We traveled to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Mexico in March for a beautiful Spring wedding. My boyfriend’s cousin was getting married and she always dreamed of an intimate ceremony in a fairytale location with her close family and friends. She chose the city of Zihuatanejo, a destination her family grew up visiting often. What was meant to be a 5-day trip turned into 7 after we found ourselves just loving the local culture, wonderful accommodations and delicious food.
Despite having gone south of the US border many times, Mexico was a destination I had never been to so I was very excited to explore a new area with my boyfriend and his family. In the weeks leading up to my trip I was often asked if I was scared to travel to Mexico – of course you hear stories of the crime and violence and how it isn’t safe for young American’s to be there – but I was determined to show up with an unbiased opinion and see what this place had to offer.
Where we stayed:
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are two different cities about a 15 minute drive apart from each other and we split our time equally between both. There are plenty of taxis headed in each direction that will cost you less than $15 a way. Our trip started in Ixtapa at a beautiful hotel called Las Brisas where all of the wedding guests spent the first 3 nights from Saturday through Tuesday morning. These days were spent relaxing by the pool, boogie-boarding in the ocean and filling up on all the guacamole & margarita’s our hearts desired. The hotel has a private beach so it was the perfect place to relax without swarms of public beach goers from other areas around town. The opening ceremony was Monday night and was directly on the beach with a stunning setup so perfect for a tropical destination.
On Tuesday we moved over to Zihuatanejo to a place called La Casa Que Canta. This hotel was definitely considered more “luxury” and was a bit more expensive but it was right next door to the wedding venue and made traveling to and from the ceremony easy. This hotel only has 24 rooms so it had a quieter, adult-friendly vibe to it. Although it didn’t have it’s own private beach like Las Brisas, it did have two pools on site to choose from – a lower level saltwater pool and and an upper level infinity pool. Both pools faced the ocean and provided beautiful sunset views in the evening.
Where we ate:
Our hotel in Ixtapa included free breakfast but for a few days we ventured into downtown Ixtapa and enjoyed breakfast at a wonderful little café called Debra’s. Here you can expect fresh breakfast burritos and smoothies larger than your head! Lunch every day was just ordered pool-side at our hotels and almost always came with guac and pico – no complaints there! Aside from the planned dinners at the opening ceremony and the wedding reception, we enjoyed dinner at a few other restaurants in downtown Zihuatanejo including Bandido’s (highly recommend the molcajete bowl), El Faro (our server was named Andre, he was great), and Coconut’s (beautiful outdoor seating in the back.)
What we did:
Of course the most important night of the entire trip was the actual wedding. The ceremony and reception were both held at Tentaciones Hotel. Never in my life could I picture a more beautiful venue. The ceremony started as the sun was beginning to set which made for some great photo ops as you can imagine. By the time we were being served dinner, the night sky was lit by all of the buildings and homes in the bay. We enjoyed a 5 course dinner and danced the night away.
Outside of the organized wedding activities, the rest of the week was entirely free for us to explore. On our first night in Ixtapa, the group went out to dinner and then danced the night away at Senor Frogs (of course this is always a pit-stop on tropical vacations.)
One of our more memorable days was spent at a beach off the beaten path called Playa Las Gatas. You had to take a water taxi from the public beach in Zihuatanejo for a couple bucks to get here but it was so worth it! We pulled our beach chairs into shallow water and sat basking in the sun, rewinding from the wedding the night prior.
Downtown Zihuatanejo was also an almost nightly activity for us. There were several bars that played live music and we made friends with a ton of locals who showed us around the area. We stopped in a few gift shops and did the usual touristy things here.
As you can see the week was full of non-stop eating, drinking and enjoying time with family. The bride and groom couldn’t have looked happier by the time we were headed home and we all can’t to return to this lovely area of Mexico in the future!