Zihuatanejo is a quaint fishing port beautifully situated between two promontories. It boasts more than 16 miles of beaches and semitropical weather all year round. Mountains rising abruptly behind the town add to the scenic beauty. Often compared to the Acapulco of fifty years ago, Zihuatanejo has experienced some modernization while managing to retain its village charm and way of life. The main plaza faces the ocean; from here the town spreads out, covering just a few square blocks. Its streets are lined with shops and restaurants that are all within easy walking distance from the pier.
Long before Columbus sailed to America, Zihuatanejo (originally Cihuatlan) was a sanctuary for indigenous nobility. In 1527, Spanish conquistadors launched a trade route from Zihuatanejo Bay to the Orient; galleons returned with silks and spices. According to some historians, the first coconut palms to be introduced to America arrived here from the Philippines.
While Zihuatanejo strives to preserve its quaint look and laid-back way of life, the modern computer-planned resort of Ixtapa is only five miles away. Here are luxury hotels, miles of beaches, two 18-hole championship golf courses and upscale shopping malls. Ixtapa has managed to co-exist nicely with quaint Zihuatanejo, and it is this contrast that endears the place to visitors.
Going Ashore in Zihuatanejo
The ship is scheduled to anchor off Zihuatanejo. Guests will be taken ashore via ship's tenders. The arrival point is on a fairly long jetty. Once the end of the jetty is reached, the village is within easy walking distance. The distance to Ixtapa is five miles. Taxis are generally available at the end of the jetty. It is recommended that you establish the fare with the driver before starting out.
Both Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa are very popular with shoppers. While Zihuatanejo features several street markets and small boutiques, Ixtapa is known for its elegant shops and art galleries. You can find everything from basic souvenir items to unusual masks, local and international designer fashions, artwork and jewelry. In Zihuatanejo shops are located over an area of ten square blocks of cobbled streets and along the seafront promenade. A local market about three blocks from the landing pier invites browsing and bargaining. In Ixtapa there are modern shopping complexes and upscale boutiques in the hotels. Some shops observe siesta time and close between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The local currency is the peso.
Along the beach promenade are several restaurants that offer reasonably priced food. Fresh seafood is the main item on most menus along with chicken dishes and typical Mexican fare of enchiladas and tacos. The local beer is excellent and a good thirst quencher. Guests with sensitive stomachs may want to be careful when eating ashore; drink only bottled water and beverages (no ice).
This small museum features a good selection of pre-Hispanic pieces as well as murals and maps.
This large market offers a glimpse into the daily life of Zihuatanejo's residents.
About a 20-minute walk from the pier is Playa de la Ropa, a beautiful stretch of sand beach. Las Gatas is even more secluded. It can be reached via a short boat ride. Local boats depart frequently from the end of the landing pier. Diving and snorkeling are popular sports at Las Gatas.
This modern resort features several deluxe hotel properties along a stretch of sand beaches. Upscale shopping malls tempt visitors to browse and shop.
Ixtapa is home to the renowned Palma Real Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones. Guests interested in playing golf may contact the Tour Office on board for availability and reservations.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board.