We all love a good hidden gem. A place where the majority of tourists haven’t yet discovered but provides a holiday of a lifetime experience. A place you can call your own until the world catches up and the crowds start to arrive.

This is the very definition of Ixtapa (pronounced Iks'tapa) in Mexico. The resort was, until the 1970s, a coconut plantation, albeit one with a lovely beach. Since that time a string of hotels has made it the smart choice for the traveller seeking an all-inclusive getaway from the big crowds but close to some wondrous nature. No high rise buildings, just amazing beaches. It’s called the Mexican Riviera for a good reason.

Village life

Based in the municipality of Zihuatanejo de Azueta in the state of Guerrero, Ixtapa is at its core a lovely little fishing village that looks out over a stunning and protected bay.

This wonderful town oozes authenticity and offers some of the best and freshest seafood in Mexico. You need to try this world-renowned fish strips, or ‘tiritas de pescado’. In fact, you need to try everything on the menu.

If you’re worried about things being too rustic then rest assured there are plenty of other restaurants, bars and shopping options in Ixtapa and the connected town of Zihuatanejo.

Fun, fun, fun

So what can you do in this ignored Mexico resort? It’s more a case of what you can’t do, which is very little.

Snorkel in stunning coral reefs from a choice of over 30 spots amongst the magical sea creatures at Isla Ixtapa, enjoy a round at Marina Ixtapa Nautica Golf Club or lose your holiday money in a fun way at WinClub Casino. ATVing, biking, horseback riding and bird-watching all make it a resort for the entire family.

For a truly unforgettable experience why not try digging and releasing a few very cute, newly born baby sea turtles? You let them sleep for a while in a small container before they open their eyes and are ready to begin life in the Pacific Ocean. Prepare to fall in love.

Planning a visit in winter? Ixtapa is also a great place to go whale-watching. Humpback whales appear every year to give birth in the warm waters and you can watch them from the cliffs or close up on the official boat tours.

A little caution

How about safety in Ixtapa? As with all areas of Mexico, your biggest concern is likely to be robbery. And as with all holidays caution is always the best idea, keeping valuables out of sight and not drawing attention to yourself. Otherwise, it’s no less dangerous than anywhere else.

Pure bliss

Inevitably it’s the beaches that are likely to draw you to this remarkable area. There’s 26km of coastline to choose from, much of which is the beautiful white Mexican sand and little coves where you can create your own personal paradise.

340 days a year of sun means you’re unlikely to return home the same colour as when you arrived. If you want to go somewhere with a really special vibe then we’d recommend Playa el Palmar. Head south of Playa Madera for Zihuatanejo's largest and most beautiful beach, Playa La Ropa. Its epic sweep of sand is the only place to be when the sunsets.

Why not stay at our Club Med resort which is a great base to discover Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and its history? You can also spend a day exploring the mysterious Maya ruins of La Chole, inhabited for over 3,000 years. Or simply lie back and enjoy the sun before deciding what to eat that evening.

Hidden gem? Ixtapa is a gleaming jewel of a resort and one you should visit before the secret gets out. We’ll see you at the beach.

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