The Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo area includes two very different cities and dozens of seaside resorts
, pristine beaches
and opportunities to observe native wildlife. The city of Ixtapa is a modern, government-planned tourist area filled with high-rise hotels, condos, golf courses and gourmet restaurants. Zihuatanejo is more of a cultural attraction with an Old Mexico
feel; most lodgings are rustic family-run inns. The two are only a few miles apart, and together they make a well-rounded dual destination.
Take an "Adventour"
Adventours is a local company that offers inexpensive guided tours of the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo area's natural attractions. Wildlife observation is a major part of every tour---expect to see crocodiles, iguanas, sea turtles, coral reefs and native birds, all in their natural habitats. Be advised, however, that the tours are very strenuous and only recommended for people with a moderate to high fitness level. Most last from 4 to 6 hours and include a combination of biking, walking, kayaking and snorkeling. All tours have bilingual guides, and some are guided by a biologist. Lunch, purified water and, when applicable, traveler's insurance and water taxi transportation are included.
Adventours Guided Ecological Tours
Golondrinas No. 17
Ixtapa, Gro., Mexico CP40880
011 (+52) 755 553 1069
Snorkel, Surf or Swim in the Zihuatanejo Bay
The rustic town of Zihuatanejo is home to several beaches, each with its own personality. Playa la Ropa is a calm, mile-long beach favored by swimmers and sun worshippers. Another fairly calm beach, Playa las Gatas, is sheltered by an ancient coral reef and is an excellent spot to go snorkeling. If you like bodysurfing, locals recommend Playa la Moderna, a picturesque beach that includes several small coves. Near downtown Zihuatanejo, Playa del Puerto is a great place to take a ride on a boat or a water taxi, but it's not recommended for swimmers because of pollution from the numerous fishing vessels. Zihuatanejo Bay also has several secluded areas that are accessible only by boat, including the surfing-friendly Playa Manzanillo and Playa Majahua beaches.
Explore Ancient Cultures at the Archeological Museum
Museo de Arqueólogia de la Costa Grande is a fairly small museum housed in an old stone building at the end of the Playa del Puerto beach. But what the museum lacks in size, it more than makes up for with its unique collection of artifacts gathered at local archaeological dig sites. Ancient tools, weapons, figurines, jewelry and pottery from native cultures are displayed here, along with exhibits showing the day to day lives and cultural evolution of the native people through colonial times. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is approximately $1 U.S.
Museo de Arqueólogia de la Costa Grande
Paseo del Pescador 7 at Plaza Olof Palme
Zihuatanejo, Gro., Mexico CP40880
011 (+52) 755 554 7552
Peggy Deland has been a writer and editor since 2007. Her articles appear on a variety of websites, including Life Unplugged and ConsumerSearch. Deland specializes in topics such as health, aviculture, science, green living and travel.