The last time I was in Ixtapa was with my then 20 month old daughter and her father. That same daughter is turning 29 next week! As you can imagine there have been a lot of changes in them both!
Being as this was going to be my first “in destination column” submission, I was eagerly looking forward to exploring and renewing my love of this beautiful part of Mexico.
Ixtapa is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico between Manzanillo and Acapulco. Guaranteed sunshine 300 days of the year and an average temperature of 28C makes it a popular snowbird destination for Canadians and Americans alike.
The true origins of the area began with what used to be the sleepy fishing village of Zihuatanejo. A unique city which has grown from a population of 25,000 in 1980s to the current population of approximately 110,000 it nevertheless has kept its traditional Mexican feel. The heart of Zihuatanejo is El Centro. An area of narrow streets paved with stones and home to markets selling everything from sea shells, to hardware to fresh fruit, seafood and every tourist kitsch imaginable. The Paseo del Pescador (Fisherman’s Path) is a tree-lined pedestrian walkway that follows the beach and offers a wonderful variety of local restaurants, bars, music venues and artisan shops. Small boutique style hotels and pensions abound. Truly a wonderful place to spend a few hours wandering the winding streets and watching the local fisherman unload their daily catch.
Located 6 kms north of “Zihwhat” is the Hotel Zone known as “Ixtapa”. Situated on a long golden sand beach replete with dozens of high-rise style hotels and resorts. This is the tourist “buzz” zone. Shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, a nonstop party vibe and atmosphere offering virtually every possible form of entertainment and distraction. The perfect location for that vacationer looking for action! At the end of the Ixtapa boulevard is now the exclusive Marina district. A boat lover’s dream with over 100 yacht slips as well as luxury homes/condos, golf course and a lovely promenade lined with exquisite shops and restaurants.
Continuing past La Marina Ixtapa you now head out towards Playa Linda. A long stretch of dark sand which is popular with the locals and home to the crocodile and iguana conservatory. It was also home to our resort, the AZUL IXTAPA GRAND. A luxurious hotel with huge well appointed suites and fantastic oceanview terraces. Service and amenities are stellar and staff are incredibly helpful and friendly. The gym is spectacular with state of the art equipment and offers free classes including spin, pilates and yoga!! Pools are gorgeous and waiters are quick and efficient with drink service. Restaurants are excellent and the buffet changes daily. Only real downfall is the lack of a beach. The resort is built on a rock promontory and therefore has no usable beach however there is a lovely wooden promenade which takes you over to the older sister resort Azul Ixtapa where you then have access to their facilities as well as the expansive Playa Linda Beach.
Asta Luego for now! Heading out for a kayak to Ixtapa Island!