The modern Ixtapa and the traditional Zihuatanejo, separated by a few km, make up Mexico’s most famous and exclusive beaches with intense waves for surfing and others with calm waters, ideal for swimming and playing with children.
Ixtapa is a beach-resort community within the Zihuatanejo municipality in the state of Guerrero.
In the region’s hotel zones, comfortable resorts with different price ranges make lodging accessible to all budgets.
Water and land-based entertainment are available on the beaches, including sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, volleyball, soccer, and motorboat rides.
Near most beaches, there are other natural attractions, such as lagoons, mangroves, and jungle landscapes.
This is my selection of the 13 best beaches in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. I hope you can go to the Pacific coast of Guerrero to enjoy them very soon. Let’s begin!
13 Top beaches in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, Mexico
1. La Ropa beach
This vast, 1 km long beach, the largest in Zihuatanejo Bay, is one of the favorite beaches in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo because it has sectors with high waves, suitable for surfing, and others with moderate waves, ideal for swimming.
Playa La Ropa (clothing beach) offers multiple entertainment activities, such as windsurfing, sailing, parasailing, paragliding, jet skiing, banana boat rides, massage parlors, and yoga.
In its beachfront restaurants, you can enjoy the fresh specialties of the coastal cuisine of Guerrero.
It has all the necessary services to spend a lovely day at the beach, and its hotel infrastructure is ample and affordable for all budgets.
Its name comes from a curious legend about a Spanish ship that arrived from the Orient loaded with exotic products and capsized in the bay.
The beach shore started pulling pieces of clothing of fine silks, hence, baptized as La Ropa.
Best hotel in La Ropa beach
At La Casa Que Canta, you will enjoy one of the most exclusive stays in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
It is an intimate 5-star hotel located on the scenic road to Playa La Ropa, with an infinity-edge pool that illusively joins its waters with those of Zihuatanejo Bay.
Rocky outcroppings surround its oceanfront saltwater pool, and the stunning rooms feature spacious balconies and inviting Mexican decor with handcrafted furnishings.
Best restaurants near La Ropa beach
Mar y Cielo Restaurant, located on the scenic road to Playa La Ropa, specializes in seafood and Mexican cuisine.
It offers a pleasant dining experience due to its spectacular views, warm atmosphere, and excellent quality dishes and service.
Try the fish in pineapple and habanero marinade. The sauces are prepared tableside in a molcajete bowl.
Another great option in Playa La Ropa is Hao, where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a casual environment, feeling the sand on your feet.
2. Playa Larga (Long Beach)
Two activities stand out at Playa Larga Ixtapa: surfing and horseback riding.
The vast extension of the beach makes it a fantastic place to trot along the fine golden sand on horseback, watching the immensity of the sea with the salty breeze caressing your face.
At Playa Larga, you can also relax and sunbathe, rest in a hammock and take some fantastic photos of the sunset.
It is one of the best beaches in Ixtapa for tasting the specialties of the local cuisine, such as zarandeado fish, a freshly caught red snapper marinated in a guajillo chili-based sauce and grilled directly on the coals.
Best hotel in Playa Larga
Hotel Casa KauKan is a 4-star hotel located on the Paseo de Ixtapa, which provides a fabulous intimate experience through its cozy rooms.
It has outdoor bars, including one at the pool, a spa and fitness center, and two restaurants.
Best restaurants near Playa Larga
Less than 4 km from Playa Larga is Jungle Pizza, where they make the best wood-fired pizzas in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
It’s a tiny place, with delicious smoky aromas flooding the atmosphere and a never-ending stream of pizzas coming in and out of the oven.
Among the ones you should try during your stay in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo are the Chipotleña and the Norteña. There are vegetarian and vegan options.
Mediterranean cuisine enthusiasts can count on Espuma Mediterraneo, the hotel restaurant of the same name located on the scenic road.
The views are mesmerizing, and the food is first-class.
3. Varadero Beach (Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo)
Ixtapa Island, located in front of Ixtapa, is a small paradise for diving and other water sports in Zihuatanejo.
The short distance between the mainland and the islet is covered in 5 minutes by water taxis that take visitors to its four beaches: Cuachalalate, Coral, Sacrificio, and Varadero.
Varadero Ixtapa Beach has the calmest waters, with its many crabs crawling around the white sand, welcoming visitors.
Best hotel near Varadero Beach
The nearest hotels to Ixtapa Island and Varadero Beach are on the mainland.
One of them is Cala de Mar Resort & Spa, located on Bulevar Paseo Plaza Linda in Ixtapa’s Hotel Zone.
It has an outdoor swimming pool, three restaurants, bars, and a fitness center.
The Terrace Bar has three levels and is a fantastic place to have a drink while admiring the vast ocean spaces.
