Your Ultimate Zihuatanejo Travel Guide 2023
Are you ready to plan the trip of a lifetime? Zihuatanejo, Mexico is the perfect destination for an unforgettable adventure! From its stunning beaches and crystal clear waters to its unique culture and vibrant nightlife, Zihuatanejo has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun or explore the historic city center, this ultimate travel guide will show you everything you need to know before you visit Zihuatanejo. Learn about the best restaurants and nightlife hotspots, discover the best beaches and attractions, and get helpful tips on getting around the city. You may also want to check out our Acapulco travel guide!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Zihuatanejo
- Playa La Ropa: A trip to Zihuatanejo wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Playa la Ropa, one of the town’s most popular beaches. Here, you can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy a variety of water sports. Be sure to take a stroll along the beach’s shoreline, where you can enjoy stunning views of the ocean and nearby hills.
- Visit The Mercado de Artesanias: Located in the heart of downtown Zihuatanejo, the Mercado de Artesanias is the perfect place to immerse yourself in local culture. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of handicrafts and souvenirs, including jewelry, textiles, pottery, and more. Be sure to haggle with the vendors to get the best prices.
- Take A Boat Tour: One of the best ways to experience Zihuatanejo is by taking a boat tour. You can explore nearby beaches and coves, visit isolated fishing villages, or simply enjoy the stunning coastline. Many tours also include a stop at Isla Ixtapa, a nearby island with pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.
- Explore The Archaeological Zone of La Chole: Located just a few miles outside of Zihuatanejo, the Archaeological Zone of La Chole is a must-visit for history buffs. This ancient city dates back to the pre-Columbian era and was home to the Nahua people. You can explore the ruins of pyramids, plazas, and other structures.
- Indulge In Local Cuisine: Zihuatanejo is known for its delicious seafood and other regional specialties. Be sure to sample the local ceviche, tacos de pescado, and pozole, a traditional soup made with hominy and meat. You can find many excellent restaurants in downtown Zihuatanejo or along the beachfront.
Best Zihuatanejo Tours
Tours in Zihuatanejo are an excellent way to explore the sights and nearby areas. Unless you intend to rent a car in Zihuatanejo (which we don’t recommend), tours offer the most convenient means of transportation while keeping costs in check. The expenses for getting around can accumulate rapidly, making tours a wise choice for navigating the country.
Where To Stay In Zihuatanejo
- Playa La Ropa: Playa La Ropa is a scenic beachfront area with crystal-clear waters and soft white sands. The neighborhood has plenty of luxury resorts, as well as budget-friendly options, making it a popular destination for travelers of all kinds.
- Playa Madera: Playa Madera is another popular beach area with a more local feel. It has plenty of affordable accommodation options, from budget-friendly hotels to cozy guesthouses, and it’s an excellent place to stay if you’re looking for a more authentic Zihuatanejo experience.
- Downtown Zihuatanejo: Downtown Zihuatanejo is a bustling area with a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, and shops. The neighborhood is perfect for travelers who want to be close to everything and experience the local culture.
- Playa Las Gatas: Playa Las Gatas is a tranquil cove with calm waters and a relaxed vibe. It’s a great place to stay if you’re looking for a peaceful escape, and there are plenty of affordable hotels and guesthouses in the area.
- La Madera Hill: La Madera Hill is a hillside area that overlooks the bay and has stunning views of the ocean. The neighborhood has plenty of luxurious villas and condos, making it an excellent place to stay if you’re looking for a high-end getaway.
Top Zihuatanejo Hotels
- Cala De Mar Ixtapa Resort & Spa: This luxurious hotel sits on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and boasts stunning panoramic views. With 59 rooms and suites, guests can indulge in amenities such as private plunge pools and oceanfront balconies. The resort also offers a full-service spa, gourmet dining options, and activities such as snorkeling and deep-sea fishing.
- La Casa Que Canta: A romantic getaway nestled into the cliffs above Zihuatanejo Bay, La Casa Que Canta offers 25 unique rooms and suites featuring private pools and outdoor terraces. The hotel also has a spa, infinity pool, and two restaurants with breathtaking ocean views.
- Las Brisas Ixtapa: Set in a lush tropical landscape, this expansive hotel offers a variety of accommodations including bungalows and suites. With four restaurants, a beach club, and multiple pools, Las Brisas Ixtapa has something for everyone. Guests can also enjoy water sports, tennis, and a spa.
- Hotel Villa Mexicana: This charming beachfront hotel offers 64 spacious rooms and suites with ocean views. With two restaurants and a beach bar, guests can savor authentic Mexican cuisine while listening to live music. The hotel also features a pool and offers activities such as kayaking and horseback riding.
