Zihuatanejo is located in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific Coast of Mexico about 240 km (approx. 144 miles) northwest of Acapulco. The modern tourist resort of Ixtapa is only 5km distant. Zihuatanejo is the original settlement and the actual town. Ixtapa is a government-planned tourist resort that was begun in the early 1970's and constructed on what was once a coconut plantation. Zihuatanejo has the old-fashioned charm of traditional Mexican culture while Ixtapa is more akin to a transplanted miniature of modern Acapulco. There you'll find high-rise hotels lining the beach, modern condominiums (including time-shares), pricey shops, discoteques, and flambouyant restaurants.
Until the early 1970's Zihuatanejo was a sleepy fishing village with only a handful of families and residents. It was then (and continues to be) a favorite getaway for the "beautiful people" and a few adventurous gringos (NOTE - the word "gringo" is synonomous with United States citizen, but is also used loosely referring to anyone who doesn't look Latin or Asian; it is NOT a derogatory term).
Zihuatanejo's main attraction is its well-protected bay where boaters often spend the winter months moored in its peaceful clear waters. The bay offers various beaches for relaxation, recreation, dining, or simply enjoying the abundantly beautiful scenery.