Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Morelia, Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, Patzcuaro Aug 2016
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We drove in the late afternoon from Patzcuaro to Ixtapa on the Pacific coast. The trip was supposed to take ~3hrs per Google, but actually took 4.5hrs, due to toll booth stops, rest-room breaks and getting lost once the tollway ended.

Travel tip
Google may no be correct Always

Arrived in Ixtapa as it was getting dark, and we could see multiple large Cancun style all-inclusive resorts lining the waterfront area. We were hungry, and when we found a small outdoor café in the touristy part of town, we stopped for dinner. Dinner was drinks, and 2 fish dinners (shared by 4 of us) of whole fried fresh Red Snapper (veracruzana style for us) with all the accompaniments; all for $20 (or $5 per person). And delicious, fresh and very clean.

This place had Wifi, so searched and found a resort that was reasonably priced online, so headed out to Las Brisas resort and checked in, and went to sleep. This was a 4 star resort, so rooms etc were fresh and clean, even though the property was older; it was well-kept and maintained. The resort was built on a hillside and was built not as a high-rise, but as a side of a pyramid, built to match the hill slope. All rooms faced the ocean/beach, and had balconies. Very nice. The area was very humid, so AC was essential.

After breakfast, we spent the day at the resort beach; which was a secluded Cove beach, so “private” from outsiders. The sand was a golden brown, with 1-2ft waves, perfect for those that like waves, but not good for small children and non-swimmers. Nice sandy bottom so good to walk along in.

beach-at-las-brisas-ixtapaBeach at Las Brisas, Ixtapa

las-brisas-hotel-beachLas Brisas hotel beach

After spending the day here on the beach and the hammock’s; we drove to Zihuatanejo, a small beach village about 10 minutes away, where we had a condo reserved. Finding the condo was not as easy as we would expect, the GPS took us close to this place but not exactly there. Fortunately, Oscar, the condo owner, was able to guide us on the phone.

The condo was very nice, modern, and well equipped with all modern amenities. And a good view of the bay of Zihuatanejo. There was lots of thick green vegetation all around with plenty of flowers and plants/trees, and very humid. We later found out it rains here almost every afternoon, so plenty of water and humidity.

We spent the rest of the time here at multiple different beaches, eating fresh fish, drinking fresh natural fruit juices (orange, mango, guava, passion etc etc), and lot of Madaf (coconut water). We went to the La Ropa beach, the Las Gatos beach (in a secluded cove, so only reachable by a boat Lancha from the pier in Zihuatanejo). We also went to the Playa Larga about 10kms south of Zihuatanejo, which is a very long (over 10 miles) very wide beach, and has waves for surfers.

la-ropa-beach_-giant-size-madafsLa Ropa beach; giant size madaf’s

zihuatanejo-by-nighZihuatanejo by night

view-from-our-condoView from our condo

zihua-bayZihua bay

embarcaderoEmbarcadero

waiting-for-the-ferry-to-playa-las-gatosWaiting for the ferry to Playa Las Gatos

lancha-rideLancha ride

mating-turtles-on-the-way-to-las-gatos-beachMating turtles on the way to Las Gatos beach

las-gatos-beachLas Gatos beach

playa-las-gatosPlaya Las Gatos

she-was-having-a-blast_-non-stop-gigglingShe was having a blast; nonstop giggling

waiting-for-the-ferry-with-nolly-thobaniWaiting for the ferry

any-guesses-what-this-isAny guesses what this is?

Las Gatos Beach, Zihuatanejo, Playa Las GatosLas Gatos

The best beach we found was on Isla De Ixtapa; which is a small island off the Playa Linda beach north of Ixtapa; where you take a short ferry boat (Lancha) ride to the Island (We even saw mating turtles in the sea while on the Lancha to the Island ). There are 3 beaches on this island, and on the Lancha, a nice Mexican family guided/advised us that the best beach was the Playa Cuachalalate; which was actually the first stop of the ferry.

The beach has a light golden brown sand, very soft and clean sand, that extends into the ocean; with no rocks and where the water it totally clear. This was the best beach for swimming we had found so far on the Central American Pacific coastline to date. The only difference between this beach and Cancun is that Cancun has white sands, and that the Playa Cuachalalate had fish that came close to the shore and swam among the swimmers. Otherwise, the same enjoyment.

coconuts-negotiations-at-playa-linda-on-the-way-to-isla-ixtapaCoconuts negotiations at Playa Linda, on the way to Isla Ixtapa

after-successful-negotiationsAfter successful negotiations

playa-cuachalalate-in-isla-ixtapa_-one-of-the-best-beaches-in-mexicoPlaya Cuachalalate in Isla Ixtapa; one of the best beaches in Mexico

playa-cuachalalatePlaya Cuachalalate

outdoor-kitchen-at-ixtapa-restaurant-barOutdoor KItchen at Ixtapa Restaurant Bar

The beach is lined with a number of small thatched roof restaurants and palapas. We went with the nice Mexican family to the last spot on the beach, called the Ixtapa Restaurant Bar, and spent the day there, eating Red Snapper and drinking cervezas and margaritas. Because the beach was so nice, we simply lazed here all day.

Went and briefly explored the other 2 beaches. The Island is very small, and a short 2 minute walk took us to the other side of the Island, where the Playa Coral was. This beach faced the open Pacific Ocean, and was full of small coral rocks, so needed water socks to walk/swim here. However, swimmers were amply rewarded by the large number of beautiful multi colored fishes that swam close to the shore and near swimmers. Opposite the island from the Playa Coral, was the Playa Varadero, which was similar to the Playa Cuachalalate where we had stayed. Very nice all around.

playa-coralPlaya Coral

playa-coral-2Playa Coral

Last ferry we were told was at 5:30PM, but the Mexican family told us not to sweat that; they said they would let us know when the last ferry was as they too needed to get back. This Island closes up after the last ferry goes back. We took the last ferry with the Mexican family around 6PM . Back to the condo and back to Patzcuaro next day. Hoping to better weather this time in Patzcuaro.

with-the-nice-mexican-family-that-adopted-us_-after-returning-from-isla-ixtapaWith the nice Mexican family that adopted us; after returning from Isla Ixtapa

going-back-home-after-a-day-on-the-beachGoing back home after a day on the beach

Next – Patzcuaro and back to Dallas