Zihuatanejo Bay and Beaches
Playa La Ropa
La Ropa Beach, found within Zihuatanejo Bay, is located between Playa Madera and Playa Las Gatas. The beach itself is approximately one kilometer long and is easily accessible from downtown. An array of fresh seafood restaurants, hotels, and water sports providers is found along the beach. Colonia la Ropa consists of largely commercial touristic hotel and residential property, with a growing number of condominium and townhouse projects planned and under construction. The low-lying areas behind La Ropa beach afford flat, easy access to the beach, and the higher lands and lots in the hills of La Ropa area provide spectacular bay, town, and sunset views.
Playa Madera is a 200-meter stretch of beach found within Zihuatanejo Bay between the downtown Playa Municipal and Playa La Ropa. It offers an eclectic range of restaurants, small inns, and bed-and-breakfasts. It is serviced by streets leading from the road to La Ropa just past the flood control canal and is also accessible by foot from town along a narrow seaside footpath known as the “extensión del Paseo del Pescador.” There is very little undeveloped land in the area, and much of the older, existing construction is currently undergoing major reconstruction and expansion. It is extremely accessible to the downtown core and without yet being congested.
Playa Municipal is a 900-meter stretch of beach, also known as Playa Principal, which runs from the municipal pier to the canal. From the pier, you can take a boat taxi out to Las Gatas Beach or charter anything from a small panga boat to a large, luxury fishing yacht for fishing or snorkeling trips. Near the midpoint of the beach is the zócalo and cancha (town square and basketball court), which are the focal points of downtown Zihuatanejo social life. This is a commercial area with small businesses interspersed with some of the original residential buildings of the town, many of which are being renovated and expanded into larger shops and offices as well as small hotels and guesthouses.
Playa Las Gatas
Las Gatas is located within Zihuatanejo Bay and close to its mouth, directly across the bay from the downtown area. It is protected by an ancient man-made reef and is accessible only by boat or via a somewhat rough and rocky walking path. It offers a handful of restaurants and is a great place for snorkeling. Behind and above Las Gatas, accessible via the scenic Playa la Ropa road, are areas into which infrastructure is slowly being installed by Fibazi, as well as Cerro del Vigia and other projects offering lots and condominiums with bay and ocean views.
Ixtapa Area Beaches
Playa El Palmar
El Palmar is Ixtapa’s most popular beach that stretches approximately two kilometers along the hotel zone. High-rise hotel and condominium complexes line the shore and the thundering waves usually pound into the sandy shore. Care should be exercised when entering the water here as the open ocean waves and currents can be powerful. Public beach access points are located next to the Barcelo Hotel, the Posada Real Hotel, and the Beach Club.
It is a small private beach in front of and accessible through Las Brisas Ixtapa Hotel. The elevators of Las Brisas make it easy to access the beach. The white, sandy beach stretches a few hundred yards and is fronted by open ocean. A poolside restaurant serves food and refreshments. There are a few condominium and residential projects in this area.
Playa Linda is stretch some two kilometers long at the far northern end of Ixtapa. Here you can find a tourist market and ecological preserve area where visitors can observe crocodiles, giant iguanas, waterfowl, and turtles in their habitat. Residential and touristic development is slowly arriving to this area.
Ixtapa Island, also known as Isla Grande, is located across from Playa Quieta. It has a collection of beautiful beaches (Cuachalalate, Varadero, Coral, and Carey, or Sacrificio) that are excellent for all kinds of water sports and snorkeling in particular. There are small restaurants on the beaches where you can find refreshments and seafood. You can purchase a round trip boat ride from the pier of Playa Quieta to the island at very reasonable cost.
Driving North—Troncones, Majahua, and Beyond
Pantla and Buena Vista Beach Communities
These growing beach communities are located 15 kilometers north of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. There are lush vegetation, palm groves, and three kilometers of great, unspoiled beach. Access is through the town of Buena Vista on Mexican Federal Highway 200.
Troncones and Manzanillo Bay
Troncones is a 3.5 mile long beach located half hour north of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, on Highway 200 turnoff at Km. 31. A Pemex station has recently been opened near the Troncones Junction. Troncones is a small beach community and has a range of bed and breakfasts and small inns and restaurants. It extends northward to Manzanillo Bay where there is a good surf point. The small fishing village of Majahua delimits the northern end of Troncones and Manzanillo Bay.
La Saladita beach is a small community 40 kilometers north of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. This beach is located five kilometers off Highway 200 from the small town of Los Llanos. It is another great spot for surfing. There is no public transportation available in this area.
El Miramar is a beachfront development surrounded by beautiful mountains, tropical growth, and beautiful beaches that are great for surfing and snorkeling. It is only 65 kilometers north of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and very convenient to the rapidly-growing port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan.
Driving South—Playa Blanca, Playa Larga, Barra de Potosi, and beyond
Playa Larga is a beachcomber’s delight: a two-kilometer stretch of beach in between the Zihuatanejo International Airport and Zihuatanejo. During the winter months, you can observe dolphins and whales in this area. There are several palapa-shaded seafood restaurants from which to choose typical coastal fare such as fish grilled with garlic, breaded shrimp, octopus a la Mexicana, and ceviche seafood cocktail.
Playa Blanca beach is a long stretch of white sand south of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. The beach runs from the Zihuatanejo’s International Airport to Barra de Potosi, extending southeast from Playa Larga. There are several private condominium developments along this stretch of open ocean beach that is graced with a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean expanse and views of the Morros de Potosi islands.
Barra de Potosi
Barra de Potosi is to the south of Zihuatanejo at the end of Playa Blanca. It is located on the shores of a large lagoon that is home to an abundance of waterfowl and other species. Boat and kayak trips can be taken into this area for bird watching expeditions.
The beachfront community is small with a few guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and a number of enrramadas (palm-fronded shade roofs) offering fresh seafood along the shores. It is a wonderful area for nature lovers and beachcombers.
Download information on Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and its beaches in PDF format.
See the Regional Locator Map for the location of these beaches