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Sunday December 17 2017
A Hidden Treasure: Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo
Tim Sullivan

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The combination of near perfect weather, modern infrastructure, beautiful beaches, varied activities, reasonable cost of living and hospitable populace create an inviting atmosphere both to tourists and retirees.

Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is located southwest of Mexico City, in the coastline of the State of Guerrero, in the area know as The Golden Pacific which is part of the “Mexican Riviera”. Set against the green backdrop of the sheltering Sierra Madre del Sur mountains, the greater Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo area runs along some 17 miles of scenic coastline with sandy beaches, quiet lagoons, scalloped coves, rocky bluffs and offshore islets.


In 1972 FONATUR selected Ixtapa, Guerrero as it’s second Integrally Planned Resort (Cancun was the first) with the aim of attracting tourists from the North American and relieving excessive seasonal demands on Acapulco, which is located some 150 miles to the southeast along the Pacific Coast. It was the first tourism project financed by the World Bank.

Ixtapa occupies 2,016 hectares (approximately 5,120 acres) which are divided into 4 zones: the tourist zone representing 40%; the urban zone 9.3%; the ecological reserve with 48.5%; and the remaining 20% for other uses. Golf enthusiasts visiting Ixtapa have can enjoy 2 Championship golf courses, which have been hosts to many important national and international tournaments. Also it is worth mentioning the Marina Ixtapa with its 621 berths, as well as a wide variety of first-class restaurants, bars, nightclubs, stores and boutiques. There are three bike paths for cyclists, offering a 10 km tour, during which you can experience the varied tropical flora and fauna for which Ixtapa is world famous.

Two of Mexico’s most important chain stores have a prominent presence in the Ixtapa area: Comercial Mexicana and Bodega Aurrera, which offer to the resident and visiting population wide selections of local and imported groceries as well as a wide range of sundry items. Within a comfortable drive of a few hours are such internationally recognized chain and big box stores such as Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot and Sears.

Ixtapa’s Beachfront

Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is blessed with an abundance of beautiful beaches such as Playa Palmar upon which Ixtapa is located, and Playa La Ropa on Zihuatanejo Bay, which is famous worldwide. To the south of Zihuatanejo are the equally famous beaches of Playa Larga and Playa Blanca. North of Ixtapa are found the beaches of Ixtapa Island and Playa Linda which marks the northern boundary of Ixtapa.

Playa Palmar is populated primarily by high-rise hotels with a handful of completed condominium complexes, including Amara Ixtapa, Bay View Grand Residential, and Real de Palmas. Located on the northwest end of Playa Palmar, beyond Hotel Row, are the Monarca, Playa Iguana, Marina del Sol and Marina Real condominium complexes. Presently under construction on the northwestern end of Playa Palmar are Bay View Grand Marina and the Punta Marina Ixtapa condominiums.

Infraestructure Improvements

The three levels of government, Federal, State and Municipal, are continuously maintaining, expanding and improving the infrastructure of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. Even though some of the projects create the odd inconvenience we are very fortunate that the authorities are committed to health and well-being of the citizens of and visitors to this world famous resort.

In particular, there are two very significant projects being undertaken in the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo area. In Ixtapa, Fonatur is opening a new Residential Section in the Playa Linda area at the northern end of Ixtapa, which will have a capacity for 2,050 residences and 1,050 hotel rooms. Fonatur is building roads and installing the urban infrastructure and will market the properties through its sales staff with the cooperation of local Real Estate Professionals.

In Zihuatanejo, work continues on the opening of a new road leading from the main Zihuatanejo-Acapulco highway through the hillsides directly to the southern rim of Zihuatanejo Bay thus providing easy access to the booming residential areas of Zihuatanejo’s coastline from the bay southeast towards the undeveloped areas of Playa Riscal, Playa Manzanilla, Playa La Pedragosa, Playa Larga, Playa Blanca and Barra de Potosi.

These urbanization projects as well as other in progress or planned for the near future will serve to facilitate the expected influx of Residential and Tourist Development by National and International Investors, Developers and Hotel Operators.

Medical Facilities

In Ixtapa we are fortunate to have the Naval Hospital, which is operated by the Mexican Navy. The facility is fully equipped to handle a wide range of medical needs. In Zihuatanejo we have the Federal Government operated Social Security Hospital as well as the General Hospital, which is operated by the State of Guerrero. In addition, there are numerous private clinics and hospitals.


Good weather is reliably consistent, with an average of 300 sunny days a year and temperatures ranging from 23 to 33 degrees Celsius (73 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit). The rainy season lasts from late June through to late September or early October with an average rainfall of 300 millimeters (12 inches) per month; the rain usually falling in the evening or at night. During Ixtapa's rainy season the area is at its most beautiful; the countryside comes alive with verdant grass and fragrant blossom and from November to April, fresh sea breezes reduce the temperature


The Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo airport receives on a daily basis numerous National and International flights. The main national airlines provide direct flights from Mexico City, Toluca and Monterrey, as well as international flights from Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles to mention a few.

International carriers such as Alaska Airlines, Continental, Delta, United and U.S. Airways also claim Ixtapa as a major destination. Depending on the season numerous Charter Services also provide service from cities throughout the United States and Canada.


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