Imagine doing business in a beautiful, culturally rich community by the beach. Zihuatanejo, Mexico, a gorgeous tourist destination on the Pacific Coast, offers plenty of opportunities. Doing business there also means access to beaches, the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Mexico tourist resort, restaurants, and more. Many people have found business success by making this town a getaway destination — why not join the fun?
From the history to the hotels, this guide will give you everything you need to know to work and play in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Boasting a bounty of tourist with needs to meet, and the neverending idyllic weather, there are plenty of opportunities for your business. You are just one short read away from knowing if this is the right place for your business ventures.
Zihuatanejo, Mexico History
The history of a city can often inform its businesses, especially in an area attractive to tourists. Many people love learning about the past of the place they’re visiting – and Zihuatanejo, Mexico has some fascinating history.
As with elsewhere in the world, the first arrivals in this area were nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes. However, by the time Europeans landed in North America, the people of Zihuatanejo had settled into communities.
These original inhabitants mined for salt in the area, and there were two main settlements. However, the population was small when Europeans first started to write about Zihuatanejo – probably because the Aztec empire had taken over by the late 15th century.
The Aztecs named the land Cihuatlan, to honor the goddess Cihuatéotl. This goddess ruled over women: she was revered as the mother of all humans, and she governed both fallen warriors and women who died during childbirth. The name Cihuatlan translated to “place of women.” The name Zihuatanejo comes from the Spanish pronunciation of this original name.
Archaeologists discovered at least one possible shrine to the goddess, full of ancient clay figures and buried remains. Some other archaeological sites have also shed light on the land’s history and provided contents for today’s museums in Zihuatanejo.
In the early 16th century, the Spanish arrived in Cihuatlan. It’s believed that the first of them was an explorer who’d been sent by Cortés to search the native’s land for gold. The Spanish killed or drove out most natives when they arrived, and the knowledge of where they went is lost to history, as is the dialect they spoke.
After forcing the natives out, the Spanish used Zihuatanejo’s Pacific coast bay as a base to begin exploring the coastline. They even sent ships all the way from the Pacific coast to the Philippines.
The Spanish used the land around Zihuatanejo, Mexico to grow crops including vanilla, corn, cotton, and chocolate. They exported valuable wood from the forests, such as oak, cedar, and walnut, and imported coconut trees, which are there to this day. In the local mountains, there was even some gold.
These European occupants build haciendas, rather than more permanent stone structures, so few buildings from this period have survived. Zihuatanejo gradually developed into a fishing village, but also provided a place for people to import valuable contraband from Asia. It also attracted a lot of pirate activity.
The Mexican War of Independence didn’t touch Zihuatanejo, aside from its brief use as a port. However, the longer and arguably more violent Mexican Revolution did affect Zihuatanejo, Mexico. The revolution began when a political opponent decided to overthrow Mexico’s dictator. Many people in Zihuatanejo joined this rebel movement since it was attractive to the peasants whose life had gotten worse under the dictator’s rule. That brought a lot more fighting forces to the area, as well as raiders and vandals.
For many decades, the land was inhabited by working people who fished or worked on coconut plantations for a living. But in the 1970s, the Mexican government decided to capitalize on the tourist potential of this seaside town. The population quickly grew, and tourism is now the primary industry in Zihuatanejo.
Zihuatanejo, Mexico Map
Where will you find Zihuatanejo, Mexico on the map?
The city occupies a small bay off the Pacific coast near the south of Mexico, in the state of Guerrero. The resort and town itself sprawls around the bay and also stretches farther inland toward the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range.
When the government turned the focus to tourism in the ‘70s, Zihuatanejo developed along with Ixtapa, the nearby modern resort. However, efforts have been made to keep Zihuatanejo a town with an authentic feel, while Ixtapa offers a more modern but perhaps less unique experience.
On the north side of the bay, you’ll find El Centro, Zihuatanejo’s downtown area. El Centro retains old-fashioned charm with its narrow, brick- and stone-paved streets. Visit Paseo del Pescador, or Fisherman’s Path, to walk along the beach near the center of town. Just a block away from this walkway is the main street for cars (a number of the town’s major streets are pedestrian-only).
Zihuatanejo Mexico Weather
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are warm but close enough to the ocean to get plenty of rain. Rainfall happens mainly between June and September. The average year-round temperature hovers close to 80 degrees without much variation, so it’s swimming weather all year round.
Attractions in Zihuatanejo
Whether you’re looking for business or pleasure, this city has all the attractions one expects from a resort town. Zihuatanejo offers laidback, quaint charm, while Ixtapa has a sleek, modern vibe, making the area an all-in-one package. Here are a few of our favorite attractions.
Sailfish, which are similar to marlins, are an incredibly popular target for sport fishers, and Zihuatanejo is dubbed one of the world’s best sail fishing locations. Many recreational fishers love hunting for them in the winter, as well as for mahi-mahi, yellowfin tuna, and more.
The winter months are filled with fishing tournaments, so you can take your pick if you choose to participate. No boat? No problem. You can charter a boat to fish for a day instead.
Playa del Ropa
This mile-long beach is one of the main swimming and lounging spots in the area. Its name translates to “Clothes Beach,” local lore attributes this colorful name to a time when a ship full of textiles overturned and its contents washed up on shore. The beach is well-protected by the bay, so it offers the tranquil waters many laidback beachgoers want to enjoy.
If sailboats are more your speed, don’t miss this festival which happens in February each year. The fundraiser festival runs for five days, and the proceeds benefit local children. If you don’t have a sailboat, you’ll still enjoy the other festivities like races, concerts, auctions, and chili cook-offs.
There are plenty of adventure parks that offer zip-lining in the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa area. You’ll get an amazing perspective on the local jungle as you fly above it during a zip-line tour.
Gray and humpback whales travel along the Pacific coast during their annual migration from Alaska. They give birth in the warm waters of the south, and Zihuatanejo, Mexico is right in their path of travel. As winter draws to a close, they migrate back north, with baby whales alongside. You can try to spot them from the cliffs above the sea, or better yet, take a whale-watching boat trip.
Zihuatanejo Mexico Hotels
If you’re taking a business trip, you need the perfect hotel to stay in while you are there. Zihuatanejo offers no shortage of choices, no matter what your hotel preferences are.
For a trendy experience, try the Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués, which offers Asian-Mexican fusion decor, a Thai restaurant, and a peaceful spa.
If you prefer masculine, hipster vibes, check out the Casa Lucila. This Old Town boutique hotel, built on the location of a former nightclub, earned the adoration of Ernest Hemingway and other celebrities. It sports locally-made wooden furniture and custom mahogany doors.
In Ixtapa, the Capella offers a full-blown luxury hotel experience: every room is a suite with a private pool and an ocean view. Meanwhile, Club Med lets you relax with beachside yoga, but also offers trapeze lessons at its very own circus school.
In short, this part of Mexico has everything and anything you could hope for when it comes to hotels. From affordable and family-friendly to lavish and decadent, you’ll find what you need (and want).
Would You Do Business in Zihuatanejo, Mexico?
We love the idea of mixing business and pleasure – Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa offer the perfect place for just that. The region is one of Mexico’s top vacation destinations, and where there are tourists, there are sure to be business opportunities. As with many places in foreign countries, resort communities do come with risks. Always check travel warnings before choosing a destination to set up your vocation, during planning and close to the time you are ready to depart.
From restaurants to adventure parks, there are plenty of great activities to both invest in and enjoy in Zihuatanejo. Still looking for the perfect oportunity? Check out some ideas for profitable, low-investment small businesses here.