We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

Monterey, California
Level Contributor
673 posts
37 reviews
Save Topic
How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

We will be in Puerto Vallarta (first timers) in May, for a couple of weeks and planning another three week trip in September or October somewhere else. After reading all your helpful suggestions about Puerto Vallarta, I thought I would ask for opinions on a Zihuatanejo vacation, from Puerto Vallarta lovers. It may be that we decide to spend another 3 weeks in PV, but would love to hear from people that have been to both places.

We are the type of vacationers that like simple things, beach walks, sunrises, sunsets, driving around and discovering places that we have researched, great food, but not fancy, beautiful views, swimming in the ocean and a pool, at days end, people and wildlife watching? We usually eat breakfast in, a substantial lunch out and not much for dinner, maybe share an appetizer and have a drink while enjoying some music or a good view. Just so you have an idea of what we might like.

Thanks so much.

minnesota
Level Contributor
497 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

You realize when you ask that question on a Puerto Vallarta board, you'll only hear the GREAT things about PV. Go to the Ixtapa board, and they'll all rave about Ixtapa. Post on both and weigh the responses.

I've been to both and like both - yet we find ourselves returning to P.V. more often than Ixtapa & Zih. In our opinion, it's more charming, so much more beautiful, and love, love poking around the town finding new places.

Beach walking is better in Ixtapa vs. the hotel zone in P.V. as it's quite rocky and smaller area before you hit the river. But the scenic bay with the mountain backdrop is a view that is stunning! Nothing like waking up, enjoying it and then watching the sunset with that glorious background. PV has a bigger town area to walk around through. And the people - well, never have me met nicer and welcoming folks!

Puerto Vallarta
Level Contributor
10,893 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

Zihua is like PV 15 years ago. Depending on where you stay, you may need a taxi. At night, it is quite dark and I felt there was a lot more drugs and children on the street at night. I never felt comfortable there as I do in Vallarta. It seems a little seedy later at night. Taxi drivers always offered me drugs which I never had happen in Vallarta. They do not have the wide range or variety of restaurants as Vallarta does. Playa Ropa and Los Gatos are nice beaches.

I also did not find Zihua as easy to get around by foot. More spread out, esp. if you are staying outside of the central area. I did not find it less expensive than Vallarta except for maybe the taxis. Go check it out- my cousin loves Zihua but she also loves Vallarta.

Edmonton
Level Contributor
8,300 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

I love PV but am very intrigued to try Ixtapa next. I just can't imagine only going to one location all the time, so we try to get to different locations, but we do always go back to PV in our rotation. We've decided on Ixtapa for our next long family holiday though

However, I have to say that I was offered drugs a few times in PV (once when I had a 5 month old in a stroller and I was by myself at 10am). I think that happens everywhere, at least it does to us, usually to my husband, but to me a few times and all the places we've visited in Mexico. I don't let it bother me.

Monterey, California
Level Contributor
673 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

Thanks, folks, for your opinions. I knew, when I wrote this post, that I was asking for opinions from Puerto Vallarta, lovers. That is exactly why I posted here. It seems that I might get an honest, "good" answer from people that I know love PV. If they had good things to say about Zihuatanejo then it might be a less bias opinion, than if I asked a Zihuatanejo lover.

Like, Maried11, we also have decided to travel around to different vacation spots. We usually go to Tulum and Playa del Carmen, but thought we would give PV, and possibly, Zihuatanejo a try this year. Of course, that is with the complete understanding that the Pacific coast beaches will differ greatly from the Caribbean beaches.

Minneapolis
Level Contributor
84 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

So many thoughts to share! A summation would be that PV has so very much to offer to everybody - we love the charming city of PV, the quaintness of the city, the easy mobility of PV, the restaurants, the people, did we mention the restaurants? Lol! We love the weather of Zihua/Ixtapa - warmer, but it certainly is spread out and created for tourists, so no charm in Ixtapa and Zihua has lost some of its charm in later years due to many different things.

Chilliwack, Canada
Level Contributor
154 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

We only started visiting Mexico last year. We've been to Puerto Vallarta twice and Zihuatenejo once. We loved both, but really preferred Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta just seemed to have a lot more for us to do. Maybe we like the bigger city? We've decided we'd like to go back to Zihuatenejo for a long weekend, but stay in Puerto Vallarta for longer.

Vancouver BC
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
9,194 posts
188 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

PV is a city and Zihuatanejo is a town. PV has many more diversions and an easy place to spend a vacation without ever going to a beach. You're in Monterey which is different from SF. Make sense?

Monterey, California
Level Contributor
673 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

Thank you, all for your input.

AlegreVBC, I absolutely understand. Just wanted to hear what people thought, as I respect the opinion of so many of the TA contributors.

Pookielpv You summed things up well. Thanks. It seems that there will be much more to easily do.

Maiaj Makes sense that you like both, but Zihuantanejo is more of a long weekend place. That gives me a better idea of how the two compare.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
3,083 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

Totally makes sense Alegre,Travel Judy is a DE for Ixtapa,But She goes to Cabo to dine out,stroll out late and do stuff She cannot do in Ixtapa.Different places for different stuff.PV for dining,shopping,nightlife and Zihuatanejo for a more rustic beach experience compared to the PV beaches

Winona, Minnesota
Level Contributor
644 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: How does Zihuatanejo/ixtapa compare to Puerto Vallarta?

We went to Zihua for two years until we tried PV and fell in love with it. Zihua was very quiet, dirtier and I really did not feel comfortable walking around by myself. As Bzy1 said- seedier...There are SO many reasons why we like PV better- the great food, the people, the safety, and the variety of things to do, not to mention the nearby towns and beaches to explore.