We have put together our guide on what to do in Zihuatanejo, Mexico’s tropical paradise on the Pacific Ocean. We were only meant to stay for a week and ended up staying 5 weeks in total it captivated us so much. We loved wandering downtown during the morning and enjoying a coffee watching the locals at the buzzing fish market. In the late afternoons, we would head to the beach and choose one of the fish restaurants there and dine on freshly caught grilled fish, guacamole and ice-cold Sol beer. It was an easy pace and one that was hard to leave.
Zihuatanejo is hard to pronounce, let us help you with the Spanish pronunciation is [siwataˈnexo]).
We love Mexico so much that we even wrote an e-book: Mexico A Travel Guide with our top travel tips on destinations throughout Mexico.
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- 1 Where is Zihuatanejo Mexico
- 2 Zihuatanejo Map
- 3 Arrival into Zihuatanejo Airport
- 4 Where we stayed in Zihuatanejo
- 5 Things to do in Zihuatanejo
- 6 Tours around Zihuatanejo
- 7 Where To Eat in Zihuatanejo
- 8 Shawshank Redemption Zihuatanejo
- 9 Zihuatanejo Hotels
- 10 Airbnb Zihuatanejo
- 11 Essential Visitor Information for Zihuatanejo
Where is Zihuatanejo Mexico
“Zihua” as it is locally known, is located on the Pacific Coast in the State of Guerrero 240 km north-west of Acapulco. A typical Mexican sleepy fishing village located in a well-protected bay, Zihua offers the traveller a peaceful location to holiday in compared to the busy, high rise tourist development of Ixtapa a few kilometres away.
Zihuatanejo Mexico Map
Map of Zihuatanejo
Arrival into Zihuatanejo Airport
We flew into Zihuatanejo Airport from Mexico City via Interjet and was impressed with the views from the plane of the long ocean beaches and the green tropical landscapes. Zihuatanejo Airport is located a few kilometres out of town. It has a quirky baggage retrieval system. As you enter the terminal, there is a small area on your left that is roped off, bags are unloaded into this area, then the pushing and grabbing starts, chaos everywhere, people tripping over one another to try and reach for their bag underneath the ropes, whilst airline staff try to deliver the right bag to the right person. Luckily there is a checkpoint where your bags and receipts are checked before you exit the terminal.
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Where we stayed in Zihuatanejo
The accommodation had a major part to play for us extending our stay. Hotel Aura del Mar is located on Madera Beach with private access and had a good size swimming pool. Our room came with a spa and a large balcony that overlooked the pool and the beach.
Things to do in Zihuatanejo
Wander Paseo del Pescador and visit the daily fish market
We were won over immediately as we wandered into town the first night for dinner. “El Centro” with its many restaurants and gift shops along the stone-paved streets and the waterfront walkway known as Paseo del Pescador (The Fisherman’s Path).
During the morning just past the basketball courts, you will see the local fishermen selling their catch from the evening’s fishing.
Visit Playa Las Gatas (Cat Beach)
The small port is used for the local fishermen and ferry boats that take you across the bay to Playa Las Gatas (Cat Beach) for MXN 50 (USD2.70) each way.
Tours around Zihuatanejo
Where To Eat in Zihuatanejo
Dine at the local restaurants on Playa Madera (Wood Beach)
Follow the walkway from the main beach in town across the bridge and head towards Playa Madera (wood beach) where you can dine on fresh seafood from the restaurants there. We love Mexican Food, don’t you?
Our favourite restaurant was Valeria I. The restaurants here are open from breakfast through to lunch and dinner and close around 7 pm at night.
2km from the main town is Playa La Ropa (clothes beach), a popular beach lined with hotels and restaurants, where you can sail, parasail and jet ski.
Best Coffee in Zihuatanejo
Wonder through the town area and along the Municipal Beachfront to enjoy the many restaurants on offer. Tripadvisor Zihuatanejo rated El Cafecito as the best coffee in Zihuatanejo. We just had to find out for ourselves. We so totally agree with all the travellers who had rated El Cafecito the best.
Shawshank Redemption Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo was made famous in the movie Shawshank Redemption. The movie starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Tim Robbins who played the part of Andy, whilst being held in the Shawshank Prison, dreamt of living his life in Zihuatanejo.
The top Zihuatanejo Resorts and their traveller ratings:
Hotel Aura del Mar (rated 9.2 ): Eva Samno de Lopez Mateos s/n Playa Madera Zihuatanejo.
Our favourite hotel overlooking Madera Beach with a swimming pool. Rooms come with balconies and ocean views. You can enjoy dinner at their restaurant or a drink at the bar with stunning views – perfect for a sundowner. There is a business centre, gym and spa.
Villa Del Sol Resort (rated 9.2): Playa La Ropa S/N, Playa La Ropa, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo
Apartment accommodation on Playa La Ropa.
Villa del Pescador (rated 9.2): De la Noria 7, Zihuatanejo, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo,
This 4-star 12 room hotel offers a jacuzzi, pool, WiFi and a sundeck.
La Casa Que Canta (rated 9.9): Camino Escénico a Playa La Ropa, Colonia Playa La Ropa, Playa La Ropa, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. La Casa Que Canta is located in an art deco setting with outdoor pool, roof terrace, lounge bar and restaurant and WiFi.
Airbnb has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and types.
If you have not booked an Airbnb property before we have a special $$$ discount voucher for you.
Essential Visitor Information for Zihuatanejo
The Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo is 12 km southeast of Zihuatanejo. It is an international airport serviced by many airlines such as Delta, American Airlines and Aeromexico and more.
Some of the hotels offer free shuttle transfers, check with them before organising a taxi.
Buses to Zihuatanejo are available from Mexico City, Acapulco and Morelia. For the latest bus schedules and ticket prices click here.
Do You Need a Visa for Mexico?
Is Zihuatanejo safe to visit?
Yes, it is safe to visit. Be aware of your surroundings and your personal belonging when you travel anywhere these days. We would recommend keeping your expensive jewellery at home.
What is the voltage for Mexico?
In Mexico the standard voltage is 127 V and the frequency is 60 Hz.
When is the best time to visit Zihuatanejo?
The hottest months are June, July and August. The best time to visit is between December and April. The rainy season is between May and September.
How do you get around Zihuatanejo?
Zihuatanejo is a very walkable town and if you do need to travel out further we would recommend one of the local taxis.
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Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are ‘chase time not money’ and ‘age is no barrier when it comes to travel’.