Ixtapa +

December 29th thru January 15th '05





The preamble is last March we'd taken a Mexican Riviera cruise, spending five all too brief hours 
in Zihuatanjeo.  We loved it and began our plan to return before we were even finished our cruise!  We've now spent 17 days in Zihua's wonderful weather with her gentle and gracious people and, 
once again, are planning a return visit for '06.  Can you say we love it?  Decidedly yes.  
I always research beforehand; it extends the pleasure of the trip.  Aside from our vacation photos, 
and now having had first hand experience, I'll share the information, resources  and impressions I've garnered, perhaps making your trip to Zihua more delightful.  



Las Brisas Restaurants In the Area
Resources Vacation Photos Tips



  Las Brisas  

In Spanish "the breezes", Las Brisas is an architecturally unique and magnificent creation.  Formerly a Westin hotel it was bought by Brisas corporation in 19xx.  The beach in front of Las Brisas ~ Playa Hermosa ~ although technically public, as all beaches in Guerrero (and perhaps all of Mexico) are, 
remains private due to its inaccessibility.  We loved this clean quiet beach with crashing waves.  Do watch the undertow though.  Sometimes its stronger than others.
Enjoy the long leisurely walks to the pools & Solarium Restaurant thru lovely jungley paths
Lobby on 18 has shops -

There are meal plans available though we didn't know that for quite some time after arrival.  While we feel there are so many wonderful restaurants in both Ixtapa and Zihua (and thus we'd not be inclined to anything "all-inclusive", some of the partial meal plans we'd certainly look into on another occasion.  You'll find a (hopefully readable) scan of this here.



The Entrance to Las Brisas






Bellavista Restaurant

is almost always open for breakfast and often for lunch.  It's amazing to me, having spent much time in Hawaii, how the birds never seem to enter the restaurant.  In Hawaii they are everywhere, often on your table or perhaps the buffet, vying with you for the rolls.  This NEVER happened in Zi/Ix.  Maybe we were just lucky??

Solarium Restaurant

Wonderful views and very close to the pools, this is a great place for breakfast (and you work up an appetite getting there) and equally great for lunch.  For no particular reason, the ambience of Solarium appealed to me.  Usually open for lunch and, at times, for breakfast also, seemingly dependent upon the occupancy level of the hotel.  



We found the food delicious and always attractively served



The Fitness Center - dah! - kept very "refreshing" (so I hear)



The Lobby Bar - location of uno por dos cocktails between 6 and 7 PM



Las Brisas Views



The Pools


Pools comments

Playa Hermosa - Las Brisas Beach


Las Brisas from the Water



Our Room - 1146

This room is their Deluxe Room of which most all the hotel is comprised.  They all look exactly the same the only differences I've observed being the location of the built-in bench on the Patio and the location within the hotel.  Our room was over on the left side in the picture above in the middle section.  This location provided easy access to the beach via either stairs and walkways or via the beach elevator located on the 10th floor - one floor below.  


Comments on the room:  Great except -
*Need more drawer space
*Need a working room safe
*Need a clock that tells time accurately
*Hair dryers are excellent (surprise)

Flowers left almost daily in bath and on bed in various designs


Suites at Las Brisas

Curious to see the suites I asked at the Front Desk and was shown a couple of them.  

  • Brisas Beach Club rooms are simply the standard room (as we had shown above) with additional perk of coffee & pastry in the morning and an hour of cocktails on the Beach Club Floor in the evening.  Much to my surprise, BBC is nowhere near the beach but on the 21st (if I remember correctly) floor, thus 3 floors above the Lobby which is on 18.  "Brisas Beach View Club" would seem a more appropriate name.  
  • Virreyes Suites, of which there are 3, are located on the 18th floor along with the Presidential Suite.  These are very cool suites and would be great to share with another couple.
  • ?? Suite is nice but . . . mmmm, not special enough for it to be worth the extra bucks for me.  Your mileage may vary.  :-))

Virreyes Suite


Junior Suite


This is the Las Brisas website and Classic Vacations also has some very thorough information on Las Brisas.  More photos of Las Brisas grounds and walkways here.




These are our findings, based on our taste thus your mileage may vary.  I suggest before you leave home, you take down the phone numbers and locations for any restaurants which interest you.  Many are not listed in the phone book and arriving without reservations may end in disappointment or at least 
a less than optimal table.


