Zihuatanejo, or Zihua as it’s affectionately called, is a Pacific paradise of beautiful beaches, friendly people and an easygoing lifestyle. Until the 1970s it was a sleepy fishing village but with the construction of Ixtapa next door, Zihua’s tourism industry boomed practically overnight.
Parts of the city have become quite touristy, especially when cruise ships are in town, and luxury hotels are slowly replacing old family guesthouses. But for the most part, Zihua has retained its historic charm. The narrow cobblestone streets of downtown hide wonderful local restaurants, bars, boutiques and artisan studios. Fishers still meet every morning on the beach by Paseo del Pescador (Fishermen’s Passage) to sell their catch of the day. At night, young lovers and families stroll carefree along the romantic waterfront sidewalk. Zihua is the best of both worlds. To learn more about all the beautiful beaches of the Mexican Riviera, visit here. Now view our Zihuatanejo Vacations Travel Guide to help plan your next Mexican Riviera vacation!
Zihuatanejo Weather – When to Visit
Zihuatanejo has a tropical savannah climate, with dry summers and winters. The temperature over the course of the year varies from 67°F to 90°F. Rarely, the temperature goes below 62°F or over 92°F. The warm season of Zihuatanejo is between June 30 and September 2, when the average daily high temperature is above 89°F. Zihuatanejo can get crowded during the summer months since it is a popular destination among international and Mexican tourists. The weather can also get warm and humid in the summer. It is best to travel to the Guerrero coast between November and May to avoid crowds.
Ixtapa’s finest attraction is a beautiful oasis. The turquoise waters are crystal-clear, calm and great for snorkeling. Playa Corales on the back side of the island is the nicest and quietest beach, with soft white sand, and an offshore coral reef. Enramada seafood restaurants and massage providers dot the island. Frequent boats depart from the pier at Playa Linda. The island gets mobbed by tourists in high season.
Ciclopista de Ixtapa
This is a wonderful bike trail that goes thru Ixtapa. The beautiful, perfectly maintained bike track is practical to run or bike to / from some of the hotels to the nature reserve just in front of Playa Linda. It makes a full circuit to the marina in Ixtapa and passes in front of most hotels. You’ll ride through butterflies and under lush green forest trees.. You’ll see all sorts of wildlife on both sides of the trail.
If you’ve always wanted to ride on a dolphin’s belly, you can do it in Ixtapa. Delfiniti is a well-established company that offers hour-long dolphin swims that include belly rides, a foot push, and of course a few dolphin hugs and kisses. Any hotel or tourist agency in town can arrange the excursion, which is offered at Definiti Ixtapa. Kids must be at least 8 to swim with the dolphins. Visit Delfiniti Ixtapa for more information.
Playa La Ropa
The gorgeous broad expanse of Playa La Ropa (Clothes Beach), named for a Spanish galleon that was wrecked and had its cargo of silks washed ashore. Bordered by palm trees and seafood restaurants, La Ropa is great for swimming, parasailing and waterskiing; you can also rent sailboards and sailboats. It’s a steep but enjoyable 1.5km walk from Playa Madera along Carretera Escénica, which follows the clifftops and offers fine views over the water.
Playa Las Gatas
Isolated ‘Cat Beach’ is named for whiskered nurse sharks that once inhabited the waters or for wildcats that lurked in the jungles onshore. It’s a protected beach, crowded with sunbeds and restaurants. It’s good for snorkeling (there’s some coral) and as a swimming spot for children, but beware of sea urchins. Beach shacks and restaurants rent out snorkeling gear, and you can get a boat to Playa Las Gatas departing frequently from Zihuatanejo’s pier.
Things to Do in Zihuatanejo
This romantic cruise aboard the Picante catamaran takes you for a sail around the bay of Zihuatanejo, past the caves of Majahua and then along hotel zone of Ixtapa. View the blowhole in the twin island volcanic outcroppings canopied with soaring frigate & booby birds. Keep your eyes open for the green flash! Includes open bar, appetizers, and transportation to and from your hotel in Ixtapa. Telephone: 755-554-2694 Web: Picante.
