1. Where to Stay
Shack up in one of eight thatched-roof bungalows at the Inn at Manzanillo Bay (from $98), where you can plunge into the pool outside your door or stroll through the lush landscaped garden to the bar with an extensive selection of Mexican and international beer plus more than a dozen tequilas. Rent a board from the in-house surf shop (from $20 a day) to ride the waves at the point break right in front of the property.
Nap in a hammock on your private porch at Hacienda Eden (from $105), where oceanfront rooms and bungalows have wood-beamed ceilings, stone showers, Mexican textiles, and, in the suites, hand-painted murals of sea creatures. Slather on complimentary sunblock before hitting the adjacent swim-friendly beach and join the salsa dancing in the hotel’s bar on Friday nights.
Feel at home at Posada de los Raqueros (from $115, including breakfast), where you can choose between two suites, two bungalows, and a two-bedroom house, all of which have terraces, bright color schemes, and Talavera-tiled bathrooms. If you want to do your own cooking, opt for the bungalows or house, which feature fully-equipped kitchens.
2. Where to Eat
Catch up on the local gossip (including whether part-time residents Julian Schnabel and Damien Hirst are in town) at village hangout Café Sol (on the nameless main street, by the bridge; 52-755-553-2934), where Troncones’s gringos congregate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the mornings, enjoy strong coffee and a chile-smothered omelette ($5); later in the day, try the great wood-fired pizza topped with green salsa, chiles, cilantro, and huitlacoche ($10).
Fill up on Argentinian-style grilled beef and lobster surf-and-turf (about $17) at Roberto’s Bistro, an open-air eatery on Troncones’s main beach. Roberto’s also runs a turtle hatchery and organizes the release of baby sea turtles into the ocean most nights of the year, which you can watch while you’re dining, but skip Saturday nights if you’re not a fan of slightly hokey local music and dancing.
Dine with your feet in the sand at Doña Nica (on the beach near the T-junction coming into town; 52-755-553-2822.), an outdoor restaurant with a clay-formed open kitchen, plastic chairs, and fresh-caught seafood. Try the fiery langosta a la diabla (about $15, depending on the size of the lobsters) or shrimp in a garlic sauce (about $12) with an ice-cold Victoria ($1.10), a lager not easily found outside Mexico.
3. What to Do
Sign up for a private surfing lesson (about $50 including equipment) or half-day “mini-camp” with the experts at ISA Mexico, a school run by a couple from Oregon that instructs everyone from first-timers to experts looking to master the more ambitious local spots. Thanks to its location, Troncones enjoys ideal surfing conditions year-round and offers reef, beach, and point breaks that are suitable for surfers of all levels.
Refresh your body and mind at Present Moment Retreat, a beachside escape with yoga, meditation, and qi gong classes ($14 for group sessions) in a covered pavilion facing the ocean. After refueling with a giant smoothie (from $5) at the restaurant, you can move on to Thai or Swedish massages ($75 for an hour), a variety of spa treatments, or the more unique shamanic energy bath ($45), a cleansing soak in warm water containing dozens of regional medicinal herbs.
Break away from the beach and head into the mountains on a guided, four-and-a-half-hour hike through the Sierra Madre del Sur (about $43), where you’ll spot tropical vegetation and wildlife in the jungle. The round trip is about two and a half miles but includes a stop at the swimming hole El Salto. For something less strenuous, book a kayaking tour (about $35) of La Boca estuary, home to dozens of bird species.
4. Insider’s Tip
Although Troncones is a 45-minute drive north of the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo airport, you don’t need to rent a car. To get there, skip the official airport taxi directly to Troncones (about $70); instead, take one to the center of Zihuatanejo, then negotiate the fare (around $30) to Troncones in a regular taxi. And once you’re there, you can take the “collectivo,” a truck that picks up passengers along the main road, for about 40 cents a ride.
5. Oddball Day
Pack some towels and call a cab to take you to the relatively big city of Zihuatanejo, or “Zihua,” as locals call it. Start your day with a walk down Paseo de los Pescadores, the waterfront walkway that runs from La Madera Beach to the municipal pier. Stop for breakfast at the café inside Casa Marina (Paseo del Pescador, No. 9; 52-755-554-2373), which has good coffee and an eclectic selection of used books for perusal and purchase. From there, take a water taxi (about $3) to Las Gatas Beach, located at the bay’s southern end, across from downtown. (Alternatively, you can walk there along the rocky footpath, which takes about 40 minutes.) Walk down the beach to the nature preserve at Zihuatanejo Beach Club—run by the first American to work on the Calypso with Jacques Cousteau—or follow the pathway to the lighthouse for the best views of the coastline. Head back to town for lunch at Fonda Doña Licha (Calle Cocos, No. 8; 52-755-554-3933), a few blocks from the beachfront, a favorite with locals that serves a “comida corrida” (about $4), a set menu of homestyle dishes like pozole verde. Spend the early afternoon exploring the cobblestone streets of the Colonia Centro area, home to numerous antique and craft shops. Check out Lupita’s, (Calle Juan N. Alvarez, No. 5; 52-755-554-5977) which sells textiles and clothing from several Mexican states, and Bodega del Tequila (Calle Vicente Guerrero, No. 18; 52-755-557-0174) for artisanal liquor. Most stores close at 2 p.m. for the afternoon siesta, which is a good time to take a nap on the beach or go for a swim. Afterward, stop into the Museo Arqueologico de la Costa Grande (Paseo del Pescador, No. 7; 52-755-554-7552; about $1) to see artifacts and maps depicting the region’s history before strolling down Playa La Ropa for a sunset drink at the Panoramic Sunset Bar. Stroll back toward town for a rooftop diner at Kau-Kan Restaurant, one of Zihua’s higher-end spots, where you can have local marinated abalone ($11) or stingray in black butter sauce ($12.50). If you’ve got energy afterward, you can dance to a live salsa band until 2 a.m. at Bandido’s before getting a cab home.
Consult the site run by local gringo authority “Zihua Rob” for details on other beaches in the region, as well as a message board that helpfully answers questions for first-time visitors.
Troncones.net provides a village map and information on transportation options and sporting activities.
Read up on the surfing conditions in Troncones and nearby beaches at Wannasurf.
Casa Teresa is a four-bedroom hacienda that sleeps up to ten people, offers a private chef, and has no minimum-stay requirements.