Often you want to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city you live in and head to a peaceful destination to soak up the sun. Zihuatanejo Mexico is one such destination that will make your vacation a memorable one for everything from food to weather and from soft sands to friendly people.

Holidays are not just meant to laze around or do sightseeing. You must be able to take some precious experiences back home with you and Zihuatanejo, or Zihua as it is commonly known, offers you all this and more. The beaches of Zihuatanejo Mexico present a vibrant yet tranquil atmosphere where you can gorge on delicious local food, take a dip in the warm waves and let your hair down; literally.

Zihuatanejo Mexico | Your Adventure Awaits

Zihuatanejo's beach during golden hour

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​Zihuatanejo is a laid-back fishing town in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Situated on the Pacific coast, it is right next to a plush resort town called Ixtapa, which is about 5 kilometers away. Zihuatanejo Mexico is popular for having retained its old charm despite the tourism in and around the area that has resulted in some commercialization. Warm, friendly people along with fresh cuisine are what make this town a tourist’s paradise.

Zihua is the perfect mix of slow romance and adrenaline. If you are a person who likes to unwind at your own pace and soak in the sights and sounds of a place without rushing, then the endless, calm beaches of Zihuatanejo Mexico will beckon you. But if you are an explorer who loves adventure, you have many activities to choose from too. From fishing, sailing, and surfing to snorkeling, scuba diving, and horseback riding, there is nothing this town can’t give you.

Getting There

​Direct three hour flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Zihuatanejo Mexico render this tropical paradise a convenient getaway. The airport is not very far from the towns of Zihua and Ixtapa either, so reaching your destination is not a long, tiring commute. Aero Mexico, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and a couple of others operate here. Some airlines only operate seasonally.

Where to Stay

Top view of Zihuatanejo beach

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​There are many options to choose from when it comes to accommodation. Depending on your budget, the number of people, lodging preferences and the experiences you are looking for, you can opt for luxury hotels, apartments, bungalows, or rooms let out by the local people (easily found on Airbnb).

Why Visit Zihuatanejo?

​If you feel like you have heard of Zihuatanejo Mexico before or seen it somewhere; you definitely have - at the end of the film The Shawshank Redemption. If Andy chose to go to this paradise, there are surely enough reasons for you to visit too.

Beaches

​The long and beautiful ring of beaches in Zihua begins at Municipal Beach which is right in front of the town center. You can walk over to Playa Madera (Wood Beach) from there. Playa La Ropa (Clothes Beach), along the bay, is one of the most serene and exquisite beaches you will ever visit. This beach is perfect for swimming as waves are very gentle here. You also get to witness turtle conservation campaigns and small estuaries on some of the beaches. Playa Las Gatas (Cats Beach), a popular snorkeling place, is situated on the opposite side of the bay and is accessible by boat.

Food

​Apart from scenic beauty and climate, what’s the best part of any destination that tourists look forward to? That’s right. Food. Any vacation is incomplete without the delicious smells and tastes of local delicacies, prepared fresh and served with love. 

The local specialty in Zihua is Huachinango or Red Snapper (a variety of fish) served with tomato or garlic sauce. Must-visit food joints include Bandido’s, El Vigia (famous for its steak and homemade chocolate ice cream), El Manglar (for blackened tuna with sesame seeds) and Carmelitas (a breakfast spot). Make sure you work up a huge appetite each day in Zihuatanejo Mexico.

Culture

​Zihua will captivate you with its cobbled streets, colorful sidewalks, quaint little shops, boutiques, bars, and artisan studios. If you want to see the locals in action, you can head to one of the beaches where fishermen cast their nets, waiting patiently for their catch. You can also visit Paseo del Pescador (Fishermen’s Passage), the local market place where fishermen sell their catch each morning. Family guesthouses are another way to discover the local flavor and interact with families that have lived here for generations. The folk here are very helpful and approachable.

What Are 10 Things You Need to Know About Zihuatanejo?

While you needn’t study in detail the history or geography of Zihuatanejo Mexico, there are some things you need to know before stepping onto the sand. These will make your stay quite easy and help you avoid any unwanted hassles. There are also some facts about the place that you may find intriguing.

1.   Zihua Calls for Spontaneity

Research and planning before visiting a place are great. But spontaneity can really make your trip exciting. A guided tour or cruise that seems great when you book online might turn out to be something quite different when you get there. So spare yourself the disappointment and get there first. Then decide on your activities. There is hardly anything you will miss out on if you don’t book in advance. Just be sure to find yourself comfortable accommodations and plan the rest of your vacation once you are settled in.

2. They Mostly Speak Spanish Here

​As it is a tourist destination, quite a few people in Zihua speak English but not the majority. Learning some basic phrases in Spanish will make it easier for you to get by with the locals and in your shopping and dining experiences.

Two woman enjoying beach in Zihuatanejo

​Image via Unsplash

3. Zihua Is Hot

​If you don’t choose a good season for your vacation here, you will regret it big time. You want to soak up the sun, not get burned. The best season to visit is in the months of January, February and March though tourists flock to Zihua in November and December as well. May or June are bad times to go. It will be extremely hot and humid.

4.   Locals Love Dancing

​Your dose of culture will be incomplete without moving to the beats of Salsa and Merengue. Dancing has to be a part of your vacation. There are numerous local joints that have dance parties or live music on certain days of the week. Ask around and head there accordingly.

5.  One of the Top Mango-Producing Countries

​If you happen to be in Zihuatanejo Mexico during mango harvest season, you’ll get to enjoy large quantities of the sweet fruit. Mexico is the world’s fifth largest mango producer in the world, with about 2 million tons of mangoes harvested per year.

6.  Zihua Has a Great Crafts Market

​The Mercado des Artisanias (Crafts Market) is a popular tourist street with about 250 shops that sell items made out of seashells and corals. Silver and lacquer objects, ceramics and bark paper paintings are popular souvenirs.

7.  Zihua Has a Variety of Festivals

​The Annual Zihua Sail Fest, held in February, raises funds for the education of disadvantaged children in Zihuatanejo. This five-day event sees more than a hundred boats from various places. In March, the town hosts the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival, which goes on for a whole week. Started in 2004, this festival has brought tourists as well as international artists to Zihua and helped the local businesses.

8.  Zihua has Preserved its History

​The history, culture, and archeology of the Guerreros (Warriors) of this coast have been documented and preserved at the Museo Archeologico de la Costa Grande. The Museum has various rooms that divide and display artifacts, carvings, local handicrafts and creations, agriculture and pottery techniques and maritime information. The Museum is located at the southern end of the Municipal Beach.

9.  New Year is Celebrated by Releasing Baby Turtles

​The annual program for collection and protection of turtle eggs goes on from June to December. Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Olive Ridley turtles are found in Zihuatanejo Mexico. 31st December is celebrated with a mass baby turtle release along the northern and southern coasts of Zihua Bay.


​10. Tourism Reigns Here

​This was once a sleepy fishing town but today, almost seventy-one percent of the population is engaged in tourism and related occupations in the local economy. Despite the surge in tourism, fishing is still widely practiced and Zihua remains a calm and pollution-free escape from large metro areas.

​Conclusion

Zihuatanejo Mexico never disappoints. There is something for everybody. The locals have catered to the tourists every wish, be it adventure sports or relaxed boat cruises. It is the perfect place for all kinds of visitors - couples, solo travelers, friends or families. One of the best beach destinations for a vacation, Zihua will stay with you even after you return home. So pack your bags; the coast is calling!

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