- Thompson Zihuatanejo: This modern boutique hotel is located on Playa La Ropa and features 56 guest rooms and suites with balconies or terraces overlooking the ocean or gardens. Guests can indulge in farm-to-table cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant, relax at the pool or spa, and partake in activities such as paddleboarding and surfing.
Where To Eat In Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo offers a fantastic selection of restaurants serving delicious traditional Mexican cuisine, seafood, and international dishes. Here are the top 5 places to eat in Zihuatanejo:
- La Casa Que Canta: This award-winning restaurant offers stunning views of Zihuatanejo Bay and serves exquisite contemporary Mexican cuisine. The menu features a range of seafood dishes, including octopus and tuna ceviche, shrimp with black mole, and lobster.
- El Arrayán: This charming restaurant specializes in authentic Mexican dishes, such as chiles en nogada and mole. They use fresh, local ingredients, and their menu changes seasonally. The restaurant has a beautiful garden patio, making it a perfect spot for a romantic dinner.
- Bandido’s Restaurant: Bandido’s is a casual, family-friendly restaurant serving tasty Mexican dishes, including tacos, enchiladas, and ceviche. They also have an extensive cocktail menu and offer live music performances.
- Tamales Any: This street food stall located in the Mercado de Artesanías serves some of the best tamales in town. They offer a range of flavors, including chicken, pork, and cheese, all wrapped in traditional banana leaves.
- La Perla: This popular seafood restaurant is situated on the beach and has a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. The menu includes a variety of seafood dishes, such as fish tacos, ceviche, and shrimp cocktails. The restaurant is also famous for its signature dish, the cazuela, which is a seafood stew cooked in a clay pot.
These are just a few of the excellent restaurants available in Zihuatanejo. Be sure to explore the local markets and street food stalls for more delicious dining options.
How To Get Around Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo may be a small town, but there are several transportation options available to help you get around. Here are some of the most common methods of transportation in Zihuatanejo:
- Walking: One of the best ways to get around Zihuatanejo is on foot. Most of the attractions and popular areas are located within walking distance, so you can easily explore the town on foot. Additionally, walking allows you to take in the sights and sounds of the town and get a better feel for the local culture.
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Zihuatanejo, and they are a convenient and affordable way to get around the town. Taxis in Zihuatanejo are not metered, so it’s important to negotiate the fare with the driver before you get in the car. The average fare for a short trip in Zihuatanejo is around 50 pesos.
- Buses: If you’re looking for a cheaper transportation option, you can take the local buses in Zihuatanejo. The buses run throughout the town and to nearby areas, and the fare is usually around 10-20 pesos depending on the distance. The downside is that the buses can be crowded and may not be as comfortable as a taxi.
- Rental Cars And Bikes: If you prefer to have more control over your transportation, you can rent a car or bike in Zihuatanejo. Car rentals are available at the airport or in town, and the rates are reasonable. However, keep in mind that parking can be limited in some areas of the town. Bikes are also available for rent in Zihuatanejo, and they are a great way to explore the town at a leisurely pace.
In summary, there are several transportation options available in Zihuatanejo, and the best one for you will depend on your budget, preferences, and travel plans. Whether you decide to walk, take a taxi, ride the bus, or rent a car or bike, be sure to stay safe and follow local rules and customs.
Zihuatanejo enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with temperatures typically ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit. However, like any other destination, the weather in Zihuatanejo varies by season. Here is what you need to know about the weather in Zihuatanejo throughout the year:
- Spring (March – May): During spring, Zihuatanejo sees an average high temperature of 87°F and an average low temperature of 71°F. This is a great time to visit if you’re looking for warm weather and fewer crowds.
- Summer (June – August): Summer is the rainy season in Zihuatanejo, but this shouldn’t discourage you from visiting as rainstorms are usually brief. The average high temperature is 89°F, and the low temperature hovers around 75°F.
- Fall (September – November): Fall is also part of the rainy season in Zihuatanejo, but this is also the time when the region experiences its highest temperatures. The average high temperature is 91°F, while the average low temperature is 77°F.
- Winter (December – February): Winter is the busiest season in Zihuatanejo, with travelers from all over the world flocking to the region to escape the cold. The average high temperature during this season is around 84°F, while the low temperature is approximately 70°F.
Overall, Zihuatanejo weather is warm and humid all year long. Keep in mind that even during the rainy season, the weather is still warm, and brief afternoon showers are not uncommon. Remember to pack light, breathable clothing, an umbrella and sunscreen to make the most of your trip.
