Zihuatanejo (see wah tah NAY ho) is located in the Municipio of José Azueta (aka Zihuatanejo de Azueta) in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific Coast of Mexico about 240km (approx. 144 miles) northwest of Acapulco. The modern tourist resort of Ixtapa (eeks TAH pah) is only 5km away. Zihuatanejo is the seat of government for the Municipio and the principal community in the region. Ixtapa is a government-planned tourist resort that was begun in the early 1970's and constructed on what was once a coconut plantation and mangrove estuary. The approximate population of Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa is 50,000 inhabitants (source: INEGI). Zihuatanejo has the old-fashioned charm of traditional Mexican culture. It is a town that sprang up from a handful of families who were mostly fishermen. Fishing continues to be a way of life for a large number of families, and the increasing popularity of the area as a sportfishing destination has given new impetus to their livelihood. 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 Mexican vacationers and adventurous foreigners. Zihuatanejo's main attraction is its well-protected bay where travelling 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 and laid-back local lifestyle. The main part of downtown Zihuatanejo (referred to as «El Centro») is still rather old-fashioned with narrow streets made of paving-stones and where most people still walk to get around. The locals (and frequent visitors) still greet each other in the streets, causing a simple stroll around the block to sometimes take quite a while as they get caught up on the latest local gossip (a favorite pastime). Mariachis and various troubadours can be found at all the beaches and restaurants and will serenade you to romantic splendor. Their prices vary and are negotiable. They can be hired for private events or simply to serenade a loved one (an old tradition here). Their music fills the air like the scent of fragrant flowers! So please leave your boombox at home! Be sure to ask for the song «Zihuatanejo».