Ixtapa is a premier destination in Mexico, along the Pacific coastline, tourists have come to love. It’s about 150 miles North-West of Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, easy to reach by boat, air, bus, or car. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, fishing, challenging golf courses, upscale resorts, and 600 slip marina. This beautiful stretch of beach is also part of “Mexico’s Riviera”.

History of Ixtapa

Ixtapa is a planned tourist destination that was constructed in the 1970s. It was actually built on land that was once a mangrove estuary and coconut plantation. Two of the architects, Miguel Ángel Rojas and Concepción Rivera, helped build the city and have chosen not only to work there, but to call it their home. Its beautiful setting is in the rolling mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Visitors primarily come to Ixtapa for relaxation, golf, water sports, or fishing. Some of Ixtapa's attractions also include: Ixtapa Island, Playa el Palmar, Playa Linda, Delfiniti, and the Xihuacan Museum and Archeological Site.


Playa el Palmar is Ixtapa’s most popular beach. Although it’s not the best beach for swimming, it’s perfect for taking a long walk as there are no rocks, just pure sand. Visitors also rave about the body surfing, sea-dooing, boogie boarding, parasailing, and tours via horseback. The sunsets are spectacular!

Beach Activities, Ixtapa

© Christian Ramiro González Verón - Beach in Ixtapa

Another beach to visit is Playa Linda, lined with coconut palms. This is also where you’ll find water taxis to take you to Ixtapa Island. It’s the perfect beach for taking a long walk as it's shielded from high waves. If you love nature, then visit the nearby eco-preserve to see amazing crocodiles, turtles, iguanas, and birds. There are also local vendors selling souvenirs along the beachfront.

Ixtapa Island is just a short ride via water taxi and is about 40 pesos roundtrip. You can also take a guided boat tour or rent a panga, which is a motorized boat, to reach the island. There are four amazing beaches on the island that offer snorkeling, fishing, swimming, banana boats, or just lounging in one of the many loungers on the beach.

Gerald Lau - Isla Ixtapa

© Gerald Lau - Isla Ixtapa

The most popular beach on the island is Playa Cuachalalate. There are also fabulous restaurants, specializing in fresh seafood, on the island. Catch your own fish and they’ll grill it for you. Beachside bars offer a variety of beers and cocktails. Massages are also available to relax those tense muscles.

Visit the Delfiniti aquarium where you can swim with the dolphins. It’s a wonderful experience for anyone, but especially children. The aquarium has excellent trainers who allow you to interact with the dolphins. They will entertain you as they bob their heads, make their squeaky sounds, and wave their fins at you. They will also jump and do somersaults to impress you. Visitors are able to pet or swim with them, and for more experienced swimmers, you can try the “belly ride”. Younger children can sit on a platform above the tank and watch them play.

Dolphin at Ixtapa

© brian wallace - Dolphin at Ixtapa

If you enjoy museums, then the Xihuacan Museum will delight you with its display of over 800 figurines, carved sea shells, vases, copper axes, bell necklaces, ceramics, and other artifacts. The word, Xihuacan, means something similar to “place of the people who control eternity”. It has been said by archeologists that this site was a multi-cultural ceremonial center with evidence that Mayans once were gathered there. A square 45-foot-high pyramid has been restored, as well as a 180-foot-long ball court.


Xihuacan Artifact

© Ken Dow - Xihuacan Artifact


Ixtapa Travel

Flying to Ixtapa is not a problem, as many major airlines have direct flights from the United States and Canada, especially between December and April. Direct flights are offered from: Los Angeles (only about three hours away), Minneapolis, Phoenix, Denver, and Chicago. Some of the major airlines flying to Ixtapa are: Delta, Alaska, US Airways, United, WestJet, and Aeromexico. Also many have connecting flights to Mexico City or Toluca.

The Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa International Airport is only about 15 minutes away from town by car. Make sure you have enough time to go through Customs if you have a connecting flight. Luxury bus lines, such as Parhikuni and Autovias offer luxury class service between Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa.

Ixtapa Airport

© Vmzp85 - Ixtapa Airport

You can rent a car at the airport, through your hotel, or car rental offices in Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo. Local car rental agencies include: Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Europcar, and AcaRent. There are smaller buses, known as “micros” that run continuously between Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa, beaches, other local communities.

Taxis is another choice for ground transportation for getting around and taking tours, but be sure to ask how much they charge before you agree to get in their car.

Ixtapa Hotels

Trip Advisor’s #1 hotel is Capella Ixtapa. It’s a very romantic resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean in a cliffside hideaway. Every guest is treated to a fabulous view. All of their 59 resort suites feature a private terrace with an infinity plunge pool secluded in the corner. The resort has three restaurants and a Terrace Bar for their guests' convenience.

Hotel Capella Ixtapa

© Bahia Boy - Hotel Capella Ixtapa

Club Med Ixtapa Pacific is an all-inclusive, hacienda-style resort, and is ranked as one of the best family resorts. Snuggled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountains, this location is a favorite for tourists. All-inclusive means your dining, drinks, entertainment, and childcare are all covered under one price.

For a tropical getaway, the Pacifica Resort Ixtapa would be an excellent choice. This resort also offers an all-inclusive package, with or without alcoholic drinks. There are several different types of suites for you to choose from, offering fully equipped kitchens with mini-pools on your private terrace. There’s a convenient golf course, club, beach club, and several restaurants all on this fabulous property.

The Hotel Barcelo Ixtapa Beach Resort is another favorite for tourists. With its proximity to Palmar Beach, you’ll never have to go anywhere else. This resort has rooms with sea views, swimming pools, restaurants, and a variety of entertainment all within a short walk from your room. Take advantage of their exclusive Club Premium that allows you unlimited access to specialty restaurants, imported drinks at all bars, internet, and room service.

Hotel Barcelo Ixtapa

© Kiewic - Hotel Barcelo Ixtapa

Spend your next vacation at the Azul Ixtapa Grand Spa. It is close to everything, including shopping, the beach and beautiful golf courses. The resort has a well-equipped gym, swimming pools, restaurants, with some rooms including their own Jacuzzi tubs, and, of course, exceptional service.

Facts about Ixtapa

  • Pesos are the primary currency.
  • Most places will speak some English, but it’s a good idea to know a little Spanish.
  • The neighboring town of Zihuatanejo not only caters to tourists, but locals too and is a good place to visit.
  • You must have a valid passport to travel to Ixtapa.
  • Average daytime temperature is 80° Fahrenheit or 26° Celcius.
  • Pack sunscreen for the outdoors and a light sweater for the evenings.
  • There are flag warnings at the beach: A red flag means not to enter the water.