Restaurants we went to:

Let me say as a precursor, my comments at this point, are not recent experiences.  In other words, I've taken so flipping long to update this - well it really sucks.  That said, if I remember stuff two years later, guess that's worth a nod.  :-))

Beccofino - at the Marina in Ixtapa.  Good food & atmosphere.







Elvira's, Paty's, Rossy - all on La Ropa

for a quick, filling lunch try Los Braceros downtown for killer tacos, etc.

Breakfast or especially lunch at Doña Lichas (calle los cocos just off the plaza Kyoto), especially on Wed for Pollo con rajas crema y elote. Chicken in creme sauce with green chiles and corn. Excellent 28 pesos.



Elvira's for breakfast -- great tip from this board, try the French Toast!!!!!

 Bandido's - Mingle with the locals and enjoy refreshingly cold drinks and delicious Mexican lunches, dinners & appetizers in downtown Zihuatanejo on the corner of Calle Cinco de Mayo and Calle Pedro Ascncio across from both the church and the artisans handicrafts market. They feature live music and satellite TV sports.



Kau-Kan - Exquisite gourmet dining overlooking Madera Beach and Zihuatanejo's Bay. "Probably the best restaurant in town!" according to Travel & Leisure.Very romantic! Find their new modern adobe-built restaurant above the Hotel Irma on the road to La Ropa Beach.



Also, more GOOD news! Mi Cabaña/Pizzas Locas is open again across from the bakery Buengusto also on Calle Vicente Guerrero. Best BBQ ribs in town (except for Hacienda Eden), excellent seafood, and of course their famous pizzas. Really good to see them back open after a long spring and summer without them.



Mamma Norma & Deborah - A wonderful restaurant in La Puerta shopping center in Ixtapa. Featuring a variety of fresh seafood, homemade Mexican dishes, pastas, well-prepared meats, and delicious desserts among their specialties. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Rick's Bar and the Crow's Nest - Popular meeting place for drinks and gringo food offering lots of goodies during tourist season including live music, jam sessions, Internet access, trading library, and hot showers (I guess they also offer cold ones, too, should you want or need one). Located in downtown Zihuatanejo on Calle Cuauhtémoc ½ a block from the Plaza Municipal.


Beccofino: At Ixtapa Marina.  We went here twice with varying experiences.  On occassion number one my husband had a veal dish which was delicious (I tasted).  On occasion number two I ordered this same dish and it was not nearly as good as time number one; and DH agreed.  Service was very good and ambience wonderful being on the Marina and watching the super sized yachts come in.

Brisas II:


Casa Morelos:

Casa Vieja:

Coconuts: In Zihua (Address & Phone on bottom of Menu page)

Da Buffone: In Ixtapa, was great for good ol' Spaghetti.  

El Faro:  In Pacifica (not Dorado Pacifico) at the Las Brisas end of Playa Palmar.  Table 63 is, I understand, *the* table to ask for.  Good food and another lovely setting.  You can take the funicular up to the restaurant from the Playa (beach).  Alternatively its an easy walk from Las Brisas but when you arrive at the Pacifica gate, tell the guard you have reservations and ask for a ride up the hill.  Unless you are very hardy, that is waaay too much climbing in the heat and dressed for dinner.

El Faro: The lighthouse at Ixtapa Marina (not the restaurant above).  Great place for drinks at sunset or to enjoy after dinner drinks and a dance or two.

El Mexicana:



Le Casa Que Canta: Often referenced in Forums as LCQC, this restaurant maintains a dress code.

Mamma Norma & Deborah: - In La Puerta shopping plaza in Ixtapa, Mamma's is owned by Deb who was born in New Westminster, BC and raised in Princeton and Merritt (for you BC natives). Open for all meals, we ate only breakfast and dessert (not at the same meal) here and both were delicious and very reasonably priced.  Her specialty is Coconut Cream Pie and it IS absolutely delicious. Part of her 'secret', easily divined yourself, is she toasts coconut and then mixes it into her pastry before baking the shell.  Totally yummy!  Be aware she accepts Cash Only.

Portofino: - In Las Brisas hotel, is a Mediterranean Italian blend of dishes.  All enjoyed our meals here though it is on the expensive side.  Do take a wrap of some kind if you chill easily as its air-conditioned and I found it a little chilly.

Villa De Selva: Often referred to as VDS in Forums, its located up the hill from Las Brisas. This restaurant has a truly beautiful setting and I understand it was ex-president Exchevveria's ex-vacation home.  Echevveria was responsible for much of the development in Ixtapa.  His newer house is down the street.  Definitely check out the seating chart on their website and reserve ahead to get a table at the railing.  

