Besides the area right around Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, the beaches are very much undeveloped so if you can get to them you're in for a treat if you don't like crowds. There is an amazing strip of beach between Playa Linda and Troncones that we went to. From the Ixtapa hotel zone heading north, take the bus to Pantla (about 20 mins for about 6 pesos). Pantla is a town of almost 4,000 people just inland. We walked through the village to the river, waded through the river (no bridge but it's shallow) and then followed a dirt path for 4-5km until you reach the beach. Absolutely amazing. There were a few locals with ATVs and a truck, which would have been much faster, but besides that nobody there.
It was very hot, as usual, but we brought a collapsible cooler with ice, water and beer, food, and a sheet to make a shelter on the beach. After a cold one and a dip in the gorgeous water it was worth the long trek. It was fairly wavey but not too bad. Apparently the area is fairly popular for surfing when the swells are good.
I’m not particularly religious, but my mom grew up Catholic so for whatever reason I had this overwhelming desire to go to a Christmas mass. I suspected it would be different than Christmas mass in the USA since Catholics are very prevalent in Mexico. Our guide told us to go to the church on the main street in Zihautanejo (where all the swap meet type shops are located). On Christmas Eve they have an 8pm and midnight mass. Unfortunately we were late and missed most of the 8pm and were too tired to do the midnight. We did get to see the tail end of the 8pm mass and it was like a mini festival…the church was packed, but they kept the huge doors open so the crowd outside could see. I don’t think there were anymore than 5 English speaking people there…all Mexicans…very real and very special, yet kind of casual. At the end people got in a huge line to kiss the baby Jesus.
On Christmas day in Ixtapa the locals acted out the nativity scene. They used a live baby for the baby Jesus and had real baby goats that we got to hold. Everyone was so kind, no one asked for tips and they let us take pictures.