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Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo

Ixtapa is a government-planned tourist resort that was begun in the early 1970s and constructed on what was once a coconut plantation and mangrove estuary.

In 1968, the Bank of Mexico created a special fund for the creation of new tourist destinations on the country's coastlines. The first two such destinations were Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo, and Ixtapa, next to the town of Zihuatanejo. The development of Ixtapa was supported by a loan from the World Bank.

Ixtapa offers over five thousand hotel rooms and villas to choose from. Many of the large hotel chains have properties in Ixtapa, including Melia, NH, Holiday Inn, Park Royal, Capella Ixtapa, Hotel Ixtapa Palace Resort & Spa, and Club Med.

Zihuatanejo on the other hand is not quite as touristy, and may be a better place for retirement living. Prices are generally lower in Zihuatanejo, but Ixtapa is the glamorous destination.

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Cruise ships often stop at Ixtapa to let their passengers enjoy the fabulous beaches.

Ixtapa offers modern hotels and air conditioned shopping malls. Zihuatanejo offers vendor street stalls, and beachfront restaurants.

See a map of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo.


Mainly tourist items and handicrafts are found in Ixtapa, but a wider variety of shopping can be found in neighboring Zihuatanejo at numerous open air markets.

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