Tag Archives: Ixtapa

Can we have your Feedback Please?

Hi travel fans,

Here are a few simple questions that will give us some feedback to allow us to improve future travel blogs.  Please take a moment and let us know how we did.  Also, all comments will be appreciated.

Thanks again and see you next trip.

Keith

Bye Bye Mexico!

Hi to you all,

Well, today is our last beautiful, sunny, warm day in this Mexican paradise.  We had breakfast at the hotel for the first time today, while waiting for our taxi to the airport.  As we sat in the relaxed atmosphere I realized just how beautiful this place is.  Our table is open to the magnificent view of the bay and you feel the soft breeze from the water directly in front of us and from the slowly turning overhead fan.  There is classical music playing softly in the background.  The staff is friendly and attentive and the food is good.  I don’t want to go home!

The main doors to Villa Vera are large beautiful carved wooden doors.  They contain intricate carvings and are in very nice shape.

As we reflect on our week here in Zihuatanejo there are some positive thoughts that come to mind that you may find useful if you ever come to this part of Mexico:

  1. We think the Zihuatanejo area is more authentic than Ixtapa.  The downtown if full of small shops and the city has put roofs over many of the sidewalks so the shopping experience is much more comfortable;
  2. The resorts here are smaller than in Ixtapa.  A smaller resort offers a much more intimate experience.  You are far more likely to meet new friends and it is much quieter than the big resorts in Ixtapa with their poolside sound systems turned up to 3 decibels above the threshold of pain;
  3. Most of the resorts are located adjacent to Playa La Ropa.  While our resort was located across the bay from Playa La Ropa, it was quite isolated.  If you are not prepared to either taxi or walk down the mountain to town you will be fine.  It’s only a 15 minute walk but by the end of the week coming back becomes a bit of a chore particularly with a full belly of food;
  4. Food prices here (and in Ixtapa) run around half of what you will pay at home.  There are lots of restaurants to choose from and the food is excellent.  Don’t take the all-inclusive option.; and
  5. The beaches are excellent.  Both the downtown beach as well as Playa La Ropa are great beaches.  The downtown one tends to be a bit quieter and the water is less rough as it is protected somewhat from the ocean access to the bay.  This would be better for swimming, although Playa La Ropa tends to be busier with both tourists and locals.

You may remember from Shame on You Mexico and from Its Not What You Know But Who You Know, that we were supposed to have a solution to the materials stolen from Alicia by the airport security staff.  When we arrived at the airport, we asked for the person who was supposed to return the soda pop and toiletries taken from Alicia on 21 May.  Nobody seemed to know of the person.  We eventually found a security supervisor working for Continental who told us that the manager of the airport did not work on the weekend and was not the person we had the name of.  We explained what we were supposed to recover and she explained that she knew that there was no Apple Pop seizures in their inventory.  Well, you can’t believe everyone I guess!

The process of checking in at the Zihuatanejo airport involves a physical search of checked luggage before you get to the desk to get your boarding pass.  We were told that this process will disappear soon as they are soon to receive x-ray equipment for the luggage.  All passengers go through an inspection, it’s not just a spot check.  As we were having our luggage checked, the line up next to us, for an Aero Mexico flight was also being checked.  I watched as 4 cans of soda pop were removed from a protesting passenger’s checked luggage.  When we got to the desk the security supervisor we had talked with earlier was there so I asked her why the pop had been removed from the checked luggage.  Se indicated that there was a crush hazard if the luggage was stacked or handled badly.  I asked her why there was no sign warning travellers that soda pop would be removed from checked luggage before they entered the luggage check area.  People might want to sit down and drink it themselves and not donate it to airport security staff.  Also, you cannot take pop through the personal security screening and in your carry on so it would be better to remove the pop from checked luggage and give it back to the traveller.  They could decide how to dispose of it before they went through personal security.  Anyways, the response from the supervisor was a typical Mexican shrug.  It seems that, although pop in checked luggage provides no security hazard, in Mexico they seem to want to protect travelers from themselves.  As far as I am concerned, if I want to take the risk of having soda pop leak all over the inside of my luggage, I should be able to do so.

