Author: Martina Lucić Čanak - Date: 26/06/2017
„Zihuatanejo – a little place on the Pacific Ocean. You know what Mexican say about Pacific? They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory. Open up a little hotel…right on the beach. Buy some worthless old boat and fix it up new. Take my guest out charter fishing…“ – Tim Robbins, Shawshank Redemption.
Today lots of people are looking for the destination where they will be on their own, immersed in the spirit and local culture. Places where one can easily get lost and forget about the time, leave behind all the expectation from the environment… Just be themselves and enjoy in the moment.
About 240km northwest of Acapulco there is Zihuatanejo – a little unique town on the Pacific Ocean which has evolved in time from a sleepy fishing village to a popular travel destination for those looking for a traditional Mexican spirit combined with a fine luxury elements.
Just north from Zihuatanejo you will find Ixtapa – planned tourist resort with a hotel strip, long white sand beaches, shopping areas, restaurants, nightclubs, golf courses and residences.
Those two places today create one destination offering at the same time history, tradition, sport, recreation, luxury, inspiration, tranquility and of course a possibility to immerse yourself into outstanding culinary delights.
Ixtapa Zihuatanejo destination is easy reachable by air, weather you are planning a domestic or international flight. Within Mexico you can fly from Ciudad de México, Toluca, Querétaro, Monterrey (only in high season), Guadalajara or Acapulco.
And if you are an international traveler probably you will arrive directly to Mexico City where you can easily catch one of the local flights which will bring you within one hour to the Pacific coast directly to the airport Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. Another option is to take a Highway from Mexico City, drive towards Morelia, colonial capital of the state of Michoacán, which is on a half way to to Mexico City and makes it a great stop for more cultural experience. From Morelia only 3,5 hours driving through the landscape of Sierra Madre and you will reach the Pacific.
One hour flight from Mexico City with Aeromar and we reached our first destination on our Mexican trip. Warm temperature, slight Pacific breeze, and above all amazing and warm hospitality of Mexican people made our stay an unforgettable experience.
The day of our arrival was pretty easy going as we arrived in the afternoon from Mexico City, and to adapt to a new destination sometimes this kind of the approach is just what you need. After short refreshment in our Ixtapa beach front hotel Sunscape Dorado Pacifico we went to visit an interesting hotel Las Brisas.
This hotel is one of the biggest hotels in Ixtapa and is the only one with its own private beach. The whole property is huge, but what is the most interesting is its architecture where we saw how architects respected the mountains and left a lot of vegetation. Only in the hotel you can find more than 50 species of birds and also every two weeks can have an organized tour with biologist what seems pretty unique for a hotel. The views from the hotel are spectacular offering you a feeling of tranquility and piece, and despite the size of the hotel we witnessed how one can enjoy in a complete privacy what is not so common for huge hotels.
We ended our first day with a dinner in one of the hotels’ restaurant, enjoying in the view at the Pacific together with a magical sunset while a culinary delights of Mexican food started to arrive one after another. One more time I was convinced that the love, in this case towards the destination, also goes through a stomach.
Waking up fresh with a sound of waves from the Pacific and being conscious that we are on the other part of the world, made me feel excited and ready for the next day full of new experiences.
After rich and tasteful breakfast just next to the beach we were ready for exploring the Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.
Ixtapa as a tourist destination offers diverse activities to its visitors. All of them together with eco-tourism have been widely developed recently: rappel, zip-line rides, rafting and hiking are possible at two exciting adventure parks. For those who prefer a ride through the orchards, mountains or beaches on a four-wheeler can make their visit more intense. And of course, Ixtapa is one of the most preferred fishing destinations due to its great diversity and abundance of species, the climate, the water temperature, the size of the fish, the distance at which they are found, the nautical services, air connections and hotel availability.
All of that makes it a destination where there is always something new to be discovered.
This day for us was reserved for a general visit of Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo, and I have to say that Ixtapa really looks welcoming, nice and charming, but Zihuatanejo has the charm that suites me more. Small town whose name means “a place of a women” was always an important commercial and fishing village and in the twentieth century became more important with the development of Ixtapa resort. At the same time Zihuatanejo is a quiet fishing village and an enchanting vacation destination.
Today the town is lined with restaurants offering seafood and many other dishes, as well as a variety of stores selling rugs, arts and crafts and souvenirs can be found on the local colourful market.
Here you can find also variety hotels, from budget to upscale resorts which are smaller and more private than ones in Ixtapa. The hotel we have visited in Zihuatanejo was Viceroy . Hotel offers unique privacy with a luxury bungalow accommodation to its guests and lies directly on the beach at Zihuatanejo bay, which is well-protected from open ocean. The environment of the hotel together with the professional service and kind hospitality makes this hotel one of those that can be easily recommended to anybody looking for a piece of heaven on the Pacific coast.
