Zihuatanejo, State of Guerrero, Mexico
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Take along a good camera to capture all the beauty of Zihautanejo and Mexico
Zihuatanejo is a charming, little fishing village nestled around a picturesque bay speckled with serene, protected beaches. The stuff dreams are made of, even in the movies. The 1994 film Shawshank Redemption found inmate Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) asking his prison buddy, Red (Morgan Freeman), “Think you’ll ever get out of here? Tell you where I’d go. Zihuatanejo.” Red responded typically as many do, “Zihuatanejo?” “Mexico. Little place right on the Pacific. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That's where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.”
As it’s referred to by locals, Zihua on the Pacific may not retain memories, but it is absolutely a place to create them. From the moment you set foot on Playa La Ropa, a mile long stretch of glistening, white sand beach all your cares are swept away by the gentle tides of the Pacific and you are cradled into peacefulness by the caress of warm ocean breezes.
While you may forget how to spell Zihuatanejo you will never forget the timeless beauty and grace of this magical Mexican retreat. An easy way to remember the spelling, though, is by singing along to the Mickey Mouse Club song… Zih-uat-anejo, you get the idea.
Zihua has a way of casting a spell over visitors with its quiet beauty. You may find you’re quite content to simply explore the bay area on foot rather than trek to outlying areas. The short distances separating Playas Principal, Madera and Las Gatas from La Ropa makes for an easy walk, but there are water taxis available for a few dollars as well.
A leisurely stroll to El Centro (town/marketplace) at La Playa Principal takes you past La Madera Beach, a myriad of restaurants, shops and friendly street vendors. Reaching Playa Las Gatos, however, can be a bit trickier as it’s necessary to scramble over a rocky, sometimes narrow path alongside the water’s edge (there is no road). It’s well worth the effort to enjoy the unembellished beach eateries offering authentic cuisine, not to mention the biggest portions for your peso.
At Los Mangles, one of 14 cafes lining Playa Las Gatas, a few appies, a bucket of ice cold Coronas and renting snorkelling gear will only set you back about $20US. Playas Las Gatas is a great place to snorkel as the water is crystal clear compared to La Ropa. The reason being is that according to local legend some 400 years ago the Tarascan king Caltzontzín had a breaker built for his own pleasure, visitors now reap the rewards.
Back on La Ropa, traipsing along the beach watching sandpipers run in and out of the surf, pelicans skimming the surface of the waves and occasionally glimpsing the fin of a dolphin just off shore can be excitement enough for some. Merely relaxing on a chaise under the protection of a gently, swaying tall palm tree is like living a dream.
*Ixtapa is a more modern-day government- planned resort 5km north(of Zihua) which was constructed in the early 70’s on what was once a coconut plantation and offers a variety of night life venues and restaurants to suit every palate abound.
*Troncones (35kms north of Ixtapa) is famous for unspoiled, golden beaches and an abundance of tidal pools.
*Patzcuaro is an artisan and cultural centre for the State of Michoacan and although reportedly an easy 3 ½ hour drive from Zihau you should most likely take a tour and/or plan to spend a night or two.
With several ocean front villas along Playa La Ropa offering amazing views and luxury as well as many charming, family owned hotels to choose from there’s something for every budget.
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Restaurants on La Ropa provide cuisine sure to please every taste. One of them, El Manglar, has great breakfast and dinner menus offering traditional tastes of Mexico with a twist, the result is delicious. However, being nestled in a jungle setting means to enter the restaurant you have to cross a small, low bridge spanning a protected lagoon that houses crocodiles, one of which is reportedly 10 feet long, so step lively. Occasionally one or more crocs venture out at night and remain to bask in the early morning sun, if you’re lucky you may catch sight of one… or vice versa.
If you do decide you want to go beyond Zihuatanejo there are numerous site seeing tours available and taxis are readily available and inexpensive (agree on the price before getting into the cab).
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