Zihuantanejo, Zihua, Z town or just Z and its sister city Ixtapa are popular vacation areas. Ixtapa tends to have the larger, chain, “all inclusive” style hotels. Zihua, although a bigger town, has more of the boutique hotels. During our Sailfest events we met many people that have been coming down here for many years, even decades, and its easy to see why.
We have been in Zihuantanejo for 3 weeks now. While we were busy for the first 10 days with Sailfest, we have now had a chance to spend some time checking the area out. There are tons of small restaurants and bars that provide a great selection of food, beverage and live music. There is a beach-side square with an outdoor basketball court that doubles as a stage area for other events. So far, we’ve seen bits of a local school band, a magic show, local dancers, a couple of bands and bits of several different basketball games. There is also a Malecon that connects two of the four local beaches. In the evenings there are always buskers offering their brand entertainment along the walk.
If you take the approximately 15-mile distance between Isla Ixtapa at the upper end of the area and the small town of Barra de Potosi at the south, there is about 7 miles of different sandy beaches to choose from. If you like beaches with lots happening and a beachside palapa bar to watch it from or one that provides a spot with hardly anyone else around, you’ll likely find the right spot here.
Zihua is very cruiser friendly. The beach by the Port Captain’s office is a safe place to land your dinghy. There are 3 guys that work the beach, will help you land, watch your dinghy while you are away and then help you launch when you come back. All for tips (about 20 pesos each way). Ismael runs the panga shuttle service to Los Gatos Beach and he also offers a concierge service for the boaters. He will arrange to have just about anything brought out to your boat for you, water, diesel, ice, beer, even laundry pick up and drop off. Amazon packages can be sent to his address for pickup too. He monitors channel 65 on the VHF or you can drop by his place of business to place your order.
We are currently working through the Mexican import system and its challenges. We have ordered items on Amazon, had them shipped to Ismael and received them 2 days later.. We tried to order parts for our water maker and have them shipped by DHL direct to us at the local DHL office, didn’t work. We watched the tracking go from Trinidad, Panama, Costa Rica, Ohio and then Mexico City where Customs decided that since we did not have a permanent address here, they would not ship to us. So, the parts are being sent back to the water maker manufacture in Trinidad. We have reordered the parts and this time will ship by FedEx to Ismail. After two weeks, 25 or so emails and a dozen phone calls let’s see if plan B works. While we have been struggling with our water maker, we have used Ismael’s service to bring out purified water for us. 15 or 20 of the 5-gallon jugs at a time so we can fill our tanks with clean water. There are also a couple of guys that will dive the boat and clean the bottom for a reasonable fee.
Cleaning below the waterline of the boat is something new to anybody from the colder northern waters. In Vancouver we could go a full year without scraping the growth of the bottom of the boat. Here with 80-degree ocean water, stuff grows like crazy. At least once a month we need to scrape the bottom and almost weekly we need to scrub the seaweed off the waterline or mowing the lawn as we all refer to it as.
This area is just so easy to be in. The people here are friendly and helpful. While better Spanish on my part would be beneficial, we certainly have been able to get across what we are after or where we want to go. Google translate is a real cool app. I needed to have an electric winch motor rebuilt and we were able to find a place to do it and communicate what needed to be done. The next morning the unit was fixed and ready at 10 AM as promised. The cost was 490 pesos or about $35, that would probably have been a $200 bill at home. We have shopped for supplies at the local markets and in the Mega, Sam’s Club and AutoZone. We have walked, taken public transit, and taxied and felt safe doing all of it.
We are here till the end of Guitarfest in mid March. If we don’t get out of here then, we may never get out.