Things tend to wind down early on the beach, so if you're craving nightlife, you'll have to head into town, a quick 10-minute trip by taxi. The most happening cantina is Bandito's. You can listen to the salsa bands from the open-air terrace or from the inside bar decorated with pictures of Pancho Villa. Another fun spot is the courtyard bar at Coconuts, which reopens in November and also features a popular restaurant. In fact, for such a small town, there are plenty of good dining spots. You'll find romantic nooks, waterfront cafes, bistros, even steakhouses, but one of Zihua's most endearing places to eat is Tamales y Atoles Any, a family-run corner restaurant housed under a large thatched roof with brightly painted tables. The menu consists of inexpensive Mexican fare such as quesadillas, chiles rellenos, and homemade tamales. The staff will no doubt stop by for a chat. No matter that you don't speak Spanish, they want to make you feel welcome. It will likely be one of your more memorable meals - authentic, unpretentious, and friendly without trying too hard. A lot like Zihuatanejo itself.
who needs things like tvs and clocks when your hotel - in this case, cozy la casa que canta (pictured right), chiseled into the cliffs above zihuatanejo bay - has such stunning scenery and style?
how to get there
american airlines (800-433-7300, www.aa.com) offers twice-a-week nonstop service from dallas/fort worth to ixtapa/zihuatanejo. for more information on zihuatanejo and its attractions, log on to www.ixtapa-zihuatanejo.com.
where to stay
bungalows pacificos (011-52-755-554-2112, www.zihuatanejo.net; doubles from $58). an inn on the hillside above playa madera with six basic but clean rooms with kitchens and spacious decks strung with hammocks.