If you only have time to go to one place on the Mexican coast, Manzanillo should not be missed. Even though it's not as big as the other resort cities, it's enchanting and alive with activity. It's been rated as very safe and the local people will make you feel at home.
Manzanillo, which is in Mexico's state of Colima, has two parts, the resort area on the Santiago Peninsula, and the busy commercial area downtown where you'll find colonial style houses and little streets that meander away and take you on a tour around this very Mexican town.
There is plenty to offer for those who want to explore. With the Marlin as its official fish, you know that sport fishing is big with year-round trips available. Golf, too, is a major attraction, with Manzanillo home to no less than two of Mexico's most prestigious golf courses.
Manzanillo has many beautiful beaches to choose from but for watersports head for those on the peninsula as they are protected from the Pacific Ocean.
If you've never tried scuba diving, this is the perfect place to start as experienced instructors will soon have you entering a whole new world of fish, crabs, rays, and corals in colours that amaze even the most seasoned divers. A local boat tour will take you to see remote places and will stop at safe places for swimming, snorkeling and diving. If you'd like to relax, take a sunset cruise and watch the sun melt into the Pacific Ocean in style.
Manzanillo is quite spread out so you'll probably have to take a cab or rent a car to get around. Alternatively arrange for a guided tour of Manzanillo.
Things To Do
- Take a day trip to Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city and home to the mariachi, sombrero and tequila.
- Go sailing.
- Visit the Crocodile sanctuary and see feeding time with a difference. The Iguana Sanctuary has hundreds of different varieties, some larger than 6ft.
- Visit Sierra de Manantlan – a remarkable biosphere beginning with dry, arid fields of tall cactus at the base moving through bamboo and wildflowers to thick forests of pine and oak.
- Drive through some spectacular jungles and rain forests to the El Salto Waterfall where the Minatitlán-Marabasco River falls 100 feet. Relax on the famous beaches of Manzanillo Bay.
- Nevado de Colima – an active snow-capped volcano is well worth a visit.
- If you'd like to see the natural side, take an eco-tour to one of the lagoons.
Although it's not obvious at first sight, when night falls on Manzanillo the town comes to life. Many hotels host their own parties that include dinner, dancing, a show and all drinks for a fixed fee.
The nightclub scene is as good as you'll get at other places on the Mexican coast – most of which only stop when dawn breaks. There are exciting discos, bars and restaurants which are filled with lights, colours, magic, and diversions. The beach clubs are also popular and offer music, dancing and drinks on the golden sand.
If you're looking for some local life, Playa San Pedrito and Playa Audiencia are good places to explore. Or if you're looking for something more relaxed, spend a tranquil evening on the beach star gazing.
Manzanillo has a selection of shops close to Orange Square that carry Mexican crafts and clothing most of which come from nearby Guadalajara. If you want something unusual, there are shops that offers items made with shells.
The traditional outdoor markets also sell items specially for the tourist trade. For more upmarket goods, most resorts have boutiques and shopping malls.
Manzanillo's restaurants offer some of the freshest seafood imaginable. The large variety of mouth-watering food includes traditional dishes and international cuisine. The décor of Manzanillo's restaurants often reflect the area's natural beauty and exotic jungle setting and there are places to suit every mood, budget, and visitor.
Alongside Azul and Las Brisas beaches, you'll find a selection of nice open-air restaurants where you can enjoy superb seafood while listening to the waves crash onto the shore. If you'd like to sample the local cuisine, there are delicious pork, beef and chicken dishes and exquisite sweet enchiladas are highly recommended.
Discovered in 1527 by Alvaro de Saavedra it was originally called Santiago's Bay of Good Hope and soon became the departure point for many expeditions. From then on the history of this area has included piracy, looting and burning of ships for their rich booty. Named after the abundant Manzanillo trees used for shipbuilding, the city remains a buzzing harbour and is now the largest port on the west coast of Mexico. Known as the 'Sailfish capital of the world' for its lucrative fishing tournaments (there's even a monument located in front of the entrance to the docks) Manzanillo is home to several museums. The Municipal Museum which houses a collection of objects belonging to General Bartolomé Maso Marquez – one of the radical independence leaders. At the University Museum of Archaeology you can see an all round picture of what life was like in Colima and preHispanic Manzanillo.
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