I wanted to try something different again this summer. I looked at the map along the west coast of Mexico and tried to find something not too big, but not too small. My last year’s visit to Mahahual was pleasant, but it was a little too isolated for me…especially for being so small. I hit on Zihuatanejo (Zihua for short) because the terrain was hilly and very pretty. There is another town just north called Ixtapa Zuhuatanejo…not within walking distance, but a short taxi ride. I stayed in Zihuatanejo, not the Ixtapa one. Here it is on the map.
I don’t know whether my cats were planning on coming with me, or trying to deter me from going.
You have to change planes in Mexico City, which is always an adventure in itself…especially when you don’t speak Spanish. The layovers can be kind of long because there aren’t a whole lot of flights to Zihua. In fact, they changed my return flight so that I had an eight hour overnight layover there, so I got a hotel because I didn’t want to spend the night in the airport. It’s not something I’d want to do again but all the hotel arrangements had been made in Zihua, so I didn’t feel like I had a choice.
The airport in Zihua is very small, but it’s very modern!
We were the only plane there.
The inside is very nice and new with shops and restaurants.
I had arranged with Best Day for transportation to the hotel, and they were waiting for me when I headed outside. They don’t have vans and SUVs like they do in Cancun…they actually arrange with local taxis for the rides to/from the airport.
The ride to the hotel was about 15-20 minutes. Like I had seen in the pictures, the area was very hilly and homes are built up high along the sides. The driver dropped off another passenger in the downtown area and then we headed for my hotel. Mind you, I didn’t see the ocean while we were driving around until we got to my hotel, the Aura del Mar. And the only thing I could say was, “Oh, wow.”
Get a load of that floor!
I asked the person at the desk what it was made out of. See the base of the check-in counter? It’s composed of tree branches…I wish I could remember the name of the tree. For the floor, these strange shapes are sawed off sections of the tree as you’re looking down at them, then grouted with some kind of plaster, I guess. I’ve certainly never seen a floor like this before. Think of the work that must have taken!
Okay, so I didn’t say, “Oh, wow” about the floor…it was actually for the view from the lobby.
When I’ve traveled in the Yucatan, I’ve usually stayed at very basic, clean hotels that normally don’t have much of a view. I’ve always figured I don’t spend much time in the room, anyway, so I don’t want to spend a lot of money on that. However, this trip was paid for by my Chase credit card points, so I decided to step it up a notch, although it wasn’t expensive by any means. When I was making the reservation, I chose the least expensive option which offered a “partial” ocean view. Even though my points were paying for it, this option was only $89.00 per night at the time I reserved it…I was there for seven nights.
So I thought the view from the lobby was great, but when the attendant took me to my room, my first thought was, “They’re going to have to drag me out of here.” If this was a “partial” view (I guess because of the palm tree?), I could totally handle it. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
Not to mention the fact that the room was awesome…and huge! Well, at least for me…I’m used to staying in pretty tiny places.
Those are real rose petals on the toilet and towel.
And my own outdoor tub…crazy!!
The woodwork in the hotel was amazing. Just look at the headboard and the doors.
I actually spent more time in my room than I ever have before on a trip. The grounds were so lush and green, it was just a very pleasant place to hang out.
And there was a Mini-Super just across the street which was very convenient for stocking the kitchen.
Not to mention the resident parrot named Carola…we talked almost every day, although she has a pretty limited vocabulary.
Okay, so there is a downside to staying in Zihua. While the hilly landscape is pretty, you have to climb to get up the hills. The hotel lobby is on the street level…then there are two more floors above that…and about four different levels below. There are rooms tucked in everywhere. My room was on the floor two short stairways below the lobby. Here are the stairways I had to climb from the beach to get up to my room.
One of the biggest draws of the Caribbean is the beautiful blue water. But that has changed in some places along the Riviera Maya due to all the sargassum. Not sure if that has changed since last year, but I wanted to try the Pacific side of Mexico this time, anyway. The water is definitely not blue here, but it is still very clear and the beaches are very clean although the sand is browner. Here is the difference in my “toes in the sand” pictures from Isla Mujeres (on the left) and Zihua.
I’ll end this first post on Zihua with a night view from my patio.