Zihuatanejo is a quaint fishing port beautifully situated between two promontories. It boasts more than 16 miles of beaches and semitropical weather all year round. Mountains rising abruptly behind the town add to the scenic beauty. Often compared to the Acapulco of fifty years ago, Zihuatanejo has experienced some modernization while managing to retain its village charm and way of life. The main plaza faces the ocean; from here the town spreads out, covering just a few square blocks. Its streets are lined with shops and restaurants that are all within easy walking distance from the pier.
Long before Columbus sailed to America, Zihuatanejo (originally Cihuatlan) was a sanctuary for indigenous nobility. In 1527, Spanish conquistadors launched a trade route from Zihuatanejo Bay to the Orient; galleons returned with silks and spices. According to some historians, the first coconut palms to be introduced to America arrived here from the Philippines.
While Zihuatanejo strives to preserve its quaint look and laid-back way of life, the modern computer-planned resort of Ixtapa is only five miles away. Here are luxury hotels, miles of beaches, an 18-hole championship golf course and upscale shopping malls. Ixtapa has managed to co-exist nicely with quaint Zihuatanejo, and it is this contrast that endears the place to visitors.