Best Time To Visit Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo is a tropical destination with a hot and humid climate year-round. The best time to visit Zihuatanejo is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. During these months, you can expect sunny and warm weather with very little rainfall. This is also the peak tourist season, so you can expect crowds and higher prices.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and save some money, the shoulder season (May to November) can be a great time to visit. The rainy season starts in June and lasts until September, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in September and October. However, the rain usually comes in short bursts in the afternoon, so you can still enjoy the sunshine in the morning. One thing to keep in mind is that hurricanes can occur in the Pacific coast of Mexico from June to November. While Zihuatanejo is not directly in the hurricane path, it can still experience heavy rain and wind. It’s important to stay updated on weather reports and follow any instructions from local authorities.
Overall, the best time to visit Zihuatanejo depends on your preferences and budget. If you’re looking for sunny weather and don’t mind the crowds, December to April is the ideal time. If you want to save money and don’t mind a little rain, the shoulder season can be a great option. Just remember to stay safe and check the weather before your trip!
How To Stay Safe In Zihuatanejo
While Zihuatanejo is a generally safe destination, as with any other place in the world, it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your visit to Zihuatanejo:
- StayIn Well-Lit Areas: It’s always a good idea to stick to well-lit streets and avoid poorly-lit areas, particularly at night.
- Don’t Carry Too Much Cash: Carry only the cash you need for the day in a money belt and keep the rest in a safe place in your hotel room. Avoid flashing large amounts of money in public places.
- Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: Keep an eye on your surroundings and avoid situations that make you uncomfortable.
- Avoid Drugs: Drug use and trafficking is illegal in Mexico, and the penalties are severe. Avoid getting involved with drugs in any way.
- Use Official Taxis: Use official taxis rather than unmarked ones to ensure your safety.
- Don’t Drink And Drive: If you plan on driving, make sure you don’t drink alcohol.
- Be Cautious Of Pickpockets: Be cautious of pickpockets and keep your belongings close to you in crowded areas.
- Learn Some Spanish: Knowing some basic Spanish will help you communicate more effectively with locals and can help avoid misunderstandings.
By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your visit to Zihuatanejo is a safe and enjoyable one.
Zihuatanejo Customs and Etiquette
As with any destination, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local customs and etiquette in Zihuatanejo to ensure a pleasant and respectful trip. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Greetings: Mexicans value polite and friendly behavior, so it’s important to greet locals with a smile and a polite “buenos días” (good morning), “buenas tardes” (good afternoon), or “buenas noches” (good evening).
- Personal Space: Mexican culture places great emphasis on personal space, so it’s important to be aware of physical boundaries when interacting with locals. Always maintain a respectful distance and avoid touching strangers without permission.
- Clothing: While Zihuatanejo is a beach destination, it’s important to dress modestly when out and about in town. Avoid wearing swimwear or revealing clothing when not on the beach or at a pool.
- Tipping: Tipping is customary in Zihuatanejo, especially in restaurants and for service providers such as taxi drivers and tour guides. The standard rate is 10-15% of the total bill.
- Language: While many locals speak English, it’s respectful to try to speak some basic Spanish when communicating with locals. A few simple phrases such as “gracias” (thank you) and “por favor” (please) can go a long way.
By following these customs and etiquette guidelines, you can ensure a respectful and enjoyable trip to Zihuatanejo. Remember, respect for the local culture and traditions is key to being a responsible and mindful traveler.
Other Things To Know About Zihuatanejo
If you’re planning a trip to Zihuatanejo, there are a few important things you should know before you go. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most important details:
- Country: Zihuatanejo is located in the state of Guerrero, which is part of Mexico. Mexico is a beautiful country known for its vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and delicious cuisine.
- Currency: The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso. You can exchange your dollars or other currencies at local banks or exchange offices, and many hotels and restaurants will also accept credit cards.
- Language: The official language of Mexico is Spanish, but many people in Zihuatanejo speak English as well. If you’re not familiar with Spanish, it’s a good idea to learn a few basic phrases before you go.
- Time Zone: Zihuatanejo is located in the Central Time Zone (CT). This means that it is two hours behind Eastern Time (ET) and one hour ahead of Pacific Time (PT) in the United States.
Other important things to know about Zihuatanejo include the fact that it is a popular tourist destination, particularly among Americans and Canadians. While the local culture is generally welcoming and friendly, it’s always important to be respectful of local customs and traditions.
You may also want to brush up on your knowledge of Mexican cuisine, as Zihuatanejo is home to many delicious restaurants serving traditional dishes like tacos, ceviche, and mole. And if you’re looking for something to do during your stay, be sure to check out the local markets, museums, and natural attractions like the beautiful La Ropa Beach. Overall, Zihuatanejo is a wonderful place to visit, with plenty to see and do for travelers of all ages and interests. By knowing a few key details about the country, currency, language, and time zone before you go, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your trip.
