La Playa Principal, which is the public beach located in front of the town. The local fisherman beach their skiffs here during the day. They fish at night and in the morning display and sell their catch to the local market and restaurants.
At the north end of the beach is El Muelle Municipal (Municipal Pier), one of the town’s most distinctive landmarks. Near the entrance one can find the El Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande, a tiny museum.
The Pier is where you can catch a boat to Playa Las Gatas (or where you can find your way to and from your cruise ship). Playa Principal isn’t the best choice for swimming or lounging due to all boats and fisherman and assorted comings and goings, not to mention the fact that it’s at the mouth of the canal where rainwater goes running off into the bay.
The beach is reasonably attractive, and certainly interesting, not to mention being part of what gives downtown Zihuatanejo its special, laid back appeal.
A short walk from Playa Principal is Playa La Madera, which means “Wood Beach” in English. The 2 km long beach is popular mainly because it’s so close to downtown and nearby residential areas, but truth be told it isn’t nearly as attractive and appealing as La Ropa or Las Gatas for more typical beach activities.
For one, the sand here tends to be hard and wet and it's very rocky in places.What it is great for is admiring the ocean and the bay from the seaside walkway which is pretty spectacular. The beach itself is a great place to play or bodyboard in the bay's roughest, yet safe waves. The break can be pretty strong. The beach area is a bit rustic, at times stunning, and at other other times just a bit dumpy.
Playa La Ropa is a great spot for swimming, parasailing, fishing, sailing, jogging, doing sports or just taking long romantic walks and enjoying the scenery. This beach is wide, stunningly beautiful, and very inviting. Playa La Ropa in English means “Clothes Beach”. In the 16th century a spanish galleon called the nao made the mistake of entering the bay, which was then a den for british buccaneers.
The pirates fired on the galleon without even having to pull up anchor and the galleon was scuttled. It’s cargo of chinese silk clothing washed up all over the beach, which is how “clothes beach” got its name.
Though right next door to Playa Madera, the 1 km walk that takes you to Playa La Ropa takes you up some very steep hills along Zihuatanejo’s Scenic Highway and it’s not always pedestrian friendly.
Another of our favorite spots, Playa Las Gatas is a great place for swimming and snorkeling and lounging in the sun. It’s one of the few spots on the Pacific Coast that boasts the gorgeous turquoise water most often seen around the Caribbean.
The view is beautiful and such requirements for a proper day at a Mexican beach such as seafood, beer, and even messages, are available. Playa de las gatas, which is at the extreme southern end of the bay, is accessible by water taxi from the municipal pier or a footpath along the rocky coast from la ropa. There is no road.
Taking the boat to Isla Ixtapa is one of the most popular daytime diversions for vacationers in Ixtapa or Zihuatanejo. The excursion takes you straight to a little beach cove carpeted with light gold sand and, in the right conditions, bordered by crystalline water.
Getting there is half the fun. From the Zihuatanejo Municipal pier you can hire a panga, a small, open, motorized boat or join others to take a collective water taxi ride. If you prefer a more personalized experience, hire a guide to take you to the island and show you some of the best spots for swimming, snorkeling, dining and drinking. You can also join locals by hopping a ferry from Playa Linda.
Adventure seekers may consider a package expedition by hiring a fishing boat, stopping to fish en route and landing on the island with enough time to snorkel while one of the restaurants grills your catch.