Well, this brings our trip and my postings to a close.  It has been lots of fun for me to share our trip with you through my ramblings and images.  This blog software works well, once you get used to it.  To date we have had 1,367 views, and I would consider that a success.  If anyone is interested in doing a blog, WordPress.Com gives you 3 GB of free space and the use of all their different templates and widgets.  All of this blog has only used up 36.8 MB including the 181 images uploaded to the site.  I would definitely use this process again.

Now, I have no way of knowing who the 1,367 people are, as I only get a hit count.  As such, I will produce one more posting with a short survey attached and ask you to give some feedback for future uses.  Also, if you would like to be advised of our next trip we do this for, please subscribe to this blog by providing your email address at the bottom of the right column of this posting.  I will send you an email before the next trip with instructions of how to reach the blog for that trip.

Thanks so much for your interest in our trip.  Remember, if you ever need someone to document your vacation, I’m available.  It will just cost you airfare, accommodation, and food.  Also, if anyone wants a higher resolution copy of any of the images in this blog, at a reasonable cost, shoot me an email at khowie@shaw.ca.  Tell me the image name (mouse over the image and the name will show) and what size you would be interested in.  I will get back to you with details.


A Dress for Andrea

Howdy,

Today was another perfect day here in paradise.  Sunny and 32 C again.

Today we headed into Ixtapa for lunch at the Pacifico resort.  We had a coupon  for 400 pesos (about $40.00) to use up.  Have you ever tried to spend $40.00 on breakfast in Mexico?  It’s a bit like the game you played as a kid where you tried to spend a million dollars out of the Sears Catalog.  It’s hard to do but we did it.  With a tip, we were able to spend it all.  (Murray, you’d have been proud)

Part of the lunch was a huge fresh fruit concoction that was to die for.  Take a watermelon and lop the bottom off it so it will sit flat on a plate.  Cut the melon off about 5 inches above the plate then take an ice cream scoop and dig 3 large holes in the watermelon.  Put the scoops of watermelon back on top of the watermelon, then stand full size slices of cantaloupe, honey-dew melon,  and papaya in the 3 watermelon holes.  Finish it off with a big old scoop of lime sherbet.  I’d love to show you a picture but we kind of got eating before I got the camera out and it was gone before I could take the picture!

We finished our shopping in Ixtapa and escaped before there were too many barriers set up to impede the traffic.  There is a huge triathlon here tomorrow.  Apparently it is an annual event and a very big deal here.  There is lots of preparation underway and we were warned that trying to get anywhere in Ixtapa tomorrow will be difficult.

I think I have been away from home too long!  All the mannequins here look particularly well filled out and all the stores have them.  They don’t seem to look the same as most of the people we see walking in the street but I will keep looking and let you know if I find a match.  😉  For some reason, that has now escaped me, I thought that this information might be useful to someone.

We were walking down the street and found a wedding shop with some dresses that are quite different from home.  (Alicia, pay attention)  They are really quite beautiful.  Andrea has picked out the gold one to wear to Alicia’s wedding. (Hehe)  If anyone is looking for wedding garb and likes these styles, we can give you the address.  They have pretty good pricing too.  These three are each between $400.00 and $600.00.

We found another massage place today.  This one was in town and provided a real good massage for 250 pesos.  (about $25.00)

We lost two of our group today.  Paige and Jay left for home.  We hope they are still following this blog because we need them to know what they missed tonight.

As we walk to and from town, we have been passing Lety’s restaurant but we have never gone in.  It turns out that this little place, above a fisherman’s bar is another Trip Advisor recommended restaurant.  It’s kind of on the wrong side of the tracks, or in this case river and looks a tad local.  It’s one of those places that you would normally just walk by.

Julie, Ed and us walked to the small second floor restaurant and seated ourselves at one of the dozen or so tables and ordered coconut shrimp.  After all, it was the specialty of the house.  The owner, Lety herself, came out and introduced herself to us and thanked us for coming then headed off to the kitchen to prepare our order.

The second floor location provides a nice view of the public pier, across the river.  Lety tells us that she has owned the restaurant for about three years.  The decor was already there when she opened the restaurant.  Would you have guessed from the wall art that it was a fisherman’s bar?

