Manzanillo is one of Mexico’s top luxury resort destinations, home to high-end luxury Manzanillo resorts, world-class golf courses and scenic marinas.
Not only is Manzanillo a well-known resort destination, but Manzanillo port was the first shipping yard to open in Latin America in 1531 and today, it’s the most important seaport in Mexico. Located along the central Pacific Coast of Mexico overlooking the twin bays of Manzanillo and Santiago, Manzanillo is situated in a region with diverse natural landscapes. It’s a favorite destination for beach activities, ecotourism and adventure sports. Manzanillo still manages to retain its laid-back small town feel.
The weather in Manzanillo is pleasant year-round, and Manzanillo beach sees an average of 350 days of sunshine each year. Manzanillo’s close proximity to the Sierra Madre Mountains helps to keep temperatures slightly cooler than many of the other well-known resort destinations located up and down the Pacific Coast. The best time to visit Manzanillo is during the winter months from November to April. The summer rainy season lasts from June to October when afternoon rainstorms turn the entire region a lush, tropical shade of green. Manzanillo is one of Mexico’s top luxury resort destinations, home to high-end luxury Manzanillo resorts, world-class golf courses and scenic marinas.
The recently refurbished centro historico (historic center) of Manzanillo is a lovely place to explore, and pedestrian walkways make it easy to explore on foot. The main plaza overlooks the bay and is surrounded by local bars, restaurants and shops. There are also some excellent seafood palapas (thatch roofed restaurants) lining the beach. Manzanillo’s zona hotelera (hotel zone), located five miles north of the downtown area, is where you’ll find some of the best beaches, luxury resorts and golf courses.
Manzanillo beach has been dubbed the “Sailfish Capital of the World,” and marlin, sailfish and other are abundant in the waters just offshore. Each year the town hosts international fishing tournaments that attract sports fisherman from around the world. In addition to fishing, visitors to Manzanillo beach can partake in a variety of aquatic sports.
There are numerous activities and attractions in the region surrounding Manzanillo. Travel a short distance inland to visit the capital city of Colima for sightseeing in this historic and culturally rich city and get a taste of the local cuisine. Nearby the magic town of Comala is home to one of the top attractions in the region, the Nogueras Hacienda and Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo Museum. Nature lovers interested in ecotourism can tour the nearby national park and biosphere reserve.
The diverse landscape of the region surrounding Manzanillo offers numerous opportunities for the adventure sports enthusiast. Combining ecotourism with adventure travel is of the most popular Manzanillo activities and adventure tours throughout the area’s vast natural landscapes are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Local guides are available to lead you on ecotourism adventure tours and they can often be easily contacted through Manzanillo resorts.
El Salto Waterfall: Located within the Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Manantlan (Manantlan Biosphere Reserve), the El Salto waterfall towers more than 100ft overhead. The waterfall is formed by the joining of the Minantitlan and Marabasco Rivers. Swimming is a popular activity in the pools at the base of the falls. In addition to visiting the falls, active travelers to the Manantlan Biopshere Reserve can go hiking, canyoneering, mountain-biking and abseiling, all favorite Manzanillo activities.
Parque Nacional Volcan Nevado de Colima (Colima Volcano National Park): This national park is home to Mexico’s most active volcano, the Volcan de Fuego, and the dormant Volcan Nevado de Colima. Here you can hike the trails that lead through the national park, visit the crater lake and spot wildlife. The Volcan Nevado de Colima can be climbed, and the best time to go is December to May.
Peña Blanca: Off-roading adventures and ATV tours are a popular activitiy along the rugged jungle trails and sparsely populated beaches at Peña Blanca, one of the region’s lesser-visited and off-the-beaten-path destinations. You’ll want to be sure to check before you plan your trip, as the beach is closed during certain times of the year to accommodate the sea turtles who come ashore to lay their eggs.
You can also enjoy camping and hiking throughout the region. Hike along the scenic coastline of Manzanillo to arrive at La Cruz (The Cross), a cliff-top lookout point offering spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area. Camping is not permitted on the beaches, but there are several designated ecotourism and nature camps in the area where you can pitch a tent.
GOLF: Manzanillo is home to 4 world-class golf courses and hosts celebrity golf tournaments throughout the year. The 27-hole course at the Grand Bay Resort and Isla Navidad Country Club was designed by Robert van Hagge. It features two holes over the lagoon, 13 lakeside holes and eight holes along the coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The La Mantarraya Golf Course at the Las Hadas resort was designed by Roy and Pete Dye it’s a scenic 18-hole course, with more than half of the holes played over water. La Mantarraya is believed to have been built over an ancient burial site and a collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts were unearthed during its construction, Nestled in between the forest, ravines and beaches, is the spectacular El Tamarindo 18-hole championship golf course that runs par with lush vegetation and wild fauna, located only 40 minutes north of Manzanillo airport and the newest golf course El Corazon de Manzanillo, 140 acres of fabulous land and a beautiful ocean view.
