This authentic Mexican village on the country’s Pacific coast makes a great escape for lovers of sun, sand, and simple pleasures.
PACIFIC PARADISE: Tell a group of people you’re planning a trip to Zihuatanejo, and odds are good that at least one person will mention The Shawshank Redemption. In this American classic, inmate Andy waxes eloquent about his desire to settle down in the Mexican Riviera village. “Do you know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?” he asks. “They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.” Once you step foot on Zihua’s beaches, you’ll know exactly what Andy was talking about. Real-world concerns will be washed away with the waves, and all you’ll care to remember is where you left your margarita.
ROOMS WITH A VIEW: You can do some of your best forgetting at The Tides Zihuatanejo. Situated along Playa La Ropa (“beach of silk”), The Tides offers 70 unique guest rooms and suites stretched across 6 acres of lush gardens and glistening water features. Each casita-style room has a private balcony or terrace, and the suites boast personal infinity pools. Nearby activities include everything from ATV tours and yacht cruises to horseback riding and deep-sea fishing. But, really, you could go your entire trip without ever leaving the resort grounds.
BEACH BITES: You certainly don’t need to travel far to find a palate-pleasing meal. Besides dining in the resort’s two restaurants—La Villa, which specializes in Pacific-Mexican cuisine, and La Marea, which has a Mediterranean focus—guests can also enjoy a casual lunch on the beach delivered to a private palapa. That’s a good thing—because after a salty, sunny dip in the ocean, nothing beats a barefoot feast of beef tacos, guacamole, and a couple of Pacificos. For a fancier, more intimate experience, The Tides offers an exclusive dinner in La Cava, the resort’s wine cellar. The rotating six-course tasting menu, which includes such delicacies as Cornish hen leg stuffed with duck pâté over lentils ragout, features a different wine pairing for each course. And although the food holds its own, the real star is La Cava itself. Housing more than 1,000 bottles, the dining area accommodates no more than six people. That intimacy, combined with the candlelight and the soft blankets that are offered if the room gets too chilly, creates an experience so cozy you’ll wish you could stay the night.
HOLA, SPA: Another on-site amenity that is a don’t-miss is The Spa at The Tides Zihuatanejo. As the story goes, Zihuatanejo means “the place of women,” and ladies (and fellas, too), you’ll definitely want to book an appointment here. Beginning with the open-air lobby and continuing with the small relaxation lounge and the simply appointed treatment rooms, the spa has a no-nonsense quality that’s fitting for its tropical locale. Its claim to fame is the Lava Shell Therapy, a Swedish-style massage using warm tiger clamshells, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about The Tides Signature Facial. For a place with no memory, these 60 minutes of pampering are surprisingly unforgettable. Customized specially for you and featuring Osea, a line of sea-based products you can buy at the spa, the facial brightens and revives from forehead to décolletage. After all that Mexican sun worship, your skin will appreciate the extra attention.
TURTLE LOVE: Plan your trip to The Tides Zihuatanejo between August and November, and you’re in for a special treat. Playa La Ropa is a natural breeding and nesting site for the critically endangered leatherback turtle, and for the past 10 years, the resort has operated a sea turtle nesting program that’s dedicated to preserving the species. The leatherback, which is the largest living turtle, is particularly threatened in the Pacific. According to the World Conservation Union, most leatherback nesting populations in those areas have declined more than 80 percent. In an effort to care for the species’ hatching process, each year, when thousands of mama turtles lay their eggs on Playa La Ropa, The Tides staff members collect those eggs and nurture them until they hatch. When the baby turtles are ready to face the wild, guests can participate in setting the hatchlings free during a special release event the property organizes every evening at sunset. As beautiful as the ocean is as the sun goes down, it’s even lovelier when you’re helping perpetuate a life cycle you know is struggling for survival.