Things to do in Ixtapa
Plazas - The extensive network of plazas is brimming with shops selling clothes, jewelry, alcohol, arts, crafts and sundry. It has some rather good restaurants and bars and a variety of other interesting nooks and crannies. It frequently features free open-air entertainment on weekends.
The Marina has a handful of restaurants and a nice ambience. There are apparently crocodiles in the shallow, rocky waters so this is not a place to take a spontaneous dip. A big, white tower whose current purpose is not entirely clear rests quietly over the scene.
Ixtapa Beaches - Playa El Palmar is Ixtapa’s main beach. It boasts great views, wide sandy beaches, interesting offshore rock formations, parasailing, cabanas, beach runners willing to bring you just about anything you desire, touts selling jewelry, handcrafts and all the rest. Nice beach, very nice, but not for swimming. The spectacular waves crashing into shore sort of speak for themselves on that point. The area also includes a small beach, Playa Vista Hermosa, which though not technically private is only accessible via the Las Brisas hotel property. Several kilometers up the coast is Playa Linda, an attractive strip of largely undeveloped beach with a pier that serves nearby Isla Grande.
Isla Ixtapa (Isla Grande) offers a series of small beaches connected by secluded paths. Playa Varadero is the main beach. Great seafood, safe waters for swimming and jet skiing and some pretty exotic views. My favorite part is the excellent $200 pesos one-hour messages complete with message tables and incense. Snorkeling is also available. This island offers some serious R & R. A shuttle boat from the nearby beach runs $40 pesos per person (round trip) and takes about 10 minutes. The pier is about 10 kilometers away from Ixtapa with a sidewalk running pretty much the whole way. I walked it one Sunday, got blisters on my feet. A cab from Ixtapa proper costs about $70 pesos. Remember, the last water taxi leaves the Island at 5:00 pm and you'll need your ticket, so don't be late and don't lose your ticket.
Playa Troncones is located about 30 minutes up the coast from Isla Ixtapa / Playa Linda.
Horse drawn carriage rides are available through the clam streets. There’s a children’s water park next door to the Ixtapa Palace hotel with some very serious water slide action.
Museums - The Museo de Arquelogia de la Costa Grande is located in Zihuatanejo on Paseo del Pescador near Gurrero. It covers the history of the area from prehispanic times through the colonial era. Pottery included in the museum indicates early trade with regions from Teotihuacan (near Mexico City) to the Olmec (on the gulf coast) and includes evidence of contact with Toltec and later Aztec groups as well.
Sunset Cruises - Yates del Sol has a sunset cruise which departs from the Puerto Mio pier in Zihuatanejo. The cost is approximately $50 USD and includes an open bar.
Fishing Trips - The boat cooperative in Zihuatanejo has fishing boats that will take you and your party fishing at prices far less than those from the marina Ixtapa. While they do accept credit cards, they also offer a cash discount.
Golf - There is an 18 hole course at the Marina Ixtapa Golf Course and another at Club de Golf Ixtapa Palma Real (across from the Sheraton).
Shopping - In Zihuatanejo, there is the Artisans Market (on Cinco de Mayo) and the Municipal Market (on Benito Juarez) along with a host of small shops near the water. In Ixtapa you will want to check out the Mercado de Artesania Turistico (near Hotel Barcelo). Then there is the Marina as well as a host of small shops behind the hotels which line the beach.