Marinas: Sailing is a popular activity for visitors to Manzanillo resorts. There are two well-known marinas in Manzanillo; the marina at the Las Hadas resort and the marina on Isla Navidad. Visitors can charter fishing boats or yachts for sailing. The Las Hadas marina in Manzanillo serves as the finish destination for the annual yacht race from San Diego, California to Manzanillo.
Just about every luxury service that you can imagine is available in Manzanillo resorts. In Manzanillo you can get away from it all, de-stress, indulge in a variety of spa services and simply enjoy being pampered.
The Sailfish Capital of the World
Active travelers and sports enthusiasts visiting this region of Mexico can take part in a variety of Manzanillo activities and outdoor adventure sports. One of the most popular Manzanillo activities is sport fishing, and the town attracts thousands of sport fishermen to its shores each year.
The waters just off the coast of Manzanillo are teeming with marine life and sailfish and marlin are plentiful year-round, though you’ll have the best chance of catching sailfish if you arrive during the sailfish season that runs from November to March. Each year in November, Manzanillo hosts the International Sailfish Competition attracting sport fisherman from around the world.
The impressive sailfish population in and around Manzanillo has helped to give the seaside town its nickname, “The Sailfish Capital of the World,” and a towering 25-meter turquoise statue of a sailfish has been erected along the Manzanillo coast in front of the town’s centro historico (historic center) and jardin (main plaza). Other species of fish that inhabit the waters surrounding Manzanillo include dorado (mahi mahi), giant tuna, rooster fish, sea bass, wahoo, dolphin fish, snapper and yellowtail.
Charter a fishing boat in Manzanillo and hit the water to try your hand at sport fishing. After all, you’ve got a good chance of catching the big one here in the world’s sailfish capital. Afterwards, you can choose to return your catch to the ocean, carry it back to shore where it can be cleaned and prepared to your liking at one of the local restaurants or have it mounted to take home with you. Regardless of what you decide to do with your catch, sport fishing in Manzanillo is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.
Golden sand and sunny days in Manzanillo
Manzanillo’s twin bays, the Bahia de Santiago (Santiago Bay) and Bahia de Manzanillo (Manzanillo Bay) both stretch for five miles along the Pacific Coast and are separated by the Santiago Peninsula. The centro historico (historic downtown) of Manzanillo beach is located on the far eastern end of Manzanillo Bay, whereas the majority of the luxury resorts in Manzanillo beach are located in the area between the bays that surrounds the Santiago Peninsula.
The beaches lining the five-mile stretch of golden sand that curves around the Santiago Bay west of the Santiago Peninsula include Miramar Beach, Olas Atlas Beach, Santiago Beach and Audiencia Beach; these beaches are considered to be some of the best in Manzanillo. Audiencia Beach is known for its calm waters and is one of the top destinations in Manzanillo beach for swimming, snorkeling and occasionally waterskiing. With stronger surf and more wind, Miramar beach on the opposite end of the bay attracts windsurfers, kiteboarders and watersports enthusiasts.
East of the Santiago Peninsula and stretching along the five-mile coast of Manzanillo Bay you’ll find the beaches of Azul Beach, Las Brisas Beach and San Pedrito Beach. Closest to the historic downtown, the beach at San Pedrito is shallow and often crowded due to its close proximity to the center of town. Curving along the coast toward the peninsula, both Las Brisas Beach and Azul Beach are lined with beachfront palapas (thatch roofed restaurants) serving up popular local seafood dishes.
Visitors to Manzanillo beach can partake in a variety of activities from horseback riding on the beach to swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing and sailing in the waters just offshore. In many areas, the snorkeling and scuba diving is excellent and can be reached from the shore. The cliff-top lookout point at La Cruz (The Cross) offers spectacular views overlooking both bays.
A Taste of the Tropics
Treat yourself to a culinary tour of Manzanillo and sample the local specialties. You’ll find a variety of seafood, traditional Mexican and international dining options ranging from high-end restaurants, many of which are located along the malecon (waterfront promenade) and in the Zona Hotelera (hotel zone), to beachfront palapas (thatch roofed restaurants) and fresh seafood dishes in the local market.
Manzanillo is dubbed the “Sailfish Capital of the World”, and it seems only natural that seafood would play an important role in the traditional local cuisine of this Pacific coast town. The region’s signature seafood dish is named after the state; Colima ceviche is a light and delicious dish prepared with fresh ground sailfish or grouper, lemon juice, orange juice, tomatoes, onions, carrots and chili peppers.
Other seafood dishes that you’re likely to see on the menu in Manzanillo restaurants include camarones a la diabla (spicy shrimps), langostinos al mojo de ajo (garlic fried lobster), pez vela (sailfish), grilled crayfish, caldo michi (broth made of vegetables and fish) and a variety of seafood soups and stews.