Ixtapa is set along 16 miles of coastline with stretches of sugary beach, scalloped coves, and inlets. Enjoy a wide selection of watersports, bask in the sun, or take a romantic moonlit stroll. Golf enthusiasts be sure to play a round of golf at the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr. course. For a relaxing getaway, travel just four miles southeast of Ixtapa to tiny Zihuatanejo (Zee-whah-tah-nay-ho) a picturesque, charming fishing town, with a variety of hand-made crafts and open-air market and restaurants.
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- Choice of accommodations
- Hotel taxes and maid gratuities
- Roundtrip transfers between airport and hotel
- Luggage handling
- Assistance of a local destination representative
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should go?
Visit Isla Ixtapa, a wildlife preserve with trails, beaches, and palapas.
Stroll along some of the best beaches on the Pacific side of Mexico.
The Palma Real Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., comes complete with natural water hazards, including alligators!
What's the climate like?
Ixtapa’s year-round average temperature is 85°F. Rainy season is June through August.
How do I get around town?
Transfers are included with your vacation package. The airport is located nine miles, or 10 minutes, from Zihuatanejo and 13 miles, or 15 minutes, from the Hotel Zone in Ixtapa.
The best way to get around town and between Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo is by taxi. They are plentiful, clean, and reliable and the fares are very reasonable, costing approximately $3 to go between the two areas. Tipping is not necessary, unless the driver helps with the bags, but of course a tip is always appreciated.
Another great mode of transportation are the minibuses that run every 10-15 minutes in front of the Hotel Zone and from the Hotel Zone to downtown Zihuatanejo. The fare runs under a dollar.
Rental cars are available through Alamo Car Rental and can be pre-sold or arranged after arrival.
There is a six-mile bike path that runs between the Marina and Playa Linda. Bikes are available for rent.
Golf carts can be rented in Ixtapa for approximately $10 per hour. They are used for local transportation only and are a fun way to get to Playa Linda.
Most everything is within walking distance and offers an excellent opportunity to see the area.
What kinds of dining and nightlife are available?
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo restaurants offer exquisite fresh fish and seafood, along with excellent examples of Mexican and Spanish cooking. You’ll find the traditional here, but you’ll also find more daring and unique restaurants, as well. Here are some favorites around the two towns:
- Dabaffone Restaurant
Traditional Italian cuisine is fused perfectly with the seafood flavors of Mexico. Also, be sure to indulge with a bottle of the best Italian, Chilean, and national wines. Ixtapa.
- La Escollera
The chef's suggestions of grilled lobster, shrimp with tamarindo sauce, lobster salad, crab salad, and a tuna carpaccio are served to the tune of selected music. Zihuatanejo.
- Mamma Norma & Deborah
Choose from an extensive menu with everything from meat and potatoes to vegetarian cuisine, including many Mexican and seafood specialties. Ixtapa.
- Il Mare
Located on La Ropa beach, Il Mare is known for great Italian and Greek cuisine with specacular views of the ocean, attentive service, and a superb dessert menu. Zihuatanejo.
- Señor Itto's
Treat your tastebuds to fresh sushi and a variety of delicious Oriental cuisine. Ixtapa.
- Villa del Sol
Dine among an elegant, yet casual and lively atmosphere for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Zihuatanejo.
Nightlife usually focuses around the hotels and at a few local hangouts in Zihuatanejo. Fiestas are popular and can be found at a few of the local hotels.
Where should I go shopping?
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo shopping is excellent and varied. While the typical tourist fodder can be found, there are also a number of shops selling beautiful sterling silver jewelry and art, glassware, Guerrero ceramics, leather, fashions, woodcarvings, etc. The best areas for shopping are across from the hotels in the Hotel Zone at Plaza Las Fuentes, Plaza Los Patios, Plaza La Puerta, and Plaza Ixpamar. In town, there are numerous small shops and boutiques along the Paseo del Pescador and running out from the central plaza.
Mercado de Artesanía Turístico is on the right hand side of Boulevard Ixtapa, coming from the airport into town. It is a large handicrafts market with 150 stalls selling t-shirts, folk clothing, and souvenirs.