Villa Del Sol:  On Playa La Ropa, we made reservations for a Friday night and were surprised to find (unknown to us) Friday night is Mexican Fiesta night.  While not what we were expecting we did enjoy it very much.  The buffet was plentiful and tasty, a Mariachi band arrived to play, and throughout the evening we were offerred shots of Tequila in small pottery cups on ribbons which we were given on our arrival and which hung around our necks.  It was really very enjoyable though generally I'm not a big buffet fan.  It was not, however, at all cheap!


Restaurants we didn't go to:

The following restaurants regularly receive great reviews.  Although we didn't get to them this time, they are on our 'must go' list for next year unless we read of changing situations between now and then.

Amuleto: overlooking Zihua harbor, B&B with restaurant that is dinner-only. Commanding views of the entire harbor + views west to see the sun setting into the ocean. Kitchen and wait staff by Kau Kan, another excellent restaurant.

Casa Bahia: located a five minute walk from Villa Vera on the same road in the part of town called "El Almacén" on the bayfront cliffside near Puerto Mío above the marina gas station. Best tuna in town. Tables 1-3 have a nice view to the east out over the bay. Eat at Casa Bahia, then walk up the street to Villa Vera for drinks/desert. (This restaurant was closed during our stay.)   Their menu offers a fine variety of tropical gourmet cuisine at very reasonable prices. A wonderful mix of Mexican and Hawaiian dishes including excellent sashimi! Also home of the Zihuatanejo Yacht Club.

Cuitlatecca:  another small B&B where you can do dinner only. Way up the hill above both Casa Que Canta and Villa de la Roca. Intimate & expensive with wonderful views.

Tamales Y Atoles Any:  

WHERE in Zihua. Authentic Mexican dishes at reasonable prices. If you can, go on Thursday night for their "Folkloric Show"; reservations advised.
Tamales y Atoles "Any" knocked our sox off when we were there. Four thumbs (Richard's, too...)up! We were quite impressed with the prices, esp for the real quality received. I liked the feel of sitting there watching "Zihuatenejo" stroll by...     Dinner at "Tamales Any" Posole Verde and a few Squash Blossom Tamales and ice cold Horchata -Greaaaaaaaaaaaaat!.  By the way Thursday night is Fiesta night at Tamales Any but you really need to make a reservation for the festivities. We got there too early and were basically politely asked to leave because they needed to turn the table......for a reservation, when we left every table was empty but had a "Reservado" sign on it. Who knew? Now we all do! Festivities must start after 7PM
Tuesday evening was spent in Zihua with dinner at Tamoles y Atole Any. The pina coladas were, without question, the best I have ever had. We both had the enchilladas--the chicken were good, the beef excellent.
Traditional and authentic Mexican cuisine! This place is probably the most authentic Mexican restaurant you'll ever eat in. Only traditional foods here, no burgers or junk food! On the corner of Calle Vicente Guerrero and Calle Ejido in Zihuatanejo across from the Banamex bank.

Villa Vera (formerly Puerto Mio):  located at the end of the road along the west side of Zihua harbor. Very romantic spot on a magic cove that faces out toward the ocean. Waves sweeping in and out of the cove make a sound like an African rain stick. Food and service are on a par with Villa de la Selva and El Faro. Ambiance can only be called very romantic.

Sanka Grill (now in a new downtown locat1on near Los Braceros),



La Gula:

La Sirena Gorda:  On Fisherman's Walk in Zihua.  For some reason this restaurant was closed the entire time we were there.  It does get good reviews so hopefully we'll have an opportunity next year.



El Manglar:  El Manglar hidden on the south end of La Ropa does have wonderful meals too. El Manglar. They have great food, the best prices on the beach, and Victor, the waiter, who is a lot of fun. The problem for El Manglar is that it’s hard to find, being sandwiched between the crocodile lagoon and the new house with the Astroturf lawn at the end of the beach. There’s not much of a sign, and, if the tide is in, their path past the crocodile lagoon is almost gone. You can reach the place through their parking lot in the back by taking the alley after the Astroturf house and walking around to their rear entrance.

in front of the Krystal in Ixtapa.  It's way pricey, but if you need a Beef fix, they have an excellent Ribeye. The Ceasar Salad done at the table (yes, the real way, anchovy and egg) was a nice touch too.

