Driving to Troncones

Driving in Mexico is always an adventure. The freeway from Morelia is no different. Keep in mind that here, people routinely pass up the middle of the two freeway lanes. Moving over and driving partially on the shoulder so that faster cars can pass is considered good etiquette. Just like it’s a good idea to move over if you suddenly see two cars coming towards you. These drivers are not especially suicidal (not all of them, anyway). They’re just passing. You are not required to give room to pass on blind curves, but that doesn’t mean the suicidal ones won’t try it anyway. Just be aware.

If you’re coming down on the super-duper XXI century freeway from points North (Morelia, San Miguel de Allende, etc.), it’s pretty hard to get lost. Just follow the signs for Zihuatanejo or Lazaro Cardenas. It’s a gorgeous drive through several distinct microclimates, from piney mountains to dramatic saguaro desert. Used to be you had to gas up in Morelia or risk running out before getting here, but no longer. There now are several gleaming new gas stations in the middle of nowhere. (And a whole bunch of toll booths. Last time we made the drive form San Miguel, tolls added up to US $50.)

Getting to Troncones from the XXI freeway

When you hit the “El Tigre” tunnel (it’s the only tunnel) you’ll know you’re about an hour away from Troncones, depending on progress being made on the world’s slowest highway rehab. Don’t worry, you’ll get here, eventually—just enjoy the balmy sea air.

At the end of the freeway, make a left towards Zihuatanejo. Follow that road til you see the signs for Troncones. (When you see the big cell phone towers, you’re really close.) Exit to the right past the coconut stands, before the hill with the Pemex down below. Then follow the multiple new Troncones signs, and make a right on the tiny two lane road into paradise. Once you go over the first tope (speed bump), real time has stopped and you’re officially in Troncones. Congratulations!

Navigating Zihua — Quest for Groceries

Getting to Troncones has its quirks, but it’s pretty straight forward. Driving into Zihuatanejo, on the other hand, the adventure becomes a madcap comedy of errors. Personally, we think it’d make a great video game, far wackier than Crazy Taxi.

So, brave soul, you’ve decided to go on a brave Quest to the Grocery Store in Zihuatanejo. Here’s what you need to know. On this adventure, you will do battle with everything from illogical one way streets, spotty signage, and difficult to see traffic signals with multiple interpretations, to a dazzling array of impromptu creativity on the part of fearless and inscrutable drivers.

Each new turn brings a new challenge. Some personal favorites: 1. Cars routinely parked in the right lane of traffic; 2. Buses and cabs stopping (without benefit of any kind of signal) in the middle of the road to load or unload passengers; 3. The no eye-contact rule (if I don’t look, you’re not there and I can change lanes whenever i feel like it—a close cousin of 3b., the ever popular “drive first, look later” philosophy); 4. Traffic sign agnosticism (you can choose to believe in them or not); 5. Coming to a complete stop in a roundabout to ponder available options, with or without functional brakelights (or the even more entertaining variant: 5b. Making a right turn from the left lane of a roundabout—signal-free, of course).

To name only a few. Keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you. It also helps if you try to see it as fun. Collect those stories for the folks back home. Viva Mexico!

From the Airport to the Grocery Store and Out Again

Coming North from the airport, after a long, straight stretch, you’ll swoop down and into the crazy vehicular vortex that is the streets of Zihuatanejo. Breathe deeply and keep the eyes in the back of your head wide open. You’ll head along the main thoroughfare a while before coming to a roundabout with a large, ugly statue in the center. On the left, you’ll see a very tall orange sign with a pelican on it. That bird leads to the Comercial Mexicana grocery store. On the right will be a Sams Club that you can NOT actually get to from the roundabout. (More on this, later. If you want to go to Sams, do it after the grocery store. It’s easier to go there first, logistically, and Sam’s has hardly any fresh produce, and often runs out of chicken.)

To go to the Comercial Mexicana grocery store from the main highway: Go left around the roundabout, but get into in the right lane as soon as you’re facing the way South again, as you’ll have to make a quick veer to get off the highway at the first opportunity on your right. People will be coming at you from several directions, so just keep breathing, go slow through the roundabout, and keep right after you’ve completed the U turn. (Keep right before that, and you may get stuck going straight (West) into downtown because the guy in the innermost roundabout lane is not actually going left, but straight (see Driving Favorite # 5b. above), in which case, don’t panic. Go straight and keep left. there’s a spot to turn around several hundred yards down. After that U turn, go back up and turn right on the lateral road next to the highway and follow the rest of the instructions.)

Exit off onto the lateral road at the first opening in the yellow medians, in front of the OXXO store. (If you don’t make it off, you have to stay on the highway and go make another u turn and try the roundabout again. Do not collect $200 dollars.) There’s a speed bump on the lateral road, so that traffic usually stops to let people in from the roundabout. Do not count on them yielding, however. (Breathe.)

On the lateral road, get into the right lane when you can (watch out for parked cars) and take a right onto the first large, double-lane street with a median. (The sign should lead you there). You’ll be heading past the big bus station now on your left and turn left into the Comercial parking lot just before the next cross street. 

You made it! The holy grail is on aisle 3, next to the Agave Syrup.

Driving to Troncones from Zihutanejo

From the grocery store to Troncones (and/or Sam’s Club) Come out of the Comer, as we call it, at the same place you drove in. Take a right and drive up back toward the highway. Take a right on to the lateral road and get immediately in the left lane to make a U turn at the first light to get back heading North. Figuring out which arrow to take for a U turn can be tricky. Just follow the other cars, but always make sure the left lanes on the highway next to you are fully stopped. WHen the green light starts blinking, that means yellow is soon to come, yellow being a signal to everyone to step on the gas. You’ve been warned.

If you want to go to Sams, make the U turn wider—do not get on the main highway heading away from the airport, but aim for the far right lane, which is the lateral road. (You will need your Sam’s membership card to check out.)

To head to Troncones, once you’ve made the crazy U turn across 4 lanes of traffic,  get into one of the two lanes of the highway heading North.  (or merge left normally if you’re coming from Sam’s.) Follow that road for a bit, to the top of the big, winding hill, where there’s a turn off on the right towards Lazaro Cardenas and Morelia. (do not head straight, into Ixtapa, unless you want a tour of the resort community…)

Follow that highway through palm plantations and abundant greenery for about 15 minutes until you see signs for Troncones. You will have to do Mexican left turn to exit the highway (and you thought the adventures had ended). Once over the hill, pull off into a sort of exit (by the coconut stand) on the right side of the highway. From there, you’ll make a left turn across both lanes of highway. (Viva Mexico!) Look both ways a few times before venturing forth. Once you’ve safely crossed our own little rubicon, veer left towards the Pemex gas station. The turn into Troncones is on the right, just past the Pemex.

Only one way to go from there—to paradise! You have officially earned it.

We’ll be happy to send you a map of our location Troncones so you can find us quickly. Just ask.

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