Port of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo
Find a Cruise to the Mexican Riviera
No building, by city code, is allowed to top four stories in Zihua, in order to preserve the "village look." Ixtapa, in contrast, has plenty of high-rise hotels and trendy shops. Zihua is a city with a municipal government; Ixtapa, a "created resort," is actually "governed" by a resort management company which oversees everything from traffic lights to law enforcement. Together they provide "two vacations in one."
At certain times of the year, while sailing to or from Zihuatanejo Bay, you might be lucky enough to see humpback whales as they migrate to their breeding grounds. And at other times, you might be able to assist in the preservation of the Green Ridley sea turtles as they lay their eggs in the sand along the bay's beaches. The ecological programs of the region include building pens along the beach where the eggs are placed until they can mature.
The nicest thing about a stop in the area is that there isn't much to see or do here, except to enjoy the natural charms of the locale. Young, hip, active and muy Americano, Ixtapa is where you'll find most of the water-sports vendors, the ubiquitous Carlos'n Charlie's, Senor Frogs and the other shops and watering holes that cruisers have come to expect. Zihua, on the other hand, is home to fishermen, craftsmen, small waterfront bars and cafes, and a more relaxed atmosphere.
Top Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Itineraries
Norwegian Gem18-day Panama Canal from New YorkNew York , Curacao, Aruba, Cartagena , Puntarenas , Corinto, Puerto Quetzal , Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Los AngelesNow
Norwegian Gem19-day Panama Canal from Los AngelesLos Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Puerto Quetzal , Corinto, Puntarenas , Cartagena , Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, New YorkNow
Crystal Symphony13 Nights Central American SojournLos Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Puerto Quetzal , Acajutla, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas , Puntarenas , PuntarenasNow
Seven Seas Mariner15 Night Panama Canal CruiseLos Angeles, Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Acajutla, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas , Cartagena , MiamiNow
Azamara Journey17 Night Panama Canal Holiday VoyageMiami, Cartagena , Cartagena , Puntarenas , San Juan del Sur, Acajutla, Puerto Quetzal , Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Cabo San Lucas, Los AngelesNow
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships anchor in Zihuatanejo Bay and tender to the small dock in Zihua; walking to the shops of Zihuatanejo is an easy three minutes; Ixtapa is approximately three miles away and is accessible by bus, taxi or shore excursion.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The Mexican peso is the official currency of Mexico, but the U.S. dollar is widely accepted. Note, though, that the symbol for the U.S. dollar ($) is also used for the peso, so make sure you know which currency you are being charged for goods and services. The peso is currently trading at about 10 to one U.S. dollar.
Zihuatanejo has a few banks with ATMs in its "downtown" area, about a 15-minute walk from the dock. Ixtapa has several. Credit and debit cards are accepted in most locations for purchases.
Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Most of the shopkeepers in Zihua and almost everyone in Ixtapa speaks and understands some English, so communication is not a major problem.
Local pottery is an exceptional buy, as are rugs and hand-woven hammocks. There is an open market just a few steps from the tender dock in Zihua, and there are many upscale shops and boutiques in Ixtapa.