The twin destinations of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo complement each other, making up one of the most varied and attractive destinations in the Mexican Riviera—Mexico’ s Pacific coast—a compelling region appealing to people of all tastes where you can enjoy a diversity of landscapes, beaches, and activities.
The small, quaint fishing town of Zihuatanejo conserves its charming heritage and humble environment. Visitors enjoy its many cobblestoned streets, handmade crafts, folk art, world-class fishing, soothing walks on the beach, harmonizing sunsets, and warm weather. The town attracts people who seek a more private and calmer retreat than what may be found in many of the more touristic resorts.
The city’s name Zihuatanejo stems from its original Nahuatl name Cihuatlan. Cihua means women and tlan means place of, giving it the meaning “place of women.” Madera Beach, one of the small bay beaches close to Zihuatanejo’s main municipal beach, received its name in the 1920s because the town became known as an exporter of fine wood. La Ropa Beach (Clothing Beach), Zihuatanejo Bay’s longest and most beautiful strand, derives from a shipwreck of a boat from the Orient that brought all its materials to shore, strewing the stretch of white-sanded beach with its cargo of clothing and textiles.
Separated from Zihuatanejo by a hill and several coves, Ixtapa is a more refined, structured, and popular destination for people searching for modernity and common touristic comforts. Ixtapa, with its long stretch of Playa el Palmar as well as other smaller beaches, hosts an array of first-class high-rise hotels, condominiums, houses, gorgeous landscapes, two championship golf courses, Marina Ixtapa, high-end night clubs, and a variety of excellent restaurants featuring Mexican and international cuisine.
FONATUR (Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo—or the National Tourism Board of Mexico) began this tourist resort in the early ’70s to welcome high-class tourism. It is a small world-class resort for tourists who prefer to avoid the big city scene or crowded destinations. The white sands in the area gave Ixtapa its name: a Nahuatl word that means “the white place.”
Sheltered among the prolific Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo share captivating white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, warm weather, and 300 sunny days out of the year. July and August are the hottest months of the year, averaging 84º F–91º F. The cooler months, from December to February, average 70º F–73ºF. The rainy season starts in June and carries on through September and sometimes into October. The water temperatures at the beaches average 79º F annually.