Trip Report: February 2-11 / Zihua & Troncones (Way Long!)

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Escrito por Pam in NJ desde ( el día domingo, 20 de febrero, 2005 a las 23:27:42 horas :

Wednesday, February 2 (Ground Hog Day!): After waking at 2:45am EST for a 5:45am flight out of Philadelphia to Houston....having only 20 minutes to make our connection due to weather related delays....we race through the terminal, hop the train to Terminal B, race once again to the connecting gate....arrive just as they start boarding the Express Jet....settle into our seats and by noon we were back home in Zihua! This was our 4th consecutive trip and it was the earliest we ever arrived. We were a bit tired but it was worth it!

We made it through Immigration, noticed all of the new x-ray equipment while waiting for our luggage, got through Customs (Green Light!) and quickly headed for the door dodging the solicitors trying to sell us more than just a cab ride to our hotel. I will say, the solicitation is getting worse every year.

We couldn't believe how green everything was this year compared to previous February trips. An obvious result of the unusual winter rains.

The cab ride to Villa Carolina, a familiar one, was uneventful. This was our 3rd consecutive stay there. No sooner did we arrive, Miguel, Jose (A) and Jose (B) are at our taxi removing our bags from the trunk. I was barely out of the cab and our luggage was already on its way to our Suite. Talk about service!!

After "Holas" to all, we headed down to Elvira's to grab a bite to eat and catch up with some of our Zihua friends who had arrived a few days earlier. Our lunch consisted of tortilla soup & chicken fajitas, negro modelo, and a limonada (Elvira's limonadas are the best!) Fernando, Cesar, and Enrique are still working at Elvira's. They have been there since our first trip in '02. Fernando & Enrique took great care of us during the remainder of our stay.

When we were finished eating, we trucked on back to our room, finished unpacking and then headed out to the Comercial Mexicana to stock up on the necessities.

Dinner that night was at Puntarenas. This is becoming a first night tradition of ours. We shared chiles rellenos, huachinango ajo, and pollo con mole poblano. The chiles & the huachinango were awesome....the mole was awesome...but the chicken was a little rubbery. We puttered around centro looking for the "Flan Girl" but to our dismay, could not find her. This was the start of an unfortunate, daily pattern.

Thursday, February 3: We decided to spend the day at the pool at VC so we walked into Centro and had breakfast at Bananas before heading over to the Mercado. Bananas has become a favorite breakfast place in Centro. We joke with the staff because I want to practice my Spanish and they want to practice their English.

At the Mercado, we purchased strawberries, canteloupe, and fresh tortillas for lunch(the best tortilleria is just past the bus station on the right hand side. They're sold by the kilo so it's hard to judge qty. I asked for 3 pesos worth and got 14 of them!!! Try that at home!)

Dinner that night was at Casa Bahia. What a disappointment. Casa Bahia does offer a wonderful view of the bay at sunset....Yes, we sat on the new upper deck and thoroughly enjoyed being outside and enjoyed the vistas. Yes, my husband's bacon wrapped tuna was great. But....

My favorite salad....the spinach salad with house peanut dressing....was DISGUSTING!! I received a plate sparsely filled with spinach that had been tossed with a light dressing but to my surprise there were 4 globs of chunky peanut butter sitting on top of the spinach. I guess the chef lost his wisk. Not to make to make a scene, I pushed the peanut butter off to the side of my dish and ate the spinach.

I had to send my mahi mahi back because it was way undercooked (that didn't happen on my previous visits). Once it was returned to me it was excellent and they serve it with olives, capers, and onions which is a nice complement to the's also 250 Pesos, which is a bit pricey for the area.

Their margaritas were very weak.

Service?? What service?? We were politely and energetically greated by a young man that I did not recognize from previous visits (I think he was Canadian, from his accent) who showed us to our table & took our drink order. Our waiter came & took our dinner order. The drinks came....the meal came....we never saw a human being again until they cleared away our dishes. No one came to ask if we didn't anything to drink or to ask our we liked the meal.

Friday, February 4 - Monday, February 7: Our daily pattern was basically the same. We spent the days at Elvira's, having both breakfast & lunch there. You really can't go wrong with their food! Our favorite breakfast dishes include: fruit plate w/ yogurt & granola, french toast - yummy! (we bring a small container of pure Maple Syrup from home), eggs w/ bacon, mango and banana milkshakes, and fresh OJ!! Our favorite lunch dishes include: tortilla soup, mushroom soup, chicken fajitas, spinach salad, and one mustn't forget Elvira's Flan de Coco. Elvira makes it with lots of coconut which I love. My husband prefers a more traditional flan, which is fine....more for me!!!

A NOTE ABOUT ELVIRA'S & GRATUITY: We encountered a slight misunderstanding about tipping at Elvira's. We noticed a 10% increase in the amount on the check vs. what we ordered. A friend of ours questioned's the deal. IT IS CLEARLY STATED ON THE LUNCH/DINNER MENU THAT A 10% GRATUITY WILL BE ADDED TO PARTIES OF 3 OR MORE. However, this is not written on their breakfast menu, and they seem to be adding it. It seems that there are some tourists (both Mexican & North American) that leave little or nothing for the waiters - one bad apple ruins a bunch! The waiter does not tally up the check, it is done by someone upstairs (could be Elvira) - I don't think that the waiters indicate how many people are at a table. Anyway, once we questioned it, we were never charged the additional 10% for the remainder of our stay. We never had any problems at any other restaurants in Zihua regarding "hidden charges."