The food was excellent!  The coconut shrimp was done perfectly and the shrimp were a good size.  This place gets a double thumbs up for great seafood, authentic atmosphere, friendliness, and being close to our hotel.  Too bad we have been walking by instead of walking in!  Too bad, Paige and Jay, you missed another great one.


Shame on You, Mexico!

Hi all,

Well, today is our last full day here in Ixtapa and the day that Alicia leaves for the great white north.  We started the day with one last dump truck stopping run of 3.75 Km and a leisurely breakfast.  After an hour on the beach, we put Alicia in a cab and sent her on her way.  By-by Alicia!

Andrea and I spent the rest of the day lounging on the beach, which seems much more under control that it has the last couple of days.  The waves are down to normal levels.  The hotel has filled up with locals.  The parking lot is full and there is evidence of preparation for a large wedding on the beach at the resort next door.  We had one yesterday at our resort as well as a large graduation party in one/some of the inside meeting rooms.  This place is way too busy.

We hung around to catch a sunset from our room before going to dinner at the Red Hauchinango Grill.  We arrived around 7:30 PM and passed by several empty restaurants before settling on this one.  It was a one man show tonight with Willie, our server, greeting and seating us, bring us drinks, taking our order, cooking dinner, and handling the bill.  It is the first time we noticed this happening in a restaurant.

I had garlic snapper and it was absolutely the best fish I have eaten since we arrived.  Willie is, shall I say, on the very large size.  Obviously he has eaten too much of his own cooking.  The price?  Less than 400 pesos for two. (about $40.00)  This place would be on the recommended list, if I had one.

We noticed that people were coming out looking for restaurants around 9 PM.  You can tell that they are Mexican as they are all dressed up.  Even the little kids.

As the sun sets on our Ixtapa visit, I thought you might find some impressions of the place useful.  You never know when you might be looking for a place in Mexico to go for a vacation.

We all liked Ixtapa very much.  Andrea and I have been to a number of the Mexican tourist areas and this one, by far, has made a very positive impression.

  1. The weather is consistent.  This place is quite far south on the west coast and, as such, has high temperatures.  Here we have been in the sun and low to mid 30’s throughout the whole visit;
  2. The place is a reasonable size.  The hotel zone in Cancun is 21 Km long.  The one here is 3 Km.  It makes for a much more intimate experience;
  3. The beach is also one of the best I have seen in Mexico.  It is wide and immaculately kept.  There are teams of Mexicans sweeping the beach from end to end, picking up anything that does not belong from cigarette buts to coconut debris;
  4. The beach has no stones.  There are no stones or shells so the only impediment to walking the beach is the hot sand, where the surf does not cool it;
  5. There are lots of restaurants.  We tried a different one each night and never had a bad meal.  Some were average but many were exceptional; and
  6. There is variety here.  Ixtapa is the big flashy resort area but you can be in Zihuatanejo on the bus or in a cab within a few minutes.  There you will find a more authentic smaller Mexican experience.

All in all, this location would be a recommendation for anyone.  If you come, don’t pick an all-inclusive.  There are too many wonderful local restaurants to experience.

We just heard from Alicia, who is in Houston tonight.  She reported being checked in and through security at the Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo airport in minutes.  She did, however, experience an incident at the airport that Mexico should be ashamed of.  As a girl traveling alone, it appeared that she was singled out for a luggage search.  Her CHECKED luggage contained several cans of pop and shampoo and conditioner which were confiscated by a security attendant.  When she questioned the seizure saying she was able to fly in with these materials in her checked luggage and asked why she could not fly out, she was advised that there are different rules for different airports.  We think that some security person simply took advantage of the situation and stole the materials from her.  Nice way to leave a positive impression of your country, Mexico!  Drug lords are not the only problem here, it seems.  You also have to guard against thieving airport security agents, as well!


Zihuatanejo Preview

Hi travellers,

I’m flattered to let you know that for the last three days there have been over 100 hits per day to our little travel blog.  Very nice.  Thank you to everyone following us.  Remember if you want to see larger images, click on them and a larger version will open.  With some browsers, if you click the image after it opens it enlarges it further.

Alicia took me running this morning at about 7:30.  We hit the hills this time and covered about 2.5 kms.  I’m going to miss Alicia when she goes home tomorrow.  She keeps me company when running and sunning.  Crossing the streets is also quicker and safer with her in the lead because cars stop for her.  While running this morning the dump trucks coming out of a construction site stopped while we crossed the street.  I’m pretty sure they would have driven right over me if I had been alone.

