A popular port of call and destination for cruise passengers, the Mexican resort of Ixtapa is set on one of the Pacific coastline's most spectacular bays and is justly renowned for its beautiful beaches. It's located just three miles (5km) from the municipal seat of Zihuatanejo.
Ixtapa was constructed in the 1970s on a coconut plantation and mangrove estuary. But in recent years it has given way to high-rise hotels and luxury villas, making it one of Mexico's most modern resorts with an energy and atmosphere reminiscent of Acapulco's earlier years. In fact, Ixtapa is only 152 miles (245km) northwest of Acapulco, so the attractions of that famous resort hub are accessible on daytrips and long excursions.
The city is home to the all-inclusive luxury resorts, international restaurants and upscale shopping most people associate with Mexican beach holidays. There is a broad selection throughout Ixtapa, including upmarket boutiques, jewellery stores and craft markets selling local wares. Ixtapa Boulevard is the place to go for shopping centres and stores, as well as the artisan market where popular buys include huaraches (handmade leather sandals), art and beachwear. Those looking for the quintessential Mexican souvenir need look no further than Tequila Por Favor, Zihuatanejo's first liquor store, which offers an amazing variety of tequila, fine spirits and Cuban and Mexican cigars.
The nightlife in Ixtapa is second to none with a good selection of restaurants, bars and clubs keeping the party going into the early hours. Sip cocktails beneath tropical overhangs or enjoy some of the finest beachside barbeques and dances.
Neighbouring Zihuatanejo has a very different character, becoming known as a quaint backpackers' hotspot with picturesque winding streets, lots of art galleries and folk appeal, along with small boutique hotels and traditional seafood restaurants. The proximity of this more bohemian beach hangout offers visitors a change of scene and mood and more options for dining and accommodation.
With offshore tropical islands, two world-class golf courses and exciting scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities, Ixtapa is fast becoming a popular choice for holidaymakers looking for the perfect beach holiday in Mexico.