Mexican travelers include the neighboring beach towns of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, in the state of Guerrero, as favorite destinations, but that's where their similarity ends. Visitors to this area will encounter two decidedly different vacation destinations just 6.5 km (4 miles apart).
Ixtapa, once a coconut plantation, boasts the high-rise hotels, all-inclusive resorts, air-conditioned restaurants and upscale shopping you associate with Mexican beach resorts and luxury travel.
Zihuatanejo, on the other hand, evolved from quaint fishing village to backpackers' hotspot to today's incarnation of winding streets of galleries and folk art shops, small boutique hotels and palapa-style seafood restaurants serving the catch of the day. Backpackers still holiday here, but share the experience with honeymooners, snorkelers, swimmers, and cultural travelers who appreciate "Zihua's" laid-back vibe and postcard-worthy scenery of rocky cliffs, sand and sea.
Many of Ixtapa's resorts stand steps away from the shoreline, so you can easily enjoy dips into the sea.
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