Zihuatanejo, Mexico – May 1999

Well, just got back from Zijuatanejo a couple of weeks ago and it was pretty warm; lots of sun, surf and sand.

Ixtapa and Zijuatanejo are about 150 miles north of Acapulco. Ixtapa is a resort town built just for tourism. There is lots of very nice hotels, ranging from approx. US$100 to $300 per night.

Ixtapa has a beautiful 3 mile beach and almost every hotel has a volleyball net set up. You can parasail behind a boat, go horseback riding and there are lots of potential guides for many activities walking the beach. Also lots of time-share sellers walking the town of Ixtapa.

Zijuatanejo, on the other hand, is more Mexican. You need to speak Spanish; some of the locals speak English but not all by a long shot.

Zijuatanejo has a great market, Mercado Centro. If you have a kitchen you can buy just about anything you need here.

There is a little restaurant in the market called Fonda de Delia. For $20pesos you get a little pitcher of juice and pollo con mole (a piece of chicken with the traditional mole (mole-aayy) sauce, rice and refried beans). I had it for breakfast, good stuff. And instead of juice you can have a little bottle of sangria! My boyfriend said it tasted like a grape-Nehi; it’s got red wine, lime and sugar in it. Just watch out in other restaurants; if they make it themselves instead of the bottles it could be pricey.

On the Paseo de Pescadore, the fisherman bring in their catch at about 6-7am. If you’re up early you can go watch them bring it in and even buy fish here if you don’t want to wait till it gets to the market.

They don’t speak much English so know your numbers or carry a calculator. You can also arrange tours on your own at the wharf on Paseo de Pescadore (means fisherman’s walk) for fishing trips to catch sailfish, tuna, mahi mahi, etc. Actually I was almost in tears because they were bringing in so many sailfish every day, it’s amazing there is any left!

Another beach across from Paseo de Pescadore is Playa Las Gatas. It’s great for snorkeling, especially if you don’t like rough water. You can see great fish in just 5 ft. of water.

Las Gatas has a great beach with lots of little restaurants that rent snorkle gear. If you goto Brisas del Mar, the host, Louie, is a great guy. The beers were cheap (9 pesos) and the location was excellent. However, the shrimp I ate were so overcooked I gave them to the little kitten scrounging. 2 out of 3 aint bad.

If you want an excellent tuna steak, go to Elvira’s restaurant on Playa La Ropa. Mine was awesome, although my squeemish companion didn’t like his pork steak. The dog enjoyed it!

Elvira’s is great though, you can sit on a very nice beach with a lovely table setting and dig your toes in the sand. Great place to watch the sunset and be romantic.

Shopping is pretty good in Zijuatanejo. I found the silver chain I was willing to go to Taxco for at the first store, $1170.00 pesos or $180.00 CAD. The next store in the market, $780.00 pesos that went to $600.00pesos or $100.00CAD.

On the beach from a nice old lady, same chain and intricate work from Taxco, $450.00 pesos or about $67.00CAD|! So it pays to look around.

If you are into jewellery that is art, go to Alberto’s, two stores in downtown Zijuatanejo. It’ll cost you but they have gorgeous baroque pearls, beautiful gems and most of the nice pieces are one-of-a-kind. They will ply you with beer, tequila, whatever it takes.

For women’s clothes, look for La Sirena Gorda restaurant; the shop 2 doors down has cool stuff, nice work and good prices. For men’s clothes go to Nueva Zeland for a cappuccino then straight across the street for cool crinkle cotton and huge selection of clothes for everybody. They had really cute dresses for little girls and babies.

For spices go to the Mercado Centro. I bought the best oregano I’ve ever smelled here. Vanilla beans are $10.00 pesos and there are many kinds of mole sauce here that you can take home.

Just don’t take any meat. All the customs are very picky since Mad Cow disease. I’ve never had a problem with spices.

Make sure while in Zijuatanejo to go to a restaurant called ‘Tamales y Atoles Any’ for the pozole soup that comes with a huge bowl of condiments.

The soup is a chicken/corn base and you can add avacodos, onions, oregano, chile, jalepenos and radish slices. It’s wonderful stuff! And have flan for dessert, like a cross between cheesecake and custard.

Well, if you ever get to Zijuatanejo, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy trails!

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