Our remaining dinners included:

Il Mare: Angelo, our favorite waiter from La Casa Vieja is working at Il Mare!!! What a surprise! Many people have told us how wonderful Il Mare was and we had to go see for ourselves. The restaurant is deceiving....there's an oasis at the bottom of those steps that can't be seen from the street. The views were great! The food was equally excellent. My husband had huachinango and I had the mahi mahi (yes, we love fresh fish!) While we were eating, we overheard someone comment that their steaks are some of the best they had while in Z.

La Casa Vieja: This restaurant has been a favorite of ours since our first trip. My husband ranks their margaritas as the best in Z!! The only thing missing this year was the tortilla lady. One thing that they were known for was fresh tortillas and you could watch her make them. You could even request to make a few yourself! This year, they had none. The menu hasn't changed and either has what we order....we both got #5...the fish in foil which is awesome!! My husband loves the Z-Lime pie and I like their coffee - it's laced with cinnamon. Every meal is finished with a shot of Chalua, the "house beverage." We purchased a bottle and 2 cups for 100 pesos to bring home.

La Gula: What an amazing find! We had heard about this restaurant last definitely was getting a buzz. Well, it's managed to keep it! It's a lovely restaurant (to bad it's not overlooking the bay!) and they have a top notch staff. The food is equally top notch. Having had seafood every night....we dared to be different. I ordered Filet Mignon w/ an atoyac coffee sauce (this was my first ever "stab" at Mexican beef) and my husband ordered chicken stuffed with banana and cottage cheese. At first you might think what strange combinations but they really worked and they were really good! We're still talking about that meal! It was truly a pleasant surprise.

A trip to Zihua is not complete without spending Sunday night at the basketball court. We waited in line for the empanadas - wonderful as always and a gastronomic feast for 15 pesos. Last year there was a group from Ixtapa selling desserts...they had homemade flan...guess who wasn't there this year. My husband was still on a quest to get flan. This year, Sunday was a little different because not only was it SuperBowl Sunday but it was Election Day in the state of Guerrero! No alcohol was allowed to be served in Centro and all of the restaurants along the Paseo del Pescador were DEAD!! They had a rally for one of the candidates at the amphitheater next to the basketball court. It was really interesting!

Tuesday, February 8: Our last morning in Zihua before heading up to Troncones. We went back into Centro, eating breakfast at Bananas. I picked up 3-1/2 kilos of coffee to take home at Cafe Atoyac on Benito Juarez - the BEST coffee!! I purchased a couple of silver jewelry items at Abel & Julia on Nicholas Bravo - I love dealing with Julia. I've purchased jewelry from her since our 2003 trip. We trekked out to Jose Morelos and this store we found last year that has beautiful fabrics for tablecloths - they will even finish the ends for 20 Pesos which is great because I cannot sew to save my life! I came prepared with metric conversions and got 2 beautiful tablecloths for a fraction of what I would pay at home.

Back at Villa Carolina, check out is at 1:00pm. We say our Good-byes and "Hasta Proximo Anos!" and take a taxi to Troncones. A new adventure begins!

We arrive at La Posada de los Raqueros on Playa Manzanillo about 45 minutes later. Our poor taxi driver didn't realize that he was going to have to drive practically all the way to the end of the dirt road to drop us off! We tipped him well.

Raqueros is just about in the middle of Playa Manzanillo. Angie greeted us upon arrival and showed us to our room. We stayed in El Cuarto del Viejo del Mar in the main house. They offer 2 bunaglows and 2 rooms in the main house. They are building a 3rd bungalow which is nearing completion. The accomodations were clean and adequate. They had a small fridge in our room and it was stocked as a mini-bar would be in a hotel back home. There was a lockable cabinet for valuables. Hans appeared a little later to give us our keys and offer a welcome drink. We endulged in a Raqueros Margarita - quite potent!

It was after 3pm when we set out to do some exploration. We made a dinner reservation at Cocina del Sol, the restaurant at Eden Hacienda. We walked north on the beach, found some really cool shells, turned around and headed south and continued past Troncones Point. It's an incredibly beautiful, although rocky, coastline. We didn't venture too far and returned to Raqueros to watch the sunset - what an awesome horizon sunset you get in Troncones!! I think I took a dozen pictures of the sunset...each night!

Dinner at Cocina del Sol was terrific. Christian was in the kitchen and his dad, Paul, was "working" the tables. Paul talks to everyone there and it's a nice touch. My husband had the tuna special and I had the roasted chicken salad. The best prepared chicken I've ever had. After dinner, we walked back to Raqueros, flashlights in hand!

Wednesday, February 9: After a very warm night, we woke to the sounds of a rooster...the rooster who resides next door. We're early risers anyway, so when we saw 6:45am on our watches, it wasn't that big of a deal.

That morning, we decided to walk the beach to Troncones. I wanted to check out the myriad of B&B's that I researched on this website while planning this trip. We had no plans on where to eat breakfast so we just decided to wing it. We ended up at El Burro Burracho. The entire walk took approx. 50 minutes. We considered eating at Mi Casa es Su Casa but we saw no one there! Plus the place is for sale. Not sure if that's a good sign. Needless to say, we ate breakfast & lunch at BB. The food was good and the staff was pleasant.

The beach at BB is wide and the sand gets really HOT! The surf there is not rocky compared to other spots along Playa Troncones but the currents are very strong. It's a great place for boogie boarding and body surfing!

That afternoon it got really cloudy so we decided to meander around the village, visit the church and walk back to Raqueros along the road. There are some really incredible homes being built there. We watched the sunset from Troncones Point.

We were considering eating at the Inn at Manzanillo Bay for dinner. That afternoon we had asked someone who was staying there if he had dinner at their restaurant...he told us that he had only eaten lunch there but that we should try the enramada next door. We figured we would give the restaurant a try and walked over around 7:30pm. All of the tables were empty. So we turned around and headed over to Cocina del Sol. CdS was hoppin'. There was one small table left. We each ordered the chile rellenos special. We shared a mexican chocolate mousse for dessert - out of this world!! Another memorable meal.

Thursday, February 10: Cock-a-doodle-dooo! Guess how our day started?!?! It was getting quite comical at this point. We decided to spend the day on Playa Manzanillo.

We ate breakfast at the Manzanillo Bay Restaurant which is the Enramada between Raqueros and the Inn at Manzanillo Bay. It's the only Enramada on Playa Manzanillo. My husband had the eggs rancheros and I had the eggs with bacon. Both were really good. Our waiter spoke incredibly good english. When I commented on it, he told me that he surfs and his english is self taught...he learned a lot from American surfers out in the water. Pretty amazing!

Later in the day we took a walk north toward Majahua. We talked to a couple from Washington state who recently bought property there. They told us about Martha's and suggested that we eat lunch there. We followed the beach trail and ended up in the village of Majahua and there before us was Martha's Restaurant. Before eating, we walked through the village a bit and then onto the beach. Talk about unspoiled paradise! Majahua is a fishing village - Zihua is like NYC in comparison! Lunch at Martha's was relaxing. We took in the views of Playa Majahua while watching a white heron with black legs and bright yellow feet hunt down some fish. My husband had camarones and I had huachinango filets with garlic. They were so fresh!! Homemade tortillas and homemade guacamole accompanied the meal. We both had limonadas. They were good but nothing like Elvira's! Martha was a gracious hostess and a great cook! We hiked back to Raqueros and spent our last afternoon relaxing on the beach until after the sunset.

Our final dinner, again at Cocina del Sol, was pizza. Yes, another first for us in Mexico. Christian makes his own dough and what a crust it turns into! We ordered the goat cheese & herb pizza and shared it. It was the perfect size to share. That chocolate mousse was so good the night before that we each ordered one this time! Christian wasn't there this night so we talked to Paul about getting sandwiches from Cafe del Sol to take to the airport the next day. Cafe del Sol is also owned by Christian and it's in Troncones, near the bridge. They apparently serve breakfast & lunch and are known for their sandwiches & smoothies. Paul took our sandwich order and we paid him there. We told him that we were being picked up at noon the next day. He promised they'd be ready.

Friday, February 11: Cock-a-doodle-doo!!! Why should today be different from any other day. Tufi, Angie & Hans' dog, had had enough of his feathered neighbor. When we let him out of the gate that morning he went straight for the rooster who had been standing right in front of the fence to the Raqueros property. That rooster ran as fast as he could!

We attempted to have breakfast again at the enramada next door. We ordered coffee & juice. The "surfer waiter" from the day before was not there. I had saved some pizza crusts from the night before and fed them to "Whitey" - a beach dog that we saw on a daily basis. Although I fed the dog off of the restaurant's property, I don't know if they were mad that I did this because no one ever came back to our table with a menu or to take an order. I walked to the back of the restaurant and paid for our beverages and we left. It was after 10am and we didn't want to spend another hour in a restaurant. Fortunately we had some fruit and nuts in our room which served us well.

We sat on the beach until 11:30, changed out of our shorts & tanks and into our travel clothes. The cab was right on time. We said our Good-byes and we were off. The cab driver stopped at Cafe del Sol and our sandwiches were just being wrapped. Talk about prompt!

The ride back to the airport was a sad one. We have always had wonderful vacations in Mexico but vacationing in Zihua is special. We arrived at the airport, checked in, and ate our sandwiches before heading to the gates.

As I handed my boarding pass to the airline employee, I started to cry....I didn't want my vacation to end....I didn't want to leave my paradise!

Now I've been back in NJ for over a week...back to work...back to the ol' grind. The time we spent in Zihua & Troncones seems like ages ago! The weather has gotten colder again too. It's currently snowing, we're expecting 7" by morning. It's going to be a long 12 months before I return home.

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