110. Melaque, Mexico - Return to the Cake Lady

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October 25, 2007

The Tides Resort on Zihuatenejo’s Playa de Ropa is all that. And more.

After having a fruity drink at their grass hut, beachside restaurant, and then touring the property, we resolved to come back on a different trip. With a different budget.

The Camping Los Cabanas campsite a few blocks back from the Tides Resort? Not so much. It is functional, and we were grateful to have a camping option, but is basically a backyard, not an A-grade campsite.

The twin cities Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa sit on neighboring bays, a 10 minute drive apart.

Zihuatenejo is the “real” Mexican town. The sewers were spurting filthy water and many streets were flooded when we arrived, due to the fact that the previous 24 hours were marked by heavy rains.

Ixtapa is another planned resort town that has the nice hotels and a beautiful beach, but not too much that held our interest.

It had taken five hours to power the 240 kilometres north on Highway 200 from Acapulco to Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa. Many small towns line this stretch of pavement, meaning many topes to slow our progress. But the often straight road occasionally rewarded us with spectacular vistas of picture perfect, vacant white beaches.

Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa was really just a pit stop along the way for us; 18 hours after arriving we were on our way again.

As we crossed La Vittilo dam, we left the state of Guerrero and entered the state of Michoacan, and its spectacularly scenic coastline. The condition of the highway deteriorated immediately, and it was dodge the pot-holes from there on.

We stopped the first night at the village of Las Penas, 10 kilometres north of Playa Azul. The Flores de Las Penas guesthouse - which precariously peers down on jagged rocks and spraying white water that characterize this part of Mexico – has room for campers on its front lawn.

It is owned by a gregarious and knowledgeable former resident of the Bay Area. He first ventured to Mexico in 1964, driving dirt tracks down the Baja and relying on word mouth, not a map, to steer in the right direction.

Two days after leaving Zihuatenejo/Ixtapa, we pulled into the same campsite in Melaque - Hotel Laguna del Tule - that we had stayed at on the way down.

This meant we were only 20 minutes away from completing the overarching mission of this leg of the trip: walking along the beach to the next town over - Barra de Navidad - and finding the cake-lady who sold over-sized pieces of delicious choco-flan.

Key Facts & Figures:

-Camping Los Cabanas campsite: $10/night
-Flora de Las Penas campsite: $10/night
-campsite, Hotel Laguna del Tule: $10/night