Ixtapa (pronounced eesh-tapa) is a coastal town full of oceanfront hotels and golf resorts in the southwest Mexican state of Guerrero. Its countless beaches and islands are surrounded by warm water year-round. The area is known for its crocodiles, rare birds and coral reef.
Follow the bicycle path to Playa Linda (Beautiful Beach) in the north of Ixtapa. Investigate the crocodile sanctuary in a forest next to the beach. The reptiles have been known to wander onto the beach on rare occasions. Look for exotic birds, fish and iguanas as well.
Take a horseback ride along the shore. The sandy beach is 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) long with quite rough waves. Surfing tournaments are often held in the bay. Walk the 5-mile (8-kilometer) nature trail at nearby Parque Aztlan where you can spy extraordinary birds and picturesque scenery.
Hire a panga (a small motor boat) driver to take you to Ixtapa Island or use the collective water taxi from Playa Blanca. Try scuba diving or snorkeling around the coral reef just off shore. From your panga or larger charter, catch a dorado or sailfish and have an island restaurant grill it for your dinner. Visit other beaches on the islet for a bit of variety.
Drive south 15 miles (25 kilometers) to reach Playa La Ropa (Clothes Beach), a bay with seafood restaurants built into the cliffs. Take a surfboard out onto the rolling waves or try parasailing or Jetskiing. Mingle with residents at one of the local bars. Paddle a kayak to Playa Las Gatas (Cats Beach) for a tranquil refuge away from crowds.
Nearby get a massage at a hut along Playa El Palmar (Palm Grove Beach). Once a coconut and mango plantation, the beach is now a picturesque vacationer’s dream. Play beach volleyball with friends. Round out the day with a perfect Ixtapa sunset over the water on the west-facing beach.
You can fly to Ixtapa from many U.S. airports or arrive by boat.