I could try and do a list of 10 things to do in Zihuatanejo but the truth is number 1-9 would be a continuous “be a blob on the beach”. If you ever wanted a beach vacation where you could feel that you weren’t missing out on something else while you just vegetate in the warmth of the sun and the sound of the surf, this is the place.
The Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo airport is easy for arrivals and departures and for us was just a 46 minute flight on TAR from Queretero, an hour and a bit from our home in San Miguel de Allende. TAR doesn’t have the best record for being on time, and our return to QRO was delayed an hour, but it was no big deal.
When you arrive head to the designated taxi booth by the exit to your right and pre-pay for your taxi. Ours from airport to hotel in Zihuatanejo was 525 pesos/$27.50 USD. Returning to the airport was 325 pesos/$17 USD. The ride was about 15 minutes.
We chose the wonderful Hotel Aura del Mar right on Playa La Madera, one of 5 beaches in Zihuatanejo. (If this is your choice for a hotel please consider using our Booking Affiliate link at no extra cost to you). We reserved a good sized Superior Suite with jacuzzi on the balcony that also had chaise lounges, hammock and a couple of chairs and table. We would highly recommend this hotel as they also have an excellent restaurant that was quite reasonable and was at beach level with very pleasant waitstaff. Up a level (as the hotel is situated on a cliff) was a lovely pool, complete with slide.
It was my birthday during our stay, and Glenn had mentioned that when we booked, so the hotel made a nice festive welcome for me at our room.
There is not a lot to do in Zihuatanejo. The “old town” is only about 12 square blocks and reminds me a bit of the Wild West with wooden walkways under wooden roofs. There are some silver stores and a couple of small more upscale shops, but mainly it has the typical souvenir clothing and handicraft stalls you see in any beach town. There is a little malecon that goes along the beach from Playa Principal to Playa La Madera.
We had lofty goals of heading over to Ixtapa and Troncones for some day trips but it was so hot that we were supremely happy to just hang out and our days consisted of making a 15 foot path from restaurant to beach chaises under a palapa and ordering drinks in between dips in the ocean.
We did get up early on my birthday to do our #10 on the list, visit Playa Principal and watch the fisherman come in with their nighttime haul. This was a good little thing to do and it was fun to watch all of the cats hanging out to try and claim their share.
One morning we also headed around the bluff to Playa La Ropa, a long beach just south of Playa La Madera. It is a prettier beach than Playa La Madera but it was a bit stark of places to sit and enjoy a cocktail and the palapas were not as nice as our hotel. Maybe it is different in high season. Watch for the little drive path to get down to the beach. There is a sign by the side of the road the road to look for.
We only went to 3 other restaurants during our stay as the hotel restaurant was so great. For breakfast one morning we tried Carmelitas Cafe which was fine but about the same price as our hotel without the nice beach location. We went to Ristorante Il Mare for my birthday dinner. It is located up on the cliff between Playa La Madera and Playa La Ropa so it has a great view, which is what made the dinner as the food was just ok and a bit pricey. We actually made it into town one night and went to Bandido’s. They do a nice table side salsa. Unfortunately Glenn didn’t feel so good the next day.
We visited Puerto Vallarta last year and would have to say that we enjoyed Zihuatanejo more since it is so low key and isn’t overrun with obnoxious touts. Guerrero is considered a dangerous state, and as always use caution and be street smart. But we were not harassed at all and felt comfortable the entire length of our stay. We are sure that a return trip is in our future.
Zihuatanejo is the secret hideout at the end of The Shawshank Redemption. When Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins finally reunite on the beach after escaping prison, and Tim is restoring an old boat by the water’s edge. And as Red, Freeman’s nickname, said as he debated fleeing the US, “Get busy living or get busy dying. That’s god damn right” Wise words. I can’t wait to go now after your report. Had no idea there were five beaches!
Hope it’s as relaxing in high season, when we might try it.
This looked like the perfect beach getaway to me—-I am hoping to find that “perfect”spot when I need some beach time and this looks like it might be just right! 15 feet sounds just about right! Thx for sharing and see you soon!!!
We definitely enjoyed it. The hotel we stayed at was so convenient and relaxing. We would definitely recommend it.