Getting There & Departing
By Plane -- Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522 in the U.S., 01-800/252-7522 in Mexico) offers service from Los Angeles; Continental (tel. 800/523-3273 in the U.S.; 01-800/900-5000 in Mexico) flies from Houston; AeroMar (tel. 01-800/237-6627 toll-free in Mexico; www.aeromar.com.mx) flies to Mexico City; CanJet (tel. 800/809-7777 in the U.S. and Canada; www.canjet.com) flies from select Canadian destinations.
The Playa de Oro International Airport is 40km (25 miles) northwest of town. Colectivo (minivan) airport service is available from the airport; hotels arrange returns. Make reservations for return trips 1 day in advance. The fare is based on zones and runs 130 pesos to 155 pesos for most hotels. Private taxi service between the airport and downtown area is around 350 pesos. Alamo (tel. 314/334-0124), Budget (tel. 314/333-1445), and Thrifty (tel. 314/334-3282) have counters in the airport open during flight arrivals; they will also deliver a car to your hotel. Daily rates run about $50 to $80. You need a car especially if you plan to explore surrounding cities and the Costa Alegre.
By Car -- Coastal Hwy. 200 leads from Acapulco (south) and Puerto Vallarta (north). From Guadalajara, take Hwy. 54 through Colima into Manzanillo. Outside Colima you can switch to a toll road, which is faster but less scenic.
By Bus -- Buses run to Barra de Navidad (1 1/2 hr. north), Puerto Vallarta (5 hr. north), Colima (1 1/2 hr. east), and Guadalajara (4 1/2 hr. north), with deluxe service and numerous daily departures. ETN (www.etn.com.mx) is the main bus company. Manzanillo's Central Camionera bus station (tel. 314/336-8035) sits about 12 long blocks east of town.
The tourism office (tel. 314/333-2277; www.vivemanzanillo.com) is on the Costera Miguel de la Madrid 875-A, Km 8.5. It's open Monday through Friday from 9am to 7pm, and Saturday from 10am to 2pm.
The town lies at one end of an 11km-long (6 3/4-mile) beach facing Manzanillo Bay and its commercial harbor. The beach has four sections -- Playa Las Brisas, Playa Azul, Playa Salahua, and Playa Las Hadas. At the other end of the beaches is the high, rocky Santiago Peninsula. Santiago lies 11km (6 3/4 miles) from downtown; it's the site of many beautiful homes and the best hotel in the area, Las Hadas, as well as the hotel's Mantarraya Golf Course. The peninsula juts into the bay, separating Manzanillo Bay from Santiago Bay. Playa Las Hadas sits on the south side, facing Manzanillo Bay, and Playa Audiencia is on the north side, facing Santiago Bay. The inland town of Santiago extends opposite the turnoff to Las Hadas.
Activity in downtown Manzanillo centers on the zócalo, known as the Jardín Álvaro Obregón. The plaza has flowering trees, a fountain, and a view of the bay. Avenida México, the street leading out from the plaza's central gazebo, is the town's principal commercial thoroughfare. The interesting Museo de la Perversidad (tel. 314/332-5599; www.manzanillomuseo.com) opened in mid-2009 with vivid displays of torture throughout the ages, much of it religiously motivated. The museum is located at Av. Juárez 160, just off the square, and open Monday through Friday from 11am to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9pm.
Once you leave downtown, the Costera Miguel de la Madrid highway (or just Costera Madrid) runs through the neighborhoods of Las Brisas, Salahua, and Santiago to the hotel zones on the Santiago Peninsula and at Miramar.
There are two main lagoons. Laguna de Cuyutlán stretches south for miles, paralleling the coast. Laguna de San Pedrito, north of the city, parallels the Costera Miguel de la Madrid. Both are good birding sites. There are also two bays. Manzanillo Bay encompasses the harbor, town, and beaches. The Santiago Peninsula separates it from the second bay, Santiago. Between downtown and the Santiago Peninsula lies Las Brisas, a flat peninsula with a long stretch of sandy golden beach, a lineup of inexpensive but run-down hotels, and a few good restaurants.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.