Spanish classes in Acapulco, Taxco, Chilpancingo and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

About Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo



Zihuatanejo is located in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific Coast of Mexico about 145 miles northwest of Acapulco and south of Puerto Vallarta. The resort of Ixtapa is only a few miles away and because of their close proximity, the two towns are generally combined.


While Zihuatanejo has a richer history, Ixtapa was a government-designed tourist resort created in the 1970s and constructed on a former coconut plantation. The population of the two towns is approximately 85,000 people.


Zihuatanejo developed as a traditional Mexican fishing village and shares that relaxed, family-centered flavor today. The town maintains its traditional charm and elements of time-honored Mexican culture. Fishing continues to be a key facet of the area's culture and many travelers to Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo make annual pilgrimages to enjoy sport-fishing excursions.


The word Zihuatanejo is derived from the Nahuatl word for "the place of women" because the early life of the region was based on a matriarchal tradition. Ixtapa translates to "the white place" and was named for its expanse of white sandy beaches.


In a letter to King Carlos I of Spain, Cortez first mentions the town of Zihuatanejo and nearby Isla Grande, or Isla de Ixtapa (Ixtapa Island), and remarked that the place seemed to be inhabited solely by women. Another legend has it that the early peoples sent the women to Ixtapa Island for their protection and the conquistadores first spotted only them.


In pre-Columbian times, a local ruler constructed a rock barrier on Playa Las Gatas to provide a protected swimming area for women and children. The barrier shields the beach even today.
Travelers to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo will be pleased with the ease of reaching the resort destination. The towns are served directly by the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport with flights from Mexico City and a range of US cities.


In the film "Shawshank Redemption," based on the novella by Stephen King, Zihuatanejo symbolized hope and was the destination for wrongly imprisoned banker Andy Dufresne after he made his harrowing escape. At the end of the story, Andy's friend Red sets off on a journey to the fabled seaside town to find his friend.


Because of its tropical location, the weather in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is warm and appealing year-round. Average highs range from the low 29ºC in February and March to the high 29ºC throughout the remainder of the year. Sultry night temperatures average in the high 25ºC in January to the high 27ºC June through September.


Due to its status as a beach resort, outdoor activities are quite popular with visitors to the province. Swimming, scuba diving, boating and shoreline hiking are popular pursuits. Because much of the economy of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo is based on tourism, there is an overabundance of lodging, dining, shopping and nightlife activities.



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