Best Restaurants near Varadero Beach
El Faro restaurant is excellent for a romantic dinner in Ixtapa for its breathtaking views and delicious cuisine.
It is located at the top of the Pacifica Resort, and the sunsets are a treat for the senses.
If you want to impress your partner, reserve a unique table with roses and torches.
4. El Palmar – Ixtapa’s “main” beach
This is Ixtapa’s main beach and in front of its soft-textured sand is the heart of the Hotel Zone.
It is common to see visitors walking along the seashore, and during sunset, the sky is painted in colors, providing splendid photographs.
The Isletas de Los Morros is visible from the beach, which is the main geographical symbol of Ixtapa.
Playa El Palmar Ixtapa has intense waves, especially in a section called Las Escolleras, one of the best in the area for surfing and other water sports.
At the southern end, facing Zihuatanejo, rocky outcrops and a hill serve as shelters, calming the waves.
Best hotel in El Palmar beach
Krystal Ixtapa is a 4-star beachfront hotel located on Bulevar Ixtapa 4 in the Hotel Zone.
It sits on the beachfront and features an outdoor and indoor swimming pool, bars, restaurants, children’s activities, and everything you need for a pleasant vacation in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
Its rooms have a private bathroom, air conditioning, balcony, cable TV, safe, hair dryer, and ironing kit.
Best restaurants near Playa El Palmar
Restaurant María Jetzabel, located on Avenida La Playa, is a seafood restaurant whose main dishes are the “Pescado a la Talla,” “mariscada Jetzabel,” “seafood soup,” “coconut shrimp,” fresh lobster, and shrimp.
It is in front of the beach and also has a swimming pool.
For those who can’t live without typical Mexican food, Lety’s Restaurant is a charming place with friendly parrots where you will enjoy the best guacamole in the area.
5. Las Gatas beach Zihuatanejo
Playa Las Gatas is a picturesque small beach almost 400 meters long in the southern part of Zihuatanejo Bay.
It is one of the favorite places for diving and snorkeling because of the beautiful biodiversity of its reefs.
A rocky breakwater calms the waves, and the waters are shallow, making Las Gatas one of the most appropriate beaches in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo for swimming.
From the Zihuatanejo Municipal Pier, boats depart on a scenic tour of the bay and stop at Playa Las Gatas.
Some beachside restaurants operate in typical palapas and provide lounge chairs and other beach services and equipment.
Many years ago, the harmless and docile nurse sharks visited the beach, hence the name Las Gatas.
Best hotel near Playa Las Gatas
Hotel Irma is perched on a cliff, 2 km from Playa Las Gatas, and features two outdoor pools, Mediterranean-style décor, and a restaurant serving Mexican cuisine.
Rooms have ocean or mountain views, private bathrooms, air conditioning, satellite TV, a hairdryer, and a safe. The views of the bay are spectacular from the hotel.
Best restaurants in Playa Las Gatas
Otilia’s Restaurant in playa Las Gatas serves seafood and Mexican food in a casual and friendly atmosphere.
It is in a secluded beach area where the boats and banana boats won’t bother you, and you can swim peacefully.
The sand is stony, so it is advisable to wear beach shoes. In the restaurant, their specialty is coconut shrimp.
If you can’t deprive yourself of haute cuisine even with bare feet on the sand, stop by Chez Arnoldo in Playa Las Gatas, where you will enjoy the ultimate gastronomic experience.
6. Playa Quieta (quiet beach) Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo
There are many beaches with smooth waves in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, but none with the quietness of Playa Quieta, whose waters are calmed by a natural reef breakwater.
Due to its conditions, this beach is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and windsurfing.
It is almost 600 meters long and is located about 8 km west of the heart of Ixtapa’s Hotel Zone. Several hotels have been installed nearby, making it an additional hotel zone.
Playa Quieta is excellent for families, particularly for children, and its white sands invite you to lie in the sun.
Other attractions are the mangroves, fishing, and a walk along the pier.
Best hotel near Playa Quieta
On Paseo Punta Ixtapa in Hotel Zone II is Azul Ixtapa Grand All Inclusive Suites – Spa & Convention Center, a 5-star hotel.
All suites have a whirlpool tub, balcony, terrace, living room, and other facilities and amenities for maximum comfort.
It has a swimming pool, bars, restaurants, a cafeteria, a gym, and SPA. The hotel organizes sports activities such as windsurfing, cycling, and canoeing.
Best restaurants near Playa Quieta
Very close to Playa Quieta, on the Paseo de Ixtapa, is the Bistro Soleiado, with wood fireplaces for cooking French, Mediterranean and seafood dishes.
