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Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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Belonging to a region called ‘Sun Triangle’, with Acapulco and Taxco de Alarcón, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo without a doubt represents one of the main tourist destinations within the state of Guerrero. You have the choice between Zihuatanejo (a traditional area) or Ixtapa, an area that has a modern infrastructure and is therefore structured for mass-tourism.

We went from Puerto Vallarta to Acapulco by car and bus. From Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo, we rented a car, then we rode a bus from Manzanillo to Zihuatanejo and we rented another car from there to Acapulco.
parrots of Ixtapa Island
The road between Manzanillo and Lázaro Cárdenas is dangerous because of drug-addicts. They haunt the small villages and could attack the tourists if they are dying for a hit...

     Right picture : parrots of Ixtapa Island

The first part, summarized in the chapter Northern Pacific Coast is a succession of beaches, resorts and fishing villages. It is wild but also attracts many tourists thanks to the sea resorts such as Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta. The trip is worth it if you have time. The section Manzanillo - Lázaro Cárdenas is a succession of beaches and small villages.

The road first crosses the village of Tecoman, a typical village in Mexico. It is sometimes precipitous and winding.

It is lined with numerous fruit trees (banana trees, lemon trees, mango trees and coconut trees). It runs along nice beaches such as the beach at the village of San Juan de Lima then the coast becomes wilder with sandy or rocky beaches. The road crosses the villages La Placita de Morelos, la Ticla, Faro de Bucerias, Punta Marunta, Tizupan and Pichilinguillo. All these villages are desert, with very few facilities. The road becomes flatter. We passed Mexiquillo then Caleta de Campos with many palm trees and Las Penas, Playa Azul and finally Lázaro Cárdenas. Playa Azul is well known by the surfers.
There are more than 240 km (144 miles) between San Juan de Lima and Lázaro Cárdenas. After Tecoman, from Boca de Apiza, we are in the state of Michoacán.

coast of Michoacán
Between Lazaro Cardenas and Zihuatanejo, the landscape offers nothing exceptional.


Left picture : coast of Michoacán



beach of TronconesBefore reaching IXTAPA-ZIHUATANEJO, we stopped at Troncones, a small fishing village located 40 km (24 miles) from IXTAPA. It is a quiet place with a large beach ideal for surfing. In this village, there are no huge hotels but only comfortable inns, bungalows and private villas. Troncones is an excellent quiet place before the tourist swarm of the neighboring cities !

      Right picture : beach of Troncones





Located 250 km (150 miles) north from Acapulco, Zihuatanejo is a nice fishing village converted into a sea resort. In the seventies, they built a huge hotel complex, called Ixtapa, replacing coconut tree plantations. These two resorts share the same airport. It is a popular place. Mexican families come here for weekends or holidays. It is the anti-Acapulco. People come here for sports or looking for tan.


In Náhuatl language, Zihuatanejo comes from the word Zihuatlan, meaning "land of women". The name Ixtapa comes from the words "salt or white" and the "pa" ending the word means "place": The white sand place. The coast is called "Costa Grande". The temperature is steady between 24° and 28° C all year long. There is a short rain season from late May to September with nice sunny days and short rain periods in the late afternoon. In the back country, the Sierra Madre is very green from July to January. Zihuatanejo is well-known for its ceramics and silverware.
view of Zihuatanejo
Quieter than its neighbor, Zihuatanejo is very pleasant and more family friendly. It has a human face. The archaeological Museum of the Costa Grande is the only interesting cultural place of the city.
Located on Paseo del Pescador, a long avenue along the main beach, this museum with 6 rooms displays objects discovered on the local sites of the state of Guerrero and information about the history of this state (open 10AM-6PM, Tue-sun, MXN$10, museoarqueologico2@hotmail.com).
There are many tourist kiosks in this area. Among them, one inside Plaza Commercial "Los Adobes" allows to buy boat tour tickets. Don’t buy tickets directly from the fishermen !

Left picture : view of Zihuatanejo

There are many beaches all around the bay. The most famous and busiest is Playa Principal. It spreads from the Zócalo, below a row of restaurants, boutiques and hotels. At the local market, the craftsmen make their potteries or other objects under the eyes of the tourists. There are many American and Canadian tourists there.
The furthest beaches, Playa La Ropa and Playa Las Gatas, can be reached either by taxi, or "lancha". The sport shops rent, among other things, windsurf boards and wave runners. La Ropa means "clothes" in Spanish : we can explain why this beach is so called : Centuries ago, at the time when the big sailboats sailed from the East to the western coast of Mexico, a Chinese boat wrecked off the bay of ZIHUATANEJO. Almost the whole crew perished. During the following days, the Indians were surprised to see each tide bringing, on the beach, bundles full of clothes, appearing ready to be hung out for drying: at this time as well as nowadays, the Chinese were famous laundry men !


