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Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

manitoba
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Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

Could someone help me understand Ixtapa and Zihua a bit. Ixtapa, not a big deal---Zihua--a little more interesting. The wife and I always go A/I when we travel and a beach is important to us. Is Zihua on the water?? Are there all inclusive resorts there?? If so---recommendations?? Does one fly to Ixtapa--then bus to resort in Zihua?? Or is there flights into Zihua?? We went to Huatulco last year and loved it and wish to return----however, we also know that its a large world and Zihua looks very interesting--Your help and views will be much appreciated.

San Jose
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1. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

The airport is actually on the outskirts of Zaihuatanejo. Zijuat is the old fishing village, that has grown up a bit over the last few centuries. It is on a smallish bay, and is old and authentic. The government decided to add a tourist area (Ixtapa). It is just a few miles away, and cabs are readily available. Ixtapa is a row of hotels and condo's a few miles long. There are maybe 10 hotels and 5 or so condo complexes along the coast with a few inland. There are several restaurants and shops mostly concentrated in the commercial zone. Ixtapa also has an upscale yacht harbor. Ixtapa being the tourist area is newer and cleaner, and not over-done like Cancun and some of the other resort areas. Zihuat offers a wider range of places to stay from super cheap but clean to very expensive and exclusive resorts. You will find some cheaper shopping but also a small area geared toward tourism. Be prepared for strong opinions favoring one or the other. Some of the posters will be from the travel or real estate industry, and may have their interests or that of their friends in mind over yours. Do not get fooled into thinking Ixtapa is some crazy spring break spot with drunk teenagers all over. In general it will be Mexican nationals and some american tourists mixed in. Both are safe and layed back. You can stay in either and get to the other for a few bucks by cab. (Disclaimer, some of the above is opinion, and I prefer Ixtapa).

Saskatoon, Canada
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for Riviera Maya
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2. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

Do you have Google Earth on your computer? Check out the area and pics on there, it will give you a great vision of both the city and bay of Zihuantanejo and the resort area which is Ixtapa.

If you don't have it installed, install it! It's a huge benefit when planning vacations.

Both are very nice....we have stayed in Ixtapa twice (both times at the AI the Dorado Pacifico, which is basic but nice) and then we stayed in Zihua at the Hotel Irma on Playa Madera for the second week the second trip.

Personally, we enjoyed both but preferred staying in Zihua. There is more to see and do in the city, and we walked on the pedestrian boardwalk along the ocean from our hotel every night for dinner and back, felt quite safe. There are also a lot of stores and restaurants in Ixtapa, and it is quite lovely and cleaner and more manicured than Zihua, which is a real Mexican city rather than a Fonatur-designed resort...it truly just boils down to which you prefer! :)

The beach in Ixtapa is one large, wide, golden stretch of sand, great for walking but can be very large waves- it is open ocean. Not always safe for swimming.

Hotels are all high rises (which means great views) and the mountains are farther back...Zihua is in a nice little bay with the buildings all on the sides of the mountains which come to the ocean, think Old Town Puerto Vallarta. There are four beaches in the bay, all are calmer than Ixtapa and swimmable, even decent snorkeling at Las Gatas, it's nice and clear and light sand for the Pacific coast.

If you choose Zihua, I would recommend the Brisas del Mar. There are no AIs in Zihua, they are all in Ixtapa. Good luck choosing!

Dallas, Tx
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3. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

Please look on the top right hand corner of this page for Top Questions. Click on Valuable Maps of the Area and they will give you a complete perspective of the area. The first map will show the location of the airport, Zihua and Ixtapa. Other maps will show you El Centro (downtown), Playa Madera and Playa la Ropa along with the location of Las Gatas.

A/I are not needed in Zihua as there are too many great restaurants in the area. See Great Food-Under $10 in Top Questions.

It really comes down to what you prefer, a government built high rise tourist area or a quaint authentic fishing village with lot's of local culture. Yes, I prefer Zihua!

