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Located on Mexico’s west coast in the state of Guerrero, nestled into a quiet bay area, Zihuatanejo is a popular vacation destination for Mexicans, people from all over the world, and Spring Breakers alike. Though it is a beach town, Zihuatanejo doesn’t have the size or “touristy” feeling such as in the resort towns of Cancún, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. Ixtapa; however, does but to a much lesser extent. In Zihuatanejo, it is possible to visit and experience places that are meant to cater to the locals and not just to the tourists.

More than just the “quiet little fishing village” that most travel guides claim, Zihuatanejo, commonly called “Zihua”, has lots to offer the visitor. There are a variety of beaches, water activities and other sports, nature activities, restaurants, hotels, resorts (located next door in Ixtapa), shopping areas and plenty of true Mexican culture. It is a town where many Mexicans live and work along with a small but thriving community of expats mostly from the U.S. and Canada. However, fishing and tourism are still the primary base of Zhiua’s economy.

The name Zihuatanejo derives from the word "Cihuatlán" in the Aztec language, Nahuatl. "Cihuatlán", means "place of women," and the area was given this name because it had been a matriarchal society in pre-Columbian times. The Spanish arrived in 1520 and the name was then changed to Ciguatanejo. Zihuatanejo’s current name form has only been in use for the past couple of centuries.

Ixtapa, on the other hand, was a government planned tourist resort town started in the early 1970s on land that had been a coconut plantation and a mangrove estuary. There are more than 5,000 hotel rooms in town that are part of resorts such as Club Med. Cruise ships also frequently visit the area due to its beautiful beaches.

One of the best websites for information about things to see and do in Zihuatanejo as well as business directories is:


Other places nearby Zihuatanejo: Taxco, Oaxaca, Teotitlan Del Valle, Mitla, Tehuantepec, Tuxtla Gutierrez, San CristĂłbal de las Casas, Acapulco, Palenque and Puerto Escondido.

By Emily Kerr-Riess
I love to travel, I love language, I currently live in Mexico teaching English as a second language. I love...
04 Aug 2011

The Tastiest Eateries in Zihuatanejo

Restaurant Hotel Rossy

Because they cater to the beach-goer, Rossy’s is a great place to spend the day on Playa La Ropa. Get there before 11 A.M. to claim the best beach chairs which are free if you buy something. They ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

La Papa Loca

This is a favorite of the locals, as their specialty of baked potatoes topped with a large variety of fillings is quite different from the usual tacos most late night places serve. The prices are ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

La Gula

Gourmet food at a very good price is what La Gula is about. Its location, not too far from Playa Madera and about a block from the canal, doesn’t provide much of a view, but walking up its ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

El Sanka Grill

Conveniently located in downtown Zhiuatanejo on Calle Del Ejido, El Sanka offers a variety of meat and seafood with a pleasant atmosphere and music. The best choices are their “special ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

La Casa Maya

For authentic, traditional food from Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula at budget prices, check out this place! Enjoy delicious dishes that are different from the typical tacos and seafood offered ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Sunset Grill

Not just a simple restaurant, the Sunset offers a variety of atmospheres. Diners can sit and view the beach at Playa Principal in the evening, play pool, use the internet or just sit and chat with ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Zihuatanejo's Best Beaches

Playa Las Gatas

Based on the crowds, this is easily Zihuatanejo’s most popular beach both in and out of tourist season. Water taxis from the downtown pier at Playa Municipal only cost $3.50 roundtrip. This is the ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Playa La Ropa

This is the beach in the Zihuatanejo bay area most recommended for swimming. The waves are gentle, the beach is clean and the scenery is beautiful. Vacationers as well as locals gather here for fun ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Playa Principal / Playa Municipal

This beach is the main beach right in front of the downtown area, and it is referred to by either Playa Principal or Playa Municipal. Though not a swimming beach, a few locals will take their kids ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Playa La Madera

Playa La Madera is a very quiet beach that is mostly used by the beachside hotels. It is not set up with lots of chairs and umbrellas in front of restaurants like the other beaches, and therefore ...
Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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