The two bays of Manzanillo, the Bay of Manzanillo and the Bay of Santiago, are the standout attractions in this lovely region. The beaches here are marvelous, and there is an abundance of water sports and activities to keep you busy for hours in or out of the water. In the past few years, tourists have discovered the wonder of Manzanillo, and as a result, the economy and the state of life in Manzanillo have both improved dramatically. A great deal of building has been done, and the port here is now one of the biggest commercial centers in all of Mexico.
Set against a backdrop of the sparkling Pacific Ocean, the flowerbeds, tropical brush and mountains, and golden-sand beaches are unbelievably striking. Everywhere you walk, you will be amazed at the beauty and splendor of the region, and traveling around the bays by foot will open you up to how glorious this destination truly is. In 1995, a strong earthquake heavily damaged Manzanillo, and the years following were devoted to rebuilding and expansion. The Santiago Peninsula was completely modernized and is now the most luxurious area of Manzanillo, filled with outstanding golf courses and fabulous eateries. The downtown area is centered on the vibrant harbor. It is certainly a different scene from the calm and tranquil Santiago Peninsula. The shopping and nightlife all around the city are superb. Sport fishing and sailing are both extremely popular here, and wonderful weather makes it the perfect place to enjoy a round of golf.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Manzanillo located at Avenida Teniente Azueta 9 (314/331-1400). Taxis are waiting to take you to your destination in the city or to outlying areas.
Local buses, known as camionetas, travel along the bay of Manzanillo and to Santiago Peninsula and the Bay of Santiago to the north. You can hop on the bus for a modest $0.35-$0.70. Taxis are in no short supply in Manzanillo. Make sure to agree on a fare (which should not exceed $10 for anywhere in the area) before you get in the car.
The Archaeological Museum is located near downtown in the San Pedrito traffic circle (314/332-2256), and its eighteen thousand artifacts from Mesoamerica and Colima, in addition to its collection of contemporary Mexican art, make it the most frequented museum in the region. This is a great place to learn about Mexican heritage and history and is entertaining for all age groups.
Mexico is famous for its fishing, and Manzanillo is no exception. You will see many locals fishing off the beach or rocks, but the best way to guarantee a great day of fishing is to take a five-hour boat trip (314/332-1031). A couple of locals will take you and your group out on the breathtaking Pacific. It is not uncommon to catch more marlin, sailfish, and dorado than you can handle on one of these excursions. In the marina, you can have your fresh catch cleaned and vacuum-sealed or taken to a local restaurant to be prepared as a fresh lunch or dinner entrée.
According to Golf Digest, La Mantarraya (314/331-0101) golf course is among the top one hundred courses in the world. Located at Las Hadas, this eighteen-hole course will surely please even the most seasoned golfer. Club Santiago (314/335-0410) has a pristine nine-hole course designed by Larry Hughes.
Laguna de San Pedrito is a wonderful place for nature enthusiasts to relax and watch unique birds gather at sunset. This tranquil setting is the perfect place to stop and take pictures of the graceful white herons and pink Flamingos. Just down the road by the waterfront is Jardín de Alvaro Obregón. Also known as the zócolo, this square is ideal for a peaceful picnic lunch. Vendors are plentiful, and they will be happy to sell you anything from a fresh fish taco to a silver bracelet. At night, the area lights up with mariachis and dancers, and is a great place to embrace the culture of Mexico.
Keeping in the tradition of Mexico, the beaches are Manzanillo's main attractions. Year-round beach weather and glorious black and white sand beaches keep tourists coming to Manzanillo, but the locals enjoy this lifestyle daily. Arguably, Manzanillo's best beach is Playa Audiencia. Located on the Santiago Peninsula, this pristine cove is sheltered enough to relax and sunbathe without the festivities found on many of Manzanillo's beaches. The cove is protected from rough surf, making it the perfect place to snorkel or swim. More adventurous beachgoers can follow the bay north to Playa Miramar. Located in front of Club Santiago, this beach is famous for great windsurfing and boogie boarding. Packed with beach vendors, this is a great place to pick up a souvenir. For just a few dollars, you can have your name engraved on a grain of rice.
Manzanillo's many beachfront restaurants are perfect for relaxing with a margarita while watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean or enjoying one of the many delectable local seafood dishes. For Continental cuisine with a Mexican flare, Legazpi can be found at Las Hadas Hotel (314/331-0707). Shellfish lovers come back time and again to enjoy the coconut shrimp served with a tangy remoulade sauce. Another favorite is freshly caught fish accompanied by an unforgettable tropical salsa. Impeccable service is another bonus at this one-of-a-kind dining experience. El Vaquero Campestre is another memorable restaurant in the area (314/333-0475). Classic grilled steaks served by weight are the favorite here. The extensive saloon décor is reminiscent of the Old West and is a perfect accompaniment to the menu.
Head to Maria Cumbe Boulevard, located at Miguel de la Madrid (314/333-0561), for great handmade clothing and souvenirs. For beachwear and souvenirs, your best bet is Plaza Manzanillo, a rather large shopping center located at Km 7.5 on Manzanillo Road. For folk art enthusiasts, Centro Artesenal Las Primaveras (314/333-1699) is a great place to find unique gifts and keepsakes.
For rousing entertainment, Boom Boom (at Club Maeva) is the most popular spot for drinking and dancing. With its intricate lighting and thumping dance music, this club rivals many of the famous clubs found in Puerto Vallarta. The Colima Bay Café (Boulevard Costero 921, 314/333-1150) is famous with locals and tourists alike for its great music and carefree environment. This is the place where visitors learn the meaning of vacation and locals forget they have to work the next morning.