Zihuatanejo, a Gem on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Zihuatanejo is a small fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific coast that’s just bursting with local flavor. From the beautiful scenery, laid-back and welcoming locals, and ultra-fresh seafood, it’s a great place to be.

Sunset at Zihuatanejo panorama
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Zihuatanejo is one of those places you just wish you could get stranded in for a very long time. As I’ve said before, there’s much to love about the place. It’s a small fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and it’s just bursting with local flavor.

Just up the road is the sterilized resort town of Ixtapa–the Cancun of the West Coast–but the two places couldn’t be more different. Nestled in a protected bay with a coastline of alternating rocky headlands–a bay in which fishermen head out in their small boats–it has great ocean views from all around the bay. A vibrant village market forms a fascinating maze to get lost in, and the beach fish market is both unique and quintessentially local. It is quite a gem.

ANDY: Think you’ll ever get out of here?
RED: Sure. When I got a long white beard and about three marbles left rolling around upstairs.
ANDY: Tell you where I’d go. Zihuatanejo.
RED: Zihuatanejo?
ANDY: Mexico. Little place right on the Pacific. You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That’s where I’d like to finish out my life, Red. A warm place with no memory. Open a little hotel right on the beach. Buy some worthless old boat and fix it up like new. Take my guests out charter fishing.

–The Shawshank Redemption (1994; dir: Frank Darabont)
Beach at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Deck chairs with an ocean view
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Stores in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Waves against rocks
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Playa Principal, Zihuatanejo
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Local craft stores
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Fishing boats on the shore at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Downtown Zihuatanejo
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Stores in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Local craft stores
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Fishing boats at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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La Casa Que Canta Resort, Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Luxury Resort at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Fruit and vegetables at El Mercado (the central market) in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Zihuatanejo harbor
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Ocean view at night
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Chicken stall at El Mercardo
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Shoreline at Zihuatanejo
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Fruit and vegetables at El Mercado (the central market) in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Playa Principal, Zihuatanejo
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Beach at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Mexican political sign
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Beach at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Fishing boats at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Playa Principal, Zihuatanejo
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Mexican resort
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Fish stall at El Mercado (the central market) in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Fruit and vegetables at El Mercado (the central market) in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Street sign design
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Headland of the bay at Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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Night time view of Zihuatenejo Bay
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com

Related: Zihuatenejo also has an interesting historical link to 1960s psychedelia. You can read about it here.

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David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »