Thanks to the gorgeous beaches and laid-back vibe in these neighboring communities, it’s a given that many American and Canadian visitors will flock to the Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo area each winter…and maybe return for a few other seasons as well.
For first-time travelers to this tropical Pacific Coast paradise in the Mexican state of Guerrero, we’ve compiled a few tips and hacks to help optimize a vacation already guaranteed to contain abundant sunshine and warm, welcoming waters.
Before You Leave…
- Make sure to book your hotel or resort in advance, in order to enjoy the best amenities and lowest rates.
- Find out about the different transportation options that Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo offers as destination. There are a wide variety of airlines servicing the area, plus plenty of bus service and other ground transportation choices, from taxis to rental cars.
- Check the weather forecast… not because of any concerns…but simply to remind yourself that warm weather is on the way!
What to Pack…
- Bring comfortable clothing. Beachwear is the most obvious necessity, but shorts and comfortable walking shoes are also key. At least one upscale casual outfit is recommended for dining in the finer restaurants or hitting the hippest nightclubs.
- Sunscreen and lip balm are essential. Don’t spend valuable days of your vacation dealing with painful sunburn.
- Tropical accessories like sunglasses, hats, towels, sandals, and for the ladies, pareos and other wraps. You might also want to bring some entertainment for the beach: something to read or listen to during the long hammock-filled afternoons.
- No one leaves home without their cellphones anymore, but make a point of having a phone or camera with you at all times to capture the breathtaking beauty and unexpected moments that make Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo so very special.
Things to Remember in Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo…
- Keep an eye on the flags flying at the lifeguard stations and pay attention to their meaning (yellow, for instance, means exercise caution).
- There are plenty of beach activities for kids, from building sandcastles to batting beachballs and flying kites.
- Yoli is the “must try” regional drink. It’s very refreshing with a zesty lemon flavor.
- The signature snacks of Zihuatanejo are called Tiritas de Pescado, which are thin strips of fish marinated in lemon, onion and green peppers. They’re delicious.
- If you want to buy handicrafts, the stores in Zihuatanejo typically charge lower prices than those in Ixtapa, so consider shopping there first.
- If you’re a scuba diver, be sure and visit the King of Kings, a sculpture of Christ immersed in the waters of Zihuatanejo near Playa Las Gatas.
- Every week there are “Cultural Sundays,” with family-friendly shows staged in the main square of Zihuatanejo.
- Your hotel concierge is the best “go to” source for information about local tours. However, if you’d prefer to seek out activities on your own, the hotel staff can also help with transportation.
- One of the signature seasonal attractions is the protected release of sea turtles called “golfinas,” which sometimes need a helping hand avoiding predators during their perilous journey from beachside hatcheries to the sea. Participation programs begin each year in August.
- Everything cool? What did you expect? You’re in paradise. Lay back, adjust your sunglasses, take another sip of your margarita, and enjoy the best vacation of your life!