Zihua '07 - Photos + Travel Log






Left home early evening on the 4th for our flight to Calgary where we checked into the Delta Airport, grabbed some dinner + stumbled to bed.  Up at 3:30AM to shower, dress and get over to Alaska to grab an upgrade for me for the ZIH/LAX return.  Flight to LAX seemed it was going to depart early as we pulled away from the gate 10 minutes ahead of time.  We then sat for at least 20 minutes waiting to be de-iced!   Having had not even a cup of coffee we looked forward to breakfast however were pretty disappointed with that result -- a sweet muffin and yogurt!  Neither of us were interested in that so we drank breakfast instead.

Arrived Lax Terminal 3 only slightly late and still had plenty of time between flights to (taking no chances with food) grab some salads and have a drink.  LAX/ZIH leg seemed to go fairly quickly with our salads, drinks & a snooze.  On arrival, with our Row 26 seating, we were off thru the rear door quickly arriving at immigration to a surprise. . . .

The preamble to this tale is Bill had his passport but I did not.  I'd failed to renew in time so had obtained a certified copy of my birth certificate and taken all other appropriate docs with me in lieu of said passport.  The immigration officer takes Bill's passport and looks at it & looks at it & looks at it . . . meanwhile I've put all my docs on the desk for her.  After at least 10 minutes (no lie) and not a word from her, she stamps Bill's passport, hands it back to him and yells "next".  She didn't even LOOK at my docs.  Too funny!

So done with that, we grab the bags, hit the button, get the green light and we're off for sun and fun for 14 warm and sunny days.

We we're unable to get into our 'regular' accommodations for the first night in Zi so booked Casa Azul for this first night as it was very close to Amor del Sol making for an easy move the next day.  We were in the bottom unit named Abajo which, while serviceable, I wouldn't choose to stay in another time.  It's dark, has no view of anything at all and could stand some decorative attention.  However I understand (from a couple of Seattle gals who stayed in one of the upper units and and looked at the other) the two upper units (Nida & Arriba) are much nicer units, well equipped & nicely decorated inside, each with a balcony and view so we'd definitely consider either another time.

Dropped our bags, quick changed and wandered down to Playa Madera for our first look + first (and second) Margs with our toes in the sand to relax and absorb the fact we were finally here again.  Having arisen at 3:30AM MST  (2:30AM PST) after our Marg's we could feel ourselves fading so back to Azul for a quick change and off to dinner at La Gula on Calle Adelita.  La Gula is delightful with delicious food, beautifully presented and served.  There are many small touches here that you don't see in much higher priced restaurants.  They presented us with a delicious appetizer of a Papaya Cup with filling and shrimp.  Bill doesn't eat seafood but I asked him to just try a bite and he ate the whole thing so you know it was good!  I believe what I had as an entree was called the Shrimp Eclipse maybe?  Very good whatever it was called.  I don't recall what Bill's dish was named (it was steak of some kind) but he enjoyed it also.  We had some ice cream for dessert and headed home to rest our weary heads.


I think this is Ixtapa with the Marina
on the right?

Zihua Bay




La Ropa & Las Gatas in Zihua Bay

La Barra de Potosi & the lagoon



Upper Units @ Casa Azul -- The upper left unit has a loft above the balcony level.  The unit on the right is one level with a balcony only - no loft.
More info on Azul can be found here.

Lower Abajo Unit aka The Cave - it's large
enough and reasonable for the dollars but, as I
said above, could certainly use an 'upgrade'.



Bill's Steak Entree @ La Gula My Shrimp Eclipse Entree @ La Gula



Waking about 8AM in the cave, we dressed and walked to breakfast along Calle Adelita.  An interesting street, we saw several places previously read of including Isabel's Juice Bar which we frequented many times in days to come.  Casa Cafe is obviously well liked as it was very busy with only one table left when we arrived.  Great breakfast and off to the beach for a couple of hours then back to Casa Azul for 1:30PM and our move to Amor del Sol.  (Pics and remarks on Amor del Sol are here.)  After moving and settling, we walked to Commercial Mexicana for supplies, taxied home and back to 'da beach for a couple of hours and a Cerveza or dos.  After sampling various brands, Modela Negro became our Cerveza of choice.

Evening saw us walking to town for a little exploring and dinner at Los Braseros to which I would give a big pass on future trips.  It's like a giant barn - think beer garden at your local fair - lacklustre service and just okay food.  I ordered Tacos el Pastor as I'd heard so many good reports on them.  For $4.00 (and I do mean dollars) I got ONE 4" taco with the briefest shaving of pork and a dab or two of other stuff.  I was not at all impressed.  Bill ordered Beef Fajitas which he enjoyed though again it wasn't a healthy portion.  Too many great restaurants here and this, in my opinion, isn't one of them.  YMMV.  From there we wandered thru town awhile and home to bed.

