Zihuatanejo, Guerrero

May 9, 2022

We spent five days in Zihuatanejo in a beautiful AirBnb condo overlooking the bay. Zihuatanejo (Spanish pronunciation: [siwataˈnexo]), or Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, is the fourth-largest city in the Mexican state of Guerrero. It is on the Pacific Coast, about 240 km (150 miles) northwest of Acapulco and 411 km (260 miles) further south in latitude than Honolulu, Hawaii. Zihuatanejo belongs to a section of the Mexican Pacific Coast known as the Costa Grande. This town has been developed as a tourist attraction along with the modern tourist resort of Ixtapa, 5 km (3.1 mi) away. However, Zihuatanejo has kept its traditional town feel. The town is located on a well-protected bay which is popular with private boat owners during the winter months.

The ring of beaches of Zihuatanejo Bay begins with the Municipal Beach which is in front of the town center and next to the port. From there, there is a cement and sand walkway that leads to Playa Madera (Wood Beach). It is a 2-kilometer (1.2 mi) stretch of light-colored sand between the municipal beach and Playa La Ropa.[3] The waves here are gentle with the occasional wave. This beach contains a number of bay-view restaurants, bungalows, condominiums and hotels, as well as a walkway that extends the length of the beach. Part of the beach is covered in pebbles.

Moving away from the town center along the bay, the next beach is called Playa La Ropa (Clothes Beach). The name Playa La Ropa (Clothes Beach) refers to the sinking of a merchant ship near the bay during colonial times. Its cargo of fine silks, belts, cloaks and fabrics from Bombay washed up in this beach. This beach is about 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long and considered the best for swimming as there is little wave action. During the winter months, many sailboats moor here. Just behind the beach, the land rises suddenly into cliffs, which are dotted with hotels, large residences and guest houses.

Playa Las Gatas (Cats Beach) is on the opposite side of the bay from town, is accessible only by boat as there are no paved roads that lead to here and a small, poorly defined, rocky footpath leading from Playa La Ropa. Las Gatas was originally named for a small cat shark that used to inhabit these waters. It is located at the entrance to the bay at a place called Punta del Rey (King's Point). This leaves the area open to ocean breezes. Wave action is stronger, but not as strong as those beaches that face the open ocean as there is a coral reef and a man-made stone barrier in front of it. According to legend, Purépecha chief Calzontzin had a stone barrier built here to keep the waves down and the sea creatures out, creating a kind of swimming pool. Las Gatas is the most popular snorkeling beach in Zihuatanejo. Gear can be rented at Carlo Scuba, along with PADI instruction and certification. Colorful tropical fish can be seen along the man-made breakwater, as well as the abundant coral and sea urchins. At the far end of the beach surfing is possible, and a path leads to the lighthouse on the point of the bay.

We arrived a little early to check into our AirBnb, so we took a little walk along the beach.
The view from our AirBnb condo.
Looking down at the swimming pool.
La Ropa beach is the longest of the 3 beaches in Zihuatanejo bay.
La Ropa beach.
This is the view back across the bay from La Ropa beach to our condo. It is the yellowish one.
We had to catch our dinner the first night! No, not really. But after dinner the fishermen were bringing in this huge catch of tuna. You can tell how big they are by comparing them to the feet. They were around 30kg each.
Weighing the tuna.
This poor guy got caught by one of the aligators!
Evening stroll along the malecon.
This lady was playing the violin to the ocean.
The sun coming up over the mountain.
There was a little restaurant there called Mimi's! Mimi tried to claim it, but it was all closed up.
Lots of good restaurants in Zihu!
We drove over to Ixtapa one day, but only walked on the beach for a very short time.
Ixtapa has a beautiful long beach, but it is mainly a long row of high rise hotels and condos "protecting" anyone but hotel or condo residents from accessing the beach. There was one public entrance.
We got out of Ixtapa fast as we preferred Zihu much more!
This is a view from the mountain above Playa Las Gatas. Looking back from right to left you can see Playa La Ropa, Playa Madera the Municipal Beach. You can't access Playa Las Gatas from here though and can only get there by boat.
Waiting for our hamburgers!
Looking back from the port to our condo on the hill (the yellow one).
Getting ready for the boat ride to Playa Las Gatas.
On the boat to Playa Las Gatas.
Playa Las Gatas.
Having a beer and people watching.
A little restaurant down the hill below our condo where we ate out last dinner.
Our last supper. This is a little restaurant down the hill below our condo.
The night before the full "blood" moon.
The last evening.