Who: Terry Bingham
Port: Eagle Harbor, WA USA
28 May 2008
20 March 2005
16 April 2002
15 March 2002
25 January 2002
24 November 2001
08 October 2001
09 March 2001
04 January 2001
30 November 2000
12 October 2000
29 September 2000
11 August 2000
10 August 2000
06 July 2000
28 May 2000
04 May 2000

Zihuatanejo 2

15 March 2002
Terry Bingham
Hello from sunny, warm Zihuatanejo. About 100 miles north of Acapulco, Zihuatanejo is a beautiful, protected bay, with a city that seems to be just the 'right' size. Almost everything one needs can be found here - the fresh market is the best I've seen in Mexico - and for engine parts, refrigeration and mechanical supplies, most things are covered. There are several good anchorages in the bay here, and I've found happiness just off Playa Madera giving a good view of the municipal beaches and a short dinghy ride into town. Off and on a long south swell finds it's way in here, but is hardly noticed. The other popular anchorage is a half mile south, off Playa la Ropa, where in February, there were as many as 40 boats at anchor. While it's a longer dinghy ride to town and due to the swell a stern anchor is required, it is popular for it's long, pristine white beach with many palapas, and an afternoon volley ball game several days a week. During the Zihuatanejo Sail Fest at the end of February, it was said there was a total of over 75 boats anchored in Zihuatanejo Bay !

I found this to be such an enjoyable place, I decided to attack the deck removal project while here in the anchorage (read about that on this webpage under the heading: Secret O' Life, the boat). When I wasn't working on projects, I found many things to keep me busy in town. The market is always an interesting trip, and a great place for an inexpensive lunch. The variety of produce constantly amazed me as well as the presentation of all the many fish and meats. A couple of interesting notes - there is a surplus of Internet cafes in Zihua and the costs were as cheap as anywhere I've been, usually 10 pesos per hour, about US$ 1.10; and the laundry services here (there are typically no self service Laundromats in the smaller cities and towns in Mexico), are the most expensive at 15 pesos per kilo, or about US$ 0.80 per pound. There are so many other "good deals", that's it's hard to complain about anything.

One of these "must enjoy" activities is Thursday Pozole, an early afternoon meal with excellent live music and the true spirit of Mexico. Pozole (po-ZO-lay)is a traditional Mexican soup made with hominy and green chile. Added to this, can be either pork or chicken, but in this region it is typically pork and it is only served on Thursday at many places to celebrate the tradition of killing the pig on Wednesday, the soup being made from various parts not consumed in other ways. Much celebration accompanies the serving of pozole, and one of the finest Pozolerias can be found in Zihuatanejo. Prior to serving the pozole, a large selection of botanos gratis, or snacks included, are served, consisting of small chile rellenos, fried pork rind, taquitos, sliced avocado and tortilla chips with a bean dip. This all accompanied by cold juices or cerveza, and then finally a large bowl of pozole with a generous helping of shredded pork or chicken added on top. Condiments provided on each table to be added depending on ones own taste include chopped onions, sliced limes to juice, Mexican oregano and additional red or green powdered chile. During all this, the restaurant is packed with locals taking an extra long lunch siesta, and the music goes on nonstop. The cost for all this ? 30 pesos for the medium bowl (enough to fill me) or 35 pesos for the large (drinks extra), which I tried once and had real difficulty finishing ! Needless to say, after spending over 3 months in Zihua, Thursday pozole became a tradition for me.

Another nice break once a week for many cruisers was the cinema. A double feature, usually recent and typically in English with Spanish subtitles, for 20 pesos. And while not truly air conditioned, there are enough fans in the theater to keep it comfortably cooler than the hot afternoon. First feature starts at 4, so it's a great way to escape the hotter part of the day now and then. Oh, go to the early show on Sunday and it's two tickets for 20 pesos ! Which brings us to Sunday evening. There's a plaza right on the beach in downtown, only a short walk from the dinghy landing. Located in this plaza are a large gazebo, a nicely constructed small amphitheater, and a full size basketball court, sunken several steps below plaza level with 4 or 5 tiers of seating on the inshore side giving a nice view across the court and out over the bay. There is usually some activity in the plaza most evenings and almost always a few organized as well as pickup games of basketball. But on Sunday evening, many of the townspeople come out to enjoy, what the cruising community has dubbed, "the grazing".

Starting at around 1800 hours, several food vendors arrive (most only do this on Sunday, they are busy with other jobs during the week) and set up in the plaza. There will also be some type of organized entertainment, usually music, in the basketball court following a late afternoon game or two. The food proffered includes several kinds of tacos, delicious tamales done Oaxacania style (wrapped in banana leaf rather than corn husk), empanadas assembled and cooked to your order with the choice of numerous fillings, fresh cut fruits and juices, popcorn and ice cream - all inexpensively priced. Needless to say, not only many of the townsfolk, but a majority of the cruisers in the bay find their way to the plaza on Sunday evenings (the lineup for empanadas can sometimes exceed an hour!). Also located adjacent to the plaza every evening is a young man, a professor at a computer school by day, a hot dog and hamburger vendor at night ! He has a very modern and well equipped pushcart with icebox and gas grill and he'll custom build a hamburger with two kinds of cheese, a slice of ham and avocado in addition to the usual condiments for a paltry 18 pesos - US$ 2. Next door there's a small tienda (store), where one can buy an ice cold cerveza in a cup to go for only 8 pesos. So for three or four dollars a great burger and a couple beers - it's certainly been my dinner more than once !

There are many, many more attributes of this lovely city, but it would probably be best if you came and explored for yourself - till next time, this is Terry, aboard Secret O' Life , signing off.
Vessel Make/Model: Union 36 Cutter
Hailing Port: Eagle Harbor, WA USA
Crew: Terry Bingham
About: Tammy Woodmansee spends as much time as she can on the boat, but returns to the states from time to time for work to pad the travel kitty. Terry single-hands when she's not aboard.
Extra: CURRENT LOCATION: January, 2007 - cruising the west coast of Costa Rica.
Home Page:


Who: Terry Bingham
Port: Eagle Harbor, WA USA