You must do this. It’s a big huge salt water pool with about 6 Dolphins and tons of trainers. I can’t express enough how cool it is. When it was first suggested to me that I “ride” Dolphins I thought they were lying. I thought you were only allowed to “swim” with them. I don’t think you can in the USA, but you sure can in Ixtapa. I was still hesitant about the whole idea..I didn’t want to show up and see a bunch of sad sickly dolphins the way some of those horses in Mexico look. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. They were healthy and energetic, as were the trainers.
I was petrified when I first got in the pool but got over it in about 2 minutes. You start by floating around and they swim by you and the others in the pool with you. You can touch them and they bump up against you. When you ride them, they flip onto their backs, you grab their flippers and they pull you. You also get to hug the Dolphin and the trainers take pictures and video of the entire session (cost extra). The Dolphins also swim under you, push their noses against the bottom of your feet and shoot you straight up out of the water (you never actually make it out of the water much higher than your knees, but it’s still a rush!). The whole thing may sound tough or exhausting, but the entire experience was so easy. 10 year olds to 70 year olds can do it. In the end, the Dolphins do a quick little show of more tricks that you watch. The Dolphins behaved so well, it was like being in a pool with very well trained golden retrievers. That is truly the vibe you get.
Important: If you ‘ride’ the Dolphins, wear swim trunks or shorts (yes, I mean you ladies). When the Dolphins shoot you up out of the water it happens very fast and you feel like your bikini bottoms are being pulled down by the force of the water. I don’t think my suit would have actually come down, but I grabbed the sides of my bottoms as I was being pushed up and heard everyone laughing at me. It was hysterical, but save yourself the embarrassment, wear shorts and enjoy.
The Marina runs parallel to the hotel zone strip. You cross an easy 4 lane street to get to it, and it's fun just to shop, walk around, and get something to eat and drink. Several restaurants to choose from and a cool piano bar.
Spend a day at Playa Las Gatas. First thing in the morning, get to the pier in Zihuatanejo (el muelle) - all the cab drivers know where it is. Go to the pier and immediately to your left as you face the pier is a ticket booth. Buy your tickets for a water taxi to Las Gatas. They are round trip tickets that cost a couple bucks (US). Hang on to your ticket for the return. Walk further down the pier and you will see people loading into the water taxis (pangas). Hop in and enjoy the crowded ride to Las Gatas! They will let you off on a small pier, and you will see a nice beach lined with restaurants. Walk down the beach and select any of the fine restaurants there. I always go to Otilio's, located second to the far end. Franco and Lalo will prepare a breakfast for you. You will sit under a palapa on the beach and read, swim, snorkel or take a nap. Late afternoon, Franco and Lalo will make a seafood dinner for you - all made from fresh fish! Many of the charter fisherman stop at Las Gatas and bring their fresh fish to the restaurants there - you will be amazed at the low prices! I recommend Otilio's, but all the restaurants there are great! If you choose to go to Otilio's, be warned, Franco is a jokester! He enjoys presenting an outrageous bill to his customers just to see their reaction - it is his joke and he is famous for it. Just tell him you are poor and humble, ask if he has a better price (or better yet, tell him you forgot your wallet!). Snorkeling there is pretty fair - the best snorkeling is toward the pier - head out to the reef. Late in the afternoon, head back to the pier. Give the folks on the panga your return ticket and head back to the pier. Be aware of this - a lot of the hotels and tour companies offer this as a tour - they charge quite a bit. You can follow my simple instructions and you will save tons of money, plus you will have your choice of which restaurant you visit! Enjoy
In Ixtapa, there is an organised trip you can take to take a boat to an island, eat the best fish & vegetables lunch and snorkel all day.
The island trip in Ixtapa is great because it takes a day out of your usual beach time to actually go to another beach (ironic, no?), but also see the sights which are well worth it..