One destination. Two very different vibes.
The two sister destinations of Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo share an airport and are less than 20 minutes from one another by car, but for being so close, they might as well be worlds away. If you want the better beaches and resorts, you’re going to Ixtapa. But if you want a charming, down-to-earth Mexican seaside village, it has to be Zihuatanejo.
And before you ask, yes, it is THAT Zihuatanejo, the one romanticized by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption. But you won’t see Andy and Red there, as the iconic final scene was actually shot in St. Croix in the Caribbean. So curb your expectations before you go -- the Pacific coast of Mexico is NOT known for its sugar-colored sand. It's more golden, with a cobalt-colored sea. Still, Zihuatanejo is packed with history and charm, from meandering side streets, barefoot beach bars, restaurants, and an energetic nightlife. One of the beach towns in Mexico that is still dominated by Mexicans, you won't find Señor Frogs here. At most it's a vacation rental hideaway for snowbird Canadians, and we are more than OK with that.
Venture just 20 minutes south of Zihuatanejo to discover unspoiled, unending beaches that stretch for miles and miles with only a hotel or two scattered here and there. Sunsets are epic, to say the least, and you'll feel as though you're the only person in the entire state.