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in Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, Troncones & Barra de Potosi, Mexico
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Releasing a sailfish
Yours Truly catching & releasing a sailfish (pez vela).
Photo © 1998 courtesy of Dan Leo!


Besides beaching it, there are numerous other activities for both the adventurous and the less energetic. If you like diving, snorkeling, fishing, whale watching, sightseeing, hiking, sailing, water-skiing, swimming, surfing, bodysurfing, or simply watching nature's marvels then Zihuatanejo will enchant you. We have all this and more, including traditional vacation pastimes such as golf and tennis.

Marine life in Zihuatanejo Bay

above: live action; below: still shots (courtesy of Ron Woheau)

One excursion that you can take by yourself is to walk over to the lighthouse (El Faro) from Las Gatas Beach. If you walk down to the far end of the beach you'll find the Las Gatas Beach Club. Just ask at the restaurant for directions and they'll show you the flagstone walkway leading to the lighthouse. It's about a 15-minute walk to the lighthouse. Don't forget your camera!! You'll want a few pictures of the breathtaking view from the cliffs of our coast including the guano-covered islands in front of Ixtapa to the northwest and the ones in front of Playa Blanca to the southeast (Los Morros De Potosí). The small rock island about a mile out in front of Zihuatanejo's bay is called La Piedra Solitaria. Its beacon can also be seen after dark.

Another tour you can take by yourself is a trip to Petatlán (pay taht LAHN), a colonial agricultural and ranching town south of here on the coastal highway about 40 minutes by car or bus. Petatlán is noted for its open-air gold market located in front of its beautiful majestic church known for its miracles. Truly an enchanting town lost in times of yore. Archaeological ruins are nearby, and several artifacts can be seen on display at various locations throughout the town. The Féria de Semana Santa (Easter week fair) is well worth the trip. The "Omnibus de Petatlán" busline located behind the restaurant "Jaiba Feliz" on Benito Juarez street in Zihuatanejo makes regular runs there and back all day & well into the evening. Just tell the driver to let you off at the street that leads to the Zócalo (town plaza) from the highway on the right-hand side just a little past the bridge which crosses the Petatlán River. Walk up the side street over a small hill and continue straight ahead downhill. From there it's an easy three blocks to walk to the central town plaza by the church. You'll catch the bus back at the same place you got off on the other side of the highway.

Restored ceremonial Ball Court at Xihuacán
Ancient restored Ball Court at Xihuacán
(click above to enlarge)

Petroglyph at church in La Chole
Ancient petroglyph at church in La Chole
(click to enlarge)

On the way to or back from Petatlán you might enjoy visiting the village called La Soledad de Maciel, known more affectionately as La Chole, an ancient village with an archaeological site called Xihuacán reputedly over 4,000 years old with possibly the largest Pelota court yet discovered and a very unique pyramid as well as other constructions that are currently being excavated and studied as well as several petroglyphs and many artifacts. At Xihuacán there is also a museum as well as tour guides available. Don't forget to visit the village of La Chole. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
[Official page of INAH: Zona Arqueológica Soledad de Maciel]

La Barra de Potosí (poh toh SEE) is another easy excursion you can take by yourself. If you have a rental car just drive south from Zihuatanejo taking Highway 200 for about 25 minutes until you reach the small town of Los Achotes. Right after the bridge there turn right (there's a sign that says "Laguna de Potosí") and when you reach the waterfront turn left. The road ends at Barra de Potosí. There are numerous seafood restaurants there, and the surf isn't quite so rough as the rest of the beach along Playa Larga/Playa Blanca (the 9½ mile long beach in front of the airport). There for a reasonable price you can take a boat tour of the large estuary. You'll see how the fishermen have fished for hundreds of years, the salt-producing flats, and many exotic forms of local wildlife including roseate spoonbills, great egrets, rare white pelicans, great blue herons, and maybe even a crocodile or two. Be sure to take plenty of film!

Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande
Museo Regional de la Costa Grande
(click to enlarge)

You'll find the Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande on the downtown waterfront at the eastern part of the beach called Playa Principal next to the pluvial canal known as "La Boquita". They have centuries of artifacts dating as far back as pre-Columbian times on display. A visit is well worth the price of admission. It is time and money well spent!

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission is 10 pesos for adults, and free for children up to 12 years old.

To help you get your bearings, here is a 360° panorama I made on the beach in front of the museum.

Please see my LOCAL INFO and BEACHES pages for more ideas on what to do and where to go. See my DIRECTORY OF ACTIVITIES page for more complete internet listings. See my COMMUNITY NOTICES & EVENTS page for details of various events in the region.

*NOTE* To call here long-distance please see these helpful tips.

