Charming Zihuatanejo Facing Tough Times

Almost eleven years ago, we visited Zihuatanejo (Zeewahtenao), as a port-of-call, on our Mexican Riviera cruise, and we knew we wanted to go back one day. We just didn’t think it would take so long.
The bus ride from Playa Linda took about twenty-five minute and cost ten pesos each. I remembered Zihuatanejo as a sleepy little fishing village, but I soon discovered it’s actually a bustling city, with a population of around 100,000. We got off the bus on Av Morelos and walked three-four blocks to Av Cinco de Mayo, which goes down to the bay. The Mercado de Artensanias, more commonly known as a flea market, is located on Av Cinco de Mayo. I remember browsing through those stalls on my first visit, looking for silver chains for my boys and how much I had appreciated the way the vendors didn’t pester the shoppers.
318 Av Cinco de Mayo, Zihuatanejo
Our primary destination was Paseo del Pescador (Fisherman’s Path), which runs along the beautiful Bahia de Zihuatanejo (Zihuatanejo Bay). It has more craft stalls and plenty of restaurants to choose from, as well as picturesque views of the bahia.
323 Paseo del Pescador, Zihuatanejo
327 Bahia de Zihuatanejo
330 Bahia de Zihuatanejo
Playa Municipal is the beach closest to the pier.
324 Playa Municipal, Zihuatanejo
329 Playa Municipal, Zihuatanejo
I remembered a landmark by the pier where I’d had my picture taken and wanted to return to it for a reunion shot.
From 2003
65 Zihuatanejo
From 2014 (Oh, my, how I’ve changed!!)
326 Bahia de Zihuatanejo
We leisurely walked the length of the Paseo del Pescador, soaking in the laidback beauty.  Near the basketball court, I spotted this Christmas tree, reminding me that although the weather might be sunny and hot, Christmas was only three weeks past.
337 Zihuatanejo
Many buildings and stone fences have their sides painted with murals. Some are excellent works of art, some are more amateur, done by students from the local schools.
339 Zihuatanejo350 Zihuatanejo

We saw a mermaid on the rocks at Playa la Madera.
343 Playa La Madera, Zihuatanejo
There was a strong military presence while we were there and scuttlebutt on the street was that the Guerrero State Governor was arriving aboard this helicopter.
347 Zihuatanejo
Once we’d explored as far down the malecon as we wanted to go, we ventured off to wander along Calle Juan N Alvarez.
354 Calle Juan N Alvarez, Zihuatanejo
355 Calle Juan N Alvarez, Zihuatanejo
356 Calle Juan N Alvarez, Zihuatanejo
The end of this street was barricaded off, in anticipation of the Governor’s arrival.
357 Armada de Mexico, Zihuatanejo
As we stood and chatted with some others who were milling around, waiting to see the hoopla, I suddenly started feeling light-headed and fatigued, a sure sign of dehydration. So we headed back to a restaurant we’d picked out earlier, Casa Elvira, to have lunch.
360 Casa Elvira, Zihuatanejo
We ordered cold drinks and a big plate of taco chips with salsa and the most excellent guacamole, and I soon felt refreshed. I’m sure the yummy dessert of fried bananas also helped a great deal. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself)
359 Fried bananas @ Casa Elvira, Zihuatanejo
The young waiter, I can’t remember his name unfortunately, completely charmed and entertained me. Although he was obviously Mexican, he spoke flawless English and before we left I complimented him on his skill with multiple languages and he told us that he went to school in Washington State for a couple of years and then worked in Nebraska for another year. “Yes, I was a cornhusker,” he said with a dead-on Nebraskan accent, much to our amusement.
We’d noticed there weren’t nearly as many tourists as there had been back in 2003 and commented on this to our waiter. He told us there hadn’t been a cruise ship in port in three years, which had a devastating impact on their economy. He didn’t know why the ships were no longer coming, but I bet it’s because Zihuatanejo is situated just north of Acapulco, and in the past few years many cruise lines have stopped going to Acapulco because of perceived danger from the drug wars. So poor Zihuatanejo is likely bearing the brunt of that situation. I hope for their sake, things improve soon.
We witnessed more of this economic downturn as we wandered through several streets near the bay. Lots of stores were closed and the area had an almost deserted feel to it, similar to what we’d experienced a few days earlier in Ixtapa. Which is a real shame, because it’s a lovely area and I remember how vibrant it used to be.
365 Zihuatanejo
Our stroll came to an early end when I had to stop and tend to a couple of new blisters. That morning before we left, I’d carefully bandaged the two blisters I already had and liberally applied the miraculous blister block to both feet, but the new blisters had appeared along the edge of the large bandage on the ball of my foot. Big ouchy for such little owies.
On our return bus ride, the sun felt hot on my arm through the open window, so I asked Hubby to switch spots with me. Even once I was out of the sun, my arm continued to burn and itch, and soon my other arm began to as well.
I always wear a good sunscreen when we travel, preferring protection of my skin over sporting a suntan. On this trip I had brought both SPF 60 and SPF 30. I’d run out of the 60, so had swapped over to the 30 that morning. I figured I got a bit of sunburn from using the lower SPF. By time we reached our bus stop, my arms were really uncomfortable, and I didn’t want to walk on my new blisters anymore than I had to, so we didn’t even make the short detour to say hello to our cocodrilo friends.
Back at our hotel room, this bright little treat waited to cheer me up.
At the pool, late that afternoon, I literally had to keep my arms covered at all times or the pain and itching was unbearable. No swimming for me, just some quiet time huddled under a towel with my eReader and snapping a few photos.
371 Quiet pool

440 View from quiet pool

As I showered before dinner, I discovered I had more than a slight sunburn. From shoulder to wrist, I had a raised red rash on each arm. Itchy, hot, painful and oh yeah, really, really ugly. I thought Murphy had finally decided to leave me alone, but no, he’d simply lulled me into a false sense of security. Two new blisters and a nasty heat rash to add to the massive bruise, multitude of bug bites and existing blisters. Take that, he told me, and take that too.
That evening there was another outdoor dinner show at the Zihuatlan Forum. We were seated with a couple from Quebec and a trio from our province of BC. Thankfully our French companions spoke English much better than Hubby’s mangled attempt at French and we quite enjoyed the lively conversation. The show, a repeat of Fiesta en America, was as entertaining the second time as it was the first.
376 Fiesta en America
The fearless Papantla Flyers
373 Papantla Flyers
374 Papantla Flyers

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  1. Pingback: When Nature Vies With Commercialism – The Two Sides to Isla Ixtapa | joyceholmes

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