Getting away from the beach in Manzanillo

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 14-20, 1996
Cozy vacation rentals in Europe
Getting away from the beach in Manzanillo
Exploring Chile's Lake District on two wheels
Whitewater adventures in New Zealand
Fat-tire fun near Phoenix

Getting away from the beach in Manzanillo
Question: I will be traveling to Manzanillo, Mexico, next month. Other than the obvious beach scene, do you know of any places to hike/camp within the vicinity? Thanks, Dave.

David O'Meara
Denver, CO
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: If your answer to the question, "How much lazing around on a beach can you stand?" is, "Not much," don't worry. Just up the coast from Manzanillo is smaller, more intimate La Manzanilla. More than just a stretch of clean sand and stingray-free water, this tiny town's bragging rights include great snorkeling, bodysurfing, and diving just off the beach in Tenacatita Bay, plus a handful of inland options to keep you from exceeding your lounging-around-like-a-worthless-beach-bum limit. For camping, try the sites at Boca de Iguana, a few clicks north of town. Okay, so it's not pristine backcountry--there are communal showers and thatched-roof changing rooms--but it is cheap; a car-camping sight will set you back a mere $3 per night.

From your base there, track down local Jorge Requence in his bungalow midway down the beach for horse rentals ($20 per day). He'll give you directions to Ingenieros, a ghost town in the jungle, and suggestions for a self-guided 18-foot crocodile- and a flamingo-watching tour of the large lagoon behind the beach. Or brave the Mexican traffic for a road trip up the coast to the check out pre-Columbian ruins in Barre de Navidad, a small port village about a half-hour north of Manzanillo on Highway 200, or a quick hop south from La Manzanilla. Thought to be a seasonal site of the Colima Indians between 650 and 1100 A.D., the beach area today is home to the remains of a small but archeologically intriguing mound of chipped obsidian, stone artifacts, and pottery.

After you've inspected the site with Indiana Jones-like diligence, sign on with Ricky Zuniga for a seven-hour fishing trip to the famed tuna, sailfish, and marlin-rich waters less than a mile offshore. Check in with the Hotel Sands (011-52-335-5-5018) for fishing charter info. If you can't scratch that archeological itch, consider making the 65-mile drive inland from Barre de Navidad to the pre-Columbian ruins at Autlán on Highway 80. You'll find a few structural remains in the small town and--if you're lucky--clay jewelry and obsidian flints. For more Mexico-related details, consult the write-up of the Pacific Coast, "La Costa Incógnita," in the Destinations section of Outside's October 1996 issue.

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