Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is Mexico's classic tale of two cities that — though only a few miles apart — flaunt completely distinct vibes. Nevertheless, the pair often finds itself lumped together in quite the hyphenated tongue twister. Nestled between the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains and a bay overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the state of Guerrero, Zihuatanejo was a sleepy fishing village until the 1970s, when the Mexican government decided to create an upscale resort destination on a coconut plantation just up the road. Meanwhile, Ixtapa's architects intended it to be everything that Zihuatanejo was not, with its modern high-rise resorts, beachfront condos and chic, wannabe-Acapulco attitude. In the end, Zihua held strong to its small-town charm while reaping the benefits of having a shiny, new tourist Shangri-La right next door. These days the two coexist in a dos-por-uno deal; this works out conveniently for the traveler who wants an authentic taste of coastal Mexico without necessarily having to dive completely off the grid.