Mexico has some of the most beautiful places I’ve been to and because I live in southern California, Mexico is an easy trip for me. Not to mention, very affordable!
My grandparents, mom’s side, actually live in Mexico in a small town that is adorable (will tell you about it later)- so I’ve traveled with my parents to Mexico my entire life. As an adult, I’ve made it a point the last several years to go with them, visit my grandparents for a few days, then head to a vacation spot with my parents for some relaxation before coming home.
In spring of 2017 we chose Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo for a couple of reasons; it is a 4 hour drive from my grandparents’ town, my uncle’s brother owns a condo there where the adult parents stayed, and hotel prices for the younger “kids” were unbelievably cheap! Overall, the trip was very convenient and affordable.
We stayed at Las Brisas for a whopping $24 a night!
The hotel sits in one of the top beaches of the area and it’s only accessible through the hotel, so it was never crowded. This was nice, but also a bit annoying as we did have to get special permission to bring 3 sets of parents (that were staying in the condo nearby) on the hotel property to access the beach.
Evidently, the beach itself is legally not private property, but the Hotel grounds are; and to get to the beach you need to either use Hotel grounds or arrive by boat. Again, a bit annoying but we were able to make it work.
Location though, was great! All rooms come with full ocean views and furnished balconies. Views were beyond gorgeous; stunning sunsets, and good location to get into “town”- walking distance even!
Town: there is a small shopping center kind of place that is their city center. You can find a handful of restaurants, Senor Frog and another bar/club type behind it and that’s it!
Senor Frog is what it is, fun for a night or two. Drinks insanely cheap and pretty good music.
TIP: Personally in Mexico I like to stick to shots and fresh lime wedge(s) as mixed drinks will have bottom shelf alcohol and be too sweet.
I was disappointed with food options, as again there isn’t much going on right in Ixtapa. Food at the hotel was ok but definitely overpriced, especially in comparison to everything else in the area. There are a few better restaurant options in the marina about 10-15 minutes north from Las Brisas. We ate at El Galeon and it was pretty tasty; we enjoyed several seafood plates.
Zihuatanejo, is about 30 minutes south and this is where you will find the amazing authentic food, markets, and access the small islands off the coast.
When I visit again, I would definitely like to stay in Zihuatanejo as there are much more options outside of big resorts.
We spent an entire day in Zihuatanejo- took a small taxi boat to Las Gatas where we hung out at a beach club. For a very reasonable fee we had endless food and drinks along with lounge chairs, towels, and umbrellas.
The island has beautiful clear and calm crystal blue water; great for snorkeling or playing in the water. Bring water shoes though because it is a bit rocky right at the beach. You can walk around the Island and explore it’s different coves.
In Zihuatanejo, we walked the streets, shopped the markets- I bought a handmade chair hammock to bring home that I love! Ate at a cafe, later ate some tacos; just a great day! Would love to spend more time here! Such a charming town.
Back in Ixtapa, our favorite beaches to hang out at were Playa Vista Hermosa, Playa Quieta, and El Palmar Beach.
Playa Vista Hermosa was our hotel’s beach. Waves were a bit rougher here, but views were truly incredible. We loved watching the sunset here as well as starting our day relaxing with a few margaritas and some ceviche on the beach.
Playa Quieta had calmer seas, great for swimming and having fun. This beach also had beach service from various vendors along with beach side massages. One hour beach massages were only $20 USD.
This is really as north as you want to go to enjoy a nice beach. Getting further north, the beaches are unfortunately not as well kept and the waves get rougher.
El Palmar Beach is Ixtapa’s main beach so there are lots of options here; anywhere from beach service to activities. Several resorts sit on this beach stretch and therefore you get lots of amenities. We rode a beach banana here that was pretty fun and the driver took us around to see a rock that in the shape of an elephant.
I should note, even though most of us drove from my grandparents town to Ixtapa, the younger crowd did rent a car so we could split up as needed. Car rental was also very affordable and easy.
Overall a great getaway at an even better price!
- If you love resort life; stay in Ixtapa. Lots of great options with great beaches! But don’t expect much outside of your resort.
- If you love to explore, eat authentic food, live like a local and overall have options outside of the resort, stay in Zihuatanejo.
- If you are looking for resort life, car rental is not necessary
Mexico really is great for so many reasons! If you haven’t been, definitely recommend you considering this for your next holiday. #vivamexico