So we made it to the beach! Manzanillo is only a short bus trip from Colima, made longer by the fact that we took yet another second class bus. All in all it was still only about 2.5 hours drive and we had accommodation awaiting us.
Sometimes when we arrive in new towns/cities the route from the bus station to where we are staying is easy and obvious, other times we need to ask for assistance and use Google Maps on our phone. Manzanillo was one of the later. It’s quite a large city and very spread out along the coast. I likened it to a lot of small towns which have merged together over the years linking up the coast line. Because of this we weren’t actually staying anywhere near the centro. Our hostel was in the Bahia Santiago, an area near some beaches but as we discovered not touristy at all. The touristy areas were both further down the beach near Playa Miramar and back towards down-town and centro. Overall we loved the area and stayed for a week as the hostel was fantastic as well.
Our week here was very cruisey and we settled into the beach vibe easily after so long inland. Our hostel had a kitchen so we enjoyed shopping at the market most days. It also gave us time to update the blog. You can tell the relaxing areas we stay in because I manage to attempt a catch up of my blog posts for previous areas we have visited. Unfortunately the weather during our week here was predominantly overcast and sometimes raining which was a little disappointing, but we still managed a few swims.
The first full day we headed to the beach for the afternoon. The area we swum in was right in Bahia Santiago and not a very popular part of the beach. As we were swimming we were reflecting on the various buildings along the shoreline. There were the standard hotels (mostly low-end ones due to the area not being so popular) but equally there were as many derelict buildings. It was quite sad really, they appear to have started development in many areas down the coast (new hotels/condos we assume) and they have just been abandoned. So there are concrete shells of buildings staring sadly at you as you swim. The water was lovely though, not cold but still yet to feel that ‘tropical’ warmth of water.
Downtown Manzanillo was another destination we checked out. The coastline and city stretches so far that the bus took a good 45 minutes to reach the centro. Truthfully there wasn’t much to see in centro either, it had the same sad vibe as the derelict buildings beside the beach, but it wasn’t for lack of people. Beside the water is a huge blue statue of a swordfish which is very cool looking and impressively large. The port is a dominant feature looking out over the water from centro as well with a heap of cranes operating and thousands of containers. We wandered (as we do) and found a small local place for lunch. Around this time we had clued onto the Comida Corrida which is standard local fare consisting of a plate (platillo) of food usually including a meat of your choice (chicken, beef, fish, or speciality dishes) with rice, beans, salad and tortillas to scoff it all with. Really tasty food, a generous serving and cheap cheap cheap!
Tom also decided while in Manzanillo that he needed his hair and beard cut (which he definitely did). So visited a local barber for a clipper over his head and face with a blade shave to neaten it all up. The blade shave was a new experience for him and he froze just in case the barber slipped.
Another beach we visited was Playa Miramar a little further up the coast from where we were staying. After not getting off the bus early enough we ended up at the end of the line and needed to get another bus back to the beach – whoops. We did make it to the beach and it was lovely, a large sweeping curve with perfect rolling waves, nothing too dumpy and violent for me. There were fish in the water and the pelicans and gulls were diving in to feed all over the shore, sometimes very close to us as we swum. Tom entertained himself by trying to catch one, although not sure who would have won if he actually managed to.
As I said earlier we had a few lazy days just chilling out at the hostel. Tom wasn’t feeling that great for one of these so it was an easy option to stay in. We shopped for fruit, vegetables and meat at the local markets. I must admit that I am absolutely addicted to the bananas here in Mexico. They are amazing and I eat at least one per day. Tom loves the mangos. We also tried arroz con leche and flan while here, a bit of a mistake because the sweet creamy rice and custardy flans now haunt my dreams with their goodness. They are definitely a ‘sometimes food’.
Towards the end of our week here we walked to another recommended beach called La Audiencia. The area was located on a nearby peninsula and was a stunning spot for the condos and hotels which we passed by. The beach turned out to be right in front of a massive resort style hotel so was humming with tourists and the vendors trying to sell things that accompany them. The water was ok, a little dumpy close to the shore in the shallows and the water had a scum on it in some places which I wasn’t very impressed with.
Overall it was so nice to be back beside the ocean and as we had at least one more beach destination coming up I was happy. Manzanillo for us was a refresh where we took our time to read, play games, watch TV, blog, cook and do laundry.
Our next stop via our first overnight bus was Zihuatanejo for more beaches and hopefully a little more sunshine. Overnight buses can be a little dangerous and tend not to be recommended, especially the second class ones and especially ones that pass through Michoacán. But I won’t leave you hanging, we arrived in one piece.