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Ixtapa to Acapulco

Written on: Saturday February 2nd, 2008

A journal entry from: Camping Mexico


My account of the last 2 or so weeks is a bit scattered in my head, and is likely appear that way in this blog. I do apologize :)

On January 20th, my parents arrived in Zihuatanejo, and we spent the following week exploring the touristy resort town of Ixtapa and the more appealing, less touristy town, Zihuatanejo. Our delightful bungalow was situated close to downtown Zihuatanejo, and was a two minute stroll to Playa Madera. Apparently, we were the only non-Mexicans to inhabit this place in years. We are traveling for 6 months?

Colin and I maintained our highly rigorous schedule of beaching, surfing, eating well, and playing cribbage, and my parents had no trouble easing into this lifestyle as well. There?s something about Mexico that just allows everything necessary to be postponed until manana?

Ixtapa has an expansive white-sand beach that appears somewhat suffocated by numerous large resorts which do not necessarily detract from its appeal, but certainly affect its natural beauty. Nonetheless, we enjoyed a couple of perfect afternoons swimming in the large shore break and were transfixed by a school of ample-sized sting rays riding the waves. Dad and I were unable to persuade Mum to get back into the water after that show. On the other hand, my Dad apparently enjoys being surrounded by schools of these sting rays, and continued to share the waves with the rays while my Mum stood on shore recalling the tragic fate of the ?Crocodile Hunter?.

As we drove along a more deserted portion of the Ixtapa beach, I spotted yet another horse tied to a tree. It has been my observation while in Mexico, that the majority of all horses, donkeys, and goats, are tied to trees with ropes slung around their necks. I can only assume that they are tied this way because people here catch their animals by lassoing them with rope. I have approached numerous of these tied up animals, and they all either run away (as far as their rope allows) or become aggressive. So, this horse by the beach?.I went to the store and picked up some carrots for him. I walked over slowly, and he immediately pinned his ears, lunged at me, then ran away. I was trying to give the poor guy a treat! With a lot of patience, and some nerve, I continued to approach the terrified horse, and finally he let me get close enough so that he could smell the carrot. He spooked, pinned his ears, turned, and ran. Again. I coaxed him back yet again, and he actually took a small bit of the carrot. Victory! Then he decided he really liked the carrot. While still very nervous, I think he was actually enjoying my company, and after a few more minutes of carrot munching, he even let my scratch behind his ears :)

Later that week, Colin and I rented a small catamaran and sailed around Playa La Ropa for an hour. We were permitted to go out sans guide (thanks to Colin extensive sailing background) and I got to test out some of my rusty White Sail skills. Well, not entirely, but I did control the jib.

We spend a very enjoyable day at Isla Ixtapa, snorkeling and beaching. Colin and I rented a jet-ski (I know, I know) and Extreme took over. I was chucked off the back three times, but still had a blast. I think I laughed the entire 30 minutes.

There is so much to recall, but my Mum and Dad leave today, and to be honest, I?d rather spend the time with them. All in all, the last two weeks have felt like a mini vacation inside a vacation, and it?s been so incredibly enjoyable. I can?t thank them enough for coming to visit us, and already miss them. Oh yeah, and I?m jealous, because they get to see my sister tomorrow :)


Acapulco is an interesting city, several sources all state different populations of 900 000, 1 500 000, and 3 000 000 people. The heyday of Acapulco was from the 50?s to the 70?s during which time Hollywood movies and TV shows featured the city repeatedly. Tourism was on the decline from the 70?s until 2002 when US college students rediscovered the city. Although in recent years college students have made it one of their destinations for spring break the city still has a long way to go in order to catch up with its previous stature.

There is a tremendous number of original Volkswagen Beatles cruising the streets, mostly in the form of taxi cabs. It is not difficult to get a taxi cab as they are constantly driving past and honking or beeping sirens at you in hopes that you will get on board. It seems that the basic principle of supply and demand has not sunk into the Mexican population; there are many different examples of this ignorance. You could make a nice living teaching the S&D law until 10 others jumped on the bandwagon.

It is a bit like being in a time warp here. There has been very little new development since tourism was drastically reduced back in the 70?s. While looking for suitable accommodations we checked out a hotel that had furniture, bed linens, art, decorations, and even a patio umbrella that all must have been at least 40 years old. Many buildings require paint jobs, streets have a lot of garbage in them, infrastructure needs attention, and a new marketing strategy has to be undertaken. Most of the tourists here were hip when all of the furniture in the hotel was brand new. There are many hotels which line the beaches of Acapulco Bay with very few suite lights on at night. Supposedly there are 30 000 hotel rooms in the city, I would be surprised if 2 000 were filled right now. Despite the lack of recent attention, it is quite enjoyable experiencing the city in much the same way it was when times were good.

We have not been targeted by Mexicans on this trip like we have been while in Acapulco. I do not mind the vendors making a living off of the tourists? dime however it is a constant and relentless bombardment. After successfully beating off one individual another one will come along within minutes. ?Nearly free? as many of them state their products are, however most of it is trinkets and junk which I have no interest in. Alayna and I plan on doing most of our purchasing in Oxaca city where the majority of Mexican art comes from, prices and selection are said to be the best in the country.

We stopped overnight just north of Acapulco the day we left Zihuatanejo at a sleepy playa. We were the only ones at the hotel and restaurant, Alayas parents spent the night in a room while we camped on the beach. A clean pool was a welcome relief as the temperature and sun was relentless. The beach was unsafe for swimming and not suitable for surfing however was a pleasant to watch as it had the largest shore break I have ever seen in my life. Some 15 foot waves were crashing right on the beach, very heavy too.

It has been very pleasant having Alayna?s parents down with us. Our lives have definitely changed since their arrival on the 20th. We managed to locate a nice three bedroom bungalow in Zihuatanejo close to the beach and downtown for $800 Pesos a night. While in Acapulco we have been staying in a beach front hotel on the 11th floor in a one bedroom with pullout couch and ocean view for the same price. We have been spending the hottest part of the days lounging around in the pool and reading.

Although our time with Alaynas parents has been very fun we are both looking forward to moving on. We have not covered much distance in the past few weeks and are keen to get back into small Mexican villages and different areas of the country. We leave for Puerto Escondito on early Sunday morning. Puerto will be our most southern destination of the trip as we have decided to eliminate the possibility of continuing into Central America due to safety and time constraints. We will have seen a very large portion of Mexico upon completion of this voyage however we are looking forward to seeing interesting parts of the USA while heading home.


From jl on Feb 2nd, 2008

Great blog you guys ... Allways impressed with your pics Colin ... I will let my friend Paul in Puerto Escondito know to keep an eye out fot a Tacoma with B.C. plates.

From jl on Feb 2nd, 2008

Paul & Idae: buenavista101@hotmail.com

From Mom and Dad on Feb 2nd, 2008

Nice to catch up with you before we head to NZ tomorrow. Great pictures with Viv and Brian. Your pictures of the city and bay of Acapulco are like Poppie's from 1968 when your Dad was in the Olympics representing Canada in the FD. No change since then! Enjoy the next stage of your adventure. Love MOM and Dad

From CJ on Feb 3rd, 2008

Hey, is that a guy flying from the spiniker on that big boat, what the heck? Did X get X on that cliff jump? CJ out. nice pics.