Updated: Jan 6, 2021
We were up early and ready to depart Rancho Buganvilia by 9 am. We will be driving to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo today and it will take at least 6 hours. It’s a pretty big drive but we are trying to get down to the Huatulco area by Christmas time. We will still need to make one more stop in Acapulco. The place we are staying is called Fonatur Ixtapa RV Park by Playa Linda It looked like a great spot on the beach and close to town.
The drive down highway 200 was fabulously easy. We did have more traffic in the small towns we drove through and the day ended up being longer than anticipated. I enjoyed the scenery and the coastal views when we were close. We made 4 mini stops along the way for lunch, gas, and just to stretch our legs. There were lots of beautiful palm trees right up to some beaches. We saw some pigs running across the road in one little village. It was amusing and good for photos at the first stop.
The drive through town to the RV park went extremely well. Prayers answered. This is where crap gets real on the road. It can make or break the arrival experience. Happy or mad/frustrated. Today was HAPPY!! We rolled into Ixtapa and our park just before 4 pm. The man that checked us in was very friendly. He was helping us as a bus driver came into his office with a 12 pack of cold beer. When I gave him “that look''- Where’s mine? He handed both Larry and me a beer and opened it. Bienvenido a Mexico! Yes!! I love this place. He even wanted to take a picture of us with him by his bus.
Larry and I took our beer to look for a spot to park. We thoroughly looked at each of the sites. “Does it have shade?” “ Can we see the ocean good?” “ Are we too close or looking at someone’s ugly trailer?” We eventually found The perfect spot. We finished our beer as we set up. When we went back to register and pay, our new friend Alberto, gave us each another cerveza! Wow! I feel very welcome and who doesn’t love some Free Beer?
Since it was a wonderfully warm day still, we went to enjoy the beautiful pool. Besides this place being a RV park it is also a day-use park. There were 4 young people in their 20’s, a baby about 1-year-old and the gramma looking after her at the pool. They were having a fun time complete with beer and snacks. We said “Hola'' and they greeted us back. They tried speaking more Spanish to us but that was all we had. They giggled and talked among themselves. I thought they might be making fun of us but they brought 2 beers over for us. We ended up talking, the best we could with them, and each time our beer got low, they replaced it with another! We ended up drinking 3 each! Wow! This is the friendliest and most generous place we’ve stopped so far. We found out the young woman with the baby, worked at a restaurant called The Tiburon. They gave us directions and said it was very good. We would try to eat there.
We got to watch the first sunset on the beach and it was extraordinary. What a great day and a fabulous evening. After dinner, when we were sitting out, watching the evening unfold, we had two surprise visitors. The first one was a siamese kitten. Yeah!! I was in the trailer looking for a can of tuna right away. She gobbled it up in no time at all. I was hopeful it was a stray and Larry would want to keep it. I was so happy petting my New kitty when Jose stopped by and started a conversation with Larry. He had a pack of cigarettes he bought by mistake and wanted to sell them to Larry for cheap. Larry, of course, bought them. Only 50 pesos($2.63US) Then Jose wanted to borrow one smoke. He sat down in our extra folding chair and proceeded to tell us about who he was and what he was doing camping there. He was by the bathrooms in a tent. He had one job at the gym and had just gotten another one today at a restaurant in the evenings. He asked where we were from and he said he had lived in Sonoma County for the past 10 years doing construction. He had lived in Guerneville when he was apprehended by an immigration task force (ICE) and deported. He lost his car, his tools and all his personal belongings. Now he was living in a tent at a government campground working two jobs. I kinda felt bad for him. He was very nice, spoke great English and was super friendly. It got a little weird when he shared his belief in the flat earth theory. Before he departed, he let me know the kitty belonged to the motorhome across the way. Oh Sadness…..
