For anyone making a trip to Ixtapa or Zihua, an excursion to Ixtapa Island, also known as Isla Grande, is a must. A collection of quiet, beautiful beaches are arranged along the shores of Ixtapa Island, and travelers who make their way to this special place usually spend the entire day. The area serves as a wildlife preserve, featuring orchids, multi-colored fish, and a collection of native acacias.
Perhaps the most popular pursuit at Ixtapa Island is scuba diving. The calm waters and carefully protected sea life make this an excellent spot for viewing fish and other underwater creatures. Diving equipment can be rented from just about any hotel or shop in Ixtapa or Zihua, and prices for day rental are reasonable.
Transportation to Ixtapa Island is available daily via boats that leave frequently from downtown Zihua and downtown Ixtapa. For Ixtapa family vacations, boat fees can be purchased in advance or as part of an Ixtapa vacation package, or at a ticket booth on the pier. Fees are moderate, and often when purchases as part of an Ixtapa vacation package, tickets costs will be reduced. Be sure to ask when planning Ixtapa Mexico vacations about trips to Ixtapa Island and other boat tours.
The degree of privacy on Ixtapa Island beaches varies. Boats arriving from Ixtapa or Zihua usually land on Cuachalalate beach, so called for a type of medicinal tree that only grows on that section of the island. This primary beach has the most construction, but is a great place for Ixtapa family vacations, as many couples and families spend the day picnicking here or enjoying one of the various seafood restaurants along the shore.
A little further West is a more private beach known as Playas Varadero, probably the best place on the island to view wildlife. This is also a great place to don your scuba gear and dive in. The water is delightfully clear, and a long offshore coral reef stretches out along the beach. If you"ve booked your Ixtapa vacation package through a scuba company or other travel agency, you"ll likely be dropped off here at Playas Varadero. For even more tranquility, trek over to Playa Coral, a fifteen minute beach hike from Playas Varadero. This is a favorite among snorkel enthusiasts due to the shallow water here which blocks motor boat access.
If you travel to Ixtapa Island hoping for a view, a hike up to Playa Carey, the most secluded beach on the island, will provide it. A moderate walk takes hikers up through terrain that is a lush green during the rainy season and brownish during the dry season. Once you reach the high point, you"ll be rewarded with views of Ixtapa beaches across the water. Also, a small lighthouse offers sweeping views of the ocean.
Any Ixtapa Mexico vacations should include a trip to Ixtapa Island. Cheap Ixtapa vacation packages are widely available through travel agencies, and even online. When booking Ixtapa Mexico vacations, be sure to ask about boat tours to Ixtapa Island, as well as scuba diving and snorkeling. Many companies will be happy to book your airfare, accommodation and active pursuits together for discounted fees.