Restaurant at Brisas Del Mar on Madera looking towards Casa Sun & Moon.  Never did go there so can't attest to what it's like.

MJ + Ritchies on Playa Madera
Loved MJ's!

Isabel's Jugo on Calle Adelita

WK Catchin' some rays

Marg Rocks + Shrimp Cocktail at MJ's
Yummy Lunch!
WK's Beef Fajitas for Lunch


Breakfast at the casa today with some delicious Naranja jugo (fresh squeezed Orange Juice) from Isabel's-- VERY DELICIOUS --  plus toast and coffee.  Then off to Playa Madera + MJ's for most of the day.  The shrimp cocktail tempted me for lunch and I repeated this choice many times as it is simply to die for delicious.  Martin, the waiter at MJ's, is a terrific guy, ever attentive and always remembering your name.

Our friends Sonny + Deb are to arrive early evening so we left the beach to shower & change, make up some Bienvenido Marg's and await there arrival about 6PM.  They rented a van which I would have thot to be unnecessary but proved very handy in days to come although in town it's hardly worth it and the walk is fun.  However for adventuring it was a great convenience.

As this was Sunday, we walked into town for dinner at Casa Arcadia enjoying the Sunday night festivities at the Basketball Court and walking about town afterwards.  Dinner at Arcadia was good though the lobster was a little overcooked.

Dinner at Casa Arcadia on the Beach

Deb Y Sonny at Casa Arcadia

Sunday Night at the Basketball Court


Today we had an exploration day as it was Sonny + Deb's first time in Zi.  After morning coffee we drove over to Ixtapa, walked the Marina area then back to Carlos and Charlie's for Margs.  We then walked Playa Palmar down to Pacifica for a visit with friends then hoofed it over to Las Brisas 'Solarium' for some lunch.  (I've always found the food at Brisas to be more than acceptable no matter which venue.) We walked Hermosa (Las Brisas Beach) and taxied back to pick up the van at the Marina to return to Playa Madera for some MJ's time.  Dinner had us hitting Rufo's a short walk downhill to Calle Adelita.  Food was generally good - Deb particularly enjoyed her fish.  Here also, we met Chrissy & Frank who we continued to have good times and great conversations with at Playa Madera in days to come.

La Marina in Ixtapa

Deb, Sonny y Billy Moi

Carlos + Charlie's on Playa Palmar

Playa Palmar from Pacifica

More Playa Palmar from Pacifica

Chrissy + Frank from Toronto under the palms on Madera



The guys golfed while Deb and I hung out at Madera.  The guys joined us shortly after lunch and we all continued to beach it for the afternoon.  For dinner Bill made Chicken Schnitzel.  Guess who cleaned up which is why I like to eat OUT while on vacation.  :-))


  Another beach day for us all with dinner at Il Mare this nite.  ng, thinking BUT not sure.  I've no pictures to help me so I guess it wasn't a dynamic activity filled day.  We went to La Casa Vieja at least three times so perhaps this was one of the days.  Perhaps the guys golfed in the AM - who knows.  I keep such lousy notes!  Maybe this was the day my DH went missing!  (Another story for another time.)  We went to Casa Vieja three times this year and was there once in 2005.  Each time I've had their Tortilla Soup which is totally to die for!  I've never not liked my food here and have heard no complaints from anyone else.  Reasonably priced, excellent food, a pleasant atmosphere and very handy to the Playa Madera neighborhood.  Great Internet place next door as well.





Guys golfed while Deb & I did an early AM walk to town, hoping to see fisherman arrive.  Unfortunately the boats had come in by the time we got there (about 8AM) but we still enjoyed the earlier - read quieter - hours on Pescador.  Thereafter we walked up to the Mercado & did a little shopping (and eating).  This was my first experience here and a most interesting one.  One can get these HUGE pieces of bacon/prk rind called Chicharones for pennies.  They are sooooo good (and likely super fattening but I am fortunate enough not to have worries about that.)   Afternoon spent in the sun then dinner at El Faro @ Pacifica.  Many people are high on El Faro but for me, having been there 2-3 times now, for the price I just don't find it that great.  This particular night my Rib Eye was pretty awful.  The view and ambience is lovely but of all the great places to eat, I don't think I'll likely choose this again.  Dessert or After Dinner Coffee might be worthwhile.

Early Morning on Playa Municipal

Early Morning at the Basketball Court - A bit less crowded than Sunday!

