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  MANZANILLO Tourist Info


MANZANILLO (Mahn-san-KNEE-yo), with a population of around 100,000, has changed from a historic seaport to a world class resort. It's name was derived from the abundant groves of manzanilla trees that were used extensively in the early days of ship building.

Another golden sunset over Manzanillo bay

Located in the state of Colima on Mexico's 'Golden Riviera', Manzanillo is between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco on the Pacific coast. In recent years, it has become a haven for sun worshippers, sports enthusiasts and honeymooners. It is a romantic setting for a wonderful holiday south-of-the-border.

Manzanillo offers many watersports
Acclaimed as the sailfish capital of the world, the 70 boat marina is also the final destination of the classic San Diego-to-Manzanillo Yacht Race. Numerous celebrity golf & tennis tournaments are held here every year and one of the three golf courses has been named as being among "The 100 Greatest in the World" by Golf Digest Magazine. The movie "10" was filmed here and this sunny resort has been featured on TV's popular "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous".

Discover the special charm of Manzanillo for yourself. You will find that a holiday here is far less costly than you may have imagined.

Playa La Audencia Beach

The Peso presently values beween 9-10 Pesos to 1 US dollar. Banks generally have the best exchange rates & open at 8:30am or 9:00am, make sure you check what hours they do money exchanges. In addition there are private money exchanges or "casa de cambios" that stay open longer, offering slightly less favorable rates than banks, but the convenience of a quick transaction at almost any time of the day or night.

Some banks may have 24 hour teller machines that allow you to take cash advances on your credit cards, or even ATM cards - paid in pesos. However, at times the ATM machines may have communication problems with banks in the US or Canada, and consequently may not respond to your needs precisely when you need them.

Most of the larger establishments - from restaurants to shops, will readily accept US currency. The issue in that case will be the exchange rate that they offer; it is advisable to ask first in order to avoid any disappointments. Also, whether paying in Dollars or in Pesos, it is a good idea to carry small bills with you, as it is often difficult for small shops or stands to make change for large bills.

Credit Cards
Most of the hotels, resorts and more upscale restaurants and shops will accept credit cards, with some or no surcharge. However, you have to keep in mind is that many other establishments - especially smaller ones with lower prices, do not accept credit cards. While you are planning your trip, make sure that you carry - or have access to, enough cash or traveller's checks.

Time & Pace
Manzanillo is in the Central Time Zone.

It is said that the pace of life is generally slower in Mexico. At times it is true! Due to the hot temperatures in summer months, the residents of this area (Mexicans and Non- Mexicans alike) have learned to slow down and pace themselves - especially when working outside under the sun.

Siesta or the mid-day break is a tradition that reflects the necessity of avoiding heat-related fatigue. It coincides with the hottest time of day when people retreat to their homes to eat and rest in the shade. You may see businesses closed for "siesta" ranging anywhere between 1:30 pm to 4 pm, while being open till at least 7:00 pm afterwards. However, the growth of the Mexico's resort areas is changing this tradition rapidly. More and more businesses are now opting for a "9 to 5" approach, eliminating the "siesta" times.

You can call (direct dialing) and fax to anywhere in the world from Manzanillo, using the facilities at your hotel. Major US long distance companies have also established Mexican 800 numbers for making calls charged to "calling cards".

Internet access is now available in Manzanillo, and some hotels may have access availability for their customers. You will be "Internet cafes" for the convenience of both tourists & locals alike.


By Air

Flying is the easiest way to reach Manzanillo and Costa Alegre. The resort's are served by the Playa de Oro International Airport (ZLO) located northwest of Manzanillo. Advance reservations are recommended, especially in the peak season - October through May. The airport is 43 kms. (29 miles) from downtown Manzanillo. The small, but efficient terminal building houses several shops, a restaurant/bar & car rental agencies. For airport information call (333) 4-1555 or contact airlines flying in or into Mexico.

