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Ixtapa was nothing more than a coconut plantation until the late 1970s when Fonatur (the Mexican government’s tourism development group) decided that the Pacific coast needed a Cancún-like resort. In came the developers and up went the high-rises. The result is a long string of huge hotels backing a lovely beach, but little local community. Ixtapa’s appeal is best appreciated by families seeking a hassle-free, all-inclusive beach getaway, or by those who value modern chain-hotel comforts. It's close enough to Zihuatanejo – in effect, it's a suburb of it – that you can experience that town's more authentic Mexican life easily.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ixtapa.