Prepping the Fish Ready for the Buyers

Fish Boats In Already Pescador (Fisherman's Walk) Quiet
Visitors/Port Bldg - New to us since '05 The Mercado on Benito Juarez

Fruits Vegetables + Baking Abound

As Do Chickens Sausage & All Manner of Seafood



The Vans are called "Combi's" - a common transportation mode in Zi

Dinner at El Faro

Playa Larga - Troncones - Manzanillo Bay

What a FAB day this was.  We weren't entirely sure how to get Troncones but kept going past Ixtapa.  You never see a sign indicating  you are on the way to Troncones, but watch for the signs that say Lazaro Cardenas.  If you see them, you are on the correct route.  :-))  The turnoff for Troncones is on your left and quite a way past Ixtapa.  We drove along and turned (to the right) at the fork in Troncones and found the Inn at Manzanillo Bay.  It was such a delightful place that at which, on another trip, we would seriously consider spending several days days.

The beach is long with lovely white sand - a great area for body surfing.  The Inn itself is small and tranquil, the food delicious (though a touch pricey) and the accommodations are individual attractive little cottages.  It would be a great place to wind down.

The new trailer park on Playa Linda.  Too me it kinda looks like a big parking lot having 
lost any tropical ambience except for the odd palm tree.

Beach + Lagoon Entrance @ Playa Linda by Trailer Court

Lovely Beach and lovely area when we took these pics however full of trailers and . . . might 
not retain its serene ambience when next we're there.

Inn at Manzanillo Bay (oft referred to as IAMB)

Entrance to IAMB Big Egg-Shaped Thing in the trees is a
Termite Nest
Restaurant at IAMB Pool Area at IAMB

These two cottages are at the front - nearest the ocean.  I took the photos to remember
the numbers but guess I'll have to look at the large photos to see if I can see them!

Fabulous Beach - you can walk in both directions for a very long way.
As you can see, its not awfully crowded.  :-))

This house is on Manzanillo Bay.
I've seen it for rent on VRBO.


We began the day with a great Breakfast at Rossy's, accompanied by Coco Loco's, then walked  La Ropa for a couple of hours.  While I don't beieve this is a regular occurrence, this day the beach and water where littered with dead fish.  It was Mucho unattractive & smelly!  The staff  at Villa del Sol (now "The Tides") came out with wheelbarrows to gather them up.  Staff at Catalina & Intrawest joined in the 'fish gathering event' so it was largely cleaned up fairly quickly but lent a rather unattractive element to our after brekky beach stroll.
Balance of the day was spent lounging at MJ's and dinner this night was Schnitzel
cooked (at the condo) by DH.

Intrawest's Club Zi with Catalina to the right

Catalina from La Ropa

Deb y Bill with LCQC in background

Coco Loco's for Breakfast Entrance to Rossy's Hotel
Why can't I find a pot like that at home?
Entrance to El Marlin -- Crocodillos is beside it with the friendly types below

Crocodiles Catching some Rays


Petalan + Barra

Off again for an adventure day.  Drove to Petalan, - like Troncones, not a lot of signage to assure one they are heading in the correct direction but - we got there.  An interesting little town with a lovely church.  As this was Sunday the local folk where arriving for Sunday services so saw all the little girls in their 'dress up' attire.  Very sweet.  After the church we wandered the gold market awhile, then off to Barra de Potosi for the afternoon.

Separate from the main church is a covered Altar area where I presume people take a candle, light it and then spend a few reverent moments.  Very pretty with all the candles lit.
The rather steep stairs leading to the church
from/to the street below.
Inside the church itself

Part of the Gold Market.  I was not very up on
gold prices but friend Deb says the prices were
quite reasonable.  If I were to come again,
I would be better prepared with specific
items I wanted and a reasonable idea of
the price(s) here in Canada.

After Petalan we drove to Barra.  We really didn't explore Barra at all so I'd definitely return to drive around a bit more, see the village and of course, Laura's place - Casa del Encanto.

We spent the greater part of the afternoon
at La Condessa, one of the enramadas on Playa Blanca in Barra.  We chose La Condessa after hearing of it on Rob's Board and found it great.
Being Sunday, all the Mexican family's were out
enjoying themselves, most of whom seem to be at La Condessa, so we were about the only 'non-Mexican  people' there.  :-))
A delightful cultural experience with great food and a gorgeous 'you can walk for miles' beach.


Again, unsure what exactly took place today but would suspect guys golf in AM, gals sat about in the sun reading & Marg'ing at MJ's, guys joined us at the beach in the PM, and another delicious dinner at  
La Casa Vieja. -- a 'take it easy' day.  No pictures so nothing outstanding or eventful.


