El Faro: This lighthouse, located at the end of Las Gatas beach, is about a 15-minute walk down a flagstone path from the Las Gatas Beach Club. The view is spectacular and includes the small islands in front of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo Bay.

Mercado de los Artisans: This open market in Zihuatanejo has hundreds of stalls with crafts people selling everything from blankets to ornate silver items. Unlike the shops in Ixtapa, real bargains can be found here.

Museo Arqueologico de la Costa Grande: Located at the end of the malecon (beachfront street) in Zihuatanejo, the museum houses artifacts from as early as 3000 B.C. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday; admission is about $1.

Sportsfishing: Any avid fisherman will love the region's incredible boasting opportunities. Just a few minutes at the dock in mid-afternoon will show you what is available as the small guideboats return from their excursions with gigantic marlin and sailfish. In fact, there are two hanging hooks, one on either side of the dock, for photo ops with your catch.

Playa La Ropa: Gentle surf and a family atmosphere surround the main swimming beach of Zihuatanejo. If you have time after a shore excursion, or if you just want a kicked-back day, this beach is accessible via a footpath (about half an hour's walk from Zihua) or by taxi (about 5 minutes and $3).

Playa Las Gatas: Accessible by water taxi from the main dock (about $3 each way), this protected inlet is also a great snorkeling spot. Have lunch or a cold one at one of the many beachfront restaurants or enramadas.

Playa el Palmar: The main beach in Ixtapa, it's nicely groomed and usually crowded with hotel guests as it runs along the strip that houses the high-rise hotels.

Troncones: Located about 16 miles north of Zihua, this rugged coastline is known as one of the best surfing spots in all of Mexico. It's also a site of sea turtle nests, virgin beaches and tidepools. Above the beaches are rugged mountains; a short hike up the mountainside takes you to La Majahua caverns and the zipline platforms, where you can soar above the jungle on rope harnesses.

Barra de Petosi: This seaside village is home to the region's most important ecological preserve, the wildlife sanctuary lagoon. Located approximately 15 miles south of Zihuatanejo, it also boasts the balmy beach of Playa Larga with over nine miles of unspoiled coastline, and family-run beachfront restaurants (enramadas) where you can enjoy fresh fish and a beer. Horseback riding in the surf is also available here.