You can enjoy onion soup, pasta with mussels, and red chilaquiles with chicken prepared with a unique seasoning at its indoor or outdoor tables. A guitarist provides the music.
If you feel like a good wood-fired pizza after enjoying Playa Quieta, stop by Emilio’s Pizza, located in the Ixsol Shopping Center on Paseo de las Garzas.
They make them on the spot with fresh ingredients and have the best national wines.
7. Barra de Potosí beach
Barra de Potosí is a peaceful community located 23 km southeast of Zihuatanejo, with a lovely beach and lagoon.
The beach has palapa hut restaurants for relaxed and affordable dining, with fresh fish and seafood caught daily by local fishermen.
At Playa Barra de Potosí, you can sunbathe, take long walks, ride horseback, and hike in the lagoon.
This body of water and its surroundings are a wild territory home to a wealth of over 180 avian species and perfect for spotting and photographing exotic birds.
Best hotels in Barra de Potosi beach
If you’re looking for an economical stay on the beaches in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, a good option is to stay in Barra de Potosi, with accommodations that are very close to the beach and the lagoon.
Casa Claro de Luna Barra has double rooms and deluxe bungalows.
The bungalows have a private bathroom, fan, mosquito net, refrigerator, stove, coffee maker, electric kettle, and dining area.
Other Ixtapa Zihuatanejo budget hotels near Barra de Potosi are Hacienda La Rusa, Hotel Paradise Lagoon, and BM Zihua.
Best restaurants near Barra de Potosi beach
Nayito Restaurant, on Barra de Potosí beach, serves delicacies such as red snapper, fish a la Talla, fish strips cooked with lime and green chilies, whiting, fresh oysters, and shrimp cocktail, with friendly service.
8. La Saladita beach
This beach, located 43 km northwest of Zihuatanejo, is one of the most important surfing destinations in Guerrero and the Mexican Pacific.
Its high and continuous waves make it the scene of surfing competitions, even though no accommodations are nearby.
By boarding two buses, you can get to the beach by public transportation from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
The first bus takes you from the Ixtapa terminal to Los Llanos and the second bus goes from this point to near the beach.
Best Hotel near La Saladita Beach
The best hotels near La Saladita are in Troncones, a beach town 18 km to the southeast.
Casa La Quinta Ola is a hotel in Playa Troncones with a beautiful pool and facilities that always look impeccable.
It is a small luxury establishment located in a paradise for snorkeling and diving because of the beauty and variety of marine fauna.
The beach is excellent for surfing. They make strong and delicious Margarita cocktails.
Best restaurants near La Saladita beach
Majahua Palms Restaurant is in Playa Majahua, with an open and welcoming atmosphere. It is an excellent place to eat that is part of the Majahua Palms Hotel.
The service is friendly and fast, and they prepare fish that shines for its freshness.
The hotel comprises bungalows, which are separated from the restaurant.
9. La Madera beach – (Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo)
This 430-meter-long beach is east of Zihuatanejo, with direct access from the street or through a walkway between the rocks that connect it with the main shore of the bay.
Its name comes from the fact that it was a loading point for oak wood, mahogany, and other valuable species extracted from the nearby mountains during the viceroyalty.
It has several restaurants to taste the local food.
Best hotel in Playa La Madera
Villas El Morro is a 3-star hotel located 10 minutes from the beach.
It has an outdoor swimming pool, beautiful bay views, and accommodations in double rooms, suites, and two-bedroom apartments.
The rooms have a balcony, terrace, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a safe, minibar, microwave, and coffee maker.
Best restaurants near Playa La Madera
Carmelitas Café is one of the most deeply rooted restaurants in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo since grandmother Carmelita founded it, continuing the administration in the hands of children and grandchildren.
Children who 30 years ago went to the restaurant with their parents now bring their own families to enjoy a cuisine that has not changed despite the passing of the years.
The “octopus in love,” the “octopus with garlic,” the “fish strips,” and the exquisite “mango flan with dulce de leche” are still the best dishes in town in this cozy family restaurant.
La Terracita, on Calle Adelita 6 in Colonia La Madera, has a reputation for serving the tastiest and most abundant breakfasts in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
10. Linda beach
Playa Linda is one of the most beautiful beaches in Ixtapa, thanks to its fine sand, blue water, palm trees, and picturesque pier where boats leave for Isla Ixtapa and other attractive spots along the coast of Guerrero.
You can go horseback riding through the nearby palm groves and jungle.
It has a mangrove swamp and a famous crocodile farm where a legendary ecologist named Tamakun interacts with the saurians as if they were the house’s dogs.
In the vast sandy area of Playa Linda, you can take walks with your partner or family at sunset, including your pet, to tone your body and admire the beauty of the sunsets.
