Is Cala de Mar Mexico’s Best-Kept Secret?

Don’t tell anyone, but your new favorite spot in Mexico might actually be an old classic on the side of a cliff




Coming back from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, you might have mixed feelings. On the one hand, you’ve just uncovered Mexico’s hidden gem and you want to share the news with all your friends. On the other, you sort of want to keep this lesser-known beachfront paradise all to yourself.

Further south of Cabo and Puerto Vallarta, the region almost guarantees sunny warm climes at any time of year. The topography, defined by rugged cliffs that hover above the sea, aren’t conducive to mega resorts, instead providing intimate settings for authentically Mexican properties, which tend to cost a fraction of the resorts in the more well-known areas. And then there are the easy direct flights.

Hop on Alaska’s 9:15 a.m. plane from LAX and land in Zihuatanejo by 1:45 p.m. The 30-minute drive to Cala de Mar, one of the area’s most iconic resorts, means you’re sipping mezcal from the balcony of your ocean-view suite well before sunset, truly making the most of a long weekend.



Agricultural land until resort development started in the 1970s (and it was famously referenced in the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption), the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo region is now mostly known for its laid-back surfing vibe. You can also snorkel, cycle, explore nearby islands, or go horseback riding or sportfishing. But the best thing to do is perhaps nothing, and no place makes you feel better about doing so than Cala de Mar.

Hugging a dramatic cliff, the resort’s 59 guest rooms—all of which face the ocean—stack in tiers across seven buildings. Beach access may not be steps from your room (the property can transport you to a nearby stretch of sand just minutes away), but sea views abound. Partake in yoga on the outdoor deck with Pacific vistas, dine on traditional Mexican fare and sashimi at their four above-water restaurants, or listen to the waves crash below while you’re getting a massage at their Spa El Capricho.

First opened in 2008, the property has been consistently updated and is constantly adding new experiences, such as a culinary journey that includes shopping for local ingredients and having the property’s chef guide you through meal preparation and execution.

Relax, sunbathe, swim, imbibe—whatever you do, it’ll be your little secret.


March 23, 2023.

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