In the western part of Mexico's Guerrero state, the once sleepy fishing village of Zihuatanejo has recently seen a creative and vibrant energy trickle through its streets. Swaying to a slower beat than the likes of Troncones and Tulum, this is a destination that honours its culture and history in a magical way.
Backed by the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains, pockets of subtropical shrubs and snaking vines contrast with white-sand beaches and rocky coves, while, along the coastline, a slew of rooftop bars, colourful market stalls and hammock-fringed restaurants have started cropping up. This is a place to join locals catching a wave, rub shoulders with a free-spirited bunch in edgy eateries and bed down at one of the most sublime botlholes we've ever seen.
Head to Cinco de Mayo Avenue to browse Zihuatenjo's daily crafts market - a haven for souvenir seekers. With stalls stocking vintage furnishings, handmade ceramics, rugs and dinky jewellery pieces, there are plenty of trinkets and treasures to be found. History buffs, however, should make tracks to the Costa Grande Archaeological Museum, where six spacious exhibition halls showcase weapons, instruments and figurines from the region.
Where to stay?
La Casa que Canta. Sitting pretty on the edge of Zihuatanejo Bay, this incredibly chic and intimate property feels more akin to a guesthouse than a hotel. All 25 rooms are designed with barefoot living in mind: think unfinished wood, wicker furnishings, handwoven hammocks and locally sourced homewares. Start your day with a paddle in the saltwater infinity pool, before snagging a fresh juice from the open-air restaurant. There's also a rooftop bar, fitness studios and spa offering a range of treatments.
Where to go for dinner?
Loved for its winning sunset views across La Ropa beach, the boho La Gaviota restaurant is an ideal venue for date night - picture sitting beneath a bamboo pergola with a slow jazz playlist playing softly in the background. Ingredients are seasonally focused, with menu standouts including homemade tortilla chips, chicken tamales, tacos and quesadillas.
And for a drink…
Loot. Not your average bar, this place qualifies as a café, surf and barber shop, art gallery and restaurant. The urban space is spread across three floors: expect surfboard-clad walls, baskets brimming with fresh fruits and an outdoor terrace wrapped in a tangle of palms - and a crowd of laid-back surfers, artists and musicians draped over tabletops come 8pm on a Friday night. The Apollo food truck, parked outside, is the best spot in town for a fist-sized burger and chunky chips. Come hungry.
Who to take with you?
A keen surfer. They'll enjoy riding the white-capped waves at the blissfully quiet La Saladita beach.
Essentials to pack
The basket bag has well and truly made its return this year, and we couldn't be more delighted. Forget the canvas tote and pack this Heimat Atlantica rattan basket bag instead. The ultimate staple, it will effortlessly take you from airport strolling to poolside lounging.
How to get there
There are no direct flights from the UK to Zihuatanejo. We suggest flying from London Heathrow to Mexico City International Airport with British Airways. From there, hop on a connecting flight to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport, which is just a 15-minute drive from the city's palm-fringed streets.