Zihuatanejo’s Fish Market

There's much to love about Zihuatanejo on Mexico's Pacific coast, and the beach fish market is one of the town's gems.
Zihuatanejo Fish Market
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What’s not to love about a local fish market? With some notable exceptions like Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market that cashes in on its “world-famous” fish-tossing performing fishmongers, fish markets have little place for niceties or pretension. With freshness being everything, the trick is to sell quickly and get top dollar, meaning there’s not much place for gawking tourists getting in the way and not buying anything. For the fishmongers who make their living selling their perishable wares, it’s all business.

Zihuatanejo is at heart a fishing community, a place where fishing is in the blood. And if the Mexican government had not decided a few decades ago to transform nearby Ixtapa into a tourist hive, Zihuatanejo would likely have remained even sleepier than it is today. The bay against which the town is nestled is not just picturesque; it’s also abundant with fish. And the locals really know how to cook them; fresh seafood dishes are definitely a local specialty.

You have to get up early to see Zihuatanejo’s fish market in action. Dawdle much beyond dawn, and you’ll have missed it. The fishing is done in the dark hours of the morning, and around dawn, the dozens of small, wooden fishing boats convene on Playa Principal to sell their catches. For an hour or two, the makeshift market on the beach is bustling, but before long, the best fish have been sold, and the mood relaxes to the end of a workday. Not long after that, there’s little sign that just a few hours before, it had been the scene of a bustling and vibrant market that helps define and sustain the entire town.

It is commerce the old-fashioned way. There’s no neon or fancy refrigeration here—the fish are as fresh as can be, and they’re sold well before spoiling becomes an issue, on their way to the refrigerators of the local homes, restaurants, and hotels. The catch of the day is laid out on sheets and tarps on the sand just feet from where the boats are pulled up. Prices are mercurial and negotiable. Don’t expect Chilean Sea Bass, Swordfish, Barramundi, or scallops here—the entire catch is local, so if it can’t be caught in the immediate area with small fishing boats, it’s not going to be for sale. A big catch of sought-after fish means a bigger payday, but whether they’ve caught tuna or sardines, they can only sell what they’ve been lucky enough to catch.

There’s much to love about Zihuatanejo, and the beach fish market is one of the town’s gems.

Photos of Zihuatanejo’s Fish Market

Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo Fish Market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Cat in boat
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Zihuatanejo fish market
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com

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Travel Advice for Mexico

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Mexico (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Mexico here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Mexico here.

Guidebooks for Mexico

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Mexico. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

Lonely Planet Mexico 16 (Country Guide)
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Lonely Planet Mexico 16 (Country Guide)
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The Rough Guide to Mexico (Travel Guide with Free eBook) (Rough Guides)
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The Rough Guide to Mexico (Travel Guide with Free eBook) (Rough Guides)
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DK Eyewitness Mexico (Travel Guide)
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DK Eyewitness Mexico (Travel Guide)
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Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Mexico

I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.

But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.

These are some good places to shop for travel insurance for your next trip to Mexico :

Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!

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