They have a passion for diving but all of their staff has been involved with conservation efforts for years and it is their philosophy to bring safe fun diving with an appreciation to the aquatic environment. They offer both diving and snorkeling tours through their full service dive facility. Their shop is very easy to find, they are one block from the beach in between restaurant Murmullo and Bar Zorro’s. Telephone: 755-102-3738 Web: Dive Zihua.
Carlo Scuba is a 3 generation PADI dive center located on Playa las Gatas since 1962.PADI instruction is offered from beginners to instructor courses, as well as many specialties like photography, deep diver, underwater navigator, night diver,nitrox diver, multi-level diver and more. Telephone: 755-554-6003 Web: Carlo Scuba.
Proving surf trips to Playa Linda, Saladita, El Rancho, Rio Nexpa, Loma Bonita and more. SUP trips to Isla Ixtapa, Barra de Potosi, El Rancho and Saladita. Telephone: 755-553-1384 Web: Catcha L’Ola
Victor Hugo Islas is a licensed tour guide certified by the Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) and with 30 yrs of experience that back him up working with tourists in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. Zihua Tours offers: Zihuatanejo Day Tour,Sport Fishing, sightseeing, horseback riding by the beach, countryside tour, sunset cruise, patzcuaro tour, private tour,farmers market. Telephone: 755-558-6960 Web: Zihua Tours
Best Zihuatanejo Restaurants
Bistro del Mar $11 – 30
With its landmark sail roof over candlelit tables and its fusion of Latin, European and Asian flavors, this beachside bistro is a romantic treat. Delicious fish flavors are the mainstay, with standout dorado sashimi and snapper or whatever is the fish of the day done in outstandingly inventive ways. The house wines are a cut above average too. Service is outstanding. Telephone: 755-554-2142 Web: Bistro del Mar
Doña Licha Under $10
This place near the mercado is renowned for its down-home Mexican cooking, casual atmosphere and excellent prices. There are always several comidas corridas to choose from, including a popular roast chicken plate; all come with rice, beans and handmade tortillas. Breakfasts are huge. Telephone: 755-110-1608 Web: Doña Licha
Marisqueria Yolanda $11 – 30
Staff here open oysters with a hammer, and dice and drown ceviche on the street side, where drunk boleros belly up to the sidewalk bar with the boys and sing about their unbridled, unrequited romance to one too many beers. And when the choir is breathless, the jukebox picks up the slack. It’s known as the Catedral de Mariscos (cathedral of seafood) for a reason. Telephone: 755-121-3306 Web: Marisqueria Yolanda
II Mare $11 – 30
A romantic Italian restaurant with a fabulous bird’s-eye perspective on the bay, Il Mare is well regarded for its Mediterranean pasta and seafood specialties, including a fresh insalata di mare (marinated seafood salad) with squid, octopus and shrimp marinated in olive oil and lime. Pair yours with wine from Spain, Italy, France or Argentina. On Wednesday, it gets some Greek dishes going. Telephone: 755-554-9067 Web: II Mare
Paty’s $11 – 30
On the sand at the main access to Playa La Ropa, this place serves everything from big juices to grilled octopus and snapper to shrimp sautéed in tequila to fish fajitas, along with an array of tasty soups, salads and omelettes. Enjoy the fare under thatched and linen umbrellas in the sand with rattan lanterns dangling from the palms. Service is neither swift nor effusive. Telephone: 755-544-2213 Web: Paty’s
Best Zihuatanejo Bars & Nightclubs
Bandidos De Zihua
There’s salsa, Cuban, or romantic music at Bandidos from Tuesday through . It’s smack in the middle of downtown and almost as popular with locals as with travelers—both foreign and domestic. In the afternoon and early evening you can get drinks, snacks, and full meals at the bar and outdoor patio. The TV is usually tuned to sports, though the volume is turned way down. Telephone: 755-553-8072 Web: Bandidos De Zihua
Capricho’s Grill has live music Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—usually world, Latin, flamenco, or jazz—and occasionally hosts special events, such as concerts during March’s Guitarfest. You can dine in a lovely courtyard with palm trees and hanging lanterns, or enjoy snacks, cocktails, and wine, and a front seat for the performances from the lounge. Telephone: 755-554-3019.
The idea behind this hip, three-level “concept store” near Playa la Ropa is rather broad: it’s a coffee shop, bar, restaurant, art gallery, surf boutique, gourmet shop, furniture store, lounge, occasional nightclub, and condo-sales platform. Zihua’s young and beautiful congregate here to hear international DJs, sip cappuccinos, or just see and be seen on the rooftop terrace. Telephone: 755-544-6037 Web: Loot
El Canto de las Sirenas
Though it’s hardly a secret—it’s one of the venues that hosts the Guitarfest in March— El Canto de la Sirena is something of a hidden gem, if only because of its unlikely location outside of town by the main bus station. This local favorite is owned by a local legend, guitarist José Luis Cobo López, who performs most evenings. There’s live music (and sometimes dancing) Tuesday through Saturday starting at 10 pm; jam sessions usually last until the wee hours. Web: El Canto de las Sirenas
Angustina Mezcal & Cantina
The vibe at this hip, open-air mezcal bar right on the Paseo del Pescador is pure kitsch, complete with colorful vinyl-cord chairs and tables covered with lotería cards. It serves dozens of varieties of mezcal from five different Mexican states, along with inventive cocktails and tasty dishes ranging from burgers and tacos to duck carnitas. You’ll find occasional live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. It’s generally open from 4 pm to 2 am but closes early in the low season. Telephone: 755-544-8566 Web: Angustina Mezcal & Cantina
Best Zihuatanejo Hotels
Tentaciones Hotel & Lounge Pool
This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. Featuring free WiFi and an outdoor pool, Tentaciones Hotel & Lounge Pool – Adults Only offers accommodations in Zihuatanejo. The hotel has a sun terrace and views of the sea, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site. Each room includes a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A terrace or balcony are featured in certain rooms. Every room is equipped with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Bike rental and car rental are available at this hotel and the area is popular for biking.
La Casa Que Canta
This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. Located in Zihuatanejo, 4.5 miles from Ixtapa, La Casa Que Canta features a year-round outdoor pool and views of the sea. The hotel has a terrace and fitness center, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. Certain accommodations include a sitting area for your convenience. A terrace or balcony are featured in certain rooms. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom equipped with a bathtub or shower. Extras include bathrobes, free toiletries and a hairdryer. You will find a 24-hour front desk, gift shop, and shops at the property.
La Villa Luz
This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. Located in Zihuatanejo, 5 miles from Ixtapa, La Villa Luz features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property. Some accommodations feature a sitting area for your convenience. Certain rooms have views of the sea or mountains. Every room includes a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. There is a tour desk at the property.
Puerta Paraiso Hotel Boutique
They have a year-round outdoor pool and rooms have views of the pool. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free private parking is also available on site. Certain units include a sitting area for your convenience. Every room is equipped with a private bathroom equipped with a bathtub or shower. There is also a lounge at the property.
Hotel Aura Del Mar
Featuring free WiFi and a year-round outdoor pool, Hotel Aura del Mar offers accommodations in Zihuatanejo, just 4.2 miles from Ixtapa. The hotel has a sun terrace and hot tub, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. Certain rooms include a sitting area for your convenience. A balcony or patio are featured in certain rooms. Every room has a private bathroom. Superior rooms feature a spa tub or a hot tub. There is a 24-hour front desk, business center and a gift shop at the property. This hotel has a private beach area and car rental is available.