By Freda Rumford from the April 2012 Edition
Where do you go, and what do you do, when there are only so many days in which to see so many of the things in and around this little town that has “nothing to do?”
People visiting Manzanillo for several months at a time are always astonished when all of a sudden the final week looms and they haven’t done all the things on their “Manzanillo bucket list,” so, imagine the quandary of hosts, showing first time visitors around town. This is ‘Absolutely Not a Tourist Town!’ Yes, there are a few things such as Tiangis (markets), Turtle farms, El Centro (downtown), a couple of small malls which offer; swimwear (at a horrific price), silver merchants, souvenir shops, and the like, but nothing of that ilk really gives the visitor their own pleasure. It is fun to pore over items to take back to the unfortunate family and friends unable to holiday at the same time, but is all of that present buying really what the holiday should be all about?
My grand daughter spent days puzzling over the gift thing, when she should have been swimming and sunbathing and having fun. We have to get our holiday priorities straight!!
So – where to start?
My own feeling is that certain places surrounding us should be mandatory for all visitors. A trip to Melaque for breakfast at “Roosters” is one. Although this is not a “Mexican” place and experience, it is full of down home cooking, good companionship and has great hosts. Here, surprisingly one could possibly meet their next door neighbour. This is one place which should be a “must do” on every list. Although for some reason, Sunday is often the chosen day to go to Melaque. Should a Wednesday be more suitable, then the Tiangis market could come after breakfast, followed by either a tour of Barra de Navid or onwards to La Manzanilla. Both of the latter towns could also take an entire day and merit a trip on their own.
In fact, Barra de Navidad is a good Saturday place if after a morning of shopping and wave watching, the afternoon is spent at the Cadillac ranch, which is on the road into town, for a beer or two, a hamburger and listening to the “Red Necked Mothers”. Barra de Navidad is totally different to Melaque in style, structure, and ambiance, although just at the other end of the large bay. It is a good
walk on the beach from Melaque around the bay but quite a punishing one as the sand is soft and often very hot on the feet. If without a car, it is a short and inexpensive bus or taxi ride. There are dozens of restaurants in this small town, many offering basic Mexican home cooking and others with incredible fish dishes on the menu.
Should you have visited Barra de Navidad several times and are feeling just a little jaded about the town, catch a water taxi and go to Colimilla just past the exquisite Grand Bay yacht harbour. This is a treat in itself. Colimilla can be reached by land, following the Isla de Navidad signs from Cihuatlan. Isla de Navidad boasts a top world class golf course with 28 holes. Guests to the Barcelo’s Karmina Palace can register for a game of golf here quite easily as can other avid golfers in Manzanillo.
La Manzanillo is a sleepy’Ejido’ town, which is rapidly finding favour with artists from all over North America. Many who have spent considerable time in the university city of San Miguel Allende have changed their address to La Manzanillo in recent years. One of the biggest claim to fame is the ‘Caiman crocodile’ enclosure along the coast.
The enclosure seems little more than a chicken wire fence to keep the beasts confined or perhaps the visitors out, but often they can be seen strolling the streets. As the locals ensure the crocodiles are well fed there has been no report of any argument between reptile and human and no mention of who would like to be the first! La Manzanilla also has first class restaurants such as Jolanda’s and Martin’s plus many of the ramada type fish houses on the beach. It also has a world class art gallery, “Galleria la Manzanilla” which features many internationally known Mexican artists from time to time.
Further along this road to Puerta Vallarta are Boca de Iguanas, then the Golf course and Hotel of Tamarindo. Here it is only possible to visit if you have a tee time or a hotel reservation. The Blue Bay Village is an all inclusive Beach Hotel resort that also has day passes. Careyes, besides being an extremely exclusive resort hotel, has a world class polo club and welcomes visitors. Check their website for dates and times of play: www.careyes.com
Next month – we go east to Colima and Comala