Escape to Manzanillo's Beaches!

Manzanillo's pristine, unpopulated beaches are undeniably the most beautiful on the western coast of Mexico.

Large and small, with majestic crashing waves or surf tranquil enough for children to play in, Manzanillo has it all--except people to enjoy them!

Santiago and Manzanillo bays in Manzanillo, Mexico
The port of Manzanillo, Mexico is made up of two separate bays, divided by the Peninsula of Santiago. On the left is the Bay of Santiago, followed by a smaller notched-out area, known as Playa Audiencia. On the right-hand side, is the Bay of Manzanillo. Both bays are more than five  miles long and offer a variety of water sports activities.

Continue reading for a brief description and photos
of the beaches in Manzanillo.

Please click photos for fullsize viewing.

Playa de Oro

Playa de Oro (Beach of Gold) near Manzanillo, MexicoNorth of town, at km 30-1/2, you'll see a small sign directing you to this little-known beach with a very famous history. As you drive 7 km on a washed-out cobblestone road, you may start to wonder what all the fuss is about, but once there, the untouched spectacular beauty of this area will never be forgotten. But how did this "Beach of Gold" get its name? True, visitors are treated to miles of golden sand flecked with bits of mica, but the area's name originates with a shipwreck.

In July of 1862 a paddle steamship called the "Golden Gate" sailed from San Francisco with 337 people and $1,400,000 of gold. Off the coast of this beach, the Golden Gate caught fire and sunk. Only 80 people were saved and the gold was lost. In 1864, several cases of gold were recovered, but the majority remained until an American, who lives in Manzanillo today, headed a massive salvage operation in the 1960s.

Treasure in Manzanillo, MexicoSince the major part of the wreckage was located less that 50 yards off shore (where the treacherous waves break), it is believed that much of the gold still remains to be discovered. Locals tell stories of an occasional gold coin found washed up on the "Beach of Gold." Whether or not a trip to this beach nets you any treasure, it is still excellent for beachcombing, nude sun bathing or walking.

The waves are high with a strong undertow, and Playa de Oro is not recommended for swimming. The cliffs overlooking the sea are breathtaking, and are covered by several types of cactus. In one rock close to the sea there's a small cave where you'll find a family of bats, and there's plenty of scrap wood for a campfire.

Peņa Blanca

Tropical shade at Pena Blanca near Manzanillo, MexicoAnother unpopulated beach is Peņa Blanca, km 24, where Rancho Peņa Blanca offers ATV adventures and Jeep tours to this once quiet haven. Fortunately they don't have much business as yet, so the long expanse of beach is still unpopulated. During various times of the year, the beach is closed so that the endangered turtles may lay their eggs. During that time the beach is protected by human volunteers and Mexican Navy personnel, who guard against poachers. The area got its name from the great rock pinnacle, visible from the beach, called Peņa Blanca, or "White Rock," after the bird droppings that give it its color.

Playa L'Recif

L'Recif near tropical Manzanillo, MexicoA small, pebble-strewn beach where the wave action can be spectacular. When calm, the diving and snorkeling is great because of the huge coral reef just a few yards off shore.

Come just for the view, both above and below the water. A word of caution:  at this site the ocean conditions can change rather quickly, so if you plan to be in the water be aware at all times. The photo-taking opportunities from the top of the hill will make your trip enjoyable, no matter what. You must go beyond the Vida del Mar complex gate in order to enjoy this beach. It is not open to the public, but you can see it if you go to the L'Recif restaurant (open only December through April).

La Boquita

Children at play in the mild surf at La Boquita beach The beaches of Santiago Bay stretch for 5 miles. At the northernmost point, where the lagoon empties into the sea, is a popular local's beach, which is busy on weekends. Mild surf (no surf in the lagoon) is its main attraction, and the small, thatched-roof ramadas serve excellent seafood. Horseback riding at La Boquita in Manzanillo

Various activities are available for the young and young-at-heart, from horseback riding, boogie-boarding, banana boat rides, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. It's great for shopping, too. Bargain with the vendors for hammocks, toys, jewelry, T-shirts and more!

Lunch in an open air restaurant at La Boquita Start out your delicious seafood lunch with a shrimp cocktail (Mexican style), or fresh oysters and clams caught that morning by the local fishermen. At Marildo's (our favorite restaurant), choose from a varied menu of seafood for the main course, such as shrimp, filet of dorado, red snapper, or lobster. 

A specialty is "pescado sarandeado," which is fresh red snapper grilled on a mesquite fire, and brushed with a tangy sauce. Another specialty is "almejas de la talla," or clams grilled over mesquite in their shells. The opened clams are filled with a mixture of Magi and Worcestershire sauces, cilantro and onions, then placed over the fire. Melted butter is then dribbled on to make the grill flare up and quick cook them. Unbelievable! While you're enjoying one of the best seafood lunches in Manzanillo, have the strolling musicians play you a few Mariachi tunes while you drink a cold brew under the shady palapa. Ahhh....

Relax under an umbrella or play in the water at La BoquitaThe umbrellas are for rent for only $8 per day. Bring your lunch, or have the restaurant serve you shrimp or fresh oysters under your personal "sombrilla." 

Half the fun is sampling all the home made treats, such as "raspadas" (snow cones). Enjoy a coconut (drink the milk and eat the meat with lime, salt and salsa)! Other treats are mangos on sticks, and "coco locos," a drink you can enjoy fresh out of the coconut, loaded with several types of liquor, such as tequila, rum, vodka & gin. Do you wonder why it is called a "coco loco"!