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First timer

Surrey, Canada
Level Contributor
336 posts
3 reviews
First timer

We are thinking of going to the Ixtapa/ Zihuatanejo for a month this December/ January for the 1st time. I have been to other parts of Mexico 25+ times. We usually rent a condo or villa and walk or taxi to everything. We have done the 5* AIs , just prefer venturing out to find local restaurants and bars instead of stuck in a resort. We love the Playa and could just stay all day. We are laid back and just not into the party scene anymore, although we have nothing against hitting a small bar or 2 . We don’t have to stay right on the beach but that would be a plus. 15 minute walk to the beach is close enough. Close to walk to restaurants but far enough away from the loud bars so we don’t hear anything at 2 am. What’s the best beach to be close to? I do have snorkeling gear but the wife doesn’t . Any beach areas good to swim in? Thanks ,Kevin

8 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
6,382 posts
12 reviews
1. Re: First timer

Hi Kevin!

Ixtapa is more open to the ocean. For snorkeling go out to the Isle Ixtapa or over into Zihuatanejo at Las Gatas beach.

The main beach in Ixtapa or La Ropa beach in Zihuatanejo should suit you well for a condo stay. Just depends on what you want for a view. More open to the ocean is Ixtapa, a bay view is Zihuatanejo.

Use Google Maps to look around the area!! Street View works there as well.

You can also check out the local beach cams at


Whichever are working that day lol

If you are more detailed in what you like for lodgings, I'm sure others will chime in!


Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Zihuatanejo
Level Contributor
4,135 posts
29 reviews
2. Re: First timer

It sounds to me like you should consider La Ropa in Zihua, but I am slightly biased, since that is my personal choice. VRBO is an excellent site for sleuthing condo rentals. I would suggest you do your research quickly since things get booked up early-many folks who plan to return during the following season book accommodations before they leave!

Saskatoon, Canada
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya
Level Contributor
14,721 posts
60 reviews
3. Re: First timer

My vote would be La Ropa! Great beach, lots of lodging options, quiet at night.

Zihua has a similar funky beach town vibe to Playa, yet is totally different. It’s far less busy and not as geared to foreign tourists and nowhere near as commercialized. The weather in this area is hotter in winter and if you had rain it would be highly unusual. And much less windy than winter months than the Caribbean side.

And no sargassum!

Waited to add I see now you meant you love ‘THE playa’ and not just Playa as in Playa del Carmen... haha! Oh welll.

Edited: 07 July 2018, 23:07
Trail, Canada
Level Contributor
3,912 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: First timer

La Ropa is one of the nicest beaches in Mexico and perhaps the nicest multi use beach with plenty of beach seating options which are mostly traded against fair consumption only or with small additional chair rental costs.

Some people prefer to be a little closer to town on Playa La Madera but in your case the beach is smaller and not as nice in my opinion and La Ropa is only one additional mile or so from town.

Be aware that beach destinations that are accessible by car for vacationing national tourists get much busier at holiday times than some other areas like Cancun and Cabo that also get busy but for the most part only have holiday swells through airport traffic. Christmas is busy for sure.

Bonney Lake...
Level Contributor
207 posts
76 reviews
5. Re: First timer

Hi Kevin, all of my fellow forum contributors, (most of which have been contributing here much longer than I have, and have been to Z many more times than I have) all make great points above.

Thought I'd throw my 2 cents in as well however.

From what you said, you'd now prefer to stay away from the noisy, nightlife scene, which is why I would agree with those that mentioned Playa La Ropa or Playa Madera vs. Ixtapa.

I love Playa La Ropa, but prefer to stay on La Madera, because it's right in between La Ropa and downtown Zihua. There are several affordable hotels on right on Madera beach, with a short walk to town, (LOTS of restaurants, etc) and a longer but do-able walk to La Ropa, or a cheap taxi to La Ropa.

La Ropa is the nicer beach for swimming, and places to sit on the beach & get drinks, etc.

A couple of suggestions for hotels would be Aura Del Mar, (about $110-$140/night) or Hotel Irma, (about $50-$70/night) I noticed rooms are becoming harder to find as we get closer to Dec. & Jan.

I also booked a condo up above La Ropa for Dec. 2019, thru VRBO, which will be my first time staying on the La Ropa side.

Whatever you decide, you will LOVE it!!

Fresno, California
Level Contributor
2,563 posts
107 reviews
6. Re: First timer

I used to think the same way as not to go to an AI. We have stayed in a few condos in Zihua and did enjoy La Ropa the best. That being said a nice ocean view condo on La Ropa costs more than staying at the Azul Grand which is a very nice AI, at least the last few Octobers it has been. We found a nice taxi driver and still went out at least once every day and in total it cost us little more if any.

Level Contributor
6,382 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: First timer

If I were to go Condo in Zihua I would look at one of the newer places like Casa Sandbar.


We (she for sure!) are not ready to give up the view nor the room service from Las Brisas as of yet.


Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
500 posts
134 reviews
8. Re: First timer

Hi Kaugie

We stay on El Palmar beach this is the main beach at Ixtapa there are a dozen 10 to 20 story resorts only a few are AI. The beach is wide and around 1 1/2 mile long nice for walking the surf is rough and loud there. We body surf in the waves but the rip tide can be strong. I love the high rise view and sound of the waves breaking and a hotel room all i see is the ocean.Behind the hotels are several restaurants and stores if you just want to walk to diner. On the flip side we go into Zihuatanejo most nights for diner and entertainment it is a cheap bus or cab ride away. We spend a day or 2 at La Ropa the surf is pretty calm and a nice swimming beach. Then a day at Playa Las Gatas. We have been spending our vacation in Ixtapa on and off since 1985

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