For Memorial Day 2006 we spent
a long weekend in Zihuatanejo (pronounced see-wah-tah-NEH-ho),
Mexico which is on the Pacific coast of Mexico about 15 minutes
South of Ixtapa and four hours north of Acapulco. Zihuatanejo
is a quaint, laid-back, fishing village and we appreciated
the absence of throngs of tourists. We were so relaxed that
we didn't even take a lot of pictures!
We stayed at Brisas
Del Mar, a small, inexpensive hotel on La Madera Beach.
The cab from the airport took about 15 minutes and cost 290
pesos (only 180 pesos on the return trip though). It's an
easy 10 minute walk along the beachside boardwalk into town
and a very hilly 20 minute walk along backroads to La Ropa
Beach. We recommend a cab for the latter. The hotel is set
on a hillside, which means great views of the bay from just
about everywhere and lots of steps to climb.
View from the hotel bar
We were in room 104, which was one set of stairs above the
pool, three sets of stairs above the beach, and about six
sets of stairs below the lobby. As long as you're in decent
shape and aren't wearing uncomfortable shoes it's fine, but
if you're remotely mobility impaired it would be a problem.
The room was air conditioned and quite large, with a king
sized bed, sofa, refrigerator, and television.
||Daily flower arrangements
- Paty's (La Ropa beach) - The food was decent but the location
(right on the beach) and atmosphere (lots of tall palm trees,
candlelight, and the sound of crashing waves) are great.
(under 300 pesos for 2 with drinks)
- Viva Mexico Restaurant (El Centro - Vincente Guerrero
Street?) - This is one of those crowded local places with
few tourists because it's a ways off the main street (but
right near the banks which is how we found it). Excellent
breakfast and super cheap price (under 100 pesos for 2).
(5 de Mayo) - One of our favorites for sure. The bar area
is pleasant, with ceiling fans, comfortable lounge furniture,
interesting murals, and a great for people watching. The
dining area is actually back off the street in a pleasant
garden. Several fountains and mottled candlelight from hammered/pierced
brass lanterns produce quite a relaxing environment. Oh,
and the food is excellent too. (450 pesos for 2 with guacamole,
drinks, and desert)
- Danny's (Zihua waterfront) - There are numerous restaurants
along the waterfront, but we only tried this one. Our breakfast
was great and the location is great for people watching.
(110 pesos for 2)
(2 de Mayo) - Bandicoots also has a good location for people
watching, and its corner location and ceiling fans made
it a bit cooler than some other places farther in. They
had a variety of items on the menu, including many shrimp
dishes. (440 pesos for 2 with guacamole and drinks)
- local place near banks (El Centro - Nicholas Bravo Street?)
Kan - This restaurant is located high on a hill and
close to Brisas del Mar. We'd read several good reviews
on the internet (and in Bon Appetite magazine) so it was
our one splurge dinner during the trip. All tables have
an amazing view of the bay. The only light is from candle
lanterns and hurricane lamps on the tables, and the sound
of the ocean and subtle windchimes add to the experience.
It was expensive for Zihua, but we both thought it was worth
the price. (over 1000 pesos for 2, but I had the most expensive
thing on the menu, we had many drinks, and appetizers and
- Bistro del Mar - This restaurant, located on the beach
at the Hotel Brisas del Mar, serves breakfast, lunch and
dinner. Though the restaurant, like most in Zihua, is completely
open (no doors or windows) the oversized awning provides
good shade. The meals we ate there were good - breakfast
one day (180 pesos for 2) and afternoon snacks a few times
(guacamole, empenadas, etc.).
- Surfing - We took a surfing lesson from Catcha
l'Ola ("catch the wave") in Ixtapa. They took
us to Playo Lindo beach, which is north of the main part
of Ixtapa. It is a beautiful area (palm tree groves as far
as you can see), and Ixtapa Island looked nice. According
to our instructor, the waves were about 4 feet, but they
look a lot larger when you're on your belly and tethered
to a 7 foot surfboard.
- Shopping - Our favorite shop, by a landslide, was Arte
Mexicano Topal, located on 5 de Mayo street. They have
an excellent selection of quality reproductions at great
prices, and they do a great job at packing delicate items.
If you're looking for the typical blankets, painted plates
and bowls, etc. head for the market along 5 de Mayo street.
- Sunning - The hotel pool area was nice, with lots of large
umbrellas and comfortable padded lounge chairs. The hotel
beach area had the same lounges under thatched palapas.
Ixtapa is the place to go for beaches - it reminded us of
Cable Beach in the Bahamas. In addition to a dozen or so
high rise hotels, there's the usual assortment of water
activities such as jet skis and parasailing.