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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Zihuatanejo, Mexico: Lose the Map and Get Gloriously Lost - Page 2

Written by Noreen Kompanik
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On our first trip (yes, we booked another), we boarded an old fishing boat piloted by Moses’ nephew, Tio, for a half day snorkeling excursion. Truth be told, we unexpectedly swam out to meet the boat in shallow water. Moses took us to amazing snorkel spots rarely visited by the tour companies. We savored the best ceviche we had ever eaten proudly prepared by Moses himself. Throughout the trip, he entertained us with stories about his life adventures and the history of Zihautanejo as seen through his eyes. An added treasure was his sage advice about local foods, restaurants and not to be missed activities that would have otherwise been unknown to us. 


The following day, on Moses’ recommendation, we hiked to Playa las Gatas (which means Cat Beach), named for the whiskered nurse sharks that once inhabited the sparkling, turquoise waters. Bordered by a long row of hewn rocks that creates a natural breakwater, its protected area with its coral reef formations provides excellent snorkeling. A water taxi can be taken from the mainland, but, why miss the adventure of a hike? The trail was not clearly marked, but not hard to figure out as the footpath hugged the coastal shoreline. We managed it fine in hiking shoes. 

Hike To Playa Las Gatas

Strolling past several colorful beachfront restaurants on Playa las Gatas, we found Otilio’s, the one highly recommended by Moses. Its friendly, engaging owner, Franco, promptly set us up with our own palapa, beach chairs and cold, refreshing Coronas. After some wonderful snorkeling surrounded by swirling schools of multicolored fish, we relaxed on the beach. Unparalleled views of Zihautanejo lay before us with the tall, verdant green Sierra Madre Mountains as our backdrop. Franco’s family prepared delectable, tantalizing lobster, shrimp and local seafood as we enjoyed the camaraderie of our new-found friends.  After a thoroughly delightful, lazy day at the beach, a water taxi transported us back to our resort (we wisely decided not to hike back after a few additional Coronas). Back at our villa, we celebrated yet another incredible day. Good people know good people. That’s why you get to know the locals.

Our second excursion was a trip down the coast to Barra di Potosi, a lush, tropical, beachfront paradise bordering the wildlife preserve, El Refugio. An unusually heavy surf that day made it impossible to disembark in calm shallows like we often do in the Caribbean. Instead, with cameras and wallets in zip lock bags, we abandoned ship, timed our leap of faith into the ocean and swam madly with Moses to shore to avoid the strong crashing waves. Tio, our skillful and trustworthy boat pilot, stayed safely beyond the surf line. 

Frigate Birds At El Refugio

Once ashore, a dripping Moses delivered our freshly caught seafood to yet another friend who owned a small, thatch-roofed restaurant reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island. As lunch was being prepared, we walked the shoreline and boarded a small dinghy for a private tour of the wildlife refuge. Dense mangroves and emerald green waters hosted thousands of birds of varied species along with iguanas, native fish and other sea life.  Its aura of peaceful tranquility- seductive.

El Refugio

The tantalizing aroma of Baja shrimp, lobster and accompaniments greeted us when we returned to the beach. Grilled to perfection in butter, garlic and Mexican spices that titillated the palate, our savory repast was incredible. And to think, this mouthwatering Baja feast came to a mere six dollars per person plus drink and tip. Muchas gracias, Moses.  Ice cold Coronas and fruit-infused sangria perfectly complimented an unforgettable meal.  Siesta time on the beach hammocks followed. Hey, isn’t this why we are here? Reclining and smoking his fresh Mexican cigar, compliments of Moses, my husband remarked “does life get any better than this”?  Well, yes, because then, it suddenly did.

Baja Feast

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Last modified on Thursday, 09 July 2015

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