I don’t know about you, but there have been a number of occasions where the Mexican beer company, Corona, have had me bursting with jealousy as one of their TV commercials shows the backs of two Ken and Barbie like figures standing side by side under a palm leaf hut, as a perfect 4 foot left hand wave barrels across the screen in the background. The commercial centres around a single Corona beer sitting on a small table between the pair as the phrase “Corona: from where you’d rather be” rubs salt into your wounds of envy.
My adventures with Luis through central Mexico had taken me through Queretaro, Guanajuato and Morelia, but our ultimate objective of successfully finding Jackie on this journey had us creeping closer and closer to the Pacific coast.
Morelia was our final overnight stop before reaching the coast, leaving us with one full and (thanks to Mexico’s inter connecting tollways) expensive day on the road. How boring one might say, however as it had proved so far every other day I had been in the country, there is a new surprise around every corner in Mexico.
For me, this surprise came in the form of a lunch stop – the town of Pátzcuaro. While we gave it nowhere near the time any place needs for a justified description, it gave off the typical colonial reminders of its past with its own unique branding of white and maroon colour coded buildings, keeping the entire town in uniformity.
Lunch ended up being served in a small, family run kitchen outside of the main town. The spot we found ourselves was an area where boats arrive from the island city of Janitzio.
Janitzio is a remarkable sight and possibly one of my few regrets of this trip to Mexico, for not allowing more time to actually get out across Lake Pátzcuaro and setting foot on it. The city sits almost perfectly on the lake with fishing boats slowly moving through its surrounding waters that were bright blue from the glassy surface reflecting the bright blue sky above it. Again Mexico’s pride in its independence shines through with the islands crown: a 40 metre statue of Independence hero José María Morelos.
With our bellies full, we made our final push for the Pacific Ocean and arrived after dark at the town we knew Jackie was staying at. Streetlights disappeared and sealed roads turned to dirt. The bustling presence of other people that seemed to be associated with any town in Mexico turned into a few random folk here and there in roadside “restaurants”. We had made our way to Troncones.
While Jackie was enjoying the perks of her beautifully laid out and modern yoga resort, Luis and I managed to scrape our dwindling peso’s together and found a cheap room that was, well let’s just say, “full of character”…
The new morning arrived and I finally got to see the place we had arrived at the night before.
As soon as I saw the beach and the surf, my immediate thought was how much this place looks like the Corona ad. My second thought was that this is how tourist trap destinations such as Bali and Phuket must have looked like 30 years ago before they became subject to droves of western tourists on their two week yearly vacation. A few recently established hotels and signs of new ones coming in the not too distant future gave hint to the fact that this sleepy coastal enclave probably wont be too sleepy for much longer.
Finally having our Vagabundo wolf pack together had us chasing the alluring options of Troncones’s established resort town neighbour, Ixtapa.
Ixtapa is just that, a resort town. High rise hotels, lining a beach with all the associated infrastructure and establishments that go with a place of that description. Good conversation, food, sand, ocean and buckets of beers on ice became our essentials and as the sun sunk below the horizon, we had little to complain about.
For the rest of our time in this area I could almost just copy and paste that last sentence. Probably the only difference would be that we spent two days at the end of our coastal shenanigans in Zihuatanejo.
Zihuatanjo probably gets described a lot as Ixtapa’s poorer brother and this is a statement I would probably say is right. Is that necessarily a bad thing though? Well I would give a definite ”no”. Zihuatanejo is far more genuine than Ixtapa ever will be. Its more affordable options make it a hive of Mexican families making the most of their holidays and time off together. It being the “affordable” option means its… affordable! The backpacker leanings of my travel conviction had me feeling much more at home here than time spent in Ixtapa.
Everywhere you look there is laughing and fun. It is bursting at the seems with options requiring all types of energy levels – zero at just lying on the beach absorbing the rays, to the other end of the scale with likes of diving and deep sea fishing.
I’m sure not all parts of Mexico’s coast are so stereotypically perfect like this region, but there is no doubt that this area is. So to the people at Corona I say “well done!” on delivering an advertising campaign that isn’t completely full of lies. This truly is a place I’d rather be.