Contrary to popular belief, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are actually two different towns. Sitting side by side, they do share a sense of community, uncomplicated living and beautiful beaches emblematic of Mexico’s Pacific coastline.
The allure of the sea and its many possibilities for fun and adventure is perhaps why so many visitors come to this stretch of the state of Guerrero year after year. Deep-sea fishing in the region is among the best in the world, with sailfish, marlin and mahi mahi among the prize catches. For great snorkeling and diving, there’s Las Gatas Beach, just a short panga ride away. Walking from beach to beach is one of the most popular pastimes here, as you get a peek of different hotels, casual seafood restaurants and a wide variety of watersports, including parasailing, jet skiing and surfing.
Ixtapa has the more modern-looking resorts, facilities and attractions, including beautiful golf courses and a spiffy marina with the latest for boaters, fishing pros or those who just want to take sailing lessons. The town’s more developed look is due to efforts by Mexico’s National Trust Fund for Tourism Development in the 1970s to convert it into an “it” destination similar to Cancun.
Zihuatanejo is still a bit more traditional, with a friendly downtown area with shops and restaurants, a municipal market filled with local delicacies and lots of adorable boutique properties snaking their way up rolling hills and making great use of palapa roofs. One of these is Amuleto, which offers a magnificent view of Zihuatanejo Bay and just six units for true exclusivity. Many of these hotels are either within walking distance or just a short drive away from outstanding La Ropa Beach, one of the area’s most popular stretches of shoreline, which is protected by lush green hills.