Where’s the Closest Beach to San Miguel de Allende?

Recently, we decided to take a quick and well-deserved break to the beach, and I wanted to share it with you. We love living in San Miguel de Allende. I’m definitely a mountain girl at heart, so living in the countryside in one of the most beautiful cities in the world always makes me feel like I’m on vacation! However, the kids in particular love the beach, and as we didn’t manage to get away during the summer holidays, we booked a spontaneous getaway to Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo.

So, if you’re wondering where’s the closest beach to San Miguel de Allende, and must-visit stops on your way there, you’ve come to the right place!

How Far is San Miguel de Allende from the Beach?

San Miguel de Allende is located in the Mexican Highlands. The nearest beach, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, sprawled along the Pacific Coast, is a mere 6-hour drive or a swift 45-minute flight away. For us and many San Miguel residents, this proximity offers the perfect blend of living is a vibrant central Mexican city with the added bonus of beachside bliss just a few hours away.

The Charm of Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa

Once a sleepy fishing village, it’s now a top tourist spot thanks to its beautiful beaches and rich history. For the last 2 years, we’ve been visiting Club Med, as it’s a great option for the kids. However, there are so many alternatives from AirBnB’s, local hotels, and all-inclusive resorts. 

The seafood here is to die for. Make sure to find where the local fishermen are eating and go there! From freshly caught oysters, to shrimp, seasnail and octopus cocktails, to pescadillas (fried fish tacos) – you won’t be disappointed. 

Explore the wild natural reserves where crocodiles, iguanas, and armadillos are plenty. Also spend an afternoon by the rock pools, where the kids love finding crabs. Just make sure to take some waterproof shoes and watch out for the sea urchins!

Exploring a natural reserve next to our hotel

Transportation Options

  • By Road: This is how we usually travel. It’s a scenic 6-hour drive, and the route we take passes through Morelia and then onto Zihuatanejo. The roads are in good condition (we always take the toll roads), and it’s a great way to see Mexico’s diverse landscapes.

The question I usually get asked: ‘Is it safe to drive to San Miguel de Allende from Ixtapa?’ For us, the answer has always been yes, as we’ve never experienced any problems. But, naturally, this is an opinion and not a fact! If you do decide to drive, don’t do it at night, and if you’re at all nervous about it, there are other options, like flying.

Fresh oyster shucking on the beach
The incredible wildlife at our hotel
  • By Bus: There are no direct buses, but you can take an 8-hour journey via Celaya. The coaches here are very affordable and comfortable, some offering reclining seats, toilets, televisions, and wifi. Cost: MX$810–1,380
  • By Air: This is how we traveled for this most recent trip. There are no airports in San Miguel de Allende, but you can do the following:

The closest airports are either Querétaro International Airport (QRO) or Del Bajio International Airport (BJX), which are approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car. We drove and left our car at the Park and Fly, which was only MXN $79; that was the daily rate for 7 nights. But there are also options with Bajiogo and other shuttles and taxi services that make regular San Miguel de Allende airport trips.

From either of these airports, you can fly to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo Airport (ZIH), which is the closest airport to Zihuatanejo; the flight is roughly 1 hour. Our flight from Bajio International Airport (BJX) only took 45 minutes, which was so quick and easy, especially with two excited kids!

  • The airlines that travel from these airports to Zihuatanejo are Volaris and Aeromexico.
  • There are also new direct international flights from many states in the US and Canada.

Must-Visit Stops Along the Way

Morelia: Known for its splendid colonial architecture, Morelia is a city that takes you back in time. Visit the majestic Morelia Cathedral and treat your taste buds to traditional Michoacán cuisine. The city’s cultural festivals are a colorful display of local traditions.

Pátzcuaro: Halfway to Ixtapa, Pátzcuaro is a picturesque town exuding a tranquil, old-world charm. It’s famous for its Day of the Dead celebrations and the serene Lake Pátzcuaro. Explore its artisan markets for unique crafts and take a boat trip to the enchanting island of Janitzio. It’s a great place to cut the journey in half and spend the night before hitting the road again.

Troncones: This is our usual beach hangout. A hidden gem near Zihuatanejo, Troncones is a small, tranquil beach village (one road in and out) ideal for surfers and nature lovers. It offers unspoiled beaches, eco-friendly lodgings, and yoga retreats. You can enjoy horseback riding along the beach or simply relax and eat delicious, freshly caught seafood.

So, if you’re thinking of swapping the November-January ‘sweater weather’ in San Miguel de Allende for a quick swimsuit beach getaway, Zihuatanejo could be just the place for you. I know we always feel revived once we get back.