Living the Dream on Zihuatanejo’s Beaches
Beaches are my happy place. Whether I’m enjoying the cold wind and icy water on the Oregon coast or swimming in the South China Sea my heart sings out in joy. There’s something about the sand and water that makes me sigh in satisfaction and there’s something about the expanse of the ocean that makes me stand in awe of the amazing God I serve.
Our time in Zihuatanejo, Mexico was just what my spirit needed to get recharged and rejuvenated. At least a portion of each of our days was spent simply sitting on the beach and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Since Nate and I decided not to rent a car during our time in Mexico we visited two beaches that were both walking distance from our hotel. One was about a half hour walk and the other was only two blocks away! While both were marvelous they were also very different.
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Playa la Ropa was the beach we visited once that was half an hour away. It was our first full day in Zihuatanejo and we were feeling adventurous. After the hilly walk in 90 degree weather we were more than ready to rest our feet. On the sand were rows of beach chairs all owned by different restaurants. We randomly chose a location – we went with the first waiter who invited us over – and set up camp for the day. For about 7 US dollars were had the chairs for the day which included the knowledge that when we decided to go swimming the waiter would keep an eye on our things for us. This beach was fairly touristy and it was fun to watch people go para-sailing, kayaking, and giant intertubing. We spent the day alternating between reading and swimming – all the while enjoying food and drink that was brought to us as we lounged. We also got the… treat… of seeing an alligator that crawled out of the river and attempted to join us in lounging on the beach. At the end of the day all we had to do was cash out and head for home. It would have been a perfect day but, although we were sitting under umbrellas and had applied sunscreen, both Nate and I got burned. Our PNW skin simply wasn’t prepared for the more intense UV rays near the equator. You better believe that we made sure to apply the sunscreen every one or two hours the rest of our trip.
The rest of our beach adventures happened on Playa la Madera. This beach was simply two blocks from our hotel – up a hill and down a flight of stairs. Our very first afternoon, after getting off the plane, Nate and I had decided that we wanted to get massages on the beach. We headed there and found the first location that was offering them. Once again it was a restaurant with beach chairs but this one had massage therapists on staff too! The hour long massage cost about 15 US dollars and was worth so much more! After our massages we thought we should start the vacation off right and enjoy some tropical drinks. The manager of the restaurant joined us as we were drinking and was such a wonderful person to get to know! Not only that but sitting all day in their beach chairs cost nothing here as long as you were ordering food and drinks! We decided that this would be the location we’d spend the majority of our time.
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Other than the day we went to Playa la Ropa we remained committed to the restaurant that was run by a wonderful man nicknamed Monkey. Every day as we came walking down the stairs he rushed over to us crying out “Hello my friends!” and ushered us to seats chattering the whole way. Through our days on the beach we learned so much about Monkey. He talked with us about an infection he got in his leg from a doctor’s horrible advice and how he almost died. He talked with us about his divorce, losing his house, having to sell his own business, and almost going bankrupt paying for his surgery. He also told us about the wonderful owner of the restaurant he managed and how he was there for his employees in the busy and slow seasons – always making sure they had the money they needed to live lives well. He told us about his family in America, the woman he’s dating, and overcoming alcoholism. We valued these conversations so much and were thankful for the friendship we built with Monkey.
Playa la Madera was fun to us as well because it’s known as the local’s beach. Yes, there were tourists there, but people who live in Zihuatanejo also enjoyed playing and swimming in the ocean. It brought smiles to our faces while we wave jumped next to a little Mexican man on one side of us and a couple from Canada visiting on their honeymoon on the other. It just made us feel as though the world were a little bit smaller.
How do you feel about the ocean?
Have you ever visited Zihuatanejo?