Published: February 21st 2012February 17th 2012
Playa La Ropa.
Zihuatanejo has four beaches. Playa La Ropa, where the town’s only public RV park is located, is considered to be the prettiest.
Valentines Day, Today, marks the midway point in our winter vacation.
It was a relatively short drive from Playa Azul to Zihuatanejo on Sunday. There was only one spot available at El Mangler RV Park where we had spent three or four glorious days three years ago - but what to do with Ed and Michelle. While we were down here negotiating with this campground’s proprietors, they found a lovely campsite behind a home owned by Dave and Nancy from Sand Point, Idaho. This arrangement worked out well.
Dave and Nancy have lived a very interesting life, too much to go into here but the RV space behind their beautiful home was perfect for Ed and Michelle’s dog Red to run and play so it was an easy decision – they stay up there – we move a couple hundred feet down to the beach.
El Mangler is a funky little park but we love it. This may well be my favorite RV park in Mexico but then I guess I praise almost everywhere we stay. The water pressure in the campground is low and it is almost non-existent in the cold showers. Our camper has what in
Playa Principal, the downtown beach.
This would be the beach where Andy Dufresne of The Shawshank Redemption movie would have set up his boat business.
RV parlance is called a “wet” bath. That means just what it sounds like. Everything in the bathroom gets wet. Before turning on the shower everything has to be removed then after showering, it is necessary to wipe everything dry then return all the stuff you took out. Needless to say, this is a pain in the behind so we almost always use the campground’s facilities. Here, we broke down and used our own.
Our neighbors have created some ingenious shower stalls.
When we were here before, we had to sit in the on-site restaurant to access the internet. Now, we have excellent connectivity at our campsite. An article in AAA’s Via magazine listed El Mangler’s restaurant as a recommended place to eat. The crocodile living in the restaurant’s own creek has grown from about four feet three years ago to over double in size. This is one ugly dude and you will not see his picture in my blog!
We spent our first full day here just lazing on the beach. There are four beaches here. We are at La Ropa (clothes in Spanish). The beach is so named because a ship carrying silks from China ran
Dinner at Paty’s.
Paty, from Mexico City opened this place twenty two years ago as a palapa restaurant serving a minimal menu. It has grown to become one of the most popular La Ropa beach restaurants. Mornings, expatriate Canadian and Americans do yoga on the beach. There are on site masseuses and manicurists.
aground and the cargo (clothes) floated ashore here. Tour books say that this small crescent shape beach is the region’s loveliest. Looks beautiful to us but we haven’t seen the others. The first day there were quite a few sail boats anchored here.
One of my guidebooks said that wealthy people love to sail down from the U.S. west coast but getting home against the current is arduous and time consuming so they hire somebody to bring their boat back to California.
I first heard of Zihuatanejo about thirty years ago reading Stephen King’s short story called Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. The title was shortened and the story was made into a movie in 1994. Zihuatanejo was the dream destination of Andy Dufresne who was plotting a prison escape. According to a Conde Nast magazine article, the actual filmed location was somewhere in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This a.m. we hitched a ride into town with our campground neighbors Art and Jill from Victoria, B.C. so we could all get our wash done. We reciprocated by treating them to breakfast then we visited the city’s market while they were getting their dog’s nails manicured.
Our hostess Paty with Dave.
Dave, and his wife Nancy have a lovely home just down the beach from here. Paty’s is their favorite restaurant so they brought us all here
Art and Jill have been coming down here for years, speak Spanish well and seem to know everybody in town. They also gave us quite a bit of insight into the Mexican culture.
We caught the bus into town later where we shopped for a few things we needed, walked the malecon and finished exploring the city. We had tried to touch base with Ed and Michelle and they with us but we missed each other. Low and behold, we ran into each other in the crowded city market!
Shopping for replacement flashlight batteries in a hardware store we met Irving (certainly not a Spanish sounding name) from Tucson. Although Irving was born and raised in Tucson, his family’s roots are here in Guerrero. Growing up, he had visited his relatives in Zihuatanejo so he came back down to attend the university here studying international business. Working in the hardware store, his salary is 500 pesos ($40) a week – he didn’t say how many hours he worked - but his tuition at the local university is only costing his dad $200 dollars a month.
J.P. and Hanni, the young couple traveling the world that I wrote
about in our last blog, are staying in the same park as Ed and Michelle. We all got together with their campground hosts Dave and Nancy for a wonderful dinner at a lovely beach side restaurant, Paty’s Marimar, where Dave and Nancy know the owner. Paty gave each of us ladies a valentine mug filled with goodies. Her prices were great and the food and margaritas were out of this world. Paty told us she opened her restaurant twenty-two years ago as a taco stand.
Wednesday, 15 February, the four of us caught the bus to the neighboring town of Ixtapa. This is a planned resort community built by FONATUR, the tourist bureau arm of the Mexican government. Aside from the glitzy hotels and a huge marina, there isn’t much there. There is a campground but we are all glad we chose Zihua as our little village is nicknamed.
In fact, over dinner tonight we all concluded that Zihua is our favorite place so far. The village is large enough to have a Mexican feel with its central market and residential areas but unlike Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, it small enough to easily navigate on foot. The beach
is beautiful and for the price of a drink one can spend the entire day lazing on a chaise in front of one of the many beach restaurants. Although, there are a lot of gringo tourists here the hotels and restaurants are small and inconspicuous enough not to overshadow the village we all want to enjoy. We had enjoyed Guayabitos but it really was too touristy. Being city people, the other places were more or less just pleasant places to spend a few days. If we were looking for a long term destination, we think it would be Zihua.
Over lunch today, we chatted with our waiter Victor who had lived near us in San Jose for twelve years. His brother is still there. Victor grew up in Michocan but moved the U.S. when he was eighteen. Both Victor and his brother are commercial painters, painting Home Depot stores, etc. He said he helped paint the Great Mall in Milpitas. Victor left San Jose five years ago because he had heard Zihua was a great place but now he thinks he is ready to go back. Most of all he misses good Chinese and Vietnamese food. He told us
he had been married to a Vietnamese woman and that they had divorced. We suspect that may have had something to do with his return to Mexico.
Hoy es Jueves. Jueves es pozole dia en Guerrero - Today is Thursday and Thursday is pozole day in the state of Guerrero where the dish originated. Our job today was to return to downtown Zihua to feast on this sumptuous soup. Our neighbor Steve, from San Diego, recommended Dona Licha’s but by the time we arrived at 4:30, they were sold out. We found nirvana at Tamales y Atoles Any’s where our soup bowls were surrounded with many good things to add to the pot. An aperitif of mescal was included---mmm-mmm-mmm.
There are more photos below