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by car, bus, plane or boat to Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, Mexico

Aeropuerto Internacional de Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

Airport & Airlines

The Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa International Airport is located about 15 minutes from town by car. It is possible to find direct flights from Canada and the U.S. especially during the peak vacation season between December and April.

Air Canada, United Airlines, Aeroméxico, Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and WestJet are the principal carriers, and there are numerous charter and winter season specials. You can check directly with the airport here at (country code 52) (755) 554-2070, (755) 554-0223.

There are many flights with connections at the airport in Mexico City or Toluca, the only problem being that sometimes there is very little time between landing, going through customs, and reaching your connecting flight. From many places it may actually take two days to get here if you aren't able to time your flights with about 2 to 3 hours between arrival and departure. Customs is usually no problem but you never know when it might be your turn to get the red light, which means a full search.

For folks flying down from the West Coast, if you aren't finding the flight you want or if you want to save some money and have more options, you can cross the border at San Diego into Tijuana using a service called Cross Border Express (CBX) and fly Volaris to Zihuatanejo or other airlines to other points. A very handy alternative. Here are the details, thanks to "mindpilot" from my Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa Message Board: CBX Instructions


Bus Terminal & Buslines

There is a major bus terminal called el Central de Autobuses located about 1½ miles from the downtown area on the main coastal highway housing several buslines offering service to and from most major towns and cities within the country, a great way to sightsee and travel in Mexico. Estrella de Oro and Estrella Blanca are some of the more reliable and safer luxury class buslines that make regular runs throughout the state of Guerrero including Acapulco, Chilpancingo and Taxco as well as to Mexico City (Estrella de Oro has its own bus terminal next to the main bus terminal). Primera Plus, Parhikuni and Autovías offer safe and reliable luxury class service between Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa and various towns and cities in Michoacan and beyond including Uruapan, Patzcuaro and Morelia.


Driving Routes

If you are driving to the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa area, one route is to go towards Mexico City and take the detour AROUND it (the "Periferico", believe me you don't want to drive in that city!) taking the route towards Cuernavaca and eventually getting on the Autopista Del Sol (click link for info and rates) which is a tollroad leading to Acapulco. From there you want to take Carretera Nacional 200 north to Zihuatanejo.

Another way to arrive here is via the new Autopista Siglo XXI (click link for info and rates) that connects Morelia, Uruapan, and Pátzcuaro, Michoacán to Carretera Nacional 200 on the coast near Feliciano, Guerrero. Although construction is not complete along the coastal section, it is very close to being finished, and drivers are currently permitted to drive part of the unfinished section at their own risk. What was previously about an 8½ hour drive to Morelia has now been reduced to about 4½ hours, and it should be about 4 hours once work is finished completely.

Oh, you can see what may appear to be quicker routes or more scenic routes on a map but you don't want to take them. You may never arrive if you do. Specifically, I'm referring to what is called the Toluca Highway (Carretera Nacional 134), also known around here as “la carretera de la muerte. The major routes are as safe as any, but the less traveled secondary roads are poorly maintained and are favorites for highway bandits due to their isolation.

Never drive at night if you can avoid it (the farm animals and slow-moving people are a little harder to dodge after dark) and always plan to stay at a motel, hotel, or inn when dusk rolls around. Unfortunately some bandidos still operate at night on deserted stretches of highway. Plus there are some potholes and speedbumps, called topes, on these roads that will take your wheels right off, so that's another reason not to drive after dark. For one excellent example of why driving after dark is not recommended, you may want to take a look at this “vertical tope”.


Road Assistance

If you encounter mechanical or other difficulties on the road, there are what we call Los Angeles Verdes (The Green Angels), a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews who cruise the highways daily helping stranded motorists. They usually carry an assortment of tools and spare parts with them in their green trucks and don't charge for their labor. They're paid by the government and won't accept money unless they have to purchase a part for you at an auto-supply store. They really are heaven-sent and we're thankful to have them!

If you have an emergency while driving simply dial 911. You may also call the Ministry of Tourism's hotline at 55-5250-0027, 0123, 0292, and 0493, or toll free at 800-903-9200. The Ministry can dispatch Los Angeles Verdes, or you can call them directly at 55-5250-8221, 4637, and 4644. If you are unable to call them, pull off the road and lift the hood of your car; chances are they will find you.


Driving Tips

One other word of advice: don't trust other people's turn signals. Most people here have never taken driving courses and often use the turn signal to tell the person behind them to pass on that side. Very confusing and dangerous. It's common for someone to turn on their turn signal then turn the opposite direction! Drive defensively and take your time and enjoy the beautiful countryside.

Remember to gas up when you can because the PEMEX government-owned gas stations can be few and far between.

However you get here it will definitely be worth it!!!


visits since 16 OCT 1999
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