Zihuatanejo Travel Costs
When planning a trip to Zihuatanejo, it’s important to budget accordingly. Here are some costs to keep in mind:
- Accommodation: Zihuatanejo offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious resorts. Hostels typically start at around $10-15 USD per night, while mid-range hotels can range from $50-100 USD per night. High-end resorts can cost upwards of $200-300 USD per night.
- Food and Drinks: You can find cheap eats at local markets and street vendors, where you can get a meal for around $5 USD. Sit-down restaurants will cost more, with prices ranging from $10-30 USD per meal. Drinks can range from $2-5 USD for beer or cocktails.
- Transportation: Taxis are the most convenient mode of transportation in Zihuatanejo, and fares start at around $3 USD. Local buses are also available for a lower cost of around $0.50-1 USD per ride. If you plan on renting a car, expect to pay around $30-40 USD per day.
- Activities: There are plenty of free activities in Zihuatanejo, such as exploring the local markets and beaches. However, some activities such as water sports or tours can cost more. Expect to pay around $30-50 USD for a snorkeling or boat tour.
Overall, budget-conscious travelers can expect to spend around $50-70 USD per day in Zihuatanejo, while those looking for a more luxurious experience can spend upwards of $200-300 USD per day. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the season and availability.
Finding Affordable Flights To Zihuatanejo
Once you have decided on your travel dates and accommodation in Zihuatanejo, the next step is to find affordable flights to get there. Here are some tips to help you find the best deals:
- Use Flight Search Engines: Websites such as Kayak, Skyscanner, and Expedia can help you compare prices across multiple airlines to find the cheapest fares.
- Book In Advance: The earlier you book your flights, the more likely you are to find affordable prices.
- Be Flexible With Tour Travel Dates: If you have some flexibility, try searching for flights a few days before or after your preferred travel dates to see if the fares are lower.
- Look For Connecting Flights: Sometimes booking a connecting flight instead of a direct one can save you money.
- Sign Up For Airline Newsletters: Airlines often send out deals and promotions via their newsletters, so it’s worth signing up to stay informed.
- Use Frequent Flyer Miles: If you have frequent flyer miles, use them to book your flights to save on costs.
- Consider Flying From Nearby Airports: Flying from a smaller or alternative airport near you may sometimes be cheaper than flying from a major airport.
With these tips in mind, you should be able to find affordable flights to Zihuatanejo and start your adventure in this beautiful destination without breaking the bank.
Backpacking Zihuatanejo Suggested Budgets
For budget travelers, Zihuatanejo is a great destination as it offers a range of budget-friendly options for accommodation, food, and activities. Here are some suggested budgets for backpacking in Zihuatanejo:
For those on a tight budget, you can expect to spend around $20-$30 per day. This will cover budget accommodation in hostels or camping grounds, street food, and free activities such as swimming at the beach or walking around town.
For travelers with a mid-range budget, expect to spend around $50-$70 per day. This budget will allow you to upgrade to a private room in a budget hotel or guesthouse, eat at mid-range restaurants, and take part in activities such as snorkeling or a day trip to a nearby island.
For those with a more generous budget, expect to spend around $100-$150 per day. This budget will allow you to stay in a more luxurious hotel or villa, eat at higher-end restaurants, and take part in more expensive activities such as deep-sea fishing or a spa day.
Regardless of your budget, there are plenty of things to do and see in Zihuatanejo that won’t break the bank. Take advantage of the many beaches and water activities available, visit local markets for budget-friendly shopping, and enjoy the stunning views without spending a dime. With a little planning and creativity, Zihuatanejo can be a budget-friendly paradise.
Zihuatanejo Money Saving Tips
Zihuatanejo may be known for its luxurious hotels and beachfront restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the beauty of this Mexican destination on a budget. Here are some money-saving tips for your trip to Zihuatanejo:
- Stay in a Vacation Rental: While hotels in Zihuatanejo can be expensive, vacation rentals can be a more affordable option. By renting a house or apartment, you can save money on accommodations and also have access to a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals.
- Eat Where the Locals Eat: You don’t have to eat at the most expensive restaurants to enjoy the local cuisine. In fact, some of the best food in Zihuatanejo can be found at street vendors or local markets. Try out some of the street tacos or grab some fresh fruit at the market to save on your food budget.
- Book Activities In Advance: Zihuatanejo has plenty of activities to keep you busy, from snorkeling to surfing. However, booking these activities in advance can often save you money. Many tour companies offer discounts for online bookings or for booking multiple activities at once.
