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Zihuatanejo, or Zihua as it’s affectionately called, is a Pacific paradise of beautiful beaches, friendly people and an easygoing lifestyle. Until the 1970s it was a sleepy fishing village, but with the construction of Ixtapa next door, Zihua’s tourism industry boomed practically overnight.

Parts of the city have become quite touristy, especially when cruise ships are in town, and luxury hotels are slowly replacing family guesthouses. But for the most part, Zihua has retained its historic charm. The narrow cobblestone streets of downtown hide wonderful local restaurants, bars, boutiques and artisan studios. Fishers still meet every morning on the beach by Paseo del Pescador (Fishermen’s Passage) to sell their catch of the day. At night, young lovers and families stroll carefree along the romantic waterfront sidewalk. Zihua is the best of both worlds. No wonder Andy and Red chose to live out their post-prison days here in The Shawshank Redemption.

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