Manzanillo, an overview

Manzanillo lies on the Pacific coast, about two thirds of the way south down the long coastline of Mexico. A natural harbour, it has become the largest container port on Mexico’s Pacific seaboard and is rapidly becoming a well known tourist destination.

The Port of Manzanillo has been developed over the past few years to become a vital part of the economy of the State of Colima and the main industrial thrust from local governments emphasizes the importance of this vital industry to the whole of Mexico. Transport from the City for both arriving & departing cargo is easily handled by excellent highways through to Guadalajara & the north, although there is no rail link to either Colima or Guadalajara currently.

A quiet, peaceful and safe town, Manzanillo is home to about 125,000 Mexican nationals and probably 10,000 ex-pats escaping the harsh reality of northern winters. It is not a designated resort destination in the eyes of the Mexican Government which selects various areas, like Nuevo Vallarta, Ixtapa and Cancun, then develops these towns specifically for tourism.  Beautiful and natural places like Manzanillo and the Costa Alegre (also known as Costalegre – the happy coast) to the north grow in spite of their efforts.

Manzanillo has just a few major hotels which specialize as all- in-one resorts, and dozens of smaller hotels or bungalow complexes where people can rent for several months at a time at extremely good rates. Recently many condominium developments have been started as previous holidaymakers decide to make the major move towards calling Manzanillo home, for greater parts of the year. Suitable housing and accommodation to purchase were in short supply as they had been owned by Mexican families for many years, passing down from father to son for generations and not available on the general housing market.

Manzanillo Average Temperatures

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High – F 81 79 78 79 81 85 86 86 85 85 84 81
Avg High – C 27 26 26 26 27 29 30 30 29 29 29 27
Avg Low – F 66 65 65 67 70 75 75 75 75 74 71 68
Avg Low – C 19 18 18 19 21 24 24 24 24 23 22 20

The weather is extremely pleasant, maintaining an average daytime temperature in the low 80’s in the winter time and high 80’s in the summer and rainy season. The main difference in the seasons is that during the rainy season, June to November, the humidity climbs noticeably and can become quite uncomfortable at times. The hurricane season stretches from June to the end of October.

The principal tourist season is from December through to Easter. At both Christmas and Easter, Mexicans who live inland, swarm to the coastal resorts making  accommodation both hard to find and much more expensive.

This is far from a shopping mecca although several large American outlets have moved here in the past few years. There is now a Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Office Max, Office Depot, KFC, Burger King, Subway and a Dairy Queen. There is now a Sam’s Club which just opened a few years ago. However in Colima, only an hour drive away, there are several large Malls with different shopping selections, like Sears, a Sam’s Club, Home Depot and Costco open.

Hospitals are plentiful here, both social security and private, and good care can be found in both. Health care workers, for the most part, rarely speak English fluently although there always seems to be someone available who will do their best to help you, Costs are very reasonable, with doctors’ fees about $25 and visits to specialists costing about $40. Most specialties are covered locally but Colima is close and Guadalajara is only 4 hours away if more attention is required. Dental and optical services are also available, usually at much cheaper costs than in Canada or the USA.

Access by land, air or sea is easy, there are flights daily during the winter season and weekly in the summer from many US cities.  The Port Authorities are on duty year round and the roads in Mexico are generally very good on the highways. There are toll roads connecting most cities, which are mostly well maintained (there are always exceptions) but they are fairly expensive, although much safer than using the free roads which can add many miles to the route. It is, however, a rule that should be adhered to  “DO NOT DRIVE IN HOURS OF DARKNESS”, either early morning or after dusk. Many reasons include wandering cattle, wandering people, wandering bicycles, wandering bandits.