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Sep 7, 2008 08:27 PM

Zihuatanejo Trip Report

We just got back from a fantastic week in Zihuatanejo! It was our first but definitely won't be our last! I can't say enough about The Tides as a home base there. It was gorgeous with excellent service and provided absolutely everything we were looking for. And, the food there is totally chow-worthy. The day starts with gourmet tea and mini croissants and chocolate croissants at your door, followed by fabulous breakfast on the sand looking out at the sea. We stuck with the continental breakfast and it did us right - homemade jams from pineapple to tomato to guava to papaya, fresh squeezed juices of all of these plus carrot, grapefruit, you name it, toasts, pastries, and delicious fresh fruit. The lunches were completely perfect - be it shrimp quesadillas, fish tacos, sopes, wraps, all were fantastic with fresh hot sauce, salsas and guacamole. We had 2 great dinners on the property, one at each restaurant. At La Villa we got the trio of tamales (chicken, pork and shrimp) and the duck enchiladas and both were delicious. At La Marea, we shared the prawn scampi to start, followed by the seafood spaghetti and the sea bass. The scampi and the seafood spaghetti were both delicious, but the sea bass was out of this world - the best fish I can remember having had for a very long time. It was a whole fish, butterflied and with a crispy crust, stuffed inside with romaine lettuce, baby tomatoes and a vinaigrette, and then drizzled with an olive oil of your choice (Greek, Italian, etc.). Absolutely phenomenal. If you go here - get this. We also had a great meal at Casa que Canta. This is a spot you should definitely go to at least for happy hour, the view is beautiful and there's a nice area to enjoy cocktails. We had only intended to go for happy hour but were enjoying ourselves so much we stuck around. Great guava margaritas by the way - very convincing! For dinner we shared 3 starters and 1 entree - a sashimi, some kind of squid salad, and for the life of us we can't remember the other 2 items! I'll blame the guava margaritas. We do remember both enjoying our food a lot though and loving the setting and service. Definitely recommended. We also loved the view at Amuleto. The food here may not have been the top of the trip but it was good, and the view made it worth coming back every trip regardless. I really liked my entree, the risotto with shrimp and lobster. My husband was feeling seafood-crazed and had to go for the beef with brie and herb sauce. It was good but obviously not amazing - but he knew what he was getting into when he ordered it. We also had a good time at Kau Kan. It was surprising how quickly we were in and out the door there though. I'd read about it over and over before I went but if I had to drop one I would choose Casa que Canta and Amuleto over Kau Kan I think. However we did really enjoy our food - we shared the Maui Maui carpaccio and then both got the baked potato stuffed with shrimp and lobster. This is truly a decadent main and recommended for sure. We couldn't have had only one of us get this or the other would have been jealous. The view at the other 2 just blew this one out of the water so we were a little spoiled.

A couple of places I wouldn't bother with next time -
Sirena Gorda (the Fat Mermaid) - this spot in town was said to have great fish tacos, we had better fish tacos at the Tides honestly. And we really didn't see a reason to leave Playa Ropa. This isn't one of those places like Paris where you necessarily want to find the hole in the wall - you're there for the beautiful beach and you're paying to stay at a nice resort, so venturing out isn't a "need to do" like I feel like it is at most locations. Anyway that was our opinion, we weren't wild about town and wouldn't necessarily bother with it next time. We got seafood empanadas, classic fish tacos, and then garlic seafood tacos. The garlic seafood tacos were best. The hot sauce is HOT.
La Perla - we started the week staying at a different location from the Tides where we needed to go to a restaurant to get beach access. La Perla did the trick. The food was pretty good and the restaurant seemed to do better service/chair service than some others on La Playa Ropa. However, if you're at The Tides, no reason to leave to go here. I also heard from some folks we met that you can pay $20 to go to Tides for the day. Since La Perla is already $4 per person, if you were only in town for a couple of days, I'd pay the $20. Not to beat a dead horse or anything.
La Gaviota - we had our first dinner here because it was convenient to where we were staying to start off. Nothing to write home about in comparison to the other places we loved. I had a good Red Snapper cooked in salsa and my husband had a shrimp stir fry with mixed vegetables. You sit close to the water which is nice. But overall I wouldn't go back.

I had written down to try out Paty's and El Manglar for lunch. Once we saw them we didn't bother.

We did venture out to Las Gatas Beach on a boat from the town pier. This entailed a cab to town, followed by the boat ride. We were told not to try to do the hike along the rocks from La Playa Ropa. First of all, you can totally do the hike, I'm no athlete and managed A-OK coming back (the boat back is included in the price of the boat out but we felt like going for it once we got a closer look). Second of all, I so wouldn't bother going out here if you're staying at La Playa Ropa. More people to harass you trying to sell you something, decrepit beach chairs, nothing to write home about. We drank a couple of beers and took off. We had read rave reviews of a restaurant called Otilia and had no desire to hang out there long enough to eat anything.

I had written down to try Tamales y Atoles Any and Pozole Alley. We didn't make it to either but just weren't feeling venturing out. This trip was about R&R. I also had wanted to try the restaurant at Puerto Mio but it's a further cab ride and we weren't up to it this trip - but we heard great things about the view there from a couple we met so it's on the list for next time. They also loved Il Mare, so if you were sick of Mexican food you could go here for Italian. They loved the view and the food. I say when in Mexico eat Mexican food - but I could never get sick of Mexican food. I had also read Casa Vieja was good so that's on the list still potentially. However if you're only in town for a week or less I'd opt to go places with that beautiful water view. Casa Vieja is in a garden setting a block in from Madera beach.