The hotels, set along this beach, offer a panoramic view of the city and the bay as well as spectacular sunsets. Las Gatas also has a story : At the Pre-Hispanic time, a Tarac leader chose it as the place for his private frolics. He had fences built all around in order to be protected from the wildcats that invaded from the surrounding jungle.

Back from fishing in Zihuatanejo

      Right picture : Back from fishing in Zihuatanejo


Map of the city :


Fishing club also available to all : www.vicentefishingclub.com (website in french & english).


Ixtapa is a sea resort lined with all inclusive resorts, each one more luxurious than the last. It is not that charming: it is part of the huge governmental program developed in order to create tourist incomes like in Cancun. There are many golf courses.

playa Linda in IxtapaThe beach "Playa Linda" is a nice beach for swimming with a pier from where the boats leave to take people to Ixtapa Island. They run from 9AM to 4PM and costs from 35 pesos round trip per person. (back from the Island not later than 5PM). The island has several beaches : 1- Playa Varadero, with fine white sand, good for swimming, 2- Playa Coral on the other side of the Island, good for snorkeling, 3- Playa Cuachalate, good for swimming and lined with palapa restaurants and 4- Playa Carey, a secluded small beach that we reached hiking a small trail, up and down among the vegetation. On the way back, we can observe, on the right side, playa Quieta where you can find the Club Med.

Left picture : playa Linda in Ixtapa

All the big hotel chains are set, one beside the other, on Playa del Palmar, a beach lined with palm trees. On the second row, many seafood restaurants, boutiques, craft shops and night clubs are there for the joy and entertainment of the tourists. The Marina Ixtapa houses more than 250 yachts and dozens of very nice villas.

At the end of this beach, on the right side, is a small beach called Playa Vista Hermosa which is also lined with hotels.

playa coral of Ixtapa IslandWe have a huge choice of water activities or sports (surfing, diving, snorkeling, fishing), birds or dolphins watching. From May to October, you can also observe sea turtles and crocodiles.

     Right picture : playa coral of Ixtapa Island

South of ZIHUATANEJO, Barra de Potosi is a nice small village with a lagoon good for touring the mangroves and water birds watching. All along this huge sandy beach, excellent for walking or horse riding, there are many seafood restaurants called "enramadas". They offer hammocks for rent where you can rest. It is a very quiet place.
The local travel agencies organize boat tours on the lagoon.

On the road IXTAPA-ZIHUATANEJO to ACAPULCO, we stopped in the villages of La Barrita, Playitas del Calvario, San Jeronimo, and before reaching Acapulco, Barra de Coyuca and Pie de la Cuesta. All these villages have nice beaches, far from the tourist crowds of Acapulco. The lagoon of Coyuca is a fresh water lagoon, 15km (10 miles) long. It is both a bird sanctuary and a paradise for fishermen. While the fans of bird watching observe the heron or the gracious white egret, the fishermen admire the dexterity and ferocity of the cormorant, their rivals. However, the lagoon has enough fish to content the birds as well as the men.

Barra de Coyuca laguna
Twelve kilometers (7 miles) west of Acapulco, Pie de la Cuesta is a narrow peninsula separating the Ocean from the Coyuca Lagoon. This village is famous for the sunsets over the ocean, with a purple light on the mountains and a cloudy pink sky. The lagoon is lined with small "chozas" where the fishermen fry a handful of shrimp to eat with a cool beer : it is the ideal place for relaxing under palm trees. Pie de la Cuesta has many nice hotels and seafood restaurants, cheaper than in Acapulco. You can rent a "lancha" to tour the lagoon. The beach of La Pie de la Cuesta is known by the surfers because of its huge and impressive waves.

Left picture : Barra de Coyuca laguna

     Barra de Coyuca beachIxtapa map :


     Right picture : Barra de Coyuca beach






Ixtapa bayfresh fishes of Zihuatanejo








        Above picture : Ixtapa bay

        Right picture : fresh fishes of Zihuatanejo

Pie de la Cuesta beach

        Right picture : Pie de la Cuesta beach




See the pages about the sea resorts on the Pacific coast :


Puerto Vallarta & Costalegre


Puerto Escondido-Huatulco-Puerto Angel

There is no doubt about it that this is a fascinating place ! Amongst  Zihuatanejo as well as Puerto Vicente Guerrero situated between Ixtapa and Acapulco, just 50km from Técpan de Galeana.


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