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
to Zihuatanejo and we rented another car from there to Acapulco.
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...
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
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.
Between Lazaro Cardenas and Zihuatanejo, the landscape offers nothing
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 !
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.
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 !
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Ixtapa map :
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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