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Tourist Attractions

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Ixtapa's primary hotel zone, the Zona Hotelera, extends along a 3-km (2-mi) strip of sandy beach called Playa del Palmar. It's fun to walk along the shore to check out the various hotel scenes and water-sports activities. Swimming is so-so because of how the small waves break close to shore. You can walk the length of the same zone on the landward side of the hotels, along Paseo Ixtapa. This landscaped thoroughfare—essentially, Ixtapa's only main street—is an access road that feeds the hotels on one side and strip malls filled with restaurants on the other. It includes a broad path for pedestrians and cyclists. The Zona Hotelera's southerly end is also home to the 18-hole Palma Real Golf Club; at the resort's northwest end is the anemic Marina Ixtapa development.

Everything in Zihuatenejo radiates out from the main beach. Although this stretch of sand is not the place for swimming, it's the best place to get a sense of the timeless local rhythm. Fishermen still set off in outboard-motorized skiffs and return a few hours later to sell their catch right there on the beach. A few blocks down, companies on and around the municipal pier, or muelle, take tourists on half- or full-day fishing adventures of their own, or on a 10-minute trip across the bay to one of the best swimming and snorkeling beaches, Playa las Gatas. The pier also marks the beginning of the Paseo del Pescador (Fishermen's Walk), or malecón. Follow this seaside path, only a third of a mile long, along the main beach, which is fronted by small restaurants and shops. Along the way you'll pass the basketball court that doubles as the town square.