When are the local events?
Major Mexican holidays are Holy Week (the week leading into Easter), May 5, September 16 (Independence Day), October 12, and the Day of the Dead (October 31 – November 2). Festivals and celebrations may be happening, so check with your hotel for the latest information. Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo also hosts numerous fishing tournaments.
Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
December 12. The most important holiday in Mexico in which pilgrims converge at the city’s churches.
Liberation of the Turtles
December 31. The releasing event symbolizes the beginning of a new year full of hope for these marvelous animals. Most hotels participate in this special marine animal protection program.
What are my golf and recreation options?
There are two courses in the area, the Palma Real Golf Club and the Marina Ixtapa course. Both have water that comes into play.
Some declare the Ixtapa area to be one of the best sportfishing destinations in Mexico and with angler success rates being some of the highest in the world, few would doubt the claim. Pacific sailfish are caught during most of the year with black and blue marlin popular in the spring. Yellowfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and dorado are also plentiful. Closer to shore, grouper, mackerel, wahoo, bonito, yellowtail jacks, and barracuda are plentiful. Most sportfishing boats depart from the municipal pier in Zihuatanejo. Catch and release is encouraged.
Snorkeling + Scuba Diving
Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo has several snorkeling and scuba diving locations with 30 dive sites categorized for beginner to expert divers. The visibility reaches up to 150 feet, the water is usually over 80 degrees, and almost all the species of the Pacific are here, along with corals, and other plant life. Here are some good sites for snorkeling and diving:
Ixtapa Island — On the other side of the island is Varadero Beach. Just behind the restaurants is Playa Coral with crystal clear waters ideal for snorkeling.
Playa la Ropa — A one-mile long beach with a lapping surf that makes it ideal for swimming and watersports.
Playa las Gatas — Located in Zihuatanejo Bay, the clear waters are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Legend has it that an ancient king built the underwater breakwater to create this shallow swimming cove for his daughter. Las Gatas is a 20-minute walk from La Ropa Beach, or you can take a panga (little outboard skiff) that runs from the pier.
Sacramento — Rock pinnacles with tons of sea life. Located offshore from Las Brisas Resort Ixtapa.
Know Your Interests
Ixtapa and its neighbor Zihuatanejo may share the same geography, but they are worlds apart when it comes to atmosphere. Ixtapa is a refined beach resort with high-rise hotels, shopping centers, restaurants catering to tourists, and a pulsing nightlife. Zihuatanejo retains much of the laid-back, Mexican charm of a sleepy fishing village on the Pacific Ocean with its fisherman’s market and traditional town plaza. Choose your vacation destination depending on where you’ll feel the most comfortable.
For the surfing enthusiast, the Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo area features several spots to ride the waves. Try Las Escolleras, Barrio Nuevo, Loma Bonita, Las Gatas, Pantla, La Saladita, Playa Linda, Juluchuca, and others.
What's in a Name
The name Zihuatanejo is derived from "Cihuatlán," or the "Place of Women" because of the rock barrier on Las Gatas designed to create a sheltered swimming area for the women and children.
Snorkeling and Diving
Water clarity and visibility is not as great in the Pacific Ocean as it is in the Caribbean due in large part to great plankton production. But with the plankton come plankton filtering species like large manta rays, whale sharks, large whales, and smaller species such as seahorses. There are around 50 diving sites around Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo that can usually be reached by boat in 15 to 45 minutes.
Good to Know:
|Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport
|December – May
|Mexican Peso, but the U.S. dollar is often accepted
|Spanish, but at the hotels and in Zihuatanejo, most people speak some English
|Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo is on Central Standard Time
|Government legislation requires all people traveling via air to and from the United States and Canada to have a valid passport. For details on passports, visas, and health requirements, see Entry Requirements.
|Some restaurants, especially in the resort areas, will add a 10-15% service charge to your check. If in doubt if it has been added, be sure to ask. It isn’t necessary to tip taxi drivers unless they have helped you with your bags.
|Very casual during the day. Evening attire varies from continued casual to more dressed up, depending on the venue.