Zihuatanejo: A Mexican Delight

View from our condo deck

We recently spent a memorable vacation in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Zihuatanejo (pronounced see-whah-tah-NEH-ho), the fourth-largest city in the Mexican state of Guerrero, is located on the Pacific Coast, about 150 miles northwest of Acapulco.

Perched on a lush hillside above La Ropa Beach, Ensueño 10, the six-unit condo where we stayed, is beautifully furnished with a great view of the bay. Playa la Ropa (“clothes beach”) was named for a Spanish galleon’s cargo of silks and fabrics brought from the Orient and scattered here from a shipwreck. The condo’s private deck, with an assortment of comfortable outdoor furniture and loungers, served as our headquarters as we planned our activities, read, and ate meals we prepared for ourselves. From our condo we relished in magnificent views of surrounding green hills, and watched the many water sports on the bay: skiing, parachute gliding, boogie boards, and jet skiing. Water taxis sailed between the town pier and idyllic Playa las Gatas.

Although the hills are steep, from our condo we could walk to the beach and stroll along sparkling white sand, passing luxurious hotels, restaurants, and gift shops. Sometimes we choose to hike back up the hill to our condo; sometimes we took a taxi, which proved to be an inexpensive mode of transportation.

On such a vacation, we usually prefer to have some of our meals “in” and we found groceries in Zihautanejo readily available and inexpensive. The kitchen in our condo had all the necessary equipment needed to manage meals with a minimum of hassle.

Fishermen display their day’s catch

Taking a taxi, we rode into town to check out the fishing village. We watched as fishermen brought in and displayed their day’s catch. From there we strolled along a walkway with condos and hotels on one side and the sea on the other. In the sea, a young fisherman, waist-deep in water, threw his circular fishing net. Along the way, we stopped for a delightful lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants.

Another day we strolled among Zihautanejo’s cobblestone streets and visited shops nestled in nooks and crannies. We admired the vibrant colors of Mexican art, and enjoyed observing the culture, listening to conversations in rapid Spanish with traditional Mexican music in the background. Another day we took a water taxi from the town pier and sailed to Playa las Gatas beach. On the small strip of land between the densely forested hill and white-sand beach, restaurants and bars serve meals and drinks; little gift stands feature swimwear and water toys.

Late September and October aren’t usually considered ideal tourist season in this part of Mexico, and we did find it hot and humid, but the upside was that the place wasn’t crowded with tourists and, in fact, we had the condo pool to ourselves. We spent many a happy hour luxuriating in the salt-water infinity pool and reading at the pool-area’s shaded cabana. Although at times it did rain during the night, weather wasn’t a deterrent to our enjoyment.

Enjoying dinner at a beach restaurant

All in all, our time in Zihautanejo was a memorable vacation. We found plenty to do at the pace we wanted to do it. But there’s plenty of other activities, too, whether you have “champagne taste and a beer budget” or seek luxury, glamour and pampering. Your stay can be a tranquil rustic retreat, or more lively with sport activities such as golf, tennis, sport fishing, scuba diving or horseback riding. You’ll find it all in here. Viva Zihautanejo!

Boat Trouble in Mexico


Ancient Marquesas Tikis

Ancient Marquesas Tikis


Excerpt from Sailing with Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific


While in The Marquesas in French Polynesia, we had dinner with a couple one evening who told us a hair-raising incident that happened to them in Mexico.
They had spent an evening visiting on a neighboring sailboat. Just going from their boat to the other boat in their dinghy, they hadn’t taken their shoes, purse or his wallet since they wouldn’t need those items unless they went ashore. They’d had a nice evening playing cards and then, much later, they climbed into their dinghy to return to their own boat. It was dark, but they soon realized their sailboat was gone!

Panicked, they went back to their friend’s boat and spent the rest of the night there. First thing in the morning, they went ashore and reported the missing boat. They didn’t know if it had been stolen, became untied, or dragged anchor, so it was unknown if a crime had been committed.

With no money, no identification, not even shoes, they were in a terrible situation. To their surprise and relief, an American, a man they didn’t know, gave them $500 so they could buy shoes and stay in a hotel until they could receive money from home. No strings attached, he simply wanted to help stranded strangers. (They got his name and address and were able to pay him back.)

Mexican officials put out notices and the couple talked to fishermen and anyone going to sea. Finally, about two weeks after it “went missing” the boat was spotted. The fishermen who saw it said it was merely bobbing along, laundry still hanging in the transom, anchor hanging on its chain in the deep water. It didn’t appear to be damaged.

After observing the boat for some time, the fishermen motored over to it and one climbed aboard, started the engine, weighed anchor, and brought it back to port. Everything was intact, even her purse and their wallets were still there.

The couple continued their journey in their sailboat to The Marquesas, so thankful for the kindness of others.