| Bulletin Board
| Spotlight Destination
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are said to be a "taste of Mexico present and past".
Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo are located 253 km (158 MI) northwest of Acapulco, 565 km (353 MI) southeast of Manzanillo, and 576 km (360 MI) southwest of Mexico City.
Even though Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are side by side, the two beach resorts couldnt be more different. Ixtapa is a tourist-oriented resort while Zihuatanejo is a sleepy fishing village. In the 1970s the Mexican tourist organization, FONTAR, created Ixtapa as a glitzy, showy, expensive tourist resort. There are clusters of hotels, expensive restaurants, and shopping plazas. Until Ixtapa came along, Zihuatanejo was hardly known. Artifacts such as ceramics, stone carvings, and figurines indicate the presence of a civilization dating as far back as 3000 BC. Spanish conquistadors started a trade route from the Orient to Zihuatanejo Bay. Despite the glamorization of Ixtapa and tourists flooding its streets and beaches, Zihuatanejo has kept its status as an authentic Mexican village.
Summers are hot and humid, with a bit of relief from sea breezes and rainfall. August to September is the rainy season, with most of the rainfall in the afternoons.
Hotels in Ixtapa are more luxurious and pricey. Most hotels are located along the Zona Hotelera, a 3-km stretch along Playa del Palmar. You wont find many budget priced rooms here. The Westin Brisas Resort, has five restaurants, a shopping arcade, four tennis courts, car rental agency, baby sitting, massage services, and four swimming pools. Rates for hotels in Ixtapa range from US$150 to $500. Although Zihuatanejo has its fair share of expensive hotels it also has most of the budget priced ones. Rates can range from US$25 for a double room to US$475 for two bedroom suites. Some hotels have a "no children" policy.
Many of the restaurants in Ixtapa have delicious food, but they tend to be a little overpriced. Reservations for some of the hotel restaurants are recommended. Several of the eateries are extremely popular and it's recommended that you come early to grab a seat. In Zihuatanejo there are several small bakeries that sell freshly baked items.
For a more boisterous evening, head to Ixtapas clubs, discos, bars, and festivals. Most places dont close until the last person leaves. During the off season (before Christmas or after Easter) hours may vary from being open only on weekends or closed completely.
Shops in Ixtapa carry items like clothing, art, crafts, furnishings, beach and casual wear, and a large sports ware store, Aca Joe. La Fuente has wicker tables in the shape of jaguars, masks, pottery, tin mirrors, hand-embroidered clothing, and hand blown glass. Zihuatanejo has a nice selection of folk art, jewelery, Mexican crafts, and of course, T-shirts and souvenir shops.
Fresh seafood, Italian, continental, Mexican, and Asian are the types of cuisines found in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.
Banks: Banks are open Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm.
Internet: In Ixtapa there are two internet cafes, the Comunicacion Mundial and Dolfys Internet Cafe
Transportation: There is a shuttle bus that runs between Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo every 15 to 20 minutes, but it is usually packed with workers commuting. Minibuses run between the Ixtapa hotel zone and downtown Zihuatanejo, fare is about US$0.30. A taxi cost approximately US$3 either way. Rates increase by 50% from midnight to 5 am. In the winter, several cruise lines sail to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo.
Troncones: Located 20 miles northwest of Ixtapa lies this tiny fishing village. Walking, swimming, sunbathing, and dining one seafood at the local restaurants are what Troncones is popular for.
|WHERE TO GO:
Museo de Arqueologia de la Costa Grande: This museum traces
the prehistoric history from Acapulco to Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa. Display
signs are in Spanish but a brochure is available in English.
Beaches: Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are home to quite a few
spectacular beaches. The most popular beach in Ixtapa is Playa
Cuachalalate. Excellent for swimming this beach is also lined with
places to grab a bite of fresh seafood. Across the street is Varadero
Beach. Lots of water-sport facilities and restaurants are located here.
Behind Varadero is Playa Coral. With its crystal clear waters, this
beach is popular for snorkeling. The Playa del Palmar is the main
beach with the hotel zone stretching for 3-km. All along the shore
you will find facilities to rent water sports equipment. In
Zihuatanejo, the most beautiful beach in the area is Playa la Ropa.
