Picture a landscape ranging from lush mountain jungle to champagne-hued sands. Rich culture to memorable cuisine. The little Pacific Mexican jewel of Ixtapa packs a real punch for any length of vacation. Here are our suggestions for 5 unforgettable days.
Day 1: Head downtown
After settling into your accommodation (of which there are many options to choose from), start by exploring the downtown area of Zihuatanejo. You’ll get a sense of how locals live and make note of everything you want to come back for. Don’t leave without visiting the Municipal Market. Here you’ll find everything from artisanal handwoven baskets to local eats like taco de lengua (beef tongue taco) and chiles rellenos (stuffed chilies).
Tip: If you are an early riser, visit at 7:00 am and see the fish market in action located at Paseo del Pescador. Great spot to get photos of the fishermen making their way with the catch of the day.
Day 2: Bask in biodiversity
Just 15 minutes from the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo airport you’ll find Barra de Potosi, the native fishing community of 600 inhabitants. It is home to more than 270 species of migratory and native birds. If you visit from November to March, you have a good chance of spotting turtles, manta rays, dolphins and even humpback whales.
Fun Fact: In 2014, the Guerrero Whale Research Project began a photo-identification process in Barra de Potosí to create an identification catalogue. Today they have identified more than 300 whales, differentiating them through their tails and fins.
Day 3: Ride a wave
Whether you’re a beginner or consider yourself an expert, it’s easy to get your surf on in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. There’s a wave for every style here and eager wave-chasers can choose from a great selection of beaches.
Tip: Surf school is an ideal way to up your game. You will find Swing by Catcha L’ola if you’re in Playa Linda or if you’re taking a trip to La Saladita, seek out Leonel Perez or Mau Surf from Saladita surf school.
Day 4: Explore the island
The island (or La Isla), is easily accessible by taking a quick, 10-minute boat trip from the dock at Playa Linda. This scenic spot can be explored by walking from one end to the other. There’s plenty to see, like unique rock formations, giant cacti and several beaches.
Fun Fact: The most popular swimming beach of Cuachalalate is named after a medicinal tree in the area.
Day 5: Embrace the foodie in you!
Spend the day savouring the flavours of the area. First off, visit Angustina Mezcaleria in the heart of downtown Zihuatanejo. Try some unique varieties of mezcal that are available for purchase as a souvenir or gift.
Then, turn your focus to Plaza Kyoto. Here you’ll find regional dishes like bolillo relleno, hearty sandwiches stuffed with a stew-like filling of pork and vegetables. Or try tiritas, a dish similar to ceviche where thin strips of fish are marinated in lime juice.
Tip: You may want to plan more than one day in your itinerary for this so that you don’t miss anything.
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