Monday, January 14, 2013

Back from Ixtapa to Reality and Year 49!

Happy Belated New Year to all of our blog readers! The last few weeks of December were crazy busy! So busy in fact that I ended up sick right after the New Year. I took a few days of rest in hopes of nipping it in the bud because I new I had an exciting getaway coming up and I wanted to make sure I was in tip top shape! It worked and I was ready and excited for my trip to Ixtapa, Mexico!

It had been several years since I had traveled to Ixtapa so I was really excited to get back there and check out the resorts and all Ixtapa had to offer. Most often when we travel to destinations to experience them as our clients will, we travel with industry partners. I know it sounds crazy but it is hard work! We usually see several resorts each day, experience a few tours and there isn't much down time to spend with your spouse or family. As I was headed to Ixtapa for a week I knew it was a great opportunity to have my husband Bart, tag along with me. He's easy to travel with and is a great assistant! It's so nice to have someone to carry my bags, notebooks and extra camera batteries when going from property to property ;-).

Here's a photo montage of some of the highlights of the wonderful experiences Ixtapa has to offer along with a little advice and a few tidbits to get the most of your vacation experience. It would be entirely impossible to include everything in one blog, so I'll spread it out a bit and do resort spotlights on the individual properties we saw. In the meantime I'll be adding photos to the albums on our facebook page so be sure to watch for those! The internet is such a great resource, but we love to have a place to share with you our personal photos taken from our own travels. We hate surprises that arise when the reality of a resort or destination doesn't match what's shown on the internet.  So, rest assured our facebook photos are the real deal!

We had an early morning (6:20 yikes!) departure and I don't necessarily count the flights as part of my vacation (although, I really believe traveling Sun Country Airlines is the way to go and their 'Hometown' service beats everyone else out there!) My vacation starts once I pass through customs for my resort transfer. I always upgrade to nonstop transfers for my personal travels. The minimal amount it costs to upgrade to nonstop transfers beats spending the first hour or more of your vacation traveling from resort to resort dropping off other vacationers. However, we didn't have the option to do that on this trip so a cold beer - or two - does help the time pass more quickly!

We finally arrived at our resort host for the week, the beautiful Azul Grand Ixtapa!  I'll do a resort spotlight post at a later time with more specifics on the resort, but here are a few photos so you can see we sure didn't have to rough it!! 

I think they have one of the coolest signs...ever!

This was our gorgeous ocean view junior suite!

My favorite part of Mexico and I'm picky!  Let's just say a generous bowl of this 2x day times 7 days and I was happy for the elastic waist leggings I had for the trip home!

I love instagram and the seflies! My poor hubby had to do one with me every night before we went out!  It's not your of them is a little blurry!  For more of my completely entertaining photos (ha!),  follow me on instagram.  user name: theresawilliams.

How about these for martini selection! Which one do you try first?

Gorgeous night view from our balcony.  It truly was yummy!

On Wednesday we decided to go into the town of Zihuatenjo.  It's about 3 miles from Ixtapa and an 80 peso bus ride sounded like a grand way to get there!  It took about 30 minutes each way and really was a great way to get a feel for how easy it is to get around and how SAFE it is!  The bus drivers are so friendly and helpful, as are the locals.  I loved smiling and playing peek-a-boo with the little ones.  Of course they all made me lonesome for my Blakeums (my grandson Blake) who was far away in MN!

Loved the sidewalks and streets with hand laid bricks and I love wandering through town admiring the shops and local restaurants and bars.  Of course we had to stop and taste a few beers too!

The marina was full of fishing boats.  Old and new ~ big and small.  I loved them all! 
(I really didn't mean to make that rhyme - it just happened!)

The fisherman just lay their daily catches on the beach on plastic bags and people purchase them right there.  I guess if you arrive at the Marina around the 6:00 am hour, it's a fascinating site to see the boats coming in and the hard work that goes into the whole process.  Maybe next time!

Thursday we decided to walk to the pier and take a water taxi to Isla Ixtapa.  The charge was 40 pesos and it was so cool! Isla Ixtapa is a charming little island off Playa Linda that is known for scuba diving, snorkeling and water sports.  It has quaint little restaurants right on the beach and it was so peaceful to just hang out for the day!  It is definitely a MUST DO!

The beach at the Azul Ixtapa Grand was not the greatest - actually it wasn't at all - so I was excited the pier was just 10 minute walk along the sea!

Of course we had to stop and stare at the little footprints in the sand...another reminder of my little guy!

The Sea Urchins were everywhere and I think they are so cool! Like, what do they do??

One of the hardworking locals holding the boat while we climb aboard

Photo op!

A surprise treat from my hubby and the bar owner!  How did they know it's just what I needed wanted! ;-)

Even the kids are hard workers.  They take such pride in making their home beautiful for us tourists!

Another photo op!

It truly was my favorite day of the entire stay!

Following is a sampling of the different activities/things to see and do for the entire family or for a romantic getaway.  Most of them are in the city central.  I've also included a few of what I think are opportunities to have your whole experience more memorable!  After all, isn't that what we all love about traveling??

There's lots of shopping!  Of course there are 'malls' and upscale stores but I love the local markets best!

Love how the resorts cater to the kids.  What kid doesn't feel great helping him/herself at the child size buffet??

They cater to my sweet tooth too!

They take such pride in their shows!  A different show every night so there's something for everyone!

They know just what kind of show to put on to keep the kids entertained and talking for days about their fav princess or super hero!  This particular one had Batman zipline in from the roof of the hotel! I have to admit even I thought that was pretty cool!

Great teaching moments too.  Ixtapa is a favorite for the Sea Turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs. Many resorts collect the eggs and build temporary pens, like this one, to mark where the eggs are buried and the estimated hatch date. Once they are born they hold them for 1-2 weeks in sea water tanks and feed them before they are released.  They think this gives them a better chance of survival.  How wonderful is that!!!

Tennis seems to be very popular in this area and most every resort we visited had gorgeous courts.  These clay courts at Azul Ixtapa Grand were truly stunning!

Maria was so happy to know I searched out the ping pong tables and many resorts have them!  The activities teams LOVE to put together tournaments too!

Who doesn't love a 'serious' beach volleyball game!

Lot's of watersports and check out that parasail! Anyone?

How about a beach massage?

Or, you can always go for the couples massage at the Spa!

For all you Destination Wedding brides out there, Ixtapa has many venues to experience the Wedding you're dreaming of!  This spot on the boardwalk was lovely!

There's plenty of beautiful beach space too!

Or how about a sunset ceremony?  This is a real sunset taken with MY camera!!

Or just some time to reconnect with your favorite person??

Ixtapa has so much to offer and truly something for everyone.  The locals take such pride in everything they do, as do all of the resort workers who work so hard and go out of their way to make sure your vacation is everything you want it to be and then some!  How lucky are we to know that not only are we experiencing something wonderful, but because they depend on our visits for their survival, we're making their lives better in the process.  It's a beautiful thing!

And today, as I enter my 49th year (yep, it's my Birthday!), I'm so thankful for the many blessings in my life.  I'm blessed to not only experience these beautiful places myself, but I'm also blessed to assist all of you with making your own memories and your own experiences in these wonderful destinations. As I try and take hold of the fact that I have one short year left until I'm 50 (yikes!) I'm glad I was able to take some time last week and remind myself that yes. Life is good.

That's me - pondering in the infinity pool.  Don't you love the difference in color between the pool water and the sea water?

For more info on Ixtapa, feel free to contact me or any of our 'Escape Artists'.  We can't wait to assist you with the trip of a lifetime!

Until next time...

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