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Zihuatanejo vs. Ixtapa?

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Planning first time to area in Feb. 2014 and have found condos in both places that sound great-one at Bayview Grand Marina and one on Playa la Madera. It seems it is easy to go to Zihua from Ixtapa and spend the day. What about the reverse? Can we stay in Zihua and spend the day on the beaches of Ixtapa or are they private? What about the water quality in the bay verses the ocean? Are there whales to be seen in Ixtapa? I know, lots of questions, but we hope to spend a month or more, so.......thanks for any and all imput!

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