After breakfast we went in search of another massage as today is Alicia’s last whole day here.  Andrea had spied a small operator right next to the hotel, on the beach and we had grand plans of squeezing the minimum price out of them.  Unfortunately, they appeared to take the day off.  Anyways, nobody turned up at the shop.  Not giving up, Andrea had spotted another beach massage down the beach next to Senior Frog’s.  As we approached it, three of the girls met us to sell us massages.  They wanted 300 pesos ($30.00).  Alicia told them that their completion down the beach only charged us 250 pesos ($25.00).  I asked for a better price because we were three.  We got the massages for 200 pesos ($20.00) each and the massages were much better than our last ones.  These girls actually knew how to massage!  Now that we have established a rate, we will get the same rate any time we decide to return.

After our massages and being all greased up, we headed back to the hotel to grab some sun at the pool and take advantage of not having to apply any oil.  The hotel is quite busy today.  It seems that lots of locals come to this area on weekends.  We were told that the local vacation time is July and that is when they expect hotels and restaurants to fill again.  They are setting up for another outside wedding today, with dinner tables and a dance floor all set up on the lawn and chairs on the beach for the actual service.  This wedding is not as elaborate as the one last weekend.  Alicia is thinking of putting a deposit down for a wedding at some future date when she snags a man!

Today’s towel art was a mermaid for Alicia and something quite beautiful but yet to be identified for Andrea and I.  Can you help us identify the piece on the left?  These people have too much time on their hands, I think.

The nurse got to choose a dinner place because it was her last night.  She selected Tata’s restaurant in Zihuatanejo where we were last Monday for the great shrimp dinner right on the beach.  Because of this, you get a little preview of what Zihuatanejo looks like.  It is very different from Ixtapa!  We jumped on the bus right outside our hotel and I couldn’t help taking this shot of one of the riders.  She is such a cutie!

Umberto, from the restaurant remembered us from our previous visit and served us another great meal.  After dinner, we moved out on the beach as some of the local kids were performing in the surf.  This is one of those kind of things you run into when you are least expecting it when travelling.  There were a dozen or so kids all lined up along the beach to board the waves coming into the beach.  They would run toward the water on a 45 degree angle to it.  They would throw their board down on the sand just next to the water and as the board slid into the water they would jump on it.  There were some very talented kids there and I hope you enjoy the images.  There were some superb crashes!

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On the way back to the bus, we passed a bar that had swings for seats.  You will see what I mean.  More details on Zihuatanejo when we move there on Saturday.


Can You Pick the Real Bus Driver?

Hi Travel Followers,

Today was a busy warm sunny day here in Ixtapa again.  Alicia has tried to get up on a particular para sail since her birthday but the high waves on the beach are causing the sail operators some difficulty and their presence on the beach to be called at best sporadic.  First thing today brought the same high waves and no para sails on the beach, so we decided to go to Playa (that’s Ply-a, meaning beach) Linda after breakfast.

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Playa Linda is a tourist beach located in the direction of, but further than, the Marina.  It contains thatch roofed restaurants that dispense beer, soda and the catch of the day.  A short distance off shore is a small island called La Isla (The Island) that small boats shuttle tourists to and from, up to ten at a time.  Round trip is 40 pesos or about $4.00.  On La Isla, you will find more thatched roof restaurants, two beaches, one with rough and one with calm water, and other tourist facilities that you might want to spend your money on.  It was a slow day and there were mostly locals there today.  Lots of kids really enjoying the water.

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We started back to the hotel at about 2 PM stopping to wander in the small market at Playa Linda for a while before heading for our bus, which was at the end of the line with the driver outside sitting on one of the park benches.  It was the same bus that we came on and the driver recognized us and waved at us to go ahead and get on the empty bus.

The driver caught Alicia trying out the driver’s seat and suggested she drive the bus home.  She declined due to her inability to handle a stick shift, and probably a bunch of other really good reasons, that she wouldn’t drive.  I was surprised she declined!  The driver then tried to get Andrea to drive but that didn’t work either so he ended up having to drive it himself.