We also didn't make it to Sunset bar for happy hour as we generally just had happy hour on the hammock outside our suite, or at the swim up bar, but that was on the list. I'd also written down to grab drinks at Rick's bar in town. We had the address and still couldn't find it so I think that it closed. We found a little dive bar in town called Barracuda's that did the trick just fine - icy cold beer for a dollar or two if I recall correctly.

All in all a great trip, with lots of great food, and plenty to recommend. Hope to get back again next year. Definitely recommend going there to go somewhere less crowded and touristy than say Cabo, Cancun, etc. I think going off season is definitely the way to go too, we had most of Zihua to ourselves practically and better rates at the hotels. The rain wasn't an issue at all for us, would come late afternoon or in the evening, days were perfectly sunny. Just definitely bring bug spray or plan to buy it there! We certainly did get bitten - A LOT!

Hope this is helpful to those heading to Zihua! I found that there wasn't as much info out there as for some other spots and was really glad to find what I could online.

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  1. Thanks for your report. Zihua also a favorite of ours for relaxing beach getaway. Next time you do need to make it to Tamales y Atoles Any and also Pozole alley. We had terrific, tasty pozole down a small alley type street so maybe that was it (recommended by a gringo who was living there). Restaurant was very modest but it was one of our favorite meals, and by far the cheapest. Glad to see your comments on Las Gatas because I had wanted to go, and now I am sure I won't care for it either. Will now keep the Tides in mind for a nice dinner!

    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed Zihua! We are heading back for 18 days on October 14th and can't wait! We love the town, the people, the food and the views. Our trips are a little different from yours as we stay on Playa Madera in a small hotel with eight bungalows owned by a lovely Mexican woman. We have a huge terrace that overlooks the bay and the bungalow has a small kitchen as I also like to cook to supplement our meals we eat out. No pool, but the bay is right there and I try to start my morning with a long walk on the beach then a swim in the bay before planting my self on the terrace in the shade to read for a good part of the day. As far as dining, we have gone to the Kau Kan and enjoyed it and have a gorgeous pic of the bay at sunset we took last year. We tend to eat in town, Los Braseros for tacos pastor, Tamales Any y Atole for the best tamales around, Pozole Alley at Ricomar's pozole Thursday where you get the best pozole for about $3US. When I get a beef craving it is off to Capricho's (by the big church) on Calle Cinco de Mayo for chopped sirloin, char grilled burgers. They have a beautiful patio that is open during high season with live jazz on a number of nights. I have heard of Rick's but have never made it there. We tend to shy away from the places where a lot of gringo's hang out. I see enough of those at home! haha

      I would love to stay at the Tide's but our budget doesn't allow for it, unfortunately. I think it is wonderful that no matter what your taste or style, you can find things to love about Zihua. Maybe one of these days we will hit the Tides or Casa Que Canta for dinner for a special occasion or when friends come to visit. The menus sounded lovely.

      We have gone out to Playa Los Gatos before for the day, twice I think, and did hang out on the chaise lounges at Otillas. It was alright, but we have such a lovely, little home on Playa Madera that we just tend to stay there.

      This year I am going to try some of the lunch stands at the Mercado. They are always busy and I have spied some Chili Rellenos I must try this year. We love to try what the locals eat so if a place is full of locals, count us in!

      Anyway, glad you had a great time and thanks for the review!

      2 Replies
      1. re: jodymaryk

        I forgot. I was going to add the pic we took at the KauKan.

        1. re: jodymaryk

          Hi Jodymaryk,

          Any chance you could share the name of the hotel where you stay? I think it's the same place we stayed, within excellent striking distance of a lot of great chow.


        2. We just returned from The Tides and were there about a week after you. We also had a great time. The Tides was wonderful with beautiful grounds. Great beach and we liked playing in the waves. The food was great and the service very good also. We had a package so we had no restrictions on what we could order for the first few days. We ate breakfast at la Villa on the beach every morning and had the specials with an egg dish with black beans, fresh salsas and tortillas. The mexican buffet was great and we had dinner on the beach 2 nights, once at la marea and once at la villa. We thought the food at La marea was heavy and needed more balance. The charred octopus was reccomended by another poster but it needed some lime or lemon and a salad instead of just a bowl of octopus. The red snapper was good. We had lunch on the beach and enjoyed the fish tacos. The pools were great. We also enjoyed playing ping pong at an outside table and were cheered on by Lucy the parrot. We did the tequila tasting and it was fun but you get a lot of tequila!
          We went into town twice and enjoyed the craft markets. The food at La Sirena gorda was good and the Pazole and tamales at Any's were great. The market was pretty rustic. We went to Ixtapa and were not impressed with chain places and aging hotels. We walked down the beach and had guacamole and beer at La Gaviote at the end of the beach. The place was a little rustic but had a nice view. We didn't leave the Tides much but didn't need to. Great place for a honeymoon!

          1 Reply
          1. re: jcmcmathnh

            If anyone can offer suggestions on nice but more affordable accomodations than The Tides, I'd really appreciate it. We're trying to plan our wedding down there, hoping to have 80-100 people come down but most of them won't be able to afford The Tides. Feel free to email me direct with any help you could offer - lodging, restaurants, anything would help.

            mofo313 at yahoo

          2. Glad you had such a great time in Z... Next time do go to Tamales Any & go out for Pozole ( I believe it's on Thursdays .... Last year we had a really nice meal at Il Mare. Great views, service, wines, and excellent pasta dishes. We stay down the beach (Playa Blanca) at Hotel Las Palmas. If you want a treat, call Las Palmas and get reservations for lunch or dinner....It's worth the 20 minute taxi ride. For a real Mexican fishing village, head down to La Barra de Potosi (about 5 miles past Hotel Las Palmas) for cheap dinners of outstanding seafood and ice cold beer.