Zihuatanejo vs. Ixtapa?

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Jun 28th, 2013, 10:50 AM
  #1
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Zihuatanejo vs. Ixtapa?

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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Jun 28th, 2013, 06:23 PM
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Have only stayed in Zihua, and visited Ixtapa while there. Zihua's La Ropa beach is the most beautiful and easy swimming beach in the area. I am not sure how swimmable beaches in Ixtapa are; hopefully an expert will chime in.
I did not find Playa Madera nearly as scenic or inviting as La Ropa in Zihua. We'd contemplated staying at a hotel there and were glad we didn't.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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I haven't gone yet but have researched and read a lot of posts. For me I would definitely want to be in Zihuatanejo proper. To me it seems to be the difference like staying out in "Nuevo Vallarta" when you're going to PV.

But I am interested in hearing the answer about visiting the beaches at Ixtapa. I'd assume you could pay for food & drinks somewhere and have access, but I'm just guessing.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 08:41 AM
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Suze, you were a big help in our staying in Old Town in PV last year and we were so glad to be there and not NV! Still getting details in order, but think we have a place in Zihua. Trip Advisor answered that the beaches were public in Ixtapa so we should be fine.
Frankie, thanks for the input re Madera. We don't seem to find condos avail. in Ropa, so if we stay here we'll be going to different beaches to swim, kayak, etc.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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Suze has it mostly right although Ixtapa Zihua are much nearer to each other that Nuevo to PV. It's 7 peso 10 minute bus ride. Buses come every 2 or 3 minutes.
Zihua does not have the nice architecture of PV but is similar to "Old Town" of 40 years ago.
Great restaurants, shops & beaches.
Not just La Ropa bur Madera & Las Gatas are wonderful beaches. Las Gatas requires a short 40 peso (round trip) boat ride. Has probably the clearest water of the 3 but it's beach, especially the far end is heavy with bits of Coral making water shoes a must.
I spend 3 to 4 months a year there in a private residence. Happy to an answer any questions.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Whales come & go. Barra de Potosi a small beach village with a few beach cafes is probably the prettiest beach in the area with a almost 10 mile long empty beach. A wonderful lagoon is there perfect for renting a Kayak. It has loads of waterfowl including Herons, Egrets, Osprey & Eagles. Secret passages completely enclose overhead are great to paddle through.
Ixtapa main beach is deep with great sand but often unswimable. It is mostly high rise hotels & high end shopping & eats. Almost all hotels there are AI depriving you of great dinning in Zihua.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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PS NO private beaches in Mexico. There are 2 public passageways on to it.
Playa Linda is another beach there where they surf a lot so basically no real swimming beaches there. Isla Ixtapa is a short boat ride away & has decent, not great snorkeling.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 11:43 AM
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Madera does have darker sand than La Ropa due to erosion from some Volcanic rock at the far end but it's gentle slope is much better for kids than La Ropa. Also it is where Mexican families hang out with their kids. They are very friendly & I often see tourist kids building sand castles, water play & beach soccer with the local kids.
The Views from The Madera end are fantastic!
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Jun 29th, 2013, 01:55 PM
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Thank you so much Stewbear, you are very generous with your help and information!

We are almost ready to book a condo in Zihua-just waiting for a couple questions to be answered by the owner. Very much looking forward to our first visit to the area.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 07:25 PM
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One more question please. I am told our condo is about 30 steps up--fine. But-then I hear there are about 70 steps to the Madera Beach.
Do you know these steps? Do we need to use them to get to town, etc. or just to walk or swim at the beach. What about restaurants? We don't mind some steps, just not 200 every day.
Thanks again.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 08:46 AM
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... not bad since I've never been!

Good question about the steps snorklesue! The place I stay in PV these days is WAY at the top of a hill and it can be a killer some days.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 03:12 PM
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Well there is a back way down to Calle Adelita which gives you access to several different routes to El Central including the bay side walkway.
The 70 steps or so to the beach is most likely fairly correct. That's true of many of the hotels/condos on Zihua bay. One exception is Mexicana which is at beach level for the most part. There are some little bungalows or apartments along the bay side walkway which only have perhaps 20 steps to the beach. My residence has no direct beach access but fabulous views. So you can get one or the other but seldom both.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 03:21 PM
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PS Lots of super restaurants near you on or near Adelita including Chendos, Salvador's & Casa Veja.
But do not miss some of the great ones in El Centro including The Marina (Joe's) Cafe, Daniel's Memo's, The Pancake House ,& not to be missed Papa Loca. Incredible stuffed potatoes, tacos & the best Pico de Gallo in this world! Opens at 6:00 PM or so & stays open to 3 or 4 AM. Very Mexican with plastic tables/chairs in a open air setting. Customers about 90% locals. I have yet to spend over $4 US for dinner there but only use pesos.
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Jul 1st, 2013, 11:02 AM
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Thanks again for helpful info. We think we'll risk the stairs, hills etc. this time. We aren't getting younger but the legs are working ok at the moment so we'll save the elevator buildings in Ixtapa for the next trip.
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