CPI Logo
Home About Us News eBooks Contact

Mobile Users: click here for a complete Port List

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Basics

Mexican Flag

Basics   History   Maps   Excursions   On Your Own   Videos
Green Bar


With the twin ports of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, you get two resorts in one. Ixtapa is a one-time coconut plantation turned into a world-class luxury resort and eco-preserve. Zihuatanejo is a prototypical Mexican fishing village run large. Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are located in the Mexican State of Guerrero, and have a population of about 70,000 inhabitants between them.

The mainstay of the Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo economy is tourism. Ixtapa is a planned community owned by the Mexican Tourism Development Agency FONATUR, while Zihuatanejo is run by elected public officials. They don't allow building over six stories high in Zihuatanejo.

Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo have a tropical climate, and it's hot and humid year round. The cities enjoy more than 300 days of sun each year, and the average annual temperature is 80° F (27° C). The Dry Season (winter) stretches from mid-October through May, while the Rainy Season (summer) lasts from June to mid-October.

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo map

First Impressions

As you enter tranquil and pleasant Zihuatanejo Bay, you will see the pretty little fishing and tourist village of Zihuatanejo directly ahead of you. Once in the town, you will notice that it has retained its original charm, traditions and congeniality, despite the influx of tourists. The downtown area (el Centro) features small restaurants, shops and a very pleasant brick-paved beachfront promenade (paseo del pescador or fisherman's walk).

Your ship will drop anchor in the bay, and you will proceed ashore via ship's tender. The tender will take you to the small pier in Zihuatanejo. The traditional Mexican village of Zihuatanejo is a one minute walk from the Zihuatanejo pier. Transit to the Ixtapa resort, only 5-miles away, takes about 10 minutes.

If you've signed up for an excursion, you will meet your transportation and/or your guide at the Zihuatanejo pier.

The Ixtapa "hotel zone" extends along a 2-mile strip of wide sandy beach called Playa del Palmar that faces the open Pacific. This area is bookmarked by a golf course at one end and a small-craft marina, replete with pleasure boats, on the other.

Don't confuse Ixtapa with Isla Ixtapa; Ixtapa is on the mainland, while Isla Ixtapa is an island a short distance to the north of Ixtapa itself. It's worth a visit.

Zihuatanejo beach

Time Zone

The villages of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo are on Central Time, six hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or five hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the first Sunday of April, and ends on the last Sunday of October.


Spanish is universally spoken in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo; most of the shopkeepers catering to tourists also speak English.

Travel Advisory

Dept of State

The U. S. Department of State has issued this Travel Warning, dated December 24, 2014, to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

"Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The TCOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity...

"There is no evidence that U.S. tourists have been targeted by criminal elements due to their citizenship. Nonetheless, while in Mexico you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and exercise particular caution in unfamiliar areas..."

"Defer non-essential travel to all parts of the state, except for the cities of Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo. Travel to Acapulco and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo only by air or cruise ship, exercise caution, and remain in tourist areas. Travel in and out of Acapulco by air and cruise ship is permitted for U.S. government personnel. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling within Guerrero state by land, including via the 95D toll road ("cuota") to/from Mexico City and Acapulco, as well as highway 200 between Acapulco and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. In Acapulco, defer non-essential travel to areas further than two blocks inland of the Costera Miguel Aleman Boulevard, which parallels the popular beach areas. Lodging for U.S. government personnel is limited to the hotel zone ("zona hotelera") of Acapulco, beginning from the Krystal Beach Acapulco hotel in the north and going south through Puerto Marquez, including the Playa Diamante area and ending at The Resort at Mundo Imperial hotel. In general, the popular tourist area of Diamante, just south of the city, has been less affected by violence. Any activity outside the hotel zone for U.S. government personnel is limited to the coastal area from La Quebrada to the beginning of the hotel zone and only during daylight hours. The state of Guerrero was the most violent state in Mexico in 2013, with 2,087 homicides and 207 reported cases of kidnapping, according to the Mexican Secretariado Ejecutivo Nacional de Seguridad Publica. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable."

Dealing with Money in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo


Mexican Peso

The Peso is Mexico's official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the peso amount. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 pesos. Coinage comes in denominations of 50 centavos, and $1, $2, $5 and $10 pesos.

Just be aware that larger notes (e.g., $500 Peso notes) are often difficult to change.

The current US Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rate is as follows:

Banks and ATMs

Banks with ATM machines are found throughout Ixtapa's hotels and in the village of Zihuatanejo, near where your ship's tender will dock. ATM machines in the two cities can be found at the following locations:

  • Citibank: has ATMs at their branches on Ave. Ejido at Vicente Guerrero, in Zihuatanejo, and at Plaza Los Arcos, L16, in Ixtapa.

  • Santander has ATMs at their branches on Blvd. Ixtapa s/n in Ixtapa, and at Av. Benito Juarez at Los Mangos in Zihuatanejo.

  • BBVA Bancomer: has ATMs at their branches at Plaza Don Juan in Ixtapa, and at Av. Benito Juarez at Nicolas Bravo in Zihuatanejo.

  • HSBC Mexico: has ATMs at their branches on Blvd. Ixtapa S/N, in Ixtapa, and at Av. H. Colegio Militar s/n in Zihuatanejo.

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo ATM map

Map icon

See our Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.

Using US Dollars in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo

As US dollars are widely accepted in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, you don't have to change your dollars into pesos. If you're using dollars alone, make sure to bring smaller denominations to pay for incidentals and taxi rides.


Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo weather is almost always sunny, hot and humid. There are two seasons in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo: winter, or the Dry Season, lasting from November through April, and summer, or the Rainy Season, which lasts from May through October.

In the dry season, expect daily highs in the high-80s F, with moderate humidity. In the rainy season, expect highs in the low-90s F and humidity that really gets to you; it'll rain up to 4 times per week (but in quick afternoon or evening bursts). The cities of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo get around 50 inches of rain each year; most of it falls from June through October. They also enjoy more than 300 days of sun each year.

In the winter months, the average sea surface temperature is in the low-70s F (about 22° C); it rises to the low-80s F in the summer months. In the rainy season, the average sea surface temperature ranges between 82° to 84° F (27° to 28° C).

August through October is the hurricane season.

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High - F 87 87 87 89 89 91 91 91 89 89 89 87
Avg High - C 31 31 31 32 32 33 33 33 32 32 32 31
Avg Low - F 68 68 71 73 75 77 77 77 75 75 73 69
Avg Low - C 20 20 22 23 24 25 25 25 24 24 23 21

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Average Precipitation

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg, Inches 1.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.8 7.6 8.0 8.8 15.3 4.4 1.0 0.5
Avg, mm 26 3 0 0 21 186 196 216 374 108 26 11

Keeping In Touch

Internet Access in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo

There are many Cyber Cafes in downtown Zihuatanejo and in the Ixtapa area. Rates are fairly reasonable, ranging from $15 to $75 pesos/hour. The following is only a partial list.

  • Zihuatanejo Bar-Net, Below the Hotel Zihuatanejo Centro on Agustin Ramirez #9, Zihuatanejo. Drinks & snacks available. Open daily till 11:00 pm.

  • Xtapa Conexxion, at Centro Commercial Ixtapa plaza #15 Ixtapa. Best internet connection in Ixtapa; coffee and drinks, nice music. $75 pesos/hour.

  • Bad Bird Internet Cafe, Above Playa La Madera across from Bungalows Ley and Hotel Brisas del Mar, Zihuatanejo. Coffee and snacks served.

  • Cyber Internet Cafe, Plaza Los Patios #105, Ixtapa.

Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Internet Access Map

Map icon

See our Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Internet Access Map for the locations of the above internet access points.

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Travelers with American cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in Mexico. You can also buy a "Mexico plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details.


Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Zihua area is provided by local partner Iusacell.
Data services: Through partner Iusacell, Verizon offers EVDO coverage in the greater Zihua area.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Zihua area is provided by Telcel and Telefonica.
Data services: AT&T offers 3G service in the Zihua area through its partners Telcel and Telefonica.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.


Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in the Zihua area is provided by partner Iusacell, and with partners Telcel and Telefonica when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Iusacel, Sprint offers EVDO coverage in the Zihua area. Sprint also offers 3G coverage in Zihua when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in the Zihua area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in the Zihua area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.

Kindle Connectivity

In Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, you can download your Kindle 3G data through Telcel's 3G coverage in the city.

Internet Cafe

Samsung Galaxy S III

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals

Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo in 2015:

  • Ano Nuevo (New Year's Day), January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and fiestas.

  • Dia de los Santos Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), January 6. A national holiday celebrating the New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. It's the day that children receive gifts as well as shoes full of candy, and people buy a pastry called rosca de reyes.

  • Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution Day), February 5. Public holiday commemorating the signing of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The day is marked by festivals and a government-sponsored parade. Since the day falls on a Thursday, Mexicans get Monday, the 2nd, as a day off.

  • Carnaval, (Mardi Gras) February 12 to 17. Several cities in Mexico make a big deal out of the Carnival season; in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, it's not as big as as in Mazatlán, but they still have fun.

  • Birthday of Benito Juarez, March 21. A public holiday celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic in the second half of the 19th century.

  • Food and Wine Festival of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, April 10 to 13. Acclaimed chefs and mixologists take participants on a culinary adventure of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.

  • Semana Santa (Easter Week), March 30 to April 5. The week before Easter is the busiest week of the year. The city provides free concerts, theater performances and fiestas. Also taking place during this period is Petatlan's County Fair, featuring livestock exhibitions, games and fun for the whole family.

  • Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), May 1. A national holiday.

  • Cinco de Mayo, May 5. A Mexican holiday that commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army defeated a French force twice its size just south of Mexico City.

  • Independence Day, September 16. A celebratory parade through town commences at 9:00 am. Look for the delivery of the "El Grito de Dolores," the official grunt that marks the day.

  • Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day), October 12. Dia de la Raza is how Mexico celebrates Columbus Day.

  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), November 1 to 2. Celebrants build private altars to honor the deceased, using sugar skulls, flowers and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

  • Revolution Day, November 18. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Since the 20th falls on a Friday, Mexicans get the prior Monday, the 16th, off as a holiday.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), December 12. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint. It's a festive occasion.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

Cruise Port Schedules

The port of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo has been a popular choice for ships making extended Mexican Riviera voyages. However, significant cutbacks on trips to peripheral Mexican Riviera ports have left this port with a much reduced schedule.

In 2015, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo is slated to host 13,700 passengers sailing on 12 cruise ships, up 585% and 1,100% from 2014. For further information, see our Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Cruise Ship Schedule - 2015.

Mexican Tile

Cruise Lines Making Port

The following cruise lines will make port in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo in 2015:

Holland America Norwegian
Cruise Ship

© 2008-2015 CruisePortInsider.com