Party Down in Zihua!
Certain Mexican cities and towns are famous for their exuberant celebrations of Carnaval: with street dances, crowning of a Carnival King and Queen, and inspired parades. But while you need to book months in advance to score a Mazatlan or Cozumel hotel room, Zihuatanejo is a newcomer to this particular party, and therefore less well-known.
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Zihua offers inexpensive two- and three-star hotels downtown, as well moderately priced to luxury digs on or overlooking the bay. Neighboring Ixtapa, just 8 km NW of Zihua, has 6,000 hotel rooms, including highrises such as Holiday Inn, Best Western, Barceló, Presidente and Club Med. Zihuatanejo is easily reached by taxi, car, or city bus.
Parades with whacky floats are a big part of the Mardi Gras allure. The queen of the carnival is a title much coveted by local young ladies (and their mothers). Traditionally called “El Rey Feo” (the Ugly King), the male counterpart is now sometimes called “El Rey de la Alegría,” or the King of the Festivities. The juvenile editions of both queen and king are undeniably adorable in their miniature finery and sparkly wands and crowns.
Festivities many foreigners are less familiar with include “la quema del mal humor” (burning of the bad mood), a symbolic “out with the old, in with the new.” An effigy is torched to start off the six-day program. On Sunday’s “comparsas,” local people recite poetry making fun of their peers or politicians in a lively parade through Zihua’s main streets.
So you won’t miss a thing, here is a list of scheduled events for the Zihuatanejo Carnaval, a festive time before the more sober period of Lent, when traditional Protestants and Catholics either fast or give up favorite foods in preparation for Easter Sunday.