Zihuatanejo Builds Friendships and International Peace with its Sister Cities in the USA and Mexico

During 2013, the Municipality of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero welcomed Bensenville, Illinois, USA and Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico  to its family of Sister Cities that also includes Palm Desert, California, USA and Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.  Collingwood, Ontario, Canada was formerly a Sister City but is no longer active.  The Sister Cities program is designed to promote international peace.

Sister Cities International (SCI) was created by USA President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, following World War II.  President Eisenhower, who was a general in the conflict, wanted to leave a legacy of peace, not war.  He envisioned an organization that would promote peace and prosperity by creating bonds between people from different cities around the world.  Through these relationships, people of different cultures can build partnerships and international friendships to lessen the chance of new conflicts.  Peace is established through person-to-person “citizen diplomacy.”

Dr. Alfonso Cantú, a dentist in Zihuatanejo, is president of the Comité de Ciudades Hermanas Ixtapa Zihuatanejo (Sister City Committee) that includes sub-committees for: Education and Careers; Tourism; Economics; Ecology and Humanitarian Projects.

Comite de CH Ixtapa Zihuatanejo


Palm Desert, California was Zihuatanejo’s first Sister City.  In 2004, the community donated a fire engine, ambulances and medical equipment to Zihuatanejo.  There have been many educational and cultural exchange programs over the years between the cities, including gastronomic events. Most recently, in September 2013, Sister City Palm Desert donated $25,000 USD to help flood victims in Zihuatanejo recover from the damages caused by Tropical Storm “Manuel.”   Palm Desert, like Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, is a tourism destination. The cities exchange many visitors and residents with vacation homes.

Dr. Cantu with donations from Palm Desert

Dr. Alfonso Cantú, President of the Sister City Committee of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, passes out recovery packets for flood victims donated by Sister City Palm Desert, California following Tropical Storm “Manuel” in September 2013.

Bensenville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, just became a Sister City to Zihuatanejo, Guerrero in November 2013.  Bensenville is unique having the highest population of immigrants from Guerrero in all of the USA!  About 65% of the population is Hispanic; half of that population is from Guerrero.  The town has a model school for immigrants.  The development of different exchange programs is currently underway.  Ixtapa Zihuatanejo hosts many tourists and visitors from the Chicago area every year with direct flights.

Bensenville Sister City

 In November 2013, Bensenville Village President Frank Soto welcomed President Eric Fernandez Ballesteros from Sister City of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico to formalize their Sister Cities agreement. Pictures by:  Village of Bensenville.

Sister Cities of Morelia and Uruapan are located in the state of Michoacán that neighbors to the north of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.  Morelia is the capital of the state and was once capital of the colonial providence of “New Spain.”  In 1991, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well preserved colonial buildings and layout of the historic center.  Morelia Cathedral is majestic pink stone building that dominates the skyline of the city. Construction began in 1660 and lasted for 84 years until 1744.  Morelia is also the home of the annual Monarch butterfly migration.  There is a constant interchange of cultural, economic and educational activities between Zihuatanejo and Morelia.

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 In 1991, Morelia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well preserved colonial buildings. Morelia Cathedral is majestic pink stone building that dominates the skyline of the city.

The City of Uruapan is the second-largest in the state and one of the oldest cities in Mexico.  Its main natural attractions are the Cupatitzio River and the National Park. Many residents from Morelia and Uruapan own property and vacation homes in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. There is a constant interchange of activities between these communities.

Flights and Tours from Morelia or Uruapan to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo:  Morelia is located only 4 hours away by drive from Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and Uruapan only 2 hours away.  Inexpensive luxury tour coaches leave and arrive frequently from both destinations.  You can enjoy a combination vacation by visiting one or both of these historic cities along with the tropical beach resort of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo.  Airport codes for the cities are: Morelia – MLM; Uruapan – UPN; and Zihuatanejo – ZIH.

Related Articles:

You Are Invited to the Celebration of Peace and Zihuatanejo Sailfest – February 4-9, 2014

Come on Down! New International Airline Flights to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo for 2014

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