Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico: A tropical paradise

Manzanillo Bay was discovered in 1527. It became a departure point for important expeditions. Cortes visited the bay twice to protect his galleons from Portuguese pirates.It was raised to the status of a city in 1873. The railroad to Colima was completed in 1889, and other amenities, such as electricity and potable water soon followed. It was the state capital for two weeks in 1915, while Pancho Villa’s troops were threatening to capture the city of Colima.

In recent times, the harbor was modernized and deepened, allowing access to all major shipping lines around the world. As the largest port on the western coast of Mexico, it can admit ships up to 985 feet in length and 90 ft. wide, carrying more than 8,500 containers.

Manzanillo has been touted as the “Sailfish Capital of the World,” made famous by the fishing tournaments held in November and February, with prizes worth thousands of dollars. Anyone can charter a boat and enter.The twin bays, called Manzanillo, and Santiago, are each five miles long, and offer a variety of water sports, from swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, banana boat rides, and, of course, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Then, in 1979, Bo Derek and Dudley Moore starred in the popular movie, “10,” filmed at Las Hadas resort and La Audiencia beach. Other movies done at or near Manzanillo include the made-for-TV mini-series, “Return to Eden,” the remake of “McHale’s Navy,” and “I Still Know,” (the sequel to “I Know What You Did Last Summer”).

Sports Illustrated has featured Manzanillo in a photo shoot of famous models for their swimsuit edition.

Manzanillo’s pristine beaches and exclusive resorts have been featured in “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” and numerous celebrity golf tournaments are held here every year. The Las Hadas Golf course has been named as being among “the 100 greatest in the world” by Golf Digest magazine, and the finish destination for the classic 2,500-mile San Diego to Manzanillo Yacht Race is at Las Hadas’  70-boat marina.

Manzanillo is part of Mexico’s Pacific Riviera, with exotic tropical vegetation, plantations of coconuts, bananas, limes, mangos and papayas, and the most beautiful unpopulated beaches in the country.

With a year-round average temperature of 27 degrees C (80 degrees F), it has the best climate of the West Coast–dryer than Pto. Vallarta and cooler than Acapulco.

How did Manzanillo
get its name?

MANZANILLO (mahn-sahn-knee-yo) comes from the once-abundant groves of manzanillo trees that were used extensively in the early days of shipbuilding. The trees have poisonous fruit resembling a small apple. Don’t be tempted to try one.

For more information on Manzanillo and the state of Colima, go to www.gomanzanillo.com.

For more detailed information about Manzanillo’s attractions, see the TOURIST GUIDEBOOK, “Manzanillo and the state of Colima, Facts, Tips and Day Trips,” written by Susan Dearing, a 20-year resident of Manzanillo, and owner of Underworld Scuba – Scuba Shack.