In Manzanillo, you get the best of Mexico’s sandy Pacific beaches, plenty of sunshine and activities ranging from golf to sport fishing— but without the crowds. Though it relies less on tourism than many other Mexico destinations because of its bustling commercial port, Manzanillo, known as the Sailfish Capital of the World, retains an authentic, old-Mexico feel.
Who should go?
Families seeking an affordable, less-crowded holiday.
Manzanillo has a wide variety of fish in great numbers, so a dive or snorkel trip is a must for families with older kids and teens. Head to Aquatic Sports and Adventures, a full-service PADI dive centre. Or go sport fishing for sailfish. To find a boat and guide, ask your hotel concierge.
Juanito’s Restaurant, with its friendly staff, has the best milkshakes in town and is well-known for its breakfasts that attract locals and tourists. For a great ocean view and fresh seafood, try Mariscos La Huerta.
Manzanillo’s beaches are its top free draws. The Santiago Peninsula separates Santiago Bay and Manzanillo Bay. Along Santiago Bay, La Audencia Beach has calm waters good for swimming, though it can get busy. Miramar Beach is pretty, but has stronger surf. Along Manzanillo Bay, Las Brisas Beach is clean, safe and popular for snorkelling.
Who should go?
Older couples seeking a budget-wise, but varied beach vacation.
Watching the sun go down at Playa Azul, the central beach area of Manzanillo Bay, is a must. Though high waves make this beach unsafe for swimming, there are plenty of restaurants with ocean views where you can sit back, sip a margarita and enjoy the sunset.
For an authentic local experience, head to the Mercado de Pescadores (fishermen’s market), and the upstairs El Delfin Mariscos, to eat just-off-the-boat scallops and tuna. For something fancier, El Vaquero is a great Mexican steakhouse with portions so big, you’re almost guaranteed takeaways.
Best place to imbibe
Club Social is steps from the giant sailfish monument downtown. One of Manzanillo’s oldest and busiest authentic cantinas, it’s a fun, chatty haven for snowbirds, as well as locals.
WestJet flies to Manzanillo twice a week from Calgary.