We left the boat in Marina Ixtapa, which is well-run and well-maintained but clearly past its heyday, and went to stay in Barra de Potosi.

We visited through early April and stayed just the right level of busy with a combination of day trips and longer trips, boat projects, and exploring the immediate area. It was wonderful to visit with Charles’ father Peter and his wife Amy in their lovely beachfront home in Barra. There is an international airport in Zihuatanejo for easy visits in the future, but hopefully our next trip is with Ayala again!

We spent very little time in Ixtapa, just visiting the marina to go up the mast and fix our masthead light, get lunch in the marina, and poke our head up the hill to see the view (and pull some fluff off the kapok trees to talk about old PFD-making techniques).

In Zihuatanejo, on the other hand, it was easy to while away the hours. The malecón was lovely, the beaches were sparkling, the mercado municipal had alleyways galore. Everywhere was colorful and in full bloom, although Charles was clear (and emphatic) that it used to be more “jungly” when he visited as a kid.

A surprising highlight was the Museo del Coco (the coconut museum!), worth a visit. There are coconut plantations out the back of the property, a restaurant run by the family, a small museum, and a very large mosaic that allegorically (and graphically) tells the “history” of the coconut. We went on the day of the bug exhibit’s grand opening, so there were hundreds of delighted schoolchildren. We contented ourselves with sitting down to eat while the hubbub subsided.

Tía Coco welcomed us to the courtyard restaurant, shaded by a massive tamarind tree – easily 100 years old. We inquired about coconut oil, and she had many coconut and tamarind products for us to try – including tamarind mezcal, coconut oil and creams, and more.

Once we wrapped up our purchases, we sat down at the tables for sopes, coffee, and the most heavenly coconut… things. Cookies? Perhaps. Scones? Somewhere related. Shortbread? That’s got to be the closest. We had to take another order home, they were sublime. Tía Coco introduced us to the visiting Carmen Parra, a Mexican iconographic painter, who happened to speak a little bit of German. My general impression is that Tía Coco knew Peter and Charles spoke Dutch and thought “close enough, they’ll be friends.” To be fair, she was absolutely lovely, and we enjoyed some time with her before leaving.

Home Base: Barra de Potosí

Barra de Potosí is a lovely fishing village with a big, gorgeous, clean beach. During early spring, the waves were serious for getting a dinghy through, but fantastic for safe and extended swimming sessions. There is a fantastic view of the morros, and very active fish and birds right up to shore. We tried several of the palapas, and found a new favorite food: tiritas. Basically how we think of ceviche elsewhere, but we learned (not the hard way, thank you Peter!) that ceviche in this area has ketchup in it. Ick. 
Abutting the beach is a massive lagoon, covering almost 2,000 acres. Most of the year, the bay and the lagoon are separated by the beach, but mid-summer during the height of the rains the waters run high and meet across the beach. In high water, you can take boat trips to visit hundreds of acres of mangroves, but while we were there it was shallow enough that visitors were just wading. Locals produce salt as well, with the absolute best being habanero salt. I loved squeezing lime onto a Tecate Rojo and adding a habanero salt rim, but it’s also great to cook with for a good kick. 

It was just a blast to spend so much time there – teaching and learning new card games (Regicide & Stap Op), swimming and boogie boarding, and having fresh coconut water right off their trees. We were so pleased to have actually arrived, our final southern destination for the season, reunited with family, and feeling the relaxation of land living for a little while.