My husband and I returned to Zihau for the third time and it was more like returning home than traveling to another country. Our two previous trips were taken in April, around Easter and since that is holiday time for Mexicans, the beaches were really busy. This trip, there were far less people on the beaches but most people who were on the beach were Canadians or Americans. There were a significant number of ex pats, who live in the areas for the winter months. When we travel, we steer clear of the tourist destinations and prefer a more laid back vacation where we can enjoy the local culture, food and some quiet. Each time we start to plan our vacation, we talk about going somewhere new but we Zih calls to us. The people are amazing and warm and the beach at La Ropa is beautiful. Between the two of us, we have traveled all over and yet this small city by the ocean, keeps us coming back. This vacation was much needed and we didn’t do much—mostly hung out on the beach, although we did go into town (Centro) two days and one evening.
Hotel: Casa Don Francisco- will review on the hotel section but it was incredible (again)!
Safety: Don’t believe everything you read and please don’t let the warnings deter you from traveling to that section of Mexico. Of course you need to be alert and aware anywhere you are but never once did we feel unsafe during our stay. There is little to no vagrancy, we didn’t see any drug activity and the police were very visible (in Centro).
Beaches: La Ropa was pristine! We would walk down to LaPerla and rent out two beach chairs, a lounge chair, table and umbrella for less than $5(US) a day. Say what you want about the La Perla but we had the same daytime beach waiter (Miguel) as we did five years ago, who also treated us royally.
Banditos (Centro)- after reading post about them having great drinks, we stopped by the afternoon we were in town. Drinks were very good and the location is great for people watching. There was a terrific waiter who spoke perfect English and he encouraged us to come back at night to listen to some live music. He also recommended some local places to eat. A few evenings later we returned to enjoy some music. The moment we sat down we wish we hadn’t. Everyone in the place was either Canadian or American. There was a large table by the bar full of drunken 50something vacationers, behaving poorly. We chugged our drinks, paid our bill and bolted. If we wanted those kind of evenings, we would stay in Ixtapa.
The restaurant we don’t know the name of (Centro)- The waiter at Banditos suggested we try one of the restaurants in the ally way headed toward the beach. If you walk along the main road that runs parallel to the beach, there are smaller alley ways (heading in the direction of the beach) that have a bunch of restaurants. The night he made the suggestion we checked out the location and they were all packed with locals. They don’t look like much but don’t let that scare you away. Since we had already eaten, we picked one and retuned two days later for lunch. The menu was in Spanish (no translation) and the waiter did not speak a word of English, yet we managed with our bungled Spanish. The food was terrific. Lunch and two sodas was under $10.
La Perla (La Ropa) - The food is nothing to write home about EXCEPT on Wednesday when they have Chilie Rellenos night. Beef or Cheese, they are out of this world! We go more because we like the bar and have become friendly with Francisco, Javier (owners and managers) and the bartender, Jesus.
La Sirena Gorda- (Centro)- cute little place with fabulous sangria. We make it a point to go for snacks and drink every trip.
El Manglar (La Ropa)- I loved my stuffed fish, however my husband ordered a chicken dish and they didn’t have chicken. Then he ordered Guacamole and they were out. They did have the cheese quesadilla but it was cold and hardened when it arrived, no to mention it had so sides to dip it in.
Il Mare (La Ropa) - after eating a ton of white fish, guacamole and beans, along with drinking a ton of sangria and Pacificos, going for a traditional meal with regular wine was a welcome relief. Il Mare is an upscale Italian restaurant but on Wednesday is Greek night. The wine list is terrific and the food is very good, although they could cook their tomatoes sauce longer. We shared an appetizer and dessert and a bottle of (Chilean) wine but each had our own entrée and the bill was about $90(US), pretty much a bargain (when you are from NY)
Kul Kan (La Ropa)- The meal we ate here ranks among the best I have eaten ANYWHERE. Dinner is expensive by Mexican standards but being from NY, $130, is a normal night out for us. I had lobster and shrimp stuffed potato (although it wasn’t really stuffed but on top of a roasted potato) and my husband ate a grass feed steak. They were both out of this word!! We each ate an appetizer. I had four glasses of French wine and he had two drinks. We split a dessert and each had an after dinner drink. The view and service is unbelievable and I am still thinking about my meal, two weeks later.
I think it is important to mention that if you are into nightlife, El Centro is the place to go. Most bars and restaurants on La Ropa empty out by 10:30-11. We were perfectly happy returning to room and enjoy the night time view on our balcony. It’s about a $5 cab ride to/from either place.
I’m soooo envious of those of you reading this so you can plan your trip! Enjoy it!