Minnesota
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4. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

Gerry,

Like others have said, use google maps and put in Zihuatanejo, MX. You will then be able to see the layout of the two. (if you put in Ixtapa, it will drag you to someplace in Kansas!!!!)

Ixtapa is more open to the ocean beaches, while Zihuatanejo is the bay area, and to me at least, like staying on the lake.

For a first trip looking for AI, I would say the Barcelo is a real good bet for you. You can check their reviews here on TA. If AI is a coin flip, I would say the Dorado Pacifico is a great first trip hotel. (of course I have been staying there for years, so I am definitely biased)

The two towns (cities really, since Zihua sports about 100,000 residents now) are only a $5 cab ride apart. So pick what you think you will be comfortable in for a first stay, and you can get ideas for when you come back! (you will)

Keith

Edited: 27 May 2010, 15:18
Dallas, Tx
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5. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

Sounds like Keith prefers Ixtapa. Zihua Bay is far from being like a lake. It has mild surf that you can enjoy and swim in. Ixtapa surf is sometimes very dangerous and not swimable.

While the total population of Zihua is over 100,000, the quaint fishing village of El Centro (downtown on the beach) is basically 7 blocks by 7 blocks. It is easy walking distance to any of the many great restaurants and shops. Enjoy the local culture and if necessary take a taxi to see Ixtapa. You will be shocked to see the vast difference's of the two.

Saskatchewan
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6. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

We too had only been to AI's before so we were a little nervous about staying at Club Intrawest right on the beach at La Ropa. We loved it, we ate at places that this board recommended and had no problems.

We loved the Bay, nice warm water some waves but nothing really to worry about.

We loved walking to town everyday.

We will be coming back and are even planning to come for a month or so once we have more time off work..

Saskatoon, Canada
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7. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

Ixtapa is to Zihua as Cancun hotel zone or Playacar is to staying in town in Playa del Carmen....it's Nuevo Vallarta's concrete jungle of AI hotels or the marina area as to staying in a little hotel in Old Town Puerto Vallarta....it's staying in an AI in Tangolunda Bay as to staying in La Crucecita....it's staying in one of the corridor AI hotels as to staying in San Jose del Cabo or in La Paz....let's face it, it's fake Mexico as compared to real Mexico! *wink*

Some people prefer contrived and manicured and more luxurious, and some prefer their reality un-airbrushed, city grime and litter = charm to us....it just depends what you want in a vacation, no right or wrong, really. :)

manitoba
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8. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

Thank-you all for the very helpful replies!! Now I have an idea of what to expect, should we decide on Ixtapa/Zhia. Sounds like it could be much like Huatulco. We have been to Jamaica a couple times as well as DR and Mayan a few times---but we found this last vacation the best ever. Like i said---we are SO inclined to go back to Huatulco--but it's a big world. The everday Mexican people make the vacation . We think they are wonderful.

Saskatoon, Canada
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9. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

We have been to both HUX and ZIH, twice each.....I have to admit they are our two favourite Pacific coast destinations, Gerry. Very hard to choose!

Zihua is a much bigger city and more to see and do, more nightlife, more bars, more restaurants, more shopping (not better shopping, though, nothing like Cancun or PV, just MORE shops ;) ). It's definitely the more lively and exciting of the two destinations.

The beaches are much nicer in Huatulco, though. For a laid back, quieter, less busy, relaxing beach vacation, choose HUX.

The weather is about the same in both...maybe a bit hotter and a bit less humid in Huatulco in winter.

Hope that helps a bit more!

maggie

Edited: 28 May 2010, 06:54
toronto
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10. Re: Ixtapa/Zihua--some help

if you liked Huatulco you will LOve Ixtapa and Zihua....i personally prefer Ixtapa because i love the beach there listening to the crashing waves at night. i also love the barcelo ...clean and food i pretty good. we take the bus into zihua and taxi it backi at night

the beach in ixtapa is mucher nicer than huatulco...very long and wide and not on a slope...so much nicer for walking

Edited: 29 May 2010, 02:37
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