Playa Las Gatas is a family-friendly, completely swimmable beach in the Bahia de Zihuatanejo, located in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The international airport, Aeropuerto Internacional de Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, is only 15 minutes away, so its easy to access and visit this famous little gem of a beach. Most people access the beach by taking a boat (which is what we did), using a semi-private ferry service from Roberto, who took us on his bright green boat directly to the beach's dock. The regular price per person is around 80 pesos per person (about $4) round trip, and includes the use of life jackets for everyone on the boat.
You will go through a short security area on the dock "El Muelle" where they will check your bags for alcohol and weapons, but its just a perfunctory check. They don't want you to bring glass to the beach, either, although you can purchase glass bottles of beer when you get there (go figure!).
We were able to pass with multiple bags filled with toys, snorkel gear, towels, and bottled water. You will have to wear a mask (as of April 2022) but you can take it off immediately wen you get on the boat if you wish. Hardly anyone was wearing them except for the security workers themselves.
Playa Las Gatas is lined up and down the shore with great restaurants where you can dine under palapas or beach umbrellas literally steps from the ocean. It's a protected beach and safe for swimming for all ages. When we went it was a busy day and lots of locals were in the water as well as tourists because it was close to the Eater holiday, but there was still plenty of space on the beach as well as available chairs and beach umbrellas.
Most visitors wear water shoes because the coral on the beach is somewhat uncomfortable to walk through (I don't like water shoes and typically don't wear them, but our kids did). I like feeling the sand in between my toes but the coral is a bit pokey in some places.
If you did forget to bring water shoes (or something else), anything you may have forgotten to bring is easily purchased from one of the dozens of vendors on the beach, however. For example we forgot to bring a lycra-type underpant for our 8-year old, it helps a lot to reduce chafing from the sand underneath their swimming trunks) and I bought one right on the beach for 140 pesos (about 7 dollars). He went and put it on in the bathrooms and enjoyed the day without sand rash between his legs.
Our oldest son is a teen and so, of course, he wanted to go on all the water rides. The operators typically charge between 100 and 150 pesos per ride. There are several water rides to choose from, in the picture above, he's at the front of the "red banana ride" where the object of the ride seems to be to make sure all the riders bounce off into the water, at some point. He loved it.
We enjoyed great food and drinks all day at "La Cabana" an excellent seafood joint recommended by our guide Roberto. We ordered ice cold beer in buckets ("una cubeta") and plates of seafood to snack on. There are fish fingers and fries for the kids and we ordered some fantastic fresh Tilapia for the adults. All the food was genuinely great.
All in all it was a fantastic way to spend our day and the kids absolutely loved it. When we were done, at around 5:30 PM (most of the restaurants stop serving food around 5PM) we called Roberto via WhatsApp and he came right back up to the docks in his little green boat and picked us up. We gave him a tip of 50 pesos and went back to our holiday rental from the docks. It was such a great, low-stress day with plenty of fun and activities for kids of all ages. Highly recommended!
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Just a middle-class family with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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