IXTAPA TRAVEL GUIDE
Places to Stay -
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A short stack of medium-rise hotels comprise Ixtapa’s main hotel zone, fronted by small strip malls housing restaurants, bars, shops, and pharmacies. It’s not terribly elegant, but practical. Among the brand-name hotels you’ll find here are El Emporio, Dorado Pacífico, Barceló, Presidente Intercontinental, and Best Western Posada Real.
You can jump on a city bus or in a taxi to head to nearby Zihuatanejo and its beautiful beaches, or to the beaches of Ixtapa’s smaller hotel zones, such as Playa Quieta (“Quiet Beach”), presided over by all-inclusive pioneer Club Med, or Playa Linda (“Beautiful Beach”), where you’ll find the Meliá Hotel and Convention Center, the Capella Ixtapa (see below), and a few other resort accommodations.
One of the destination’s newer offerings is the pricey but luxurious Capella Ixtapa ($$$$, Playa Linda, Zona Hotelera II, Tel. 755/555-1100, US toll-free 877/247-6688, toll-free in Mexico 01800-227-3552, www.capellaixtapa.com), offering three restaurants (with 24-hour room service), beautiful room terraces, spa, and all the usual amenities of a top-of-the-line resort hotel.
Outside the main hotel zone on its own beautiful beach, Club Med Ixtapa ($$$$, Playa Quieta s/n, Tel. 755/555-1000, www.clubmed.com) is a great choice for families: they have tons of fun things to do for kids of all ages (there’s even a nursery for babies), and for their adult chaperones. Completely renovated in 2007, it is sleek and stylish, too, and represents a great value.
Places to Eat -
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For reasonably priced, traditional Mexican seafood dishes, visit El Arbolito ($$-$$$, Centro Comercial Los Patios, Tel. 755/553-3700). Watch TV at the large bar, or sit at a table and order whole red snapper, or something lighter like a shrimp or fish quesadilla.
Beccofino ($$$$, Veleros 6, Tel. 755/553-1770) serves seafood and continental cuisine and overlooks the harbor at Marina Ixtapa. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Restaurant El Faro ($$$$, Pacifica Resort Condominiums, Playa Vista Hermosa, Tel. 755/555-2510) offers stunning vistas of the ocean and lobster as well as international dishes. Call ahead to reserve a table on the patio or near the large, open windows.
Things to do
Water taxis depart for Isla Ixtapa from Playa Linda, and from the municipal boat launch in Zihuatanejo for Playa las Gatas (Zihuatanejo).
At the northeast end of Playa del Palmar, near the Best Western Palma Real, dolphins and tourists interact at the Delfinarium.
Club de Golf Marina Ixtapa (tel. 755/553-1410 or 755/553-1424) was designed by Robert von Hagge in 1994. It has 18 holes, par 72.
The destination’s original course, designed in 1977 by Robert Trent Jones, Jr, is Campo de Golf Palma Real (tel. 755/553-1163 or 755/553-1030). It also is a 18-hole, par 72 course.
The little shopping malls across from the hotels offer resort wear, baskets, ceramics, silver and alpaca jewelry, pewter tableware, and other treasures. The handicrafts market is located at the east end of the hotel zone. (You can also take a taxi or bus to the many shops and artisans’ market in Zihua.) For women’s resort clothing check out Mic Mac, María de Guadalajara, and Abacá, all in La Puerta shopping mall, as well as Dunes (La Fuente shopping mall), which specializes in relaxed cotton clothing.
The resort hotels offer the usual bars, lounges and dinner shows; hotel guests can attend their own and those of the nearby high-rises. In addition, visit Kopados (Plaza Kiosko at Andador Punta Potosi, Tel. 755/553-2000), which offers rock in English and Spanish. On weekend nights and more often during the high season and vacation periods, the discos come to life, including Alebrije (Paseo de las Garzas 1 at Blvd. Ixtapa, Tel. 755/553-2710) and Christine (at Hotel NH Krystal, Blvd. Ixtapa s/n, Tel. 755/553-0456).
How to Get There
By Bus Bus lines that serve the area include Estrella de Oro (Tel. 01800/900-0105, www.estrelladeoro.com.mx), Estrella Blanca (Tel. 01800/507-5500, www.estrellablanca.com.mx) and Autovias (Tel. 01800/622-2222). Parikuni (Tel. 755/544-6991 or 01800/310-3103) serves destinations within Guerrero state.
Driving Distances Acapulco: 250 km (153 mi); Guadalajara: 570 km (352 mi); Morelia: 387 km (240 mi); Mexico City (via Morelia) 690 km (428 mi)
By Air You can get round-trip flights to Zihua/Ixtapa’s international airport. The code is ZIH and the airport’s phone number is 755/554-2070. Or choose an open-jaw flight, flying into (or out of) Mexico City, Morelia, or Uruapan, and following the Autopista Siglo XXI to the coast. On some airlines, especially Mexican ones, it’s not much more expensive than flying round-trip out of Zihua. International airlines that serve ZIH include American (Tel. 755/554-7098), United (Tel. 755/553-7035), Delta (Tel. 755/553-7145) as well as MagniCharter (Tel. 755/553-0018), American(Tel. 755/553-2055), and US Air (755/554-8634). Mexican carriers include Interjet (Tel. 755/554-8457) and Aeroméxico (Tel. 755/553-2055).
Tourists can get info about the area at the Oficina de Convenciones y Visitantes (Paseo de las Gaviotas 12, across from Hotel Krystal, Tel. 755/553-1270 or 755/553-1570). Their website is http://www.triangulodelsol.travel.