Last week I returned to Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa on the Pacific Coast of Mexico for the third time. I’m always glad to get back there. The views are stunning, the beaches nice, and the place never seems too crowded or congested.
I brought my family along and we kicked it off right with a stay at Viceroy Zihuatanejo, on Playa la Ropa. This is one of the nicest crescent beaches on the coast. There are some nice waves coming in—enough for my daughter and I to do some boogie boarding—but without any dangerous undertow.
At the end of this beach is Casa Que Canta, at the end of a bluff that separates this beach from Playa la Madera. That one is more of a locals’ beach and doesn’t have any upscale resorts on it. After that is the beach next to the town of Zihuatanejo, used mainly as a place for fisherman to pull up their boats and sell their catch. You can catch a ferry from here though over to Playa las Gatas, at the left hand side of the bay as you look out. There you can do some snorkeling and order a cold beer from your lounge chair.
The main beach in Ixtapa is a few miles away. It’s a fine enough beach, but with rough waves sometimes and most of the hotels in this area are low-end all-inclusives. It’s better to keep going down the road where there are better resorts, ones like the terrific Capella Ixtapa, Club Med Ixtapa, and the impressive high-rise Azul Grand. None of these have beaches that are on par with Playa la Ropa in Zihuatanejo, but they’ll do for a dip in the ocean and some watersports, plus of course there are ample pools to lounge around.
It’s a short ferry hop over to the island you can see from all the area resorts: Isla Ixtapa. We visited there for the first time on this trip and besides some nice scenery, you can go snorkeling off Coral Beach and see some colorful fish swimming around. We especially liked the solo puffer fish we followed around for a while. There are two other beaches here: one with more lounge chairs and restaurants crammed together, another with nothing on it at all.
Where the boats to there leave from is (for now) a long stretch of public beach called Playa Linda. Its main claim to fame besides staying undeveloped is there is a small nature reserved fenced off where you can see loads of crocodiles, turtles, and big iguanas. We also timed it right and saw pink spatula birds nesting in the trees, some taking care of their eggs.
If you find you like this area so much you’d like to put down some roots, see our story from a few years back on Real Estate in Zihuatanejo. The places for sale have probably shifted a bit, but prices haven’t. There’s been a bit more building despite soft demand, so it’s still a buyer’s market.