Puerta Paraíso Hotel Boutique
Just outside of Zihuatanejo on the road to the airport is a turnoff that will take you to the area’s longest beach, Playa Larga. At 12 kilometres, and quieter than most, (especially during the week) it is a preferred destination for nationals and tourists. One of the reasons is the numerous restaurants that dot the sandy beaches, offering the absolute best in fresh-caught fish and seafood. Many restaurants have swimming pools as swimming here can be dangerous for any but the most experienced and not recommended. Some restaurants even entertain with local musicians.
Playa Larga has long been considered an ideal location from October to March, for whale and dolphin sightings common to the area, and the turtles are spawning on the beach. You can rent horses from Rancho Risquel and ride along the shore and into the coconut plantation or indulge in a visit to the local Temazcal Badihuni, an ancient practice that means “rebirth,” for a steam bath and ceremony with a famed healer, Lupita Maldonado.
The past few years there has been another surge in development with several small hotels rooms for rent places, on or across the beach. There are several convenience stores to accommodate basic needs during your stay as some of these come with kitchens, perfect for the budget conscious.
Not far off the beaten path is a small boutique hotel of just seven luxurious rooms, known as Puerta Paraiso, which means Door to Paradise. Bought initially as a family retreat by owner Raul Esponda 25 years ago, it has morphed into one of Playa Larga’s exclusive retreat during the last five. I decided to book a room for one night, even though I had been there several times for various events and day-time gatherings.
The first thing that struck me was how attentive and accommodating everyone was, beginning with the staff who greeted us to General Manager Omar Valdovinos, who showed us to our room.
The second was how lovely the rooms were – each perfectly appointed with couches and throw pillows and generous size beds. Just outside the beautiful wooden bifold doors is a private patio area with a hammock, an oversized lounger plus a smaller one, and table and chairs under a thatch covered roof. The tiles are terra cotta, and the colour scheme and furniture have a decidedly elegant Mexican flair. Toiletries such as shampoos and coconut soap are top grade as are the towels and linens.
From every room, you can see the large, pebbled pool to the beach and surf beyond. The restaurant is an open area and spacious, and you can choose a table on the beach complete with your loungers, or in a dining area, or if you prefer, take a seat at the bar. There’s even a standard room with a TV off to one side. The food was first class, beautifully prepared and served by our attentive waiter Daniel and offered everything from tacos and burgers to innovative seafood offerings and full course dinners.
“It’s becoming popular to book our hotel for parties, weddings and other special events,” says Valdovinos. “For the last two years we were one of the hosts of the International Guitarfest. We have a day pass too which is 500-peso consumption per person.”
At just 10-15 minutes from Zihuatanejo by taxi, it’s an easy and safe getaway for anyone looking to escape the busier vibrant community nearby. For the more adventurous, you can take a combi to the entrance to Playa Larga, then for a few pesos another ride to the beach in the back of a pickup truck with benches. It’s either a ten-minute walk from there, or for 20 pesos more you can convince them to take you all the way, a perfect solution if you have luggage with you.
Prices which include breakfast, start at 3500 pesos per night in low season, $4000 December 15 up until Easter. Select dates of Christmas and Easter at 4500 pesos per night.
For reservations: Puerta Paraíso Hotel Boutique
Ocean Front House and Garden Paradise, Playa Larga, 40880 Zihuatanejo, Gro.
Teléfono: 755 553 2142