You will need a valid passport or your original birth certificate (US and Canada). It must be presented at the airline check-in. Once on the plane you will be given two forms to fill out - one for immigration (Tourist Visa) and another for customs. There are restrictions as to what you can bring to Mexico......Some of these restrictions are limits for "duty free" and some are absolute, such as fire arms without a permit (not to mention drugs).

Most commonly encountered restrictions are:
  • Most food items - especially plants, fruits and seeds.
  • Cigars and cigarettes - over 20 packs per person may be subject to duty.
  • Liquor and wine - over 2 bottles per person may be subject to duty.
  • Controlled substances and drugs - a no no!
  • Firearms - only for hunting and must obtain a permit from the Mexican Consulate in advance.

The Immigration counter is your first stop after you disembark the plane. Here you will have to present your passport (or birth certificate) along with the Tourist Visa you filled out on the plane. Your tourist visa and passport will be stamped to make your arrival official. (You will need to keep your passport and tourist visa with you at all times while in Mexico) Next you'll proceed to the baggage claim area for your luggage.

Customs is the last step, here you will need to have your Customs Declaration Form handy (the other form you were given on the plane). Recently Mexico adopted a "Red Light - Green Light" system for customs. If you have put "Nothing to declare" on this form, you will be asked to push a button....... If the light is green you can exit without inspection; if the light is red you will be subject to inspection. This is a random system, and therefore there is no way to know whether you will get a green or red light. Consequently you need to be honest on your Customs Declaration and declare anything over and above what is allowed, paying all applicable duties. If you do not, and are caught by a red light, the fines may be very steep.

Now that you have fully arrived in Manzanillo, there are several transportation options to get you from the airport to your final destination:

Colectivos (usually orange) offer frequent transfers to most resorts. The rates ($9 average per person) are cheaper than taxis, but you may have to wait a little longer to get to your destination. Many hotels also provide their own shuttles.

Taxi rates are controlled and are more expensive than the colectivos. Taking a private taxi is usually a more comfortable means of traveling to your destination.

Car Rentals reservations can be made at the airport, before arriving or in Manzanillo. Please "Travel Services" under Travel & Lodging.

Confirm your airline reservations at least 24 hours before your return date, and arrive at the airport at least one hour before your departure time. Please also note that when you are checking in at the airport, you will be asked to return your tourist visa to the airline, which will be returned to the Immigration Office.

By Land

Travelling by bus is another option which quite a few people choose. Buses run to cities throughout the Mexican Republic such as Colima (2 hours), Puerto Vallarta (6 hours), and Guadalajara (5 hours). First class routes compare favorably to most lines in the U.S. & Canada. Buses allow the traveller a great opportunity to see the Mexican countryside as well as save money.

You'll find the central bus station, Central Camionera, in Manzanillo on the Ave. Hidalgo east of town. If you choose to drive your car or a rental car to the resorts, please check with a Mexican consulate for all rules & regulations before you leave. Remember Mexican car insurance is mandatory.

By Sea

Manzanillo can be reached by sea on a pleasure craft. There is a marina on Santiago Peninsula at the Las Hadas Resort. Please contact the Fondo Mixto for more information. Isla Navidad also has a 700-slip marina in conjunction with the Grand Bay Hotel & Resort.

During your stay in Manzanillo transportation requirements will be dictated by where you are staying and where your intended destination is. Most of the time, you will have more than one option.

Getting Around

Unless you plan to travel great distances or visit remote beaches, taxis and buses are by far the best way to get around. Taxis are plentiful, clean and reliable, and fares are reasonable and fixed. Taxis are usually lined up in front of the bigger hotels. Your hotel can call a taxi for you.

Mini-buses or colectivos run frequently between the downtown and Playa Azul & Playa Miramar; fare is about 3 pesos.

Rental cars, fom jeeps to sedans with automatic transmission & air conditioning are available from major rental car agencies. They have locations at the airport and in Manzanillo. You'll also find atv's, mopeds and bikes for rent in more than one location.

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