Ixtapa (pronounced Eesh-tap-ah) and the other local community right next to it called Zihuatanejo (pronounced in shortened version as “Zee wah” were custom designed in 1970 by the Mexican government.
In 1968, The Bank of Mexico put up funding for several tourist resorts along the coastline which included the extremely popular Cancún.
The World Bank had also offered a loan at the time of original construction when the plan for Ixtapa was first being drawn up.
Former basic fishing villages were zoned, built-out and redeveloped into sprawling holiday destinations that take advantage of the sea-based activities in the area like fishing, surfing and snorkeling in shallow water.
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The La Playa Municipal is the municipal beach for this neighboring town. Busy during the day with many fisherman coming and going, and later landing on the beach to sell their fresh catch directly to local vendors, restaurants and cafes.
The quaint cobblestone streets running inland have gone upmarket to support the regular influx of wealthy tourists.
Boutiques have sprung over selling Mexican hand-crafts, clothing using the design and colors of the national dress, and local coffee grown up in the mountains.
For affordable food items and other handicrafts, the Mercado Municipal market caters to locals and new visitors.
Going To The Beach
Hotel Capella – Ixtapa
There are several beaches which are accessible in the north and south of both Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.
Isla Ixtapa is perhaps the most interesting. It’s actually a mini island which many people visit as a pleasant day trip.
La Casa Que Canta Resort – Zihuatanejo
Isla Ixtapa has four beaches to choose from and some nice cafes to eat, drink and sit outside while people watching.
Water taxis are available from Playa Linda in Ixtapa or Zihuatanejo’s Playa las Gatas over to Isla Ixtapa.
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Las Gatas is also popular because it lacks the strong currents that are present on some beaches nearby. For catching some of the best sunsets, head over to Playa la Ropa which has lovely beaches and perfect views as the sun goes down.
Resorts Outside of Government Development
Before the manufactured developments of Cancún, Ixtapa and others, the beach community was still a busy one, if a little less organised.
Troncones which sits 21 miles north of Ixtapa and Barra de Potosi which is south of Ixtapa by some 25 miles both provide a clue as to what Cancún and Ixtapa might have been like before they went big tourism.
Ixtapa – Mexico
Troncones is popular with surfers and remains at its heart a small village community, but with good transport access being very close to the coastal road.
Barra de Potosi which is a short distance from the town of San Jeronimito is a short piece of sand that also has some fishing activity with fishing boats coming and going.
Playa Blanca is perhaps a better choice with a longer stretch of sand perfect for a spot of horseback riding and plentiful fresh seafood served right on the beach from local cafes.
Prices are noticeably lower outside of the government developments when currency switches back from US dollars to Mexican peso.