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Activities & Tours

Here are a few recommendations of the many different excursions and activities available in our region:

  Adventours - Ecological excursions with experienced and knowledgeable guides. Featured tours are biking, kayaking, snorkeling, stand-up paddle.boarding (SUP), whalewatching, birdwatching and nature observation walks. All equipment provided.

  Bi-Zihuanas - Guided and personalized mountain bike tours as well as sales and service of mountain bikes. Calle Cuauhtémoc No. 39, Centro, Zihuatanejo. E-mail: bizihuanas@yahoo.com.mx . Tel. 544-6495, cell. 755-10-3558

  Black Marlin - Take a sightseeing tour to Playa Manzanillo or Isla Ixtapa for snorkeling. Fish for big or small game fish. Capt. David Otero of Zihuatanejo is one of our area's best charter captains! His covered panga is fully equipped for both fishing and snorkeling. Tel. (office) 554-4162, (home) 554-5246

  Campamento Tortuguero Ayotlcalli - Take part in the preservation of sea turtles as well as witness the release of sea turtle hatchlings at Playa Blanca. They offer workshops about sea turtles as well as frequent releases of hatchlings throughout the year, especially from August through February. Your donations are extremely important for their continued operation. (Non-profit organization)

  Carlo Scuba - Located at Las Gatas beach they offer exciting guided tours of the best dive spots around. Fully PADI qualified! Click on the link for more info & some great photos! They also offer lodging at La Villa de Co. Look for the sign at Playa Las Gatas or call 554-7003.

 Catcha L'Ola - Surf shop and surfing school in the Centro Comercial "El Kiosko" in Ixtapa. They offer surfing lessons, trips to local surf spots, rentals and sales of surfboards, and surfing accessories.

  El Refugio de Potosí - A center for wildlife conservation and environmental education. Features an observation tower, a wheelchair accessible footpath for observing local flora and fauna, and a butterfly pavilion. Located near the beach on the road to Barra de Potosí. Perfect for the entire family.

 Enlace Terrestre Aeroportuario S.A. de C.V. (ETASA) - Ground transportation services between the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa International Airport and local communities. Also offer chauffeured vehicles and buses for tours and large groups.

 Mero Adventure - Snorkeling and diving tours as well as diving instruction and certification by PADI certified divers in Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa. They also offer sales and maintenance of diving and snorkeling equipment. Office located at the Hotel Pacífica in Ixtapa.

  Parque Aventura Ixtapa - Zip-line tours through the tropical treetops. Also offer equipment and area for playing "Paintball" or "Gotcha". Located on the federal highway 200 between the Mirador de Ixtapa and the turnoff to the village El Posquelite.

 Patio Mexica Cooking School - Learn local and regional dishes with Monica at her popular cooking school in Colonia La Madera in Zihuatanejo.

  Picante - Sail on a luxurious 75' ultramodern sailing catamaran. Snorkeling, whalewatching and sunset excursions offered as well as spinnaker rides. Reservations required and private charters available. Based in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

  See Z Tours - Certified and experienced bilingual tour guides and transportation experts who know and love the region they grew up in. They can arrange your transportation to and from any destination no matter what size your group in modern well-maintained vehicles. They can show you local history, local nature and local culture at the pace you want to discover it. Tours include fishing, surfing, zip-lining, sailing, archaeology, culture, and nature tours.

 Tours with Moro - Experienced guided tours for fishing, snorkeling, birdwatching, ruins, hot springs, and monarch butterfly sanctuaries with Servando H. Moro. Cel. 755-559-5810. E-mail: servandomoro@yahoo.com.mx

  Zihua Aquadivers - Diving tours, instruction and certification by NAUI certified divers. Offering quick non-certificate courses for first-timers and novices, perfect for tourists, with all gear provided, as well as classes for beginners. Also featuring Referral and Refresher courses. 35 local dive sites to choose from. Completely professional and safe, using a high-tech air compressor for the purest air, and new, well-maintained equipment.

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Sport Fishing & Whale Watching Charters

  Black Marlin - Take a sightseeing tour to Playa Manzanillo or Isla Ixtapa for snorkeling. Fish for big or small game fish. Capt. David Otero of Zihuatanejo is one of our area's best charter captains! His covered panga is fully equipped for both fishing and snorkeling. Tel. (office) 554-4162, (home) 554-5246

  Champagne Charters - Fish in comfort on a Bertram 31 with Capt. Raúl Gutierrez. Mailing address: Calle Antonia Nava #8, Zihuatanejo, Gro. 40880. Tel. 554-2152

  Elva II Sport Fishing - Capt. Gabriel Torres and his son operate a roomy and well-equipped 36' custom sportfisher and also offers whale watching tours. Cels. 755-115-2255, 755-114-9655, 755-114-9146

  Ixtapa Sportfishing Charters - As showcased on ESPN & ESPN2. Enjoy the thrill of a lifetime fishing our waters with the experts. Experienced guides will take you to our hottest fishing spots! Marlin, sailfish, tuna, roosterfish and many more are found in our waters. They practice "catch and release" sport fishing and they have captains who specialize in ocean fly fishing!

