Last Updated on January 24, 2023
You may think you’ve never heard of Zihuatanejo Ixtapa, but if you’ve ever watched “The Shawshank Redemption,” this is where Red finally meets up with Andy working on his boat in the movie’s final scene. An idyllic, blue, seaside contrast to the soul crushing gray horrors they experienced together inside a Maine prison.
Zihuatanejo, or Zihua (zee-wah) as the locals call it, is situated in the Mexican Riviera midway between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. Throughout the years, this charming, unpretentious destination—with its protected picturesque bay ringed by verdant mountains—has somehow managed to keep its small-town fishing village feel.
For those who love finding off-the-beaten-path gems, Zihuatanejo Ixtapa should definitely be on your radar. A visit to this remote destination is unforgettable.
How to get to Zihuatanejo
Flights come into the Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo International airport from many destinations — but not every day. After booking our vacation club stay, we went to schedule our flights and lo and behold, Alaska Airlines did not have a flight going into the city on the day we were arriving. We had to modify our plans.
Because Zihuatanejo is a relatively small town, it’s isn’t necessary to get a rental car. Taxis are not expensive and between taxis, walking, and boat transportation, we were able to get to the places we needed to in addition to booking tours. The airport is located only nine miles from town.
No matter the time of year, pack light. This area is known for its tropical heat, especially during its off-season from late spring to early fall. If that’s not bothersome for you, the prices are better and remember, you’re surrounded by water with plenty of places to cool off.
Location is Everything
Embarc Resort Zihuatanejo (previously under the Intrawest banner) is located on Playa la Ropa, one of the very best beaches in Zihua. The thatch-roofed vacation club resort is beautifully tiered into the surrounding landscape.
Breathtaking views of the bay abound from every level of the property, including cascading infinity pools overlooking the ocean. Villas feature large terraces with sweeping vistas of the Pacific, private plunge pools, and an open-air design with seamless transitions from indoor to outdoor living.
Guests can choose between oceanfront, ocean-view, beach and resort views.
We loved that Embarc offered the ideal launching pad for enjoying everything the area has to offer from water sports to cultural exploration. Given that it’s only a 20-minute walk into town, grocery stores, dining and shopping options abound.
About the Hotel Embarc Zihuatanejo Villas
Embarc offers two and three-bedroom accommodations ideal for large family gatherings or getaways with close friends. Our two-bedroom ocean-view villa included three bathrooms. One bedroom featured a king bed, the other had two queens.
A large living room area with semi-circular sofa was a perfect family gathering place. A fully equipped kitchen made it easy to have breakfast in the room, and a dining table just off the kitchen can comfortably seat six. Each unit also includes a washer and dryer.
Our favorite feature of the villa was the outside patio/balcony with lounge chairs, and if requested, staff will also bring an umbrella. An outdoor shower is located next to a dipping pool, a unique and popular aspect of the whole villa experience.
We loved the simple and comfortable décor of the Embarc villas – colorful, with lots of throw pillows and other furnishings reflecting the vibrancy of the Mexican culture.
Embarc Resort Zihuatanejo Amenities are Endless
Again, the tiered hill design of the resort allows for universally magnificent views and privacy. Embarc Resort Zihuatanejo features two large, heated infinity-edge outdoor pools, one for children and one adults-only. The adult pool also includes a swim-up bar.
The stunningly beautiful beach runs a good distance along with waterfront, making for ideal early morning or sunset strolls. Guests can rent watersports equipment right on the beach including kayaks, paddleboards, jet skis, snorkeling gear and more. Embarc guests also have access to wooden loungers with palapa umbrellas.
A fully equipped fitness center is located on property.
For guests wishing to leave the property and enjoy the exciting activities Zihuatanejo has to offer, or to schedule a picturesque sunset sail, an on-site concierge will happily assist.
Dining at the Resort
Embarc Resort Zihuatanejo offers three dining options. Open for breakfast only, Acopio features an impressively extensive menu with baked goods, fruits and traditional Mexican entrees. Good food, better views. The Surf Club Restaurant serves a myriad of lunch entrees including seafood, tacos, starters, salads and meat entrees. Dinner is special with the restaurant and resort filled with flickering candles and tiki torches providing a romantic island-y ambience. Menu choices range from seafood to turf selections celebrating the bounty of this Mexican utopia.
Because of Embarc’s beachfront location, guests can merely stroll the beach as we did to sample cocktails and foods from other local waterfront eateries. The choices are endless.
Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption” had it right. When seeking a place that’s the epitome of quiet paradise, you can’t beat Zihuatanejo.