We got back to our hotel in about 20 minutes and headed up to the room to check out the para sailing situation.  More towel art today!  Alicia got a swan and our room was dressed up with a snail.  They really put a lot of work into this stuff.

We were in luck!  Even though the beach was still covered with waves, the particular sail that Alicia wanted was floating down the beach past our hotel.  We headed out to find Ivan, the operator, who we met several days ago when he priced the para sailing session for us.

When we got to the spot where they were launching from, we found that there wasn’t much dry sand but they had a sail spread out anyways and were quite busy.  Alicia wanted the sail with the “No Money No Honey” sign on it but they had already put it away.  Ivan went and got it and they changed over to it just for her!  Can you say spoiled?  Anyway, there was one person ahead of her and he flew the “No Money No Honey” sail.

I didn’t know this until today but apparently you can’t use a wet sail so you guessed it, when the guy landed and they laid out the sail for the next person, a big wave came in and rolled over “No Money No Honey” and another sail.  The team dragged the two wet sails off the beach and returned with a dry one with a big rabbit on it.  After they helped Alicia to get into the rigging and gave her instructions on how to die gracefully, she was ready to go for a ride on the big bunny.

Off she went into the wild blue yonder, being dragged by the tow boat laboring under the strain of hauling that big sail through the air all the way down the beach.  On her return, she managed to miss the buildings and make a graceful landing, even though she had forgotten some of the instructions.

It was my turn next.  Now I’ve used a parachute but never a para sail.  You experience a gentle smooth lifting as the boat pulls the sail.  It is a very pleasant experience and the view is incredible.  I must confess to wondering what would happen if the small nylon rope connecting me to my source of forward propulsion, broke.  I don’t think that I would quite make Japan but you just never know.


Black Flags for the Beach

Greetings from Sunny Mexico!

Today, I got my butt out of bed for a 7:30 AM run.  Andrea was still in bed and Alicia didn’t make the run.  I went down around the marina again for a total of 3.5 Km.  It is nice at that time of the day.  The sun is not yet up and there are very few people around except maintenance staff watering the shrubbery.

Eventually, everyone got organized for breakfast and we headed out to Casa Morelos restaurant.  This place produced a totally average breakfast.  Nothing special or memorable about the place at all.  Breakfast for 3 ran about 400 pesos or about $38.00.

Back at the hotel, they had changed the beach flags from Red (dangerous) to Black (really dangerous).  For some reason the waves have been really high, beginning yesterday and it continued throughout today.  The noise is deafening!  All the resorts have beach chairs and palapas out on the beach and the waves have been so high that the first row of chairs were in danger of being washed out into the bay.  It is interesting to see resort staff chasing to recover chairs as they threaten to leave the property.  Alicia talked to a local who said they have never seen the waves come so high on the beach.  Well, our only difficulty with all this is that it is delaying Alicia’s Pará Sail ride.  Today there were no Para Sail operations working due to the fact that their landing zones were under water and the waves made operating the tow boats too difficult.

When we got back to our rooms, we found some pretty stylish towel art.  Staff here must go to the same towel art school as the cruise ships staff.

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We had a recommendation from a local for dinner tonight but we could not find the place.  We ended up at a little place called El Calabozo Tacos & Fajitas restaurant.  There was one other table eating there.  The well dressed chef came to our table to answer any questions about the menu and to take our orders.  He then disappeared into the kitchen to create our dinners.  I had the fish of the day which was Sea Bass.  While it was cooking, the garlic wafting out of the kitchen had me drooling in anticipation.

The main course came with an impressive presentation.  Our waiter also had some extraordinary skills.  He delivered two nicely made paper roses that he had just put together to the women before we ate.

Following dinner, the chef delivered a set of three hollowed out cucumber shot glasses to us and poured us a complementary drink of a local Hooch.  Very unique.

Our waiter, Louis, turns out to be an amateur magician and he just had to show us a couple of tricks.  The one in the image with the two forks suspended on a horizontal toothpick was particularly interesting.   Can any engineers out there explain to us how this works?  He also provided Alicia with a very attractive tin foil flower that he had everyone at the table help him build.  This meal was extraordinary!  The food was great, the presentation was impressive and the service and entertainment was totally unique.