Just Some of The Hotels that Make up Ixtapa
Language and Currency
What is Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
Spanish is the official language, but many of the residents speak at least a modicum of English. The official currency is the Mexican Peso, but US currency is widely accepted. The best way to get the local currency is by using one of the many ATM locations in town.
Playa Las Ropa, Just One of Zihuatanejo's Great Beaches
Zihuatanejo has grown from a sleepy little fishing village into medium sized city, but has retained its traditional Mexican culture and beauty. Proud of its heritage, Zihuatanejo is favored by those wanting a traditional Mexican environment, wonderful beaches and traditional restaurants and shopping.
Ixtapa, the sister city of Zihuatanejo is located about 5 kilometers north of Zihuatanejo and is about as different in every way as it can be. Ixtapa was created by the Mexican government to lure tourist to the west coast of Mexico much the same way as Cancun was created to create a tourist Mecca in the Caribbean. Most of the employees of the many hotels that make up Ixtapa live in Zihuatanejo. There is no real town in Ixtapa, just one huge hotel next to another for miles. Ixtapa's new convention center is located right in the center of the hotels and promises more growth for tourism to the area.
This is a tropical climate that offers many days of sun each year. Daily temperatures range from 72-91°F, with daytime temperatures in the winter often in the upper 80’s. There is only a few degrees difference between winter and summer months. Be sure to pack your sunscreen as the suns rays can get quite intense.
A Ship at Anchor in Zihuatanejo
(Taken From Playa Las Ropa)
Ships anchor in Zihuatanejo Bay and tender into the wharf in Zihuatanejo. It is a short tender ride and there is quite a bit to do around the tender wharf.
Zihuatanejo's Tender Wharf
Zihuatanejo's Flea Market
Zihuatanejo's Flea Market is located just a few blocks inland from the tender wharf.
Shopping near the Tender Wharf in Zijuatanejo
In addition to the Flea Market, there are a substantial number of shops and boutiques right around the tender wharf itself. You will find many shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy.
Ixtapa's shopping is located in a number of small strip malls across the boulevard from the large beachfront hotels on Playa del Palmar. The malls include La Puerta Mall, Plaza Las Fuentes, Plaza Ixpamar and Los Patios Mall.
The Ixtapa Marina
The Marina Plaza is another small mall located at the Ixtapa Marina.
In Zihuatanejo, the shopping is primarily for souvenirs, trinkets, tee shirts, shells, items manufactured from shells, and clothing. There are some markets selling jewelry and local art work.
In Ixtapa, look for resort wear, fashions, jewelry, beach wear, souvenirs and other quality items.
The Restaurants Along Fisherman's Walk
In Zihuatanejo, after exploring the port area and flea market, there are several great beaches to visit. The closest beach to the tender wharf is the Paseo del Pescadore, or Fisherman's Walk along Municipal Beach. Here you can arrange for a fishing trip or check out the local catch of the day being offered by the local fisherman. There are several excellent seafood restaurants fronting this tree lined walkway.
Playa Las Ropa
One of the main beaches in downtown Zihuatanejo is Playa Las Ropa. This beach offers excellent swimming opportunities and is populated with wonderful palapa seafood restaurants to enjoy.
La Perla Restaurant
We dined at La Perla, and while we had a great meal at a reasonable price, be wary of the guys offering to serenade you. They sang one song to our group without being requested to do so and then demanded $5 US as payment. If they come around just send them back down the hole they crawled out of. Playa Las Ropa offers many beach activities including para-sailing (right in front of La Perla) fishing, jet ski rentals, boogie board rentals, catamaran rides and more. I would suggest taking a taxi from the tender wharf directly to La Perla Restaurant on the southern side of Playa Las Ropa.
Another great beach is Playa Las Gatas. Easily reached by water taxi from the municipal pier. Play Las Gatas offers tranquil waters protected in a cove from wave action and features excellent snorkeling. You can also arrange for a dive trip here, as well as the usual beach side activities. You will find 10 or so, palapa seafood restaurants at Playa Las Gatas to enjoy.
In Ixtapa, you can visit one of the resorts for the day, or simply visit the area and jump from resort to resort and sample the shopping opportunities. Ixtapa offers some good beaches (Playa Linda to the north, and Playa Escolleras and Playa el Palmar right in Ixtapa) but be aware that there may be large and powerful surf with strong undertows to contend with. The best beaches in Ixtapa are found on Ixtapa Island just offshore. You can arrange for a panga to shuttle you over to the island for a nominal amount of money from the pier at Playa Quieta in Ixtapa. Once on the island, there are four great beaches with every conceivable water sport known to man available. Each of the beaches has there own cadre of palapa seafood restaurants to choose from.
Outside of Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo
There are numerous great beaches along the coast north of Ixtapa and here is a brief look at some of them.
The Beach at La Saladita
The Surf at La Saladita, North of Zijuatanejo
North of Zihuatanejo lie some of Mexico's best surf spots. If you want to go exploring some of the more remoter spots in the area, hire a driver to take you to La Saladita and start your exploration there. It will take about an hour to get to Playa La Saladita, but it is beautiful once you arrive there.
The Restaurant at La Saladita
La Saladita has an excellent restaurant and bar to enjoy while you soak up rays on the beach.
Playa Kandahar is a large development on a wide white sand beach that is lined with excellent beach break waves.
One of the Beaches in Troncones
Troncones is a wonderful community with many Americans building their homes here. There are several excellent beaches to enjoy and many restaurants as well. If you venture into this area, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
Yes, I would give all of Zihuatanejo this standard. It is a peaceful, laid back, yet affluent Mexican community well worth exploring. I found Zihuatanejo and the villages to the north 1,000 more interesting than Ixtapa/
None that I could call exceptional, but the palapa restaurants offer excellent seafood dishes.
15 users found this review helpful.
J. M. Patrick Zihuatanejo is a charming fishing village, but Ixtapa is where the resorts are. The drive is about 50-60 pesos to the Ixtapa Hotel Zone. For quiet elegance, the most...read more
18 users found this review helpful.
Ixtapa/Zijuatenejo was very nice. We went to a beach in Zijua - ate and drank all day on the beach, used the lounge chairs...grand total of $50 for three people. The beach...read more