Las Margaritas: is the name of the new restaurant across from the Hotel Citlali on Calle Vicente Guerrero, whose owners took over the restaurant formerly known as JJ's. I have to say that as much as I liked the food there when Miguel Angel of El Pueblito was running the place, Xochitl and her family have again provided Lupita and me with a new favorite restaurant. The food is SO good we have eaten there at least a half-dozen times since it opened about 2 weeks ago. They are currently open for breakfast and lunch and offer an incredible "comida corrida" for $35 or a little over three bucks. (Stew, even you can afford that!) 100% Mexican recipes with Xochitl's special touch that makes every meal seem like gourmet. We wish Xochitl and her lovely family the best of success!

Casa Tucanes -- http://www.mexonline.com/tucanes.htm

Rossy’s (terrific seafood),








General Vacation Photos




New Year 2005 at Elvira's

I think it must be a camera thing as no matter who took the photo, they all turned out kinda weird 
but I'm keeping them anyway.  After dinner we wandered down to the beach, had a drink and watched the fireworks as 2005 arrived.



Pacifica aka "The Perils of Taking the Funicular up from Playa Palmar"
(It's a long story)


Playa El Palmar


Puerto Mio Dock for the Sunset Cruise


Zihua Traffic Jam ~ someone explained to us that the definition of parking in Zihua is *Stop*.  There were a few irate cab drivers this day and many extremely warm passengers.

This is a 'panga' aka water taxi.  

Finally got to the dock!


Lots more sunsets but to avoid boring you I've put the rest of the photos here.


Advertising to the contrary, we don't agree that Reuben's has the best burgers.  Good but not GREAT.  The hot pickled veg were enjoyable though.  Also note the sign = cash only.

Playing in the Ocean

I had soooo much fun doing this.  It started with simply sitting on the sand beside Billy at the waters edge.  Then a big wave came in and upended me and off I went, rolling in the surf and being buffeted about by the waves.  I'm still getting sand out of my ears weeks later.  LOL!!




  • Commercial Mexicana (aka Costco Mexico) and Bodega (aka Walmart de Mexico) both have a large selection of products including beach towels, coolers,  liquor and groceries.  We found on most liquor items, Bodega was a little cheaper than CM.  With prices like $5.00 for a large bottle of Vodka, don't be buying at duty free on the way down (or home for that matter) unless its Champagne which is quite expensive in Mexico! 
  • Learn some basic Spanish, particularly numbers and greetings, to ask for the bill and to ask "how much for".  Even taxi drivers may speak only very basic English; you'll just find it a lot easier if you speak, at least a little, Spanish.  Here are some web resources for Spanish:
    www.StudySpanish.com for many Spanish language resources
    www.Spaleon.com/index.php for Spanish verb conjugation
    www.LanguageLovers.com for Spanish Language products including flashcards
    www.june29.com/Spanish/index.html for basic Spanish lessons
    www.fodors.com/language for basic travel Spanish
                                            www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/index.shtml where BBC has some beginners Spanish                                   www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/lj/  another BBC resource called Spanish Steps
  • Learn (beforehand) the dates cruiseships are in port during your stay.  Prices may double on those days - a willing market so who can blame - but YOU don't need to be doing that.  Generally the farther you go from the Municipal Pier the cheaper prices will become.
  • Taxis are cheap and are per taxi not per person.  Zihua to Ixtapa is 50 pesos - about $5.00 plus tip, Zihua to La Ropa is 25 pesos or about $2.50 plus tip.  Very *doable* transportation.
  • Speaking of tips, you might want to read this info to have some idea how important tipping is to the local people.





