Manzanillo Beaches: The Very Best of Colima’s Coastline

manzanillo beaches
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Manzanillo Beaches: The Very Best of Colima’s Coastline

On the Pacific coast of Colima, the pristine beaches of Manzanillo stand as a testament to the natural beauty of this part of Mexico.

With its sun-kissed shores, azure waters, and vibrant marine life, Manzanillo offers an unparalleled seaside escape for travelers seeking tranquility, adventure, and relaxation.

From secluded coves to bustling beachfronts, each stretch of sand unveils its own unique charm and character, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the splendor of this coastal paradise.

Join me today and discover the very best of Manzanillo’s beaches, where every grain of sand tells a story of serenity and wonder.

What are Manzanillo Beaches known for?

Manzanillo is an important port in the Mexican state of Colima dubbed the “Sailfish Capital.”

Despite not having the same fame as other tourist destinations in Mexico, it is one of the favorite places for families looking to vacation in quiet places, away from the hustle and bustle.

Manzanillo offers everything you need to take a few days off: luxury hotels and other low-budget accommodations, restaurants, tours, nightlife, water sports, and beautiful beaches.

Because of its commercial importance, it has excellent communications with many points of the country, either by road or by air.

Where is Manzanillo, Colima?

Manzanillo is about 98 km from the state capital, Colima; 290 km from Puerto Vallarta, via the scenic Highway 200; and a four-hour drive northeast from Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara.

This port is well-connected by modern highways and has an international airport servicing major Mexican cities and some destinations in the United States.

The airport is about 40 km north of the city. If you’re traveling from the United States, Mexico City, or Mazatlan, this will be your best option to reach your destination quickly and comfortably.

You have several transfer options from the airport to the hotel zone and downtown.

Again, Manzanillo is connected by Highway 200 with Puerto Vallarta through a beautiful scenic drive along the Costalegre of Jalisco.

The same highway, but heading south, will take you to cities such as Lázaro Cárdenas, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, and Acapulco, always bordering the Pacific coast.

NOTE: If you plan to spend several days in Manzanillo, one of the best things to do is to rent a car and get around.

This way you can easily reach nearby destinations and explore other towns and cities located on the coast or in the interior of the state.

Why visit Manzanillo?

manzanillo colima beaches
View of the port and downtown Manzanillo in the background

The beaches of Manzanillo have become a popular summer destination among national and international vacationers.

As I said at the beginning, they don’t share the fame of other tourist centers in the country. This allows you to enjoy a much more relaxed atmosphere, similar to that of Mazatlan.

In other words, Manzanillo is an authentic city, where you can feel the Mexican essence.

The charm of Manzanillo’s beaches is complemented by its tradition, history, good weather, and its gastronomy.

Also, what I like about Manzanillo is the beauty of its landscapes, which alternate between lagoons, rivers, mountains, and, of course, the sea.

Furthermore, it is distinguished by its modern Mediterranean-style hotel complexes, perfect for resting with all the comforts. All this makes Manzanillo a worthy place to visit with family or friends.

So, if you are looking for a tourist city that is not overly crowded, then this is the ideal destination to chill for a few days and disconnect from everything.

9 Best Beaches in Manzanillo

manzanillo beaches
Beautiful quiet beaches await you in and around Manzanillo

Manzanillo’s beaches are spread along the two twin bays of the city: Santiago and Manzanillo.

There you will find many options to choose from. Some of them have strong currents and waves perfect for surfing; while others have calmer waters that allow you to swim and snorkel.

Manzanillo Bay has the main beaches of the city:

  • Ventanas
  • Las Coloradas
  • San Pedrito
  • El Viejo
  • Las Brisas
  • Playa Azul
  • Salahua
  • Las Hadas
  • La Escondida

There is a wide range of hotels and restaurants for all budgets. The beaches are accompanied by a boardwalk, pier, and port.

A short distance away, there is an islet that is perfect for swimming and watching exotic birds.

Santiago Bay is home to some of Manzanillo’s most tranquil beaches. Here you can spend a relaxing day while waiting for the sunset or savoring the local seafood.

Santiago Bay is home to the following beaches in Manzanillo:

  • Miramar
  • La Boquita
  • Olas Altas
  • La Audiencia
  • Santiago

In the latter, you will find a lookout point from which you can get a spectacular view of the city.

The same happens with La Audiencia, which also has two panoramic points from which you can get the best views of the bay.

1. Miramar, one of Manzanillo’s most popular Beaches

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Miramar Beach

Of all the beaches in Manzanillo, Miramar is the most extensive.

With golden sand and medium waves, it is one of the most popular and offers excellent restaurants and several lodging options.

Miramar Beach is also a popular surfing destination in Manzanillo. That’s why you’ll see many places where you can rent a surfboard and schools that introduce beginners to the sport.

In fact, its conditions make it an excellent beach for less experienced surfers. If you are a professional, next to Miramar is Olas Altas Beach, which has a more challenging swell.

Other popular activities to do at Miramar Beach are: kayaking, jet skiing, horseback riding, browsing the handicraft stalls, and watching the sunset.

At Miramar Beach, you can also rent an umbrella and deck chairs to relax for the day. The umbrellas are usually found in restaurants or beach clubs that serve typical dishes of the region and all kinds of drinks.

mar celeste colima
Great location and amenities at Mar Celeste Resort

Again, Miramar has some of the best lodging offers.

If you want a recommendation, hotels like the Mar Celeste Boutique, Gran Festivