Cash-flow challenged? Cash-conscious travelers to Manzanillo don't have to settle for an all-inclusive hotel anymore.

While for many tourists, an all-inclusive hotel offers many benefits, some people prefer to see the "real Mexico." They just don't know where to look. 

Travel agents and tour companies don't know about all the smaller, budget-priced hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts. Most don't have a web page. Half of them don't even have e-mail.  Many can't speak fluent English. But that doesn't mean their establishment isn't safe, clean, and affordable! Just the opposite is true. By planning your own vacation--choosing an economy hotel, eating out at affordable restaurants, and taking your own tours--you can have a great time, learn about Manzanillo and the state of Colima, and save big time!

So, how do you find all those great, inexpensive out-of-the-way places that remember your name, and not just your credit card number? Where do you go to eat 3 full meals a day for only $10-12 USD? How can you take your own tour and save up to 90%? Here we go with "Carlos' and Susan's Official Guide to Cheap Hotels" designed for the cash-flow challenged who really need a vacation now!

Note: There are many other fine budget accommodations and more than 150 restaurants in Manzanillo, as well as many other excellent, reasonably-priced hotels, offering a variety of additional services. This article is used strictly as an example of how it is possible to vacation in Manzanillo for as little as $15-$35/day per person. All of the establishments are personally known to the authors.  Prices were quoted to the authors July 2, and are good at least through the end of October, but may be subject to change due to the daily fluctuating peso-to-dollar ratio. Prices quoted here are based on a 12-1 peso-to-dollar ratio. To call any of the numbers from the U.S. or Canada, first dial 011-52-314 and then the 7-digit number.

HOTELS FOR THE BUDGET-MINDED

Hotel La Posada at sunset What are some of the advantages of a small hotel? 

You don't have to wear a brightly-colored plastic wrist band 24 hours a day. You can enter and leave anytime, and don't have to wait in line to check in or out. No standing in line for food either. No loud speakers with pounding rap music. You can use the pool anytime. If a light bulb burns out in your reading lamp, you don't have to wait 2 days for maintenance to requisition one. You just ask the front desk for another one. (To please you, they'll even take one out of another room.) If there's a drip in your sink, forget about it!! And the best thing of all, you can afford it, and enjoy a real Mexican experience!

DOWNTOWN MANZANILLO & NEAR BUS STATION

CASA DE HUESPEDES CORONA: A place for backpackers, and extremely cheap. Downstairs, 8 x 10 rooms have double bed, TV, fan, no hot water (who needs it now!) for $10; upstairs is more breezy, larger rooms, TV, fans, hot water, 2 dbl. beds $20 (sleep 4); 2 dbl. beds & 1 single bed (sleep 5) $30. This is a converted home in a Mexican neighborhood. Calle Laurel #19, off Av. Las Primaveras, in Col. Valle de Las Garzas. Phone 336-7804. Though it is only a block off the bus route, take a cab there the first time.

HOTEL EMPERADOR: A popular little hotel that has been in downtown Manzanillo for many years. Ceiling fans. Clean, but very simple. Located on B.  Davalos #69 (2˝ blocks from the Palacio Municipal past the Jardin) On a dead-end street, 1/2 block from bus route, and centrally located near shopping, restaurant, and open air market. $11.50/single; $13.50/dbl. Phone 332-2374. The hotel also has a tiny, but excellent (and busy) restaurant with breakfasts from $1.50 to $3.

HOTEL SAN JOSÉ: Similar in style to the Emperador above, it is located at Cuahutemoc #138, (between Av. 21st de Marzo & Zaragoza) 3-1/2 blocks from Av. Mexico, downtown Manzanillo's main shopping district. Ceiling fans, clean, simple. 1-2 persons $15; 2 dbl. beds $25; 3 dbl. beds $35. Phone 332-5105.

Historic Hotel ColonialHOTEL COLONIAL: one of downtown Manzanillo's first hotels, built in the mid-1940s. The old flavor is still there, with hand-painted Mexican tiles, leaded glass windows, wrought iron chandeliers, and mahogany-stained wood railings and shutters. It has 38 clean rooms, all air conditioned, and centrally located on Av. Mexico, meaning it's on the bus route, close to shopping and restaurants. Single $26; dbl. $35 (inc. tax). Rooms have TV and phones, too. Breakfast and lunch served in the restaurant downstairs at a reasonable price. A true Mexican experience. Phone 332-1080.

Hotel San Pedrito poolHOTEL SAN PEDRITO: This quaint little hotel has two benefits: it's on the beach and it has a pool! The area of San Pedrito (near the port captain's office and immigration) was once known as the beach where the shark fishermen kept their boats. There's no sharks anymore, but the old wood fishing boats are still there, and daily you can see them bring in their "catch of the day." 

The new San Pedrito has been cleaned up, there's a charming boardwalk with benches, and a few shops selling tourist trinkets. A restaurant, El Marino (see below), has some good prices on seafood. The rooms at Hotel San Pedrito are spacious and breezy, with ceiling fans, and some lower rooms have ceramic picnic tables in front of the unit.

Hotel San Pedrito rooms facing oceanThey also offer off-street parking, tennis courts, currency exchange, a small snack shop, and a market. Nearby, there is also a boat launching ramp, and you can snorkel from the jetty. 

The beach is normally unoccupied (except Sundays), with tranquil waves. Though the property is fenced, there is a gate that allows you to get to the beach. 1-3 people $30; up to 5 people $40; suite with kitchen $70. E-mail: hotelsanpedrito@hotmail.com or call 332-0535.

Oceanside pool at the Hotel Playa SantiagoHOTEL PLAYA de SANTIAGO: A 40-year-old hotel that has lost some of its grandeur, but it's on the beach and has a nice pool. There are 57 rooms (each with 2 double beds), priced from $61 (1-2 people), $80 (3 people), $98 (4 people); 3 suites with kitchens $129 (up to 4 people); and the penthouse $192 (up to 4 people). Be sure and check your room out first to make sure everything works, and ask for a view. All rooms have a private bath, telephone, ceiling fans. There is a restaurant, bar, parking lot, sundeck, tennis court, ping pong tables, game room, boat ramp, gift shop, boutique. and safety deposit box. It is 20 minutes from the airport, 5 minutes from the bus station, and a 2 block walk to the main street where busses and taxis are available. Follow the directions given for the Hotel Anita. The Hotel Playa Santiago is beyond the Anita at the end of the short road. Rates are valid through December 15, and they include taxes. Phone 333-0055, 333-0070 or 333-0727. Fax: 011-52-314-333-0344. E-mail: hoplasan@prodigy.net.mx

SANTIAGO HOTELS

Hotel Anita lobbyHOTEL ANITA: Cheap and on the beach in the older section of Playa Santiago, on the Peninsula de Santiago. The turn-off is about 3 long blocks south of the Santiago Jardin. Go past HSBC bank, cross the bridge, and immediately turn right. There are 4 hotels on that street that front the beach, Hotel Anita being the lowest priced. Ceiling fans only. Pool may not be kept up in summer. Nice view from ocean-facing rooms on 2nd floor. Single $18; dbl. $28; add $10 for each additional person. Phone 333-0161.

HOTEL BRILLAMAR: Located on Playa Santiago, next door to the Hotel Anita above, the Brillamar has air conditioned rooms facing the beach for $32 (1-2 persons); $70 (3-4 persons); $80-$100 (5-6 persons). Nice small pool, ramada restaurant on the beach. Phone 334-1188.

MA. (MARIA) CHRISTINA: Centrally located in downtown Santiago, on Calle 28 de Agosto #36 (street adjoining the Jardin), this small hotel has air conditioned rooms and rooms with ceiling fans. In addition, it has enclosed parking, pool, cable TV, and phones in the rooms. Close to restaurants, shopping, transportation. Single $19, double $32 (ceiling fan); single $330, double $440 (air conditioning). Phone 333-0966, 333-0767, 333-2370; fax 334-1430.

POSADA MARIA ISABEL: The big advantage to this budget hotel is that it is located on a bus route (bus depot across the street), next to Juanito's (a great inexpensive restaurant--see restaurant section), and close to shopping in the quaint little village of Santiago. Choose a room to the back; less noisy. Clean, ceiling fans only. Single or double $20; 2 dbl. beds $36. Phone 333-0298.

APARTMENT: A nice apartment that is fully furnished, with gated security, A/C, cable TV, high speed internet line, sleeps up to 6, with all appliances including microwave. 2 blocks from beach, and on the main street in the town of Santiago. Off street parking, too. Rates beginning at $35/night. Phone 333-3678 or e-mail susan@gomanzanillo.com. Click here for link.

BUNGALOWS SAN FRANCISCO: The first cheap hotel with a pool! Single or dbl. room for $28; bungalow with kitchen that sleeps 5 for $56. Ceiling fans, enclosed parking. Simple, but clean. On Miguel de la Madrid Blvd. #1078 across the street from Ford dealership. Phone 333-0429.

Hotel Hawaii poolHOTEL HAWAII: Here's a great little hotel that should be high on your list. Every room is newly remodeled, immaculate, some with A/C, others with ceiling fans. The owner, Miguel Angel  Carvajal owns a nursery, and knows how to decorate the exterior with style. Pool, jaccuzzi, outdoor seating and tables under a forest of palm trees with cool breezes. 

Waterfall at Hotel Hawaii Sit in the shade beside a large, natural-looking waterfall, with ferns and philodendrons. It's located 2 blocks from the beach, on the bus route,  HSBC bank across the street, and close-by shopping in the village of Santiago. Though it's on the main street, the garden affords insulation from noise in most of the rooms. A restaurant is planned for the future, although it is close to many affordable eateries featured below. Cable TV. $30 for a nice room with ceiling fan and king bed; $40 for same with quiet air conditioner. $45 for a room with A/C and 2 dbl. beds. He also has a 3 bedroom apartment on the ground floor level that rents for $100/day. Phone 334-3014.

Hotel Marlyn pool and shady palapaHOTEL MARLYN: Just 2 doors down from the Hotel Playa de Santiago. which is also on the beach, has a pool, and offers rooms and suites. Nice view, pretty pool area, small restaurant.  Rooms with A/C: $75 (1-2 people); $78 (3people). Rooms with ceiling fan: $60 (1-2); $630 (3). Suites with A/C, TV (up to 6 people) $130. Follow the directions given for the Hotel Anita. (It is right next door.) Phone 333-0107.

BUNGALOWS PLAYA LA AUDIENCIA:  This hotel only has 16 suites, but it is a block from one of the nicest beaches in Manzanillo, has a pretty pool, limited interior parking, TV and A/C.  Off-hand, the prices seem a little expensive, but since the package is designed for 4-8 persons, when you break the price down individually, it is much more reasonable. Prices begin at $97/night (4 persons) up to 8 persons (3 bedrooms) for $166/night. All bungalows have small kitchens, and the rooms have from 1 bedroom with 2 double beds, to 3 bedrooms with 4 double beds. This type of arrangement is popular with Mexican families. Bungalows Playa La Audiencia is located at the junction of Av. La Audiencia and the turn-off to the Hotel Sierra on the Peninsula de Santiago. Phone and Fax: 333-0985 or 333-0955.

LAS BRISAS

La Posada's pool and your room is just steps from the beachHOTEL LA POSADA: This "passionate pink," hacienda-style bed and breakfast on the beach is one you'll truly enjoy. Enter its antique stone courtyard through a brick archway surrounded by lush, tropical foliage, flowering bougainvilleas, and gently swaying coconut palms. The friendly ambiance here is refreshing, quite unlike any hotel in Manzanillo. You'll be soothed by the gentle cascade of water from the 3-tiered, 10-foot fountain centered in the courtyard, and will certainly enjoy the fascinating view of Manzanillo and the harbor from the west terrace. Guests return here year after year to relax under the thatched-roof palapa by the pool, or stroll the pristine beach just a few steps away. 

American-style breakfasts are served in the "sala" or great room, and are included in your room rate. Cocktails are also available from the bar cart. Most of the friendly staff has been at the hotel for more than 25 years, and take care of your with a smile. Snorkeling and scuba classes and equipment are offered for rent, and classes are done in the pool. Diving and snorkeling is enjoyable at the jetty just south of the hotel. All rooms have ceiling fans and face the ocean. There are rooms with air-conditioning for an extra $5/night. If you must have an air-conditioned room, request it. Rooms for 1-2 persons are $45-58 (inc. tax and breakfast). English spoken. Call 333-1899. See La Posada's web page or e-mail.

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