Best hotel near Playa Linda
Park Royal Ixtapa- All Inclusive is a 4-star hotel located on Lot 5-A of Ixtapa Boulevard, where you can enjoy a pleasant stay.
It has an extraordinary location on El Palmar Bay and features an outdoor swimming pool, three restaurants, four bars, a cafeteria, and a fitness center.
The restaurants La Veranda and El Pescador serve buffets and El Italiano is a la carte.
Best restaurants near Playa Linda
In Ixtapa’s Barrio Viejo (San José Ixtapa) is El Tiburón de la Costa, a restaurant specializing in Mexican, Latin, and seafood cuisine.
It is best known for its variety of dishes, excellent seasoning, and fast service.
It has a soft musical atmosphere, and its menu includes seafood rice, garlic shrimp, ceviche, garlic mojo steaks, oysters, and aguachile.
11. Zihuatanejo main beach (Playa del Puerto)
The typical fishing atmosphere provides an excellent setting for this 360-meter-long beach that is a meeting point for locals, visitors, and cooks who go in the mornings to buy fresh fish directly from the boats.
It is also called Playa del Puerto. It is in front of the Paseo del Pescador, which runs through this part of the city between the Municipal Pier and the Archaeological Museum.
Along the half-kilometer promenade there are restaurants, stores and stalls selling handicrafts.
The fishermen selling their fish and repairing their fishing nets make this beach one of the typical Zihuatanejo days.
Zihuatanejo’s main square, the site of frequent celebrations, faces the promenade and the beach.
Best Hotel in Zihuatanejo’s main beach
Casa Adriana is a charming tourist accommodation in Zihuatanejo, featuring an air-conditioned restaurant and free Wi-Fi.
It has rooms, bungalows, and suites; all have ocean views, private bathrooms, balconies, and a kitchen with a refrigerator and stove.
Best Restaurants near Zihuatanejo’s main beach
Restaurant El Arrayan is a place that will delight people who love grilled food.
Its grilled seafood and fish are famous in town, and the live musical atmosphere rounds off unforgettable evenings.
It is located on Calle Adelita, s/n, in Colonia La Madera.
12. Cuachalalate beach
This is probably the most visited beach on Ixtapa Island, offering spectacular panoramic views and calm, crystalline waters.
It is the perfect place on the island to take a boat and stroll around the beautiful island coastline. It is also the best place to rent water sports equipment.
Cuachalalate is a word that means “chachalaca tree” in the Nahua language.
It is a plant species (Amphipterygium adstringens) that was abundant in this area of Mexico but is now at risk of extinction due to the intensive exploitation of its bark for medicinal purposes.
Cuachalalate Beach is of intermediate swell and has palaperos restaurants to enjoy snacks and seafood.
Please note that this beach is only accessible by boat. You can catch a water taxi at Playa Linda.
Best hotel near Cuachalalate Beach
Tesoro Ixtapa All Inclusive is a 4-star hotel with a private beach and incredible panoramic views of the Pacific.
It offers double rooms, junior suites for three people, and two-bedroom apartments for up to seven guests.
Its restaurants offer Mexican, Caribbean, Spanish, Italian, and international cuisine, pizzas, grills, and barbecues.
It has a large outdoor swimming pool and a 24-hour bar.
Best restaurants near Cuachalalate Beach
Lili Cipriani is a seafood and Mexican cuisine restaurant located in Isla Ixtapa.
The service is fast, the food is fresh, and the seasoning is delicious, with handmade tortillas and a must-try amortajada sauce.
If you’ve been lucky on your fishing trip, Lili Cipriani will prepare whatever catch you bring.
13. Contramar beach Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo
Contramar is a beautiful beach with coral reefs good for exploring by diving or snorkeling.
It has a bed of polished stones that serves as a backdrop for the varied fauna that circulates in the crystal clear and calm water, especially hundreds of multicolored fish.
Playa Contramar is not accessible by car, and the two ways to get there are by walking along an old trail or hiring a boat at Zihuatanejo’s main pier.
**You should bring whatever you will consume, as there are no establishments on the beach.
Best hotel near Contramar Beach
Tentaciones Hotel & Lounge Pool – Adults Only is a 5-star Resort located at Lot 97-C on the Scenic Road to Playa La Ropa.
Its comfortable rooms are rustic with typical Mexican decor and feature an outdoor pool, the Tentaciones Restaurant (international cuisine), and a bar.
Best restaurants near Playa Contramar
You’ll enjoy fresh and delicious seafood cuisine at Deborah’s Restaurant in La Puerta Shopping Centre.
The food is exquisite, especially the lobster, coconut shrimp, and octopus.
They offer an inexpensive breakfast of eggs, beans, chilaquiles, and juice. The mall is centrally located and easily accessible.