And for the end of the day, we embarked to the catamaran which took us to the 2,5h sunset cruise along the coast. This kind of excursion is perfect to see the coast from the other perspective – relax while enjoying in the landscape, listening the salsa rhythm and sipping your margarita.
This day was reserved for a bit of history together with cultural experiences. In the morning we have started our way to archaeological site Xihuacan, whose name means “the one who owns the time”. The site is about half an hour away from Ixtapa, and was set to open to the public in early 2013. Today people can explore more than 3.000 years old archaeological site, and for a moment travel through time while visiting the pyramid, ball game field or a museum displaying more than 800 figurines, vases, copper axes, carved sea shells, ceramics, bell necklaces and other artefacts from different cultures. On this tour we also met the archaeologist who excavate the whistlers and played the music with them.
Before we continued on our way to Barra de Potosí, we joined to the local ritual where Indians first perform ritual cleansing with the aim of bring the past and present together, and afterwards preformed their traditional dance.
Barra de Potosí was our next destination. This is another place where you can feel and see the real Mexican spirit. Place where only 150 families live. To them the tradition is important, and all of them live from fishing. The lagoon area has a large mangrove estuary filled with bird wildlife what makes it an ideal spot for those interested in birdwatching, kayaking and fishing. The lagoon opens to the ocean and the beaches contain many “enramadas,” palm-thatched outdoor restaurants.
We had a lunch in Teresita restaurant where Mrs Teresita was so kind and let us in the kitchen just in time when they were preparing our lunch. It was so nice to see how every piece of the food is treated with respect – red snapper with shrimps, guacamole, and garnachas.
After another tasteful lunch we had to rest a bit in order to get ready for the next experience – Temazcal.
Everything has started when our tour leader has asked if the next door hotel Emporio has a Temazcal. Of course we were delighted to have another unique experience. It is important to say that we did not know what Temazcal is, and even what we could expect. The only thing we knew at that moment was it has something to do with so called wellness treatment.
Upon arrival in front of Temazcal we started to realize what it might be all about. In front of the Temazcal, translated as “house of heat,” six of us were greeted by shaman who explained us that we are about to experience the ancient ceremony led by him. This kind of ceremony originated with the pre-Hispanic Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica to purify the body and mind, heal the sick, or provide a spiritual haven for women to give birth.
The ceremony started with a ritual of cleansing, after which we entered one by one the Temazcal. Before entering we had to ask for the permission to enter. Temazcal also represents the womb of Mother Earth, to which we all should show respect, and during the ceremony each of us releases its toxins and renews its own spirit.
Our shaman welcomed us into the womb of Mother Earth, closed the door and suddenly we found ourselves in a dark overheated space, and asked for our reasons for coming. I remember that 10 minutes before I did not have any clue what will happen, and where are we going to, and now I had to say why I am here. My mind was a bit confused, but despite all of it, suddenly I’ve started to realize that the only important thing now is to relax, and let my mind be free. Yes, it was a bit strange at the first time to be open in front of 6 complete strangers, and at the beginning I tried to be reserved, but within the atmosphere there was no other than to let my ego completely disappear, what brought me to be extremely emotional, and I allowed myself to be vulnerable.
While we sweat, the job of shaman was to keep the heat of lava stones and our comfort level, and refresh us with herbal water. Our job was to look within ourselves for spiritual cleanliness while the sweating removed our physical toxins.
During the ceremony we sang and chanted along to the steady beat of maracas in words that I can’t remember, in a language I do not even know.
After approximately 45 minutes, the ceremony finished and we could exit one by one out of Temazcal. Before exit we had to thank the Mother Earth for the experience and also ask for the permission to exit. The cold shower afterwards felt like it took all the stress away and opened my mind, body and soul for new possibilities.
From my point of view it’s all about bravely stepping out of safety zoned, go forward into growth, and leaving our fears in the dust.
During our stay we slept at the beach front hotel in Ixtapa – Sunscape Dorado Pacifico. It is all inclusive hotel in the heart of town and within walking distance to major attractions. At Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa we found a casual, welcoming atmosphere with spacious, well-appointed guest rooms with private balconies and terraces overlooking breathtaking Palmar Bay. It offers to its guest’s spa service, family friendly Unlimited Fun packages, and those looking for a higher level of luxury can be part of Sun Club and enjoy all exclusive privileges.
Photo credits: magic4.club, Viceroy, Toursim Board Ixtapa Zihuatanejo