Tingambato. We ate at Tamales Any (anyone know what was going on with federales that surrounded that street corner on Friday?) and then headed to Villa Carolina, our home for the next couple of nights. At Tamales, I had the Pozole Verde wich I recommend highly and Dan had the Tacos de Bistec which he didn't overly care for.

Day 6:
I got up early and walked to Otilia's on Las Gatas on a tip from Tim. Was not disappointed! I was the first turista on the beach and Franco set me up with a great lounge chair and some fresh orange juice. Dan made it down a little later and we had Tacos de Atun at the neighboring enramada (last one on the beach, can't remember the name) with some neighbors from the hotel. Best fish tacos of the trip. Dan wanted to sleep in the sun a little more but I was getting antsy (and sunburnt) so I hopped a fishing boat back to town and walked to the mercado. Grabbed some delicious coffee beans - which I am currently drinking a cup of- at Costa Del Sol near the market and then a concha from the Pasteleria on Paseo de la Boquita. The Pasteleria was wonderful with delicious rolls and breads. I grabbed a few to go with our fruit at breakfast the next morning and walked up the hill to La Ropa. Word of Advice #3: Take a cab if you need to get to La Ropa between the hours of noon and 3:00pm. I hike regularly and still found the hill a little tiring in the heat! Dinner that night was at Letty's near the pier; amazing food including the best coconut shrimp I have ever tasted. Word of advice #4: Ice counts as water. At some point, I drank something gnarly and got a case of the Turista Special. From here on out you won't hear many restaurant reviews because I managed to purge out everything I had eaten in the past three years and didn't want to spend any more of the trip examining the insides of Mexico's fine porcelain work.

Day 6:
We spent the morning lounging at the pool, sweating out the beer consumed the night before (Dan) and ensuring that no further stomach rebellions would occur (me). After a stop at the CM for some water, Pedialyte and bug juice, we headed down to Barra de Potosi. Based on the recommendations of the board, we had decided to stay at Casa del Encanto and it did not disappoint. There were a lovely couple from Minnesota staying with us that we had dinner with that night and we met up with more Minnesotans staying at CdE (can't imagine what they would be doing in Mexico at this time of year) :)

Day 7:
We woke up and since I was feeling much better, had a light breakfast at Casa and then decided to tackle Guamilule Hill. Word of Advice #5: Unless you are in decent shape, skip this hike. The way up wasn't overly steep but mostly consisted of downed grass and rocks. Great on the way up but very slippery on the way down. The views are incredible and I hope to be able to post some pictures later. After our exertions, we spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping and reading on the beach. Dinner was a lovely ceviche prepared with a fish caught by our resident Minnesotans and some tacos from the fifth house on the main street. Word of Advice #6: In Barra de Potosi, beach enramadas close around 3:00 or 4:00pm and the taco stands don't open until around 8:00pm so plan on eating either very early or very late.

Day 8:
On our last day in town we spent morning eating brunch at Casa del Encanto and chatting with some the guests and proprietor. We finally wrapped our minds around the fact that we were leaving and packed up for a final run in to Zihuatanejo. We walked around the pier, picked up a few more gifts at the market and then made our way to the airport for the trip back home. The weather here in Seattle is great which has made the transition back to winter a little more bearable. Still, I'm already starting to work on the next trip down!

If you have any questions about places we ate, things we did or anything else, feel free to email. Oh, and Laura, the chess board we left in the room is for the kids at the library.


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