  Ramón Olea's Sport Fishing Charters - Ramón knows all the local fishing secrets. This is what fishing off our coast is all about! You won't come back disappointed! His 24' covered panga, "Oleaje", doesn't offer much luxury, but his expertise in fishing is second to none! Ramón practices "catch and release" fishing. I highly recommend fishing with Ramón!!! Tel. 554-4311

  Servicios Turísticos Acuáticos de Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa - Deep sea & small game fishing boats. Fish in comfort on these full-size fishing boats with all the amenities. Find their office across from the Naval offices at Paseo del Pescador #6 near the pier. Tel. & FAX 554-4162.

  Vargas Sportfishing - Captain Alfredo Vargas offers his fleet of well-equipped and well-maintained boats with experienced captains and crews for sport fishing and whale watching charters in the Pacific Ocean fronting Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa. "catch & release" practiced.

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Golf & Tennis

There are two golf courses in Ixtapa: El Club de Golf Palma Real and Marina Ixtapa Club de Golf.

You'll find tennis courts at just about all the hotels in Ixtapa. There are no tennis courts in Zihuatanejo except at the Hotel Viceroy.

Palma Real not only has a beautiful ecologically designed golf course with plenty of shade trees, but also tennis and "paddle" courts. This course was designed by Robert Trent Jones. You'll find the Palma Real at the southeastern part of Ixtapa very near the Hotel Barceló on Ixtapa Boulevard. Some of their holes actually front the beach. They claim that no tee times are required, but it behooves you to call them in advance to make them during the high season at 553-1163 and 553-1062, fax 553-1703.
E-mail: teetimepalmareal@fonatur.gob.mx

Club de Golf Palma Real fees (in Mexican pesos) are as follows:

GOLF All Year
18 holes $1,280
9 holes $800
Twilight $800
VIP membership $30,000
Cart $450
Caddy $250 + tip
Rental clubs $300
Bucket of 50 practice balls $50
TENNIS & PADDLE (per hour) All Year
Children (under 12) $50
Adults $100
[Source: Fonatur]

All prices subject to change without notice.


  • 18 holes; par 72; length 6,898 yards
  • Driving range, practice putting green
  • Golf lessons available
  • Pool, 4 tennis courts, 2 paddle courts
  • Restaurant & bar including a mobile bar on the course
  • Open year round 7 days a week

    Marina Ixtapa Club de Golf is built on an area of 108 acres and has big sand traps. It is located at the northern end of Ixtapa Boulevard by the marina. This 18-hole par 72 course was designed by Robert Von Hagge. There are water hazards on 14 holes. They say no tee times are required, but I still recommend making them.
Pro-Shop: 553-1410
Management: 553-1400, 553-1440, 553-1500
E-mail: playgolfmarina912@gmail.com

    Marina Ixtapa high season golfing fees are as follows:

valid from Dec. 10, 2013 to April 30, 2014   in Mexican Pesos
18 holes - Adults $1,260
18 holes - Seniors (over 60) $1,155
18 holes - Juniors (up to 14) $455
9 holes - Adults $975
9 holes - Seniors (over 60) $890
9 holes - Juniors (up to 14) $350
4 rounds (individual use) $3,240
6 rounds (shared use) $5,880
25 rounds (shared use) $22,500
50 rounds (shared use) $40,000
TWILIGHT GREENS FEES - per person after 2:00 PM
9-18 holes - Adults $975
9-18 holes - Seniors (over 60) $890
9-18 holes - Juniors (up to 14) $350
All fees include a shared cart.
Groups of three or more must use a caddy.
Golf cart $430
Set of rental clubs per person $455
Bucket of 50 practice balls $65
Bucket of 100 practice balls $115
Bag of 10 used golf balls $130
Extra rider on cart (non-golfer) $325
CADDY SERVICE - per person  
18 holes $300
9 holes $250

All prices subject to change without notice.


  • 18 holes; par 72; length 6,793 yards
  • Driving range, practice putting green
  • Clubhouse, pro shop, boutique
  • Golf lessons available
  • Restaurant & bar lounge including a mobile bar on the course
  • Open year round 7 days a week from 7:00 AM until dark
  • Morning tee times from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM

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visits since 16 OCT 1999
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