Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Monday Escape: Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Zihuatanejo Bay

Escaping to Zihuatanejo was the only thing keeping fictional expat and excon, Andy Dufresne (from the film classic The Shawshank Redemption), hopeful and inspired. We couldn’t help but to recommend it as this week’s Monday Escape.

In the movie, Dufresne dreams about one day being free and owning a small hotel on the beach in Zihuatanejo. Upon hearing of this dream, Andy’s jailhouse friend, Red, coined the famous phrase, “Zi… what?”, which has become popular for visitors of the place. The name actually means “place of women”, as it was once the home of a matriarchial society.

Today the city houses a population of just over 60,000, all of whom get to regularly observe those spectacular sunsets over the Pacific.

Zihuatanejo’s Playa Las Gatas is protected by a rock wall which, legend has it, was originally constructed in pre-Colombian times by a Tarascan leader to provide safe swimming for the area’s women and children. Later, Spanish Conquistadores believed the city to be a land of beautiful Amazon women, gold & precious gems.

You could say this region has been popular with resort goers for centuries. That also means transportation in and out of the city is easy to come by, via highway or by air.

We think all of those legends, whether real or fictional, can’t be wrong. Book yourself a stay in Zihuatanejo and find out for yourself!


3 thoughts on “Monday Escape: Zihuatanejo, Mexico

  1. Just to clarify a couple of errors in your article.

    First, the “main beach” in Zihuatanejo is not Playa Las Gatas, which has the protective reef of boulders that may have been built by a Tarascan leader from the Pátzcuaro region of Michoacán. Playa Las Gatas is a lovely little beach, but most folks here consider Playa La Ropa to be the best beach within Zihuatanejo Bay. However the main beach is called La Playa Principal (which means “the main beach”).

    And I’ve lived here over 20 years and done my fair share of paying attention to local legend and lore, but I’ve never heard that Spanish Conquistadores believed the region to be inhabited by “Amazon women, gold and precious gems”. To the contrary, what was then called Cihuatlán by locals had its name changed to Zihuatanejo by the Spaniards who added the suffix “-ejo” to denote the unimportance of the region.

  2. I spent over a week here. And it was a weird place!!!!! Everyone was either totally stoned, or naked. Tons of nudists. Plus, there were even a few mid-operation tran-sexuals. I also remember going for dinner. And we had it worked out. We would order our meal, and then go and shower and do whatever else, because to get a plate of pasta took well over an hour to cook. Who knows, maybe their water boils much slower than it does in the rest of the world.
    With that said, it was gorgeous, but I was still functioning a bit on NY time and couldn’t adjust to the slowness.

  3. ZihuaRob,

    Thanks so much for the corrections, particularly the clarification about the “main beach” and its distinction from Playa Las Gatas.

    Just as a note, the information about the Spanish Conquistadores was ripped from wikipedia’s entry on Zihuatanejo. If you feel it may be inaccurate, it may be useful to propose an edit to that entry.

    As another note, we’re jealous of where you get to call home 🙂

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