Las Gatas

Sonny golfed with Ian today so just Deb, myself + DH off to Las Gatas for fun in the sun. We tried to find Arnoldo's first but couldn't so went to Otilia's.  We discovered Arnoldo's later during a beach walk but their signage is waay high in the trees so it's not easy to spot.  It is the 2nd or maybe 3rd ?? place on the beach once you get off the panga at the pier.  Otilia's was great and Franco his charming self.  Hint for the future - there are better and worse chair set ups/spots, though none are bad.  In the future I would survey the situation and choose where I wanted to sit rather than allowing self to be 'directed' to a location.  I may be wrong but I'm thinking Franco attempts to keep these 'better set ups' for returning folks - those that may perhaps have been there several times??  Don't know this for sure - just an observation.  Snorkeling was fine though not great;  water was gentle and ambience was most enjoyable.  Definitely a return to for the future.  I'd suggest going early - as in by 10AM - as by 11PM Las Gatas began to get much fuller than it was when we arrived.

Looking across to La Ropa Looking towards Owen's Resort
Deb & Billy on Las Gatas -- Deb with large cocktail in hand
Otilia's Las Gatas Looking from Otilia's towards
Panga Dock
Moi - folds and all - at Otilias Swordfish (Marlin?) brot in to beach at Otilia's
One big sucker was this!

More Las Gatas Beach

Franco + Billy

Across to end of La Ropa & Playa Madera

Today was Deb + Sonny's last day as they were due for departure on the big bird about 5PM.  Early morning saw Sonny (golf lover extraordinaire) golfing his last (for this year anyway) Zi game with WK & Ian.  Guys were back about Noon so we drove to La Ropa, lunched on the upper balcony at Rossy's then walked La Ropa.  We sadly bid Sonny & Deb Hasta Luego Amigos about 3PM as they wanted to ensure enough time to return the rental van.   We enjoyed our time with them tremendously.  GREAT travel companions!

To assuage our sorrow at their departure, we just had to go down to MJ's and resample the Marg's -- just to be sure they still did taste as good.  Luck was with us - they were - so we drowned our sorrow.  :-))

For dinner tonite, we walked (yeah we could still do that) to Caprichios on Cinco de Mayo.  Good food + service, great ambience in a 'fairy lit' courtyard, and reasonable though not cheap, prices.  With the exception of the fellow who'd had waaaay toooo much to drink and fell into a neighboring table, it was a very pleasant experience - definitely a repeat another time.  Walked and window shopped on the way home.


This was our last full day in Zi - always a sad event.  We *beached it at MJ's* almost all day so nothing to report about that.  Did some preliminary packing when back from the beach & pre showering for dinner.  Dinner tonite was at Amuleto with our friends Barb & Ian.  Big bucks, incredible ambience, FABulous food!  Definitely a repeat for next time.  Best steak (filet) I've EVER had and I have eaten a lot of excellent steak at a lot of excellent venues.  It was unbelievably yummy, tender + done to perfection!

The only fly in the ointment was a table of approx. 12, obviously on a wedding/honeymoon event thing, who were noisy and obnoxious to the extreme.  All other guests cast them frowns and dark looks however they were all so blitzed it just went over their heads.  Management was obviously distressed over the events, bringing each table (except theirs) a bottle of wine on the house.
I think (though don't know) said party of twelve were all guests of Amuleto as otherwise I'd think they would've asked them (told them?) to be on their 'way too merry' way.

Definitely a repeat with fervent hopes for companion diners with a considerably greater supply
of good manners.
Do bring your wallet - Amuleto is in the 5 stars - read big bucks - category but definitely worth it.  An alternative might be lunch here as the daytime view would be fantastic.

Homeward Bound

Oh oh.  It's THAT day.  The one most of us dread.  We finish the bulk of our packing while drinking Isabel's delicious jugo for the last time this year.  Then we head out to shop for all that stuff I've looked at but haven't yet picked up.  Deb & Sonny had taken home yards of stuff for me already so it wasn't a huge list but in Mex I can always find 'one more thing'.  :-))  Came home to throw the last minute purchases in the suitcases then off to MJ's for another last . . . for this year.  Carmen, dear gal that she is, drove us to the airport and I guess . . .
That's All Folks!

We did have the obligatory screw ups with Alaska/Customs on the way home.  Arrived in Calgary with NO luggage.  Shorts & a tank top are just a little cool in10 degree Celsius weather but this is an ongoing story with Alaska, one that many many have experienced so I won't go into the boring details of that event.

Zi is just such a wonderful vacation retreat.  It's always always reliably warm and sunny (unlike Hawaii) .  The locals are always hospitable and friendly.  Can't wait for next year!

Hasta Amigos

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Last Updated 02/02/2008