"El centro historico" of Mexico city is very nice and seems very safe but it is our 3rd year and, on mondays, all the parks and Museums are closed. Disappointed after 2 nights and 1 full day in Mexico DF, not able to visit again the " Museo de antropologia" nor the park Chapultepec, we decided to go to my favorite beautiful and peaceful town we both love, Pátzcuaro, in the state of Michoacán. Being in a mountainous area, over 2200 m of altitude, it is not very warm at night and most of the cheaper hotels don't have any heating system. You learn to take a shower in the middle of the day when the temperature reached the 20 degrees. The air is dry and thinner there because of the altitude. The sun is welcome during the day but if it does not feel oppressive it is easy to get sun burns. We usually wear hats and long sleeved shirts. We bought an organic sun screen with no titanium dioxyde ( safe for the reef, safe for the skin) but I must have put too much of it on me, I needed four or five showers before I could get rid of it. Titanium dioxyde is quite toxic, it can be found in cosmetic, sun screens, vitamines, medications, etc.
Pátzcuaro could be busy on weekends but mostly with middle class Mexicans and when we met gringos, these were the most interesting gringos, people who love Mexico, Michoacán the Mexicans and their culture. Not the usual tourists. We have our favorite place to eat on the Plaza Grande: la Surtidora, where the waiters in their traditional black uniform serve delicious, healthy and nutritious meals for very little money. For example, my favorite salad, ensalada Pátzcuaro with lots of grilled vegetables and marinated chicken, costs less than can$6 and leaves me satiated. We always go back to Pátzcuaro on our way back to Mexico city before flying back to Nova Scotia.
Zihuatanejo, state of Guerrero.
We were at the bus terminal at 7:30 am and finally arrived at Zihuatanejo in mid-afternoon after 3 different buses, 3 taxis (they are cheap in Mexico) and changing bus terminal once. There is no direct route. We took the first bus from Pátzcuaro to Uruapan, then another one to Lázaro Cárdenas where we had to change terminal.
Luckily the first class buses are very comfortable and very affordable so this long trip was not too bad. It was quite a shock for me to see Zihuatanejo after the quiet Pátzcuaro: the heat, the noise, the gringos and the size of the city. Our hotel is in the center of the oldest part of the city. It is clean and comfortable enough for the price. We have air conditioning, a ventilator but our room faces a popular Mexican restaurant. Surely noisy at night and it is friday... In the morning after breakfast, we walked on the beaches: playa principal, playa madera and playa la ropa. 3 beautiful beaches with fine and pale sand. The water of the ocean is clear and warm. Then it is almost paradise and, swimming in the warm ocean, I feel happy to be there for few days. I am not a city girl at all. I love nature and favour wild animals toward pets. I don't have much else to say about touristy Zihuatanejo except that I got cheated by a young "bandito" at an italian ice cream shop. I gave him a good tip, our usual, before I got my change back and he gave me four 2 pesos coins instead of four 5 pesos coins. I had already put the change in my purse before I realized it, it was to late to complain but he saw that I knew what happened. The day after, when my husband Chris bought our bus tickets for Lázaro Cárdenas, the tickets vendor gave some of his change back and told him that the bus was leaving immediately. My husband did not move and was still waiting for his change. The vendor served other clients ignoring completely my husband and, probably hoping he would give up and leave. It took a while before Chris got all his money back. It makes me wonder if it is a regular practice for cheating tourists in that part of Mexico. The only time we were cheated was at the big food market in Mexico city. Now I always ask the price of merchandise even if it is just fruits, before buying. We are generous people. We know Mexicans earn little money for their hard work and we always give good tips for their good service, so we hate to be "robbed" that way but, really, it rarely happens. Most of them are very honest and are proud to give us excellent service.
There are bigger banditos in Mexico. One of them was an ex-police chief who built a kind of greek temple on the hill behind the city in the eighties. You can see that dilapidated concrete oddity from playa las gatas, surrounded by other unpleasing monstrous constructions that disfigure the hills.
I am glad that I saw Zihuatanejo, it kept some charms and the bay is beautiful but for sure, 2 days and 3 nights were enough for me.