Manzanillo--Mexico's Secret Getaway is Discovered
by Paris Permenter & John Bigley
He wants to test his skills as an angler with some deep-sea fishing or challenge himself on the golf course. You wanted to be pampered and relax at a seaside hideaway. You both are looking for romantic fun.
Manzanillo A Secret To Travelers
Manzanillo. Tucked between Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, the city of Manzanillo has remained a secret to many travelers with the exception of anglers and golfers. Nicknamed the "sailfish capital of the world," the seaside town has developed far more slowly than its northern and southern cousins, perfect for travelers who are looking for a quiet getaway with an emphasis on relaxation, golf, fishing, or ecotourism.
Perfect for a long weekend, Manzanillo is famous for its sailfishing. Visitors can arrange full-day fishing charters with tackle and guides for about $300 (half-day cruises are another option.) Although anglers also test their skills against the blue marlin and other game species, the sailfish has become a symbol of Manzanillo. "The world’s largest sailfish," a 70-ton statue, stands on the renovated esplanade in the historic city center.
Fishing, Golf and Watersports In Manzanillo, Mexico
Many fishing charters depart from the marina at Las Hadas, Manzanillo’s best known resort. Made famous by Dudley Moore’s "10," this stark white Moorish-style property sits on one of the many golden beaches for which Manzanillo is known. Next door at Hotel Sierra, Playa La Audiencia is the well-recognized strip of sand where Bo Derek made her famous jog in the 1979 movie. (You may not remember that slow-motion beach run but your guy will.)
Or is the father in your family more likely to hit the links than the deep sea? Las Hadas is also home to one of the many of the best golf courses in the region. The 18-hole Las Hadas Golf Club, designed by Pete and Roy Dye, has been rated by Golf Digest as one of the world’s top 100 courses. North of Manzanillo, a 27-hole Robert Von Hagge-designed course named Mexico’s best by Golf Magazine is located at the Grand Bay Hotel. An 18-hole championship course designed by David N. Fleming and Robert Trent Jones Jr. offers seaside views at Tamarindo Country Club. For casual golfers, Manzanillo’s nine-hole course at Club Santiago is a less expensive option.
Watersports also keep visitors on the go with everything from snorkeling and scuba to kayaking and surfing. Because of the nearby volcanoes, scuba divers can explore tunnels, fissures, and other signs of ancient lava flows. Playa Miramar is popular with windsurfers, while surfers and boogie boarders prefer the waves of Olas Altas. Kayakers head to the Centinela River to view alligators and eagles. Landlubbers have their share of sporting options as well, from a tennis club at Las Hadas to tours which feature mountain biking, hiking, four-wheelers, and horseback riding.
Where should you make your home away from home during this stay? You've got a full range of choices, depending on the atmosphere and price level you choose. In the Manzanillo area, you can opt for everything from small, ultra-exclusive resorts to sprawling all-inclusives.
The best known resort is Las Hadas Golf and Resort (888-559-4329, www.brisas.com.mx), located at the north end of the city; the all-suites property offers golf, tennis, fine dining, and a pampering atmosphere. You'll be close to the city but have all the amenities of a beach destination right at your door.
Next door, Kármina Palace Golf and Spa Resort (877-KARMINA , www.karminapalace.com/English/) is a luxury all-inclusive property, perfect for families as well as couples. A Mayan decor fills the soaring public areas of the all-suites resort.
Less expensive, the four-star Club Maeva Manzanillo (866-411-7070) is a sprawling all-inclusive that’s especially popular with families. The resort offers a 30,000-square-foot kids’ club for ages 2-12. This resort requires a walk via a pedestrian bridge across the road to the beach but on-site you'll find plenty of pools for cooling off on those hot early summer days.
A half hour north of Manzanillo, the five-star Grand Bay Hotel Isla Navidad Resort (888-WYNDHAM, www.wyndhamluxuryresorts.com) is one of the region’s largest. Set on a 1200-acre peninsula, the resort features three pools, a private beach, grass tennis courts, golf, a marina, fine dining, and a spa--something for him and for her. Perfect for Dads who like boating, the hotel is home to a huge marina with vessels straight out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
For a resort where you very well might spot the rich and famous, head to the exclusive getaway, El Tamarindo (888-433-3989, www.luxurycollection.com). Romantics find cottages with open-air living rooms; golfers test their skills on a championship course. The atmosphere here is perfect for kicking back and truly relaxing in a setting that has brought celebrity travelers in search of true peace and privacy.
Regardless of where you and your family stay, you'll find that you're close to many area locations. If your stay is five or six days, consider a day trip to one of these surrounding areas. Colima City, the capital of the State of Colima, lies about an hour inland via a four-lane highway. Dating back to the 11th century, the historic city also has many colonial reminders including its palm-shaded plazas. The city is home to the Casa de Cultura with an excellent pre-Columbian pottery collection and a downtown cathedral which dates back to 1527.
Tlaloc Tours (011-52-314-334-1180, fax 011-52-314-333-2172, email@example.com) offers guided tours to the capital city and surrounding region including the small colonial city of Comala and the nearby volcanoes: the active Volcán de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) and the extinct Nevado de Colima, home to a nature preserve. Enroute to the peaks, visitors can drive down Magic Hill, an optical illusion that makes cars appear to roll up the sloped highway. The stop is perfect for kids, a nature-made amusement park ride.
For more information on Manzanillo, see www.manzanillo.com.mx or contact the Manzanillo Tourism Bureau, 011-52-314-333-3838, fax 011-52-314-333-2080, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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