Thursday, January 14, 2010


A little piece in today's Journal, on page D4: Off the Beaten Track - Zihuatanejo, Mexico, by Nicholas Casey, a Mexico-City based reporter, brought back memories.

A lighthouse near Playa Las Gatas

What to do: For those looking for a getaway along Mexico's beaches—but not the commercial bustle of Cancun or Puerto Vallarta—Zihuatanejo offers a charming alternative. Once just a sleepy village on Mexico's Pacific coast, the town now also boasts an array of cozy inns and delicious restaurants all overlooking a picturesque bay where fishermen still cast their nets every morning. Take a stroll down Paseo del Pescador ("Fisherman's Promenade") near Playa Municipal and check out the catch of the day. In the afternoon, grab a water taxi to Playa Las Gatas and enjoy a cold Mexican beer while watching the surf. Or hire a fisherman to take you to Playa Manzanillo, a secluded, rocky beach with views of nearby islands and a craggy reef that's good for snorkeling.

It certainly is (was) much more laid-back than Cancún (and Playa del Carmen, for that matter). When we were there there were plenty of choices of places to stay and places to eat.

Where to eat: Come prepared for seafood. For refined dining, try Kau-Kan Restaurant, with its romantic rooftop vistas overlooking the bay and a menu that includes exotic dishes like sting ray in black butter and sauteed baby octopus.

We ate there. It was rather more formal than most other places. Its vistas were magnificent: the restaurant sits on a hillside above the Bay, behind Playa La Ropa, one of four beaches in Zihuatanejo Bay. Food was good.

We took a small boat from Playa Municipal to Playa Las Gatas, the only way to get to that left-hand-most beach. It was very laid back, very pretty. Little houses with palm-leaf roofs had restauarants that served food to people sitting in the chairs under palapas in front, along the beach. Walking out on the water was tough: the bottom of the water was covered in coral, or some other stone that made tough walking.

My photos of Zihua and Taxco.

This shot looks out toward Las Gatas; those rocks are what make walking to it impossible. I took that shot on 4 January 2005.

This shot I took also on 4 January 2005, from the balcony of Hotel Palacios, where we first stayed in Zihua. It looks out toward the left side of the Bay; inside those mountains in Las Gatas. The beach immediately in front of our hotel is Playa Madera.

This shot looks right, toward Playa Municipal.

Zihua had great beaches.

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