Ixtapa, once a coconut plantation is now an ultra-modern resort with all of the amenities any suave tourist would expect. Zihuatanejo, once a sleepy fishing village, is just a few miles from Ixtapa but has managed to retain the atmosphere that has always made this a great place for a quiet vacation. Ixtapa is comprised of high rise, high-end hotels, golf courses, a modern marina and the stylish restaurants, bars and nightclubs that go hand-in-hand with a trendy resort. Zihuatanejo, although it is a bit more crowded than it used to be, has not changed that much over the years. The town itself is small, covering a few square blocks, and filled with souvenir shops, reasonably priced hotels and restaurants.
The beaches of Zihuatanejo are spread out on the smallish Bahia de Zihuatanejo and are great for swimming, snorkeling, water sports and relaxation. There is a small pedestrian walkway that leads form the town square, to the bay beaches of Playa Madera, Playa La Ropa and Playa Las Gatas out near the point. The bay is lined with a few hotels, many palapa style restaurants and the ever present beach vendors. The feeling very laid back and you could easily imagine the you are somewhere in the South Seas. Ixtapa, on the other hand faces the Pacific Ocean and although it is usually safe for swimming here, some large waves may bring with them a fierce undertow, mostly in the summer. The palm lined beaches of Ixtapa are extremely beautiful and they are flanked by luxury hotels and restaurants. There is some great snorkeling at Isla Ixtapa just offshore, boats leave from Playa Linda at regular intervals. Parasailing, wind surfers, kayaks, banana rides and jet skis are available all along the Playa del Palmar, the main beach in Ixtapa.
Sportfishing is available from the main pier in Zihuatanejo and also from operators based in the marina at Ixtapa. There are two golf courses in Ixtapa and both are very enjoyable courses. Tennis courts are also available at both golf courses. Water sports dominate the activity scene in both Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo although there are horses available for rent at Playa Linda and and sunset cruises on a large catamaran are also popular. Ixtapa also has an aquatic park with the usual slides, rides and fast food for the kids and also separate facilities where you can swim with Dolphins. Sunsets seem enjoy a special significance in Ixtapa and there is even a cable car, at the south end of the beach, to take you up to Restaurant El Faro for the ultimate sunset experience of your vacation.
These two resorts compliment each other and give vacationers a lot of options they don't normally find in one resort. They are close together and each is easily accessed from the other, so that you really can have the best of both worlds in one location.