By Suzanne A. Marshall from the January 2017 Edition
Having the benefit of a few cruises under my aging ‘belt’ now, I’m able to say with certainty, and some experience, that the port of Manzanillo is truly a beauty. It’s only in the past few years that tourism in Manzanillo has reached out to the cruise industry. I believe that the area has much to offer as an itinerary stop for the various cruise ship lines. I say this with conviction having just completed an exciting and very interesting cruise through Asian ports from Hong Kong to Singapore. Previous to that, I experienced the Caribbean, so I’ve seen a few ports now and taken many sojourns off the vessels to explore the surrounding sites, cultures and history.
I don’t take this privilege lightly, believe me. But, on this last trip, it struck me how the port of Manzanillo is as stunningly beautiful as any I have seen. In fact, in a couple of ports of call on this last cruise, we were actually docked amidst tankers and cranes busy loading and unloading the vessels. Quite a sight I have to say, but lacking a little romance for me. Nonetheless, we scooted out of these areas via excursion tours and enjoyed many of the sites awaiting us.
The cruise ships that enter the Bay of Manzanillo are welcomed by the lush green mountainous terrains and vast beaches of the port. The colorful homes and buildings climbing the hills offer perspective and beauty to the lifestyles here. For cruise lines, the Manzanillo bay offers docking that is separate from the shipping industry areas and where cruisers can leave the ship and walk onto the waiting promenade or malecón, complete with its giant blue sailfish, dancing fountains, park areas with benches and the small fishing vessels bobbing on the sea while moored to the various docks. Across the square of El Centro await the numerous shops and restaurants and more that carry on up the back streets as far as the eye can see.
These are perfect places for cruisers who just want to walk about and meander slowly through the sites. It’s notable how authentic the areas are and there is an opportunity here to en-joy the Mexican life without too much influence from the North American cultures. But you will still find many people who speak a little English and restaurants that offer bilingual menus.
It’s true that Manzanillo is Mexico’s busiest shipping port so you do see, and are aware of, a great deal of shipping industry in the port area.
A little way down from El Centro, freighters, tankers and various ships of trade enter and leave the bay with great frequency. It’s actually an interesting site to see and to comprehend the incredible commerce that shipping provides for goods and products from around the world. Tourists who choose to take excursions will see the immensity of this site as they pass by on their way for various adventures. And if the excursions are for a full-day adventure before the cruise ship departs, there are many surrounding sites to see within a 90-minute distance.
In the immediate area, you can enjoy such things as the iguana sanctuary, take a fishing charter out for a few hours and try your luck at snagging a marlin. Local tour guides will take you scuba diving and snorkeling or to visit local beaches and attractions. There is a nature camp that offers zip lining, just to name a few.
Within 90 minutes lies the Colima state capital of Colima. On the way one can view the Volcán de Fuego (an active volcano to this day) or continue on to visit the city’s museums, historical buildings or the nearby magic zone of the town of Comala (a designated world heritage site). These are just a few suggestions among so many more that can be found on the internet when visiting the beautiful port city of Manzanillo and the state of Colima. I suggest you or your cruise guides research the top ten things to do in Manzanillo and likewise for the state of Colima. Making choices could be difficult.
Many of us who have chosen Manzanillo as our home still marvel at its beautiful location and port and are still discovering so many of the wonderful areas to experience here and in Mexico. What a beautiful site it is to sit on our terrace and see the majestic white cruise ships parked in our bay, knowing those aboard are enjoying a glimpse of what we will never take for granted. It’s quite simply a paradise!
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Suzanne A. Marshall hails from western Canada and has been living the good life in Manzanillo over the past 8 years. She is a wife, mom and grandma. She is retired from executive business management where her writing skills focused on bureaucratic policy, marketing and business newsletters. Now she shares the fun and joy of writing about everyday life experiences in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico, the country, its people, the places and the events.