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Taking the short bus to Ixtapa
There are a large number of Taxis in Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa that will take you just about anywhere you want to go at a pretty reasonable rate (13 pesos for anywhere in Zihua, 20 from Centro to La Ropa or 30-45 to Ixtapa depending on the time of day). But if you want something a little more interesting and economical, take the bus.
The short buses: mainly shuttle between Zihua and Ixtapa with some continuing on to Playa Linda (where you catch the boat to Ixtapa Island). There is also a route from Central Zihua to La Ropa Beach.
The destinations are painted on the front windshield. The main bus stop for the Zihua to Ixtapa route is on the traffic island at the end of Benito Juarez (opposite end from the canal) across from Electra just past the movie theater. From there or any street corner en route you can catch a wide array of buses to Ixtapa. They all go almost all the way down the main strip in Ixtapa as far as the Hotel Krystal then some veer off the main drag at Tamales Any towards Playa Linda or the surrounding areas. If you need to go further up the strip (US Consulate, Budget Rent a Car, Carlos & Charlies or Ixtapa Marina) make sure you catch a "Marina" or "Escolleras" bus they go all the way down.
You can catch any of these buses back to Zihua from any of the bus kiosks along the Ixtapa strip, just wave one marked Zihua down and they will stop for you and let you off in Zihua at Electra or anywhere else en route. They cost 4 pesos one way and leave just about every 5 minutes during the middle of the day and every 15-30 minutes in the evenings, up until around 10pm. They don't make regular stops unless someone on the street flags them down, so be prepared to tell the driver where you want to get off (Aqui -"ack-ee" - here or la esquina -"la sk-een-eh"- the corner, are good ones to know). At peak times of the day you might have to stand or at the very least cram yourself in next to strangers and the buses are small without much leg room, un-air conditioned and sweaty but with lots of windows to catch the breeze once you get up over 5 mph. But at non peak times you just might have a seat all to yourself. And believe it or not, a little metal bus has pretty good acoustics for the strolling guitar playing minstrels who routinely hop on and play for tips.
The Central Zihua to La Ropa Beach route runs up and down the main Zihua strip (Benito Juarez). It goes down the canal road, over the bridge and up and around the mountain to La Ropa Beach, offering spectacular views of the Bay that can't be seen nearly as well from the much lower to the ground cars or taxis. There are other buses that go up and down Benito Juarez to the surrounding neighborhoods, but the ones you want all have "La Ropa" clearly marked on the front windshield. Flag down the La Ropa "Express" from any street corner en route, the cost is 3 pesos. It comes by every 15 to 30 to 45 minutes depending on how much of a hurry you're in and its very rarely express, but when the alternative is a walking over a mountain, most people can stand the wait. There are three main drop off points to get to the beach. 1st: Casa Que Canta Hotel at the first main curve, it involves an invigorating walk down a near vertical cobble stone road to the beach. 2nd: Los Delphines, the dolphin sculpture in front of Villa Del Sol Hotel, it involves a 1-2 block walk down a moderately steep hill thru the craft market stalls to the beach. 3rd: El Final de La Ropa, End of the line: ride the bus all the way down the mountain, thru the jungle road and down the beach road to La Ropa. It drops you off right at the beach, next to The Gaviota, Rossy's and Marco's El Pirata restaurants. This is also where the bus will wait before beginning the circuit back to town, but of course you can flag it down from anywhere en route as well. It runs all day until around sunset. Note: it is always more crowded at the end of the day, sometimes sardine can like and if sitting intimately close to sopping wet and sandy kids is a problem for you, you may want to splurge on that taxi.
But all in all, when they aren't too packed and the windows are open to the breeze, riding the buses can be great fun. Some of them buck like amusement park rides, the drivers blare their favorite music, they are painted bright friendly colors, they only cost a few pesos, it makes you feel like a local and they always leave you with a story to tell. So go on, get on the bus.