Use Public Transportation: Taxis in Zihuatanejo can be pricey, but public transportation is a much cheaper option. Buses and shared vans are available throughout the city and can take you to popular destinations like Playa la Ropa and Playa las Gatas.
Visit During the Off-Season: Like many tourist destinations, Zihuatanejo’s prices can skyrocket during peak season. Visiting during the off-season (typically May to October) can often result in lower prices for accommodations and activities.
By following these money-saving tips, you can enjoy all that Zihuatanejo has to offer without breaking the bank.
What To Pack For Zihuatanejo
Packing for a trip to Zihuatanejo can be challenging as it is a tropical destination. You will want to pack light, breathable clothing that will keep you comfortable in the hot and humid weather. Here are some essential items that you should consider packing in your checked luggage or carry-on luggage for your Zihuatanejo trip:
- Swimwear: You are likely to spend a lot of time in the water, so bring at least two swimsuits.
- Light Clothing: Pack comfortable clothes that are light and breathable, such as cotton shirts, shorts, and skirts.
- Sun Protection: Zihuatanejo is located near the equator, so the sun is intense. Be sure to pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburn.
- Footwear: Pack sandals or flip flops as they are comfortable and easy to wear in the hot weather. Also, pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes or sneakers for activities like hiking.
- Mosquito Repellent: The humidity and heat make Zihuatanejo a haven for mosquitoes, so pack insect repellent.
- Light Jacket or Sweater: Though it is a tropical destination, the temperature can drop at night. Pack a light jacket or sweater to keep you warm.
- Camera: Zihuatanejo is a picturesque location, and you would want to capture the memories. Bring your camera and enough memory cards to capture the moments.
- Toiletries: Bring your basic toiletries, such as shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap. Remember, you will be in a tropical climate, so pack items that will not melt in the heat.
- Portable Charger: With so many activities and places to visit, your phone battery can drain quickly. Pack a portable charger to keep your devices charged throughout the day.
Zihuatanejo is a beautiful destination, and with these essentials, you will be prepared to have a fantastic trip.
Can You Drink Tap Water In Zihuatanejo?
It is generally not recommended to drink tap water in Zihuatanejo. While the water is treated and safe for showering and brushing your teeth, it is still advisable to use bottled or filtered water for drinking and cooking purposes.
Many restaurants and hotels offer bottled water for guests, and it is readily available at local stores and supermarkets. It is also a good idea to carry a reusable water bottle and refill it with filtered water from your hotel or a trusted source. In addition to avoiding tap water, be cautious of ice in drinks, as it may have been made with tap water. Stick to bottled or canned beverages, or ask if the ice is made with purified water. Taking these precautions will help ensure that you stay healthy and enjoy your time in Zihuatanejo to the fullest.
Other Things To See And Do In Zihuatanejo
Aside from the top 5 things to see and do in Zihuatanejo, there are still plenty of activities and sights to explore. Here are some other suggestions:
- Visit The Mercado Central: This is the local market where you can find fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious food.
- Explore TheBeaches: There are many beaches in Zihuatanejo, each with their own unique charm. Some other notable ones include Playa La Ropa, Playa Las Gatas, and Playa Principal.
- Take A Cooking Class: Learn how to cook authentic Mexican dishes with local ingredients. There are many cooking schools and classes offered in Zihuatanejo.
- Take A Boat Tour: Explore the coastline and nearby islands by boat. Many tours also include snorkeling or fishing.
- Visit The Museum of Archeology: This museum showcases artifacts from the indigenous peoples who lived in the region before the Spanish arrived.
- Attend A Festival: Zihuatanejo has many festivals throughout the year, including Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and the International Guitar Festival.
- Visit Nearby Towns: If you have time, take a day trip to nearby towns such as Troncones or Ixtapa.
With so many options, there’s something for everyone in Zihuatanejo. Make sure to plan ahead and fit these additional activities into your itinerary.
The Bottom Line
Zihuatanejo is a beautiful and culturally rich destination that offers something for everyone. With its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and unique local customs, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this Mexican paradise. However, it’s important to remember that Zihuatanejo is a city with its own customs and etiquette, and it’s important to respect these if you want to have a positive experience.
Before you go, make sure you research the local culture and customs, and consider taking some time to learn some basic Spanish phrases. Also, be mindful of your personal safety and take precautions to ensure that you stay safe while exploring all that Zihuatanejo has to offer. With a little planning and preparation, a trip to Zihuatanejo can be an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore local markets, or immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife, this city has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Zihuatanejo adventure today!