Contributed by: Lisa Damast | Last Date of Travel: February 2007
I ditched a week of classes in chilly Boston and went with my sister to sunny Ixtapa in Mexico for a few days instead. We knew we were going to be there for 4 days from Monday through Thursday and that there wouldn’t be any form of Jewish life yet alone kosher food there.
Kosher info: My sister is an expert at keeping kosher in remote locations and made sure that when we packed our suitcases – which were carry-on size so that we didn’t need to wait for them at any point – we left half of it empty to stock with the following food items each:
- 4 LaBriute TV-dinners from a kosher supermarket in Monsey, NY. These can be heated by creating a chemical reaction of heat and steam by pouring provided salt water onto provided flame less food heater. The process takes about 12 minutes. The package also contains soup and a snack.
- 1 package of Chicken of the Sea Albacore
- 1 package of Chicken of the Sea Salmon
- 2 Clif Bars
- 2 Balance Bars
In Ixtapa, there are several small mini-marts that imported snacks like Pringles and cereal that were certified kosher that we bought. We also bought bottled water and Coca-Cola from these stores.
Tourist info: The purpose of our vacation was to relax on a beach and get tans. Ixtapa, which was planned and built as a resort town at the same time as Cancun and is located on the Pacific coast of Southern Mexico, is a perfect location for that. Except for a small flea market near our hotel, the main attraction outside of our hotel (which had an outdoor pool and mini golf among other amenities) was the beach.
On the beach, aside from being in the sun and tanning, there are options to go hang gliding over the water or on the beach, get a massage for a low rate (DON’T get a massage on the beach), and buy drinks, such as pina coladas.
Visiting the tiki bars on the beach or by the pools of hotels near the beach are a must as seeing the art and signs used for decoration or authority is part of the entertainment and fun. At night the restaurants and bars are packed and the area becomes very festive.
For any movie buffs, the neighboring, larger fishing village of Zihuatanejo, is the place referenced as Tim Robbins dream escape in The Shawshan Redemption. Zihuatanejo, where most service providers in Ixtapa live, makes for a great day trip. You can take a local bus from the main road in Ixtapa to nearby the harbor of Zihuatanejo. You have to walk for about 10 minutes before you see the harbor, but for much of the walk, there are fun little souvenir shops on both sides of the street. You can find souvenirs that replicate the designs of the area’s original natives, including rain sticks, woven baskets and trivets.
Once at the harbor there are more shops that you can walk by while looking at the beautiful harbor. Between the shops and the harbor is a beach that is used by the village’s fishermen.
Jewish life: There is no Jewish life in Ixtapa or Zihujuatanejo.
Additional notes: Don’t bring a laptop with you to Ixtapa. The risk of theft is very high and there are at least 3 Internet cafes where you can use the Internet for relatively cheap prices. Additionally, it helps to speak Spanish or to travel with someone who does for both Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.