Visiting Mexico, it can be a scary thing for some people, and certain places are not as safe as others. My family visits Mexico every year and almost consistently to one location. Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, is where it’s at. We have never felt unsafe in Ixtapa, and we have always had great weather.
This year we chose to stay at Barceló, which is labeled a 5 star hotel. The stay was all-inclusive, and patrons are given the choice to do a general all-inclusive package, or an upgrade. My husband and I chose to upgrade to a premium stay which allows you a few more amenities, such as free WI-fi, a VIP room with food and high quality beverages, and free access to the night club, where music takes place on a regular basis. You can also choose to eat at their specialty restaurants every night if you desire.
Without an upgraded wrist-band, you will still have plenty of great amenities. There are three pools, tons of activities, which are led by the amazing staff, and nightly shows, as well as your unlimited food and drinks. You get to eat at each of the specialty restaurants once per every three days of your reservation.
The pools and grounds are all kept very neat and clean. Housekeeping will frequently leave flowers and towel animals if you tip them for their services. Every day you have the opportunity to play water volleyball and sand volleyball. The shows are different each night, and once per week, usually Saturdays, there is a fiesta in the entertainment hall, that guests can choose to attend. They also have an area for games and children’s activities, such as painting.
The food at the resort was quite excellent. There were two different buffets, a poolside restaurant where you could sit down and order food, poolside snack bar, an Italian restaurant, a seafood restaurant, and a Japanese restaurant. My favorites of the places to eat were the poolside snack bar because you could quickly get a cheeseburger, and their burgers were tasty. My other favorite places were the Italian restaurant, which featured great meats and tasty gelato, and the seafood restaurant, which speaks for itself. I love seafood. I was not impressed with the Japanese restaurant, and unfortunately the staff did not seem to understand the different dishes, so no one received what they had ordered. I have no idea what I ate that night, and I was sick the next day.
Even at a 5 star resort, you must be careful. You can still end up sick from something you are not used to consuming. My father and I both had some issues and needed to seek meds to end the excessive bathroom visits. The nice thing about this resort is that it is located directly across the street from the market and pharmacy, so you can easily get things to make your stay more comfortable. It does help if you know, or have someone with you who knows, some Spanish. If you are worried about becoming ill on your trip, speak to your physician and plan ahead for the possibility. I recommend not drinking the water in your room.
If you like to be pampered, you can easily find a masseuse. Barcelo has a great spa, and the massage I had was excellent. I would definitely go back for another massage at the resort. They incorporated hot towels and aroma therapy into the 50 minute session. It was totally worth it. I felt very relaxed when I left.
If you have no qualms about receiving a massage on the beach, then you are in luck. At this current time, most of the tents are charging fifteen dollars for an hour. I often take part in the beach massages, and I have always enjoyed them, although I did cut my leg on a screw on a massage table this time, so I am now a little more precautious. Aside from the unfortunate cut, the massage was very relaxing. I have heard a few men say that they received a little more than they were expecting on their massage. These women are a little bit aggressive at times. I am happy that I haven’t received more than I was expecting on any massages on the beach. I can’t complain, but if you are worried about someone seeing your body, or giving you more than you bargained for, then perhaps the resort is a better place to be pampered.
While in Ixtapa we opted to take a sunset cruise, through our resort. We boarded a Catamaran that toured us around for a few hours. While on the boat the beverages were unlimited. There was a bathroom, though you have to climb down some stairs into confined quarters to get to it. We saw the sunset and viewed all of the hotels from the boat. The ride was very relaxing and enjoyable. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes sightseeing with beverages, on a boat at sunset. They even included a snack, which was more like a whole meal.
The only complaint I have regarding this trip is that the resort becomes extremely packed with locals on the weekend. It is very hard to find chairs by the pool, and the restaurants are harder to get reservations at. There are tons of people everywhere, and unfortunately, some of them were very rude to the foreigners and hotel staff needed to get involved to diffuse the situation. On the other end, some of the locals were very nice and fun people that I greatly enjoyed meeting.
If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, plan to go on your trip for ten days or plan it so that the weekend is not at the end of your vacation and you can leave the resort on those days to snorkel or do other sightseeing activities. No one wants to end their vacation feeling like they were unable to relax and enjoy themselves for the last part of their trip.
I give Barceló 5 stars as well and I recommend it to anyone looking for a nice all-inclusive that is located on the beach and near everything else. For more information, please visit: https://www.barcelo.com/en-us/hotels/mexico/ixtapa/barcelo-ixtapa/