Fodor's Expert Review Isla Ixtapa
The most popular spot on Isla Ixtapa (and the one closest to the boat dock) is Playa Cuachalalate. An excellent swimming beach, it was named for a local tree whose bark has been used as a remedy for kidney ailments since ancient times. A short walk across the island, Playa Varadero hugs a rocky cove and is also good for swimming, but watch for coral-covered rocks on both sides of the cove. Just behind is Playa Coral, whose calmer, crystal clear water is great for snorkeling. Each of the above beaches is lined with seafood eateries eager to rent snorkel equipment. Playa Carey, toward the island's south end, is small and has no services. Pangas run between the boat landings at both Cuachalalate and Varadero beaches and Playa Linda on the mainland, where you'll find a few all-inclusive, high-rise hotels. The ride costs MXN$40 round-trip, and boats run from about 9 to 5 (later in high season). Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: snorkeling; swimming.