The first half-day was simply amazing! We decided to venture out on our bikes into town the next morning. They had a fabulous paved bike trail (Ciclopista Ixtapa) through trees that took us to the main street. It was a beautiful ride. We saw birds and iguanas. Yeah! There were several creeks along the way too. It was just lovely. In town, we rode to the Marina hoping to see some really cool stuff. It was just ok. Then we tried the other direction and didn’t see much more than big hotels that we couldn’t get into to see their beaches. It was kinda a bust. We stopped at a tourist booth and tried to get a map of the area but they were out. We probably rode 8 miles and we got pictures by the colorful Ixtapa sign so I guess that’s a win! We had lunch at the Tiburon restaurant but didn’t see the young lady from the pool. It was a good meal complete with a Tequila sunrise or two. LOL
Right by our beach was a fantastic river. It was wide and fairly calm. We took the kayak up it quite a distance one of the days. There were tons of birds and boats that were fishing. We enjoyed paddling up the river at a leisurely pace. The current wasn’t strong and it was very peaceful. On the way back, Larry wanted to take the kayak into the ocean. It had a narrow neck that we had to paddle against the surf to get out. Well…...that didn’t go well. Two people paddling in different directions and with a different idea of how to get out. We got stuck on a sand bar and sat there angry at each other until the waves built up enough to push us off. I was done on the kayak at this point and Larry got to ride it into the ocean for a bit. The best part of this adventure was the river. I could have done without the ocean attempt. Oh well.
Right off the coast is Isla Ixtapa. You can take a ferry from Playa Linda to the Isla. Alberto from the campground told us how to get there. It was a short bike ride to the beach. We discovered the Cocodrilario at the mangrove lagoon on our way. This place was amazing!! First, we saw tons and tons of iguanas in all sizes and colors. I probably took 200 photos of the lizards. Yeah! Then the Crocs! We saw at least 10. They were everywhere, in the water and on the banks. We saw two fighting or what looked like fighting, maybe just playing. The area was fenced in as it was close to the beach but we were able to get within 2 feet of a few mighty crocodiles. Big Lizards! Yeah again!
We checked out the ferry pier and found out the cost for another day. 30 pesos ($1.60 US) Cheap! We watched the locals fishing on the pier and off of rocks. Some with just line and hook. The bare minimum. We watched them haul in fish after fish too! We saw a family carrying a large flower arrangement to a ferry with a group of folks in nice clothes. It looked like it was for a memorial service. It's just interesting to watch people go about their daily business of living life.
We decided on getting some lunch at one of the restaurants on the beach. There seemed to be only 3 open. It looked like it was the slow season when we were here. We picked one that looked good. We ordered cervesa and reviewed the menu. Since my Spanish is not that good, I tend to order chips and guacamole or ceviche de camaron. We saw some Federales walking down the beach with full gear and machine guns. I’m glad they are here to protect me. We watched some local children playing at the restaurant with cups and spoons in the sand. When a beach vendor came up to sell us candy, Larry called over the 3 children we could see to pick out whatever they wanted and we would pay. Interestingly, 5 more children materialized out of nowhere! They were so happy! They thanked us and sat a short distance away to eat their treats. Some traded half with their friends. It was fun to watch. It cost us about $6 US to make all these kids happy. So fun!
We took the ferry over to Isla Ixtapa on our last full day. We brought our snorkeling gear and enough stuff to be happy for the day. We met a nice young woman on the ferry that spoke English and asked where we were heading. She worked at one of the restaurants and let us know that there were 3 stops for the different beaches. We should get to where she does. She told us that her beach had good snorkeling and that it was a short walk to the nudie beach. Interesting…... We would need to see that.
We set up our stuff under a palapa at her restaurant and ordered coffee. We had someone ask if we wanted massages. That sounded great and the price was reasonable. 600 pesos for both of us ($32 US) The studio was above the restaurant on an open-air platform with the basic palm leaf roof. We got an appointment for 2 pm after we had lunch. First, we wanted to explore the island a little. We found out they had a bunch of rabbits (domestic type) running around. We hiked around to find the other beaches but never found the nudie beach or if we did it was deserted. LOL Larry did some snorkeling but his mask didn’t fit well.
After our lovely lunch and a few cervezas, we went for our massages. Larry got the young woman (girl) and I got the older one…..like my age or younger. Ha haha! We stripped down to nothing, right there in the open-air platform...interesting. My massage was wonderful and relaxing. I did have something new happen…..the lady massaged my inner thighs….. A lot. I’ve never had this type of massage before. All I could think was Larry was having the same by the young woman (girl). It was a bit weird to say the least. Larry told me later he didn’t get the “Special thigh massage”. GOOD!
All in all, we loved this place. The campground was a bit stark. Looked like a gravel parking lot. The pool was amazing and the beach was nice as well. We did have some very good sunsets, some of the best! We met some super friendly locals and found out about these tiny almonds that grow on trees just about everywhere. The security guard showed Larry about them. They were tasty but hard to crack open. He had to take a hammer to them. I loved the bike path and crocodiles. Ixtapa was a good stop for 5 nights. The next destination is Acapulco…..here we come!