Playa las Gatas – Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s Beach Jewel

playa las gatas beach
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Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is home to Playa las Gatas, the first beach with a man-made reef in the world.

This beautiful resort town on the Mexican Pacific coast is renowned for its stunning beaches, warm waters, and abundant marine life.

While there are plenty of beaches to choose from, Playa las Gatas stands out as a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

With its clear turquoise waters, pristine white sand, and serene atmosphere, it’s easy to see why Playa las Gatas is considered the perfect beach in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo.

In this blog post, I’ll dive into why Playa las Gatas is a must-visit destination for beach lovers and what makes it so special compared to other beaches in the area.

So grab your sunscreen and join me as I explore the beauty and charm of Playa las Gatas.

Why is it called Playa las Gatas?

playa las gatas
Playa las Gatas – Source: NanZIH Guerrero /

Legend has it that in the 1500s, this beach was discovered by the last Tarascan king, “Calzontzín.”

This powerful emperor came from Michoacán to the coast of Guerrero and lived in a village near the sea known as Zihuatlán.

Since this king liked to swim in this area and cat sharks (hence Playa las Gatas) were abundant, he decided to build a reef and thus have a safe beach for his delight and protection.

Getting to Playa las Gatas

Although Playa las Gatas is not easily accessible (since you have to get there by boat or a small dirt trail on foot), I assure you that the journey will be worth it.

First, you must get to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo; from there, you will follow the scenic road La Ropa, later known as the scenic road Las Gatas.

The state of Guerrero has one of the best bays in the country: Zihuatanejo Bay, beautiful for its beaches and other attractions.

Keep driving until you reach the end; you will find a dirt path to follow on foot that takes you to the beach.

Another way to get there is to take a boat from the Zihuatanejo pier that will drop you off at Las Gatas Beach.

What is Playa las Gatas like?

playa las gatas
Playa las gatas, you can see the man-made reef on the right – Source: NanZIH Guerrero /

National and international tourists visit Playa las Gatas in all seasons.

Because it is a small cove, no more than 300 meters long, it is a very appropriate place for different water activities.

Rocks also protect it, so its waves are very calm, and the water is crystal clear and clean.

Playa las Gatas has wet rocks, which can be very slippery and you will have a hard time stepping on them. Be careful.

However, it is also an excellent place for surfing from April to October, when the waves are accessible to practice this sport.


Again, the calm and crystalline waters that characterize Playa las Gatas Ixtapa make it perfect for snorkeling.

There are many snorkeling tours and kayaking in the area, which are highly recommended.

You can also opt to take a boat ride that will take you to Isla las Gatas and the snorkeling area for around 50 pesos. You can either bring your own snorkeling gear or rent one on-site for about 60 pesos.

Among the attractions while snorkeling is: shipwrecks, coral fields, rock formations, and a diversity of fish.

Also, a very popular site is the submerged Christ the King, at 10 meters deep, which is a bronze figure that weighs almost two tons and measures 4 meters, made by sculptor Marco Antonio Rivero.

Enjoy lunch at Chez Arnoldo Restaurant in Playa las Gatas

playa las gatas zihuatanejo

Walking to Playa las Gatas will make you hungry, so I recommend one of the most visited restaurants.

I am referring to Chez Arnoldo Restaurant, a place on the shore of the beach where you can enjoy the best local cuisine.

Since it is a totally family atmosphere, to go with your partner and friends, you will not regret visiting this place.

It has various coastal foods, from a breaded steak to a lobster or tuna carpaccio.

Also, some of the most requested dishes are fish strips, aguachile, and shrimp strips.

Can I pay by credit card? Several establishments, including Chez Arnoldo, accept Visa or MasterCard.

In addition, the restaurant has lounge chairs and showers, as well as snorkeling equipment for rent.

Ride the Picante Catamaran of Playa las Gatas

playa las gatas zihuatanejo

Another option to enjoy the beaches of Ixtapa is to ride a Catamaran, the name given to the sport boat, with two parallel hulls.

Enjoying the sunset, with good music, food, and an unbeatable atmosphere, is a great option.

Also, you can do water activities between tours, the catamaran can be parked, and passengers can get off and snorkel.

The tour takes approximately 2 hours and a half, depending on the places you want to go.

The most common is the catamaran making a tour of the entire bay of Ixtapa.

Boarding is at the Puerto Mio pier, where you hop on the catamaran and sail through the bays of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.

The price is around 1600 pesos and includes lunch, an open bar, and a guide on board throughout the tour.

Please note that it only operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can check all their services on their official website.

How many beaches are there in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo?

playa la ropa
Sunset from Playa la Ropa Zihuatanejo – Source: Richard Jack /

Within the bay of Ixtapa, there are 5 beaches: La Playa Principal, La Madera, La Ropa, Contramar, and Playa las Gatas.

Why Playa las Gatas is the Perfect Beach in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo: Conclusion

In conclusion, Playa las Gatas in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is the perfect beach destination for travelers seeking a serene and picturesque paradise.

With crystal clear waters, diverse marine life, and many activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and beachside dining, this beach is an ideal destination for all types of travelers.

Its serene ambiance, natural beauty, and rich history make it a must-visit spot for anyone traveling to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or embark on an adventure, Zihuatanejo has something for everyone. Vamonos!

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