Here's how to spend a perfect weekend in Zihuatanejo (2023)

They say familiarity breeds contempt, which is why some American travelers dismiss Mexico as a worthwhile destination. Proximity aside, the supersaturation of American influence in cities like Cabo and Cancún,Tulumysame mexico cityis another argument against it, but staying in these tourist areas is for amateurs. There is an abundance of cultural, scenic and lifestyle diversity in our southern neighbor that it would take a lifetime to explore. That could be a decent way to spend your life, but in this case we only have one weekend. Why not explore one of the best beach spots in the state of Guerrero, still little known?

Zihuatanejo, a sleepy beach town on Mexico's Pacific coast, is located a few hours northwest of Acapulco. Known for its fishing and abundant marine life, pristine beaches and serene surroundings, the small town of Zihuatanejo is situated adjacent to the much larger city of Ixtapa. fans ofShawshank RedemptionYou might also recognize this town as the idyllic paradise where Andy finally retires after his escape, and while running from the law to hide out on a remote paradise beach is a bit formulaic, it also feels right to portray Zihua, as they call it. the locals as a place to camp when you want to leave the world behind.

Fortunately, visiting Zihua is not about going out.allabout civilization behind us, as there are still plenty of luxury hotels in the area to make your stay that little bit more enjoyable. As Mexico is going through somea luxury hotel renaissance now, you can choose (although we have a specific recommendation below).

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How to get there

If you live in and around Los Angeles, there is a regular nonstop flight from LAX to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo International Airport (airport code ZIH, if you're already entering it into your own airline's app) on Alaska Airlines. Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco also offer nonstop routes, and Dallas, Houston and Minneapolis have nonstop routes seasonally (Nov/Dec-April). Departing from most other destinations means a stopover in Mexico City, but it's only an hour from there.

Note: ZIH airport is small, there is no lounge or bar in the small central hub... and air conditioning is limited. Dress for the heat as you enter and exit the city, and allow plenty of time for traffic and possible security stops on the way back.

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Where to stay

As mentioned, there's no shortage of luxury hotels popping up in Mexico lately, and plenty of stunning properties already dot Zihua's steep cliffs, all offering incredible ocean views. But only one is directly on the beach, so close there's no need for a white noise machine as the real waves will lull you to sleep. TheThompson Zihuatanejoit's only the brand's third location in Mexico, which is a good indication of how valuable they believe the area is.

Not only does The Thompson offer waterfront access, but on-site culinary programming is chef-led.Javier Garcia Cerrillo, oneFrancis Malmannacolyte who brings his mentor's live-fire grilling techniques to smoked precision in various dinner concepts. Not let down by beaches or grilled meats? The Swim-Up and Plunge Pool suites available at this property are another draw, offering an unrivaled level of privacy that even comes with ocean views. Finally, unlike hotels along the cliffs or those located a little further away in Ixtapa, guests at the Thompson can take a beachfront path to and from downtown Zihua, so a car isn't always necessary to get to the beach. City. For all these reasons combined, plus a few more culinary-focused ones listed below, the Thompson is the top hotel choice in the area.

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What to do

Day 1: Sunset drinks on the beach and Humo “smoked dinner”

Chances are if you've booked a trip to Zihuatanejo, it's because you're looking forward to some beach time. Most guests arrive in the afternoon or evening, as even on a direct flight to Los Angeles, one of the shortest, the trip takes three hours. One advantage of this seaside town is that it's only 15-20 minutes from the airport, so there's no time-consuming transfer once you've cleared customs. This means that after you've checked into your room, or while you're waiting for it to be ready, you'll head straight to the beach to get the dirt off the plane. Beachfront hotels tend to make sand easy to find, so walk over to Hao, the open-air bar and restaurant, grab a drink and dip your toes in the sand at famous Ropa Beach. Without a doubt, the best part of Zihua is that the water is bathing water temperature, so wading through the waves might be a good idea.

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Chef Javier and Hao rotate between several different seasonal menus, but one of the best is the Humo, or "smoked dinner," which is exactly what it sounds like. The chef takes all kinds of fresh vegetables, including some aromatic herbs and products grown in the property's own garden, prepared meats and even some desserts, and puts them on the grill. (Yes, smoked cheesecake is available!) Again, Chef Javier studied under Mallmann, so expect the flavor of the wood used for grilling to be more apparent than any additional sauce or seasoning. It's a very traditional South American style of open fire cooking that has remained famous for a reason.

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Day 2: In the water + Cooking in nature

As mentioned, Zihuatanejo is a fishing village, so get in the water and experience the local activity. Commissioning a boat for a half-day or full-day trip is easy when there are so many around, and Thompson's team can easily arrange one for your group if needed. An early start is key for a chance to catch the strong blackfin tuna that populate the area, so expect an alert around 6am. Note that any traveler possibly suffering from motion sickness should take Dramamine the night before so it is already in their system and shortly after waking up. It's a lifesaver!

Coming back from fishing in the late afternoon means a nap, drink and shower is the perfect way to get ready for dinner. One of the small luxury perks of Thompson's swim-up suites is a large private outdoor shower, which you can enjoy with yourDS is DurgaBowmaker Products. Toiletries aren't always worth mentioning, but this husband-and-wife-run boutique perfumery is something special.

Another of the many special gastronomic options that the property offers is the so-called Dinner in the Wild, where a private table and an improvised kitchen (read: barbecue) are set up in the secluded area of ​​the hotel's garden. Surrounded by trees, local wildlife and lots of string lights, this private dining experience is perfect for a special occasion or celebration. It's also far enough away from the beach and literally in the wild, that bug spray is a great convenience to bring if you're indulging in it. Everything is prepared in front of your table, and if you manage to catch a catch during the day, chances are the chef will cook the catch and serve it fresh.

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Day 3: Shopping and beach day in Ixtapa

Take a car or walk 20 minutes to Zihua's main street for breakfast and sample local food. ONEBistro Del Mar- which, true to its name, looks good in water - offers everything from divorced eggs to the local freshly squeezed "Zihuatanejo" juice, a mix of orange juice, coconut, papaya and strawberry. While you're in town, set aside a few hours to explore the nearby town of Ixtapa, which is much more commercial and tourist-oriented, and offers quite the contrast to the sleepy fishing village. The beaches of Ixtapa are also within easy reach, so spending a few hours on the sand is an option, or even renting bikes and exploring the bike paths that wind through the city.

Zihuatanejo's commercial zone is small, but it's also worth exploring. We recommend Mario's Leather Shop for any custom leather and embossed leather needs. If he's not around, call the number on the door sign and he'll pull up on a vespa and open the shop for anyone at any time - that's the kind of hospitality you get from a custom furrier. 🇧🇷

If you fancy a break between the day's activities and formal dinners, spend a few hours drinking and swimming in the private pool accessible from the swim-up suites (or any of the main pools, one of which is adults-only), or spend an hour or two at the spa. Since the peso-to-dollar conversion is very generous for Americans, spa treatments in Mexico are always a good idea; the service is still very high quality, while the price tends to be very low by American standards.

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End the weekend with a visit to the property's other restaurant, Ceniza, which still overlooks the sea, this time located under a traditional palm-roofed palapa. Mexican land and sea is the name of the game here, and another example of chef Javier's ability to bring great food to this small but mighty coastal town.

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