Ixtapa Zihuatanejo beaches
A picturesque, oyster-shaped natural harbour, is only 5,448.77 miles wide (14'190.05 MTS. 2). The following beaches surround the sheltered shores of the Bay, in clockwise order:
Playa Principal 225.72 miles ("Main Beach").
Fishermen return from the sea to their base on this sandy beach with their morning catch that they sell right here to housewives and chefs for same-day meals. They tend to their skiffs, nets and gear, a lively scene and the quintessence of Zihuatanejo. The beach borders the edge of town, flanked by the pedestrian Paseo del Pescador ("fisherman's walkway”) which extends about a half kilometer from the Municipal Pier to the Archeology Museum. The charming, tree-shaded Paseo is lined with shops, craft stands and restaurants. A town square, site of frequent festivities, faces the Paseo and the beach.
Playa la Madera 262.50 miles
Just east of town, this small, sandy beach is accessible from the street, or by a paved pathway cut into the boulders that separate it from Playa Principal. Good for sunning and swimming, it has gentle rolling waves. Small restaurants and hotels are located on the beach and the hill above it. The name Playa la Madera, “wood beach”, originates from colonial times when Spanish trading ships loaded oak, pine and mahogany, cut from the nearby Sierra Madre del Sur mountains.
Playa la Ropa 606.19 miles
Along the east side of Zihuatanejo Bay, this broad, soft-sand kilometer-long beach is considered one of the most beautiful on the Costa Grande, and is great for swimming with because of its calm surf and sandy bottom. Visitors and residents enjoy walking, jogging, and admiring the sunset and moonrise -- sometimes they occur simultaneously, especially with the full moon. There are seafood restaurants, beachfront and cliff-top hotels and luxury homes, as well as professionally-operated water sports (water skiing, windsurfing, sailing, parasailing and banana-boat riding). Local legend explains the name, “Clothes Beach”: a Spanish galleon returning from the Orient trade route shipwrecked here, and its cargo of fine silks and clothing washed ashore.
Playa las Gatas 242.51 miles
This small picturesque cove on the south side of the bay is a favorite for swimming and snorkeling. The shallow water is especially tranquil because of a legendary protective “breakwater” of sunken boulders just offshore. Palapa-topped eateries serve fresh seafood and provide beach lounge chairs. Outboard canopied skiffs (pangas) run frequently between the Municipal Pier and the small dock at Las Gatas. The scenic ride across the bay takes about 10 minutes. (Round-trip costs $35 pesos per person.) Note: gatas, in Spanish, means “nurse sharks” (not “female cats”). The beach was named for this docile, harmless, bottom-dwelling species of shark that used to linger here long ago.
Playa Larga 871.26
Facing the open sea, down the coast from Zihuatanejo Bay, this pristine, wide, sandy and swimmable beach is dotted with just a few rustic seafood eateries, beach houses and small hotels. It is ideal for beachcombing, running and horseback riding. Larga means “long” – this beach extends for 12 kilometers!
Playa El Palmar 1,476.77 miles
This is Ixtapa’s main beach, a broad stretch of pleasantly-soft sand, a walkable 2.37 kilometers (1.5 miles) long. It is known as the “Ixtapa Hotel Zone” because the majority of the hotels in Ixtapa are in this zone. Facing the open sea, this wide crescent beach is good for surfing, while the at the south end (toward Zihuatanejo), the water is calm where the shore is protected by big rocks and a high bluff. Thanks to Ixtapa’s Master Plan, there is ample green space between the hotels. Each has its own extensive beach area with umbrella-covered lounges where staff waiters serve food and beverages. also enjoy beach activities, water sports and, of course, watching the sunset over the Pacific. The seascape here is punctuated by Ixtapa’s signature islets called Los Morros, just offshore.
Playa Quieta 359.88 miles
Appropriately named “Quiet Beach”, this is a lovely one-third-mile sandy beach named for its calm water, good for swimming, kayaking and windsurfing. It is located just up the coast from the Hotel Zone (a 10-minute drive by car or taxi; a bit longer by local bus). Three major beachfront hotels are located here, making this area a “second hotel zone”.
Playa Linda 541.37 miles
A mile up the coast from Playa Quieta, this tranquil fine-sand beach is good for swimming. From a small pier on the beach, skiffs take passengers to Ixtapa Island just offshore. There is horseback riding through the adjacent jungle and coconut plantation. Next to the street, an enclosed natural mangrove lagoon called “El Cocodrilario” is home to crocodiles that swim and bask in the sun, a fascinating ecological attraction.
Just offshore (a ten-minute boat ride from Playa Linda), this small wooded island with four lovely beaches is delightful for a day of sunning, swimming snorkeling, eating, even scuba diving. The main beach, Cuachalalate, and Varadero and Coral also, are lined with palapa-topped seafood restaurants. The calm waters are great kayaking, aqua-tricycling, jetskii and banana-boat riding. A short walk across the island takes you to Playa Varadero which "faces the sunset". The small Playa Carey is secluded, and Playa Coral on the north shore has crystal-clear water for snorkeling.
Outboard skiffs run frequently (from 9 am until 5 pm) between the Playa Linda pier and docks at both Cuachalalate and Varadero beaches; round-trip costs approximately $35 pesos. Alternatively, larger boats leave from the Municipal Pier in Zihuatanejo for a 30-minute scenic tour to Ixtapa Island; round-trip costs approximately $250 pesos. Skiff service between Playa Linda and the island also operate from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Source: Conventions and Visitors Bureau of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo (OCVIZ)