Zihuatanejo, or Zihua as we call it, used to be a quiet fishing village up until recently, but fishing is still very much the culture of the city. Walking through the town square by the beach, mermaid statues are everywhere. Zihuatanejo loosely translates to “place of women” and the statues are beautiful monuments to that. One thing that makes Zihua unique is that instead of a traditional square, it has a basketball court. This serves as a point of reference and is surrounded by benches and shade trees and is always bustling with activity. Next to this is a gazebo and the Casa de la Cultura which host live music, art shows, cultural presentations, etc. This is also where the cruise ships dock, so if you are there when the crowds come ashore you can catch a free show. You don’t get hassled by merchants for the most part, but once the cruise ships dock, the atmosphere changes, so don’t be alarmed if you start getting approached to purchase souvenirs. Zihua has been developed in conjunction with Ixtapa since the ‘70s, but it has maintained its traditional Mexican feel. That is what makes Zihuatanejo special to us. We felt like we had stepped back in time and experienced the Mexico of the past. It was not super commercialized or touristy. Don’t get me wrong, the touristy bars and restaurants are there if you want them, but they are easy to avoid if you don’t. We highly recommend going to ‘La Papa Loca’ at least once for the best stuffed baked potato you have ever had. It is located downtown, or El Centro, on the north end of the bay. It is quite popular, so be prepared for a wait, especially once the bars close. We did not do much bar hopping while in Zihua, but they are located all throughout El Centro. We also recommend spending the roughly $0.50 and taking the bus to Playa La Ropa for some pristine beaches and great food. We spent an entire day and into the night there and had an amazing time. We suggest Hotel Rossy for a delicious breakfast. You can also lounge on the Rossy beach and have full bar service as well. The prices are a little higher there than within Zihua, so be prepared for that. Another advantage of taking the bus is that if you spot a restaurant or shop while in transit, just get off on the next stop and check it out. You don’t need to feel like you have to have a final destination in mind, as with a cab. We were able to find some great authentic restaurants this way. Since Zihua is a fishing village, you can actually purchase a fish from the fisherman on the beach and take it to a restaurant and have it prepared. We suggest you check with the restaurant first so you aren’t lugging a fish around looking for a place to have it cooked.