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Archive for February, 2010

This tour was a lot more than a paddle around a lagoon, half an hour south of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. It was an education, with a teacher so intrepid and erudite,  we learned more about local history, ecology, and plant and animal life than I ever knew, while having fun. kayak tours, Zihuatanejo, Mexico, Brian Peters, Zoe Kayak Tours, wildlifeBrian Roach is an expert at sharing what he knows.

Our little group floated among the mangroves, binoculars at the ready, and he pointed out cormorants, frigate birds, elegant white egrets, flycatchers, doves, roseate spoonbills, and a few dozen others (he knew all the species variations, of course). We were far from the tourist beach scene as Brian guided us through mangrove tunnels and showed us where salt had been gathered. He provided a good lunch on a beach, bird life Mexico, wildlifeall the while telling us how the tides work and the birds migrate and what happens in the rainy season.

Some years back, Brian and his wife, Kathy Kokolias, came to Zihua from New England to help with a friend’s hotel and boutique. Guests were interested in their 2 kayaks, so Brian started tours. Now they have 28, and Zoe Kayak Tours offers hotel iguana, wildlife, Mexico, Zihuatanejopick-up in a van for trips to the lagoon at Barra de Potosi, Laguna Valentin, and the recently opened wildlife refuge, El Refugio De Potosi.

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Sailing on a 75-foot catamaran with an open bar and ultra-loud music isn’t my usual preference for viewing the sunset, but this was different. catamaran cruise, sunset cruise, mexico, zihuatanejoYes, the beer and other drinks were flowing (“more tequila, anyone?”) and the music was earsplitting, but we oldsters, drinking lightly at a distance from the loudspeakers, enjoyed it as much as the young crowd. For many reasons.

The Picante Cruises catamaran sails out of Zihuatanejo Bay and up the rugged west Mexico coast past Ixtapa, turns around and sails back. It’s a 2-1/2 hour ride over blue waters, and the scenery is spectacular. Cactus grows on cave-pocked cliffs above the pounding waves, seabirds nest on arching offshore rocks, puffy clouds float overhead.  One beach is crammed with resorts, another is nothing but sand and a few palm trees.

On our cruise, Cap’n Tony pointed out, in his New York accent, various sites of interest–homes of the wealthy, yacht marinas, the foothills of the Sierra Madre Sur mountain range. The good-natured crew showed off their sailing skills, refreshedsunset cruise zihuatanejo mexico drinks, served chicken and potato salad, and joked and flirted with everyone on board. They even posed in sombreros and serapes for pictures. Nobody got out of hand and everyone, including me, had a fine time. sunset, Mexico sunset, west coast Mexico, Zihuatanejo, sunset cruise Best, though, was the sunset, gold turning a glorious crimson against the darkening western sky.

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MJ&Ritchies, Playa Madera, Zihuatanejo, MexicoBoogie boarding, Playa Madera, MexicoTucked into the northeast corner of warm, blue Zihuatanejo Bay, Playa Madera is a curving quarter-mile of white & gray sand. The surf is easy enough for kids of all ages to boogie board.  There are a few places to eat; our favorites are MJ & Ritchie’s for lunch and Bistro del Mar for fine dining under the stars.

Local families and Mexican tourists help keep the beach relaxed and low-key.  Morning joggers can run into town and back along a half-mile path cut through the rocks to the west. During the day, little kids, old folks, and lovers on holiday play in the 80-degree water.  In the evening, before sunset, teenaged guys play soccer with spirit, but no yelling. Claro, it’s Mexico.

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Boy on boogie board in MexicoI had to try it. Daniel, the good-looking guy who runs a concession on the beach, rents boards for $5 an hour. We grabbed one and bounded into the waves.

The little cove of Playa La Madera doesn’t get huge breakers, but they were big enough for me. A wall of ocean curved toward me, I flopped onto that board and hung on and rode the top all the way to the foamy shore and fell into the sand. Wow. Not bad for a first time. One more thing I should’ve tried years ago. I had a few more great rides, and so did John, but a little boy was watching with envy, so he got the board for the rest of the hour. What can I say–we’re grandparents. But I’ll be out there again next time, riding beside the surfers.

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