Only a five-minute taxi ride from town, this beach has hotels,
restaurants, and water sports facilities along the shore. Due to a
long row of rocks offshore that serves as a breakwater, Playa las
Gatas is ideal for swimming, sun-bathing, and snorkeling. At Playa
Municipal, fishermen keep their gear and boats here. In the early
morning they sell their catch to restaurants and townspeople.
WHERE TO EAT:
The restaurants located in Ixtapa tend to be a little over-priced, but
the food is delicious. Expect to find a lot of typical Mexican foods on
the menu. At the Westin Brisas Resort, you have a choice of five
restaurants, from classy and romantic to casual and fun. Several
other hotels in Ixtapa have lobby restaurants, all of them offering
equally delicious meals. The Barcelo Ixtapa has a Mexican fiesta
every week with live entertainment and a large buffet. The Villa
de la Selva, an expensive restaurant located on the edge of a cliff
serves up excellent international cuisine with views of the stars
and surf. There are several different level terraces, come early
to get a prime seat. At the Beccofino, where its always busy,
you can enjoy Italian specialties, including seafood stuffed
Ravioli and several other sumptuous pasta dishes. In Zihuatanejo
there are several bakeries that serve up delicious freshly baked
breads, cakes and donuts. For creative and delectable seafood
meals try Coconuts, which is located in one of the oldest historic
buildings in Zihuatanejo. Seafood tacos, coconut shrimp as well
as several vegetarian dishes are on the menu here. La Sirena
Gorda serves up the most popular breakfasts in town. Large
platters of various fruits, yogurt, eggs and bacon as well as
daily seafood specials keep this place packed with many locals
and tourists. You can find some of the best meals at Pauls,
which doesnt open until 2pm. All sorts of international dishes
including pork chops, lentil soup and even escargot are on the
menu. For a romantic and elegant meal, head to Kau-Kan, where
incredible and creative seafood dishes are served. This restaurant
has a spectacular view of Zihuatanejo Bay.
|WHAT TO DO:
Fishing: Trips can be arranged through several different
companies. Prices will vary depending on boat size, the length of the
trip, and how many people are going. Prices may include drinks, pop,
bait, and fishing gear.
Scuba Diving: Although diving continues all year, the best time
to dive is May to December when the water is the clearest. There are over
thirty different dive sites. Its best to get advance reservations during
Christmas and Easter.
Boat Trips and Cruises: The most popular trip is to Isla Ixtapa.
There you can snorkel, scuba dive, rent water sports equipment, and stop
for lunch at one of the restaurants. In the evenings a pleasure sailboat,
the TriStar, cruises the harbor. Price includes an open bar.
Golf: The Palma Real Golf Club, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.,
is an 18-hole championship course. The Palma has its own restaurant,
tennis courts, and clubhouse. The Club de Golf Marina Ixtapa is a
challenging 18-hole championship course designed by Robert Von Haggie.
Green fees are US$85, which include a cart or caddie. The Marina also
has its own restaurant, tennis courts, and clubhouse.
Other Activities: Equipment is available for rental for
parasailing, windsurfing, and waterskiing.
|WHERE TO SHOP:
The Mercado de Artesania Turistico, in Ixtapa, has over 150 stands
and stalls where you can find souvenirs, T-shirts and local
handicrafts. This market appeared after a law was passed stating
no vendors are allowed to sell on the beach. In the hotel zone you
will find several small malls. Many have small boutiques and shops
as well as caf? and small eateries. Inside Los Patios, youll find
La Fuente, which sells arts, crafts, furnishings, pottery and
locally designed clothes. La Puerta has stores that sell items like
regional clothes and art, and casual wear. In between Los Patios
and La Puerta is Las Fuentes. This mall includes store like Aca
Joe, which has sportswear, Bye-Bye, with its casual and beach
clothing, and the Supermercado Scruples. Zihuatanejo has its own
Mercado de Artesania Turistico, which is larger than the one in
Ixtapa, with over 255 stalls and stands. Silver jewelry, masks,
crafts, and ceramics are some of the items youre likely to find
here. At the municipal market, the majority of stands and stalls
carry hammocks, baskets, and huaraches, a low-heeled sandal. The
Coco Canbana Collectibles has Oaxacan carvings, folk art and crafts
from around the country. The Casa Marina, a small two-story
building, has several boutiques that carry handcrafted items such
as silver jewelry, rugs, clothes, masks, and carvings.
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