General Web Resources:
  • Converters and Basic Language Info at Virtual Mexico
  • Trip Advisor Zihua/Ixtapa has excellent hotel info with visitor comments worthy of reading
  • Tony from Vancouver maintains a corkboard where people post the dates they will be in Zi-Ix and here you'll find another similar calendar.
  • Rob Whitehead maintains a comprehensive site with much info and hosts some personal web pages of interest
  • “Wash Gently, Dry Slowly” by Grover Ted Tate is a great read about Zihua if you can find the book.
  • Another Day In Paradise provides local info and What's Happening news plus some very interesting articles in the archives.
  • Zihua's Municipal Market where locals buy groceries, etc.
  • El Día de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead is celebrated in early November.  This is a joyous celebration, not a spooky yucky one, where people celebrate their ancestors.  You'll find many shops with Los Muertos figures, something I intend to start collecting.
  • Also from Rolly, relating his experiences when retiring to Mexico, this site is very interesting though it is doesn't relate specifically to Zihua/Ixtapa.
  • Jared has created wonderful (printable) area maps for Playa Municipal, Playa Madera and Playa La Ropa. 
  • Another informative site on Zihua found here.
  • Super Phototour of Zihua can be found here.
  • Cruiseship Arrivals Schedule here.
  • Pictures, Info and locations of the many area beaches can be found here.
  • Photos of Zihua including La Sirena Gorda apartments here.
  • Taxi and other transportation information here (though some of their price quotes are higher than what we experienced).
  • Terrific variety of photos here - La Barra, many aspects of Zihua, photos of the various denominations of currency and more.
Trip Reports:
A great resource and wonderful for getting the 'feel' of the area, trip reports are often filled with tips from those who've gone before you and are kind enough to share the knowledge they've acquired.

A great trip report for getting the feel of Zihua
Another interesting and informative page created by Ian Chadwick, another Canuck.  Great info with a thorough dissertation on Tequila.
And yet another here.
Mike's 2005 Trip Report
Candice's Zihua Report
Info on Barra, Troncones & Playa Manzanillo
Vancouver Tony's Trip Report + Photos
Lisa's 2002 Trip Report with info on Brisas Del Mar
E-opinions review if Zi-Ix and Villa Mexicana


Forums & Bulletin Boards:

Lots of Information can be gleaned and questions asked at these forums.  Always remember to search the archives as questions & answers scroll off the main board quite quickly but can usually be found by doing a search.






In The Area

La Barra de Potosi:  
Laura from Casa del Encanto, who is doing so much to help the people of that little community to help themselves, and Maria (not Marina, who was out of town) from the Netza school, plus many teachers there who are enriching the lives of indigenous children. We renewed our friendship with Raul and Irma, who have put four sons through college on a taxi driver’s income. And we were welcomed with open arms by Celso, Javier, and Señora Eva from the Catalina, who make staying there a family experience.

La Barra Trip Report


Take the first class bus Estrella de Oro from Zihutanejo to Uruapan Buses leave at 9:00 AM- 3:00PM - 5:00PM and 11:00 PM Cost is 245 pesos per person one way. Trip is about 3 hourts +. Then take the shuttle bus from Urapan to Patzcuro which leave about every 45 minutes. Takes about 1 hour Uruapan to Patzcuaro Cost is $100.00 pesos each one way. You can also take the 1st class Estrella Blanco bus ( not quite a 1st class for Zihua to Uruapan approx. same travel time. Leaves Zihua at 12:00 Pm and 8:00 PM Cost $219.00 pesos per person, one way. and then take the same Uruapan to Patzcuaro shuttle. For the difference in price , I would choose Estrella de Oro and travel during day. Very scenic. Pack a nice lunch and take your own beverages. Very pleasant trip.

Playa Las Gatas:
Isla Ixtapa:
Playa Linda:


We book our fishing trips ahead of time, to ensure we get to go with the captain and crew we prefer...maybe someone else has a different experience to share.



Accommodation Alternatives

While Las Brisas is a wonderful place to stay, it's on the expensive side of the ledger.  With moving into 
a new home and being 'retired folks' now, we are looking towards somewhat lower priced accommodations for next year.  Here are some we've found which could work for us.  In your accommodation search, keep in mind there are many 'package deals' out there and many 'All-Inclusive' packages in Ixtapa along Playa El Palmar.  All-Inclusives aren't really our cup of tea but they may work very well for you, particularly if they are available in a style other than 'every meal every day' 
such as Las Brisas has.  
There are so many great restaurants with very reasonable pricing in Zihua, it just doesn't 
make sense to us to do an all-inclusive thing.

Brisas Del Mar:  This hotel is on Madera Beach and has the advantage of being a 10 minute walk along the water into Zihua.  Clean though not upscale with wonderful views and balconies.  This website provides greater detail on the various types of rooms available.  An yet another site.
Villa Mexicana:  This hotel is beside Villa Del Sol on Playa La Ropa.  It seems attractive in decor, I read many positive reports on it and the rates seem very reasonable.  I'm leaning heavily to booking here.  They rooms don't have a minibar fridge so need to buy a cooler. That usually works better anyway.  Here's a site with a couple more photos and this one has still more.

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LAST UPDATED ~ 10/06/2006 05:13:13 AM