Ixtapa is a model of modern infrastructure, services, and luxury hotels, while Zihuatanejo -- "Zihua" to the locals -- is the quintessential Mexican beach village. For travelers, this offers the intriguing possibility of visiting two distinct destinations in one vacation. Those looking for luxury should opt for Ixtapa (eex-tah-pah). You can easily and quickly make the 6.5km (4-mile) trip into Zihuatanejo for a sampling of the simple life in a pueblo by the sea. Those who prefer a more rustic retreat with real personality should settle in Zihuatanejo (see-wah-tah-neh-hoh).
The area, with a backdrop of the Sierra Madre and a foreground of Pacific Ocean waters, provides a full range of activities and diversions. Scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, bay cruises to remote beaches, and golf are among the favorites.
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