Zihuatanejo is That Kinda Place

Aside from visiting my brother Don in San Miguel de Allende over New Years, I had two other “agenda items” on this trip to Mexico. One was to visit some place I had not yet been before, and the other was to go to the beach! I could kill both birds with one stone by visiting one of Don’s favorite spots along the Pacific coast, Zihuatanejo.

IMG_2806

Overlooking the pool at the Catalina Hotel

Overlooking the pool at the Catalina Hotel

IMG_2831

Located about a third of the way up between Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, it might be more well known by its airport name of Ixtapa, just to the north where all the high rise hotels and golf courses are located. “Zihua” as it’s fondly known, is a lot more low key. No “Señor Frogs” here, just laid back beach resorts and sunset bars. In short, Zihau is the “Goldilocks” of beach resorts. I’m not a fan of big air conditioned hundred-room hotels along a “Hotel Zone.” Anytime I have to get in an elevator to get to the beach, I’m in the wrong place. But I have also written before about my need for “infrastructure.” I need a few conveniences available like local restaurants and a place to have a sunset margarita. Zihua is that kinda place.

Note the fashionable elbow bandage I am sporting. "Gauze is the new black..."

Note the fashionable elbow bandage I am sporting. “Gauze is the new black…”

Playa Ropa where we stayed is just one large hillside of sunset viewing spots...

Playa La Ropa where we stayed is just one large hillside of sunset viewing spots…

Many of those sunset spots offer "Hora Feliz!" or 2x1 Happy Hour.

Many of those sunset spots offer “Hora Feliz!” or 2×1 Happy Hour.

IMG_2793

I also like the “Goldilocks” of oceans as well. I enjoy riding the gentle waves, feeling the lift as the wave crests and sets my feet back down on the ocean floor. But if the waves are so rough that I risk getting knocked down, I’m no longer at ease. If those gentle waves are calm enough to allow me to do a bit of floating, then I am really happy. Zihua is that kinda place.

Makeshift diving board

Makeshift diving board

IMG_2804

In the Centro, shopping comes to you. Everyone needs at least one hammock...I own three. ;-)

In the Centro, shopping comes to you. Everyone needs at least one hammock…I own three. ;-)

Wait long enough, and music will also come to you. ;-)

Wait long enough, and music will also come to you.

Sitting in a beach chair all day can get a little boring. My ideal beach destination offers some form of activity, either a wide stretch of beach for walking, or some form of exercise. Playa la Ropa, where we stayed for a week is about a 20 minute walk into town (downhill) and takes about twice the time to climb back up the hill from the beach. Taxis are cheap, but I prefer to walk it, because I like a place where I am forced into some form of exercise, otherwise I get lazy. Zihua is that kinda place.

Fishing boats are in abundance.

Fishing boats are in abundance.

One of the shuttles that goes back and forth across the bay for around $2.50US RT.

One of the shuttles that goes back and forth across the bay for around $2.50US RT.

IMG_2818

CAMERA

Tempting…

Being at the beach can often times make me wish I was out on the water. Zihua has a plethora of opportunities for water sports, but those are often times not worth the cost, or a little too “spring-breakish” for my taste. Though I am intrigued by watching a person being flung through the air at the end of a spinnaker line, I can’t help but think of the ramifications, the equivalent no doubt to whiplash from being T-boned in a car accident. No, sometimes, I just want a nice boat ride across the bay. It’s possible to catch a boat shuttle over to Las Gatas beach, which runs across the bay for the full extent of Playa la Ropa, for 50 pesos round trip, or $2.50US. Sometimes, I just want a nice, serene boat ride to smell the ocean and feel the cooling breezes blowing through my hair. Zihua is that kinda place.

Note this flying spinnaker, or yellow downwind sail. Where the two lower lines intersect is a flying human.

Note this flying spinnaker, or yellow downwind sail. Where the two lower lines intersect is a flying human.

Two parasailers crossing paths.

Two para-sailers crossing paths.

This is Los Gatos Beach across the bay. Don't go on a Sunday! Sunday is typically "family day" in Mexico when everyone goes to the beach for a picnic.

This is Las Gatas Beach across the bay. Don’t go on a Sunday! Sunday is typically “family day” in Mexico when everyone goes to the beach for a picnic.

Good snorkeling here...just DON'T GO ON A SUNDAY!

Good snorkeling here…just DON’T GO ON A SUNDAY!

IMG_2848

Las Gatas beach is fun for people-watching, but stick to the beer, and wait until you are back in Playa la Ropa or in town to eat.

I like a variety of food options. It’s nice to have supermarkets within walking distance, or only a $2 US cab ride away, but I also enjoy eating out. And not just fish tacos on the beach, but some fine dining options as well. Five bucks will get you a huge plate of guacamole with pico de gallo, a margarita, and with that comes a chair and umbrella rental for the day. But one can only eat guacamole so many days in a row. But just down the hill parallel to the canal is Calle Adelitas in La Madera, Zihua’s restaurant row. Check the Top 10 Restaurants on Trip Advisor, and you will find half of them along this street. Fabulous fusion selections of seafood prepared Mexican style with an Asian twist, all for reasonable prices. If you like fresh seafood, family run establishments, and reasonable prices, Zihua is that kinda place.

Mariscos Yolanda, "The Cathedral of Seafood."

Mariscos Yolanda in the historic old town, “The Cathedral of Seafood.”

Take no prisoners!

Take no prisoners!

Sport fishing in Zihua is a big draw.

Sport fishing in Zihua is a big draw.

Turtle hatchlings are released on the beach at sunset.

Turtle hatchlings are released on the beach at sunset.

I can usually tell within a couple of days whether I am going to feel at home in a place. Sometimes, it takes me a while to adapt. But when the time comes to leave, if I feel a lump in my throat and start to tear up, then I know, I’ve found that kinda place….my kinda place!

What's wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?

IMG_2859

17 thoughts on “Zihuatanejo is That Kinda Place

  1. Marti & I were just in Zihuatanejo a couple months ago. We totally agree that the best part of Zihuatanejo is Ixtapa. Since 90% of the Norte Amercanos go directly from the airport to Ixtapa, it leaves Zihuatanejo to the Mexicans …. and us.
    Charlie

  2. I love following your adventures in Mexico – mostly because I don’t have much of a desire to actually GO there, and this provides the best of both worlds. ;->

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    • Hi, Suzanne! Always nice to meet another Suzanne…there aren’t that many of us. I fell off a ledge and landed on my elbow. For more details, see two posts back under “Getting the Shot in Guanajuato.”

    • Pam, that makes me laugh out loud! I hadn’t realized I was taking a “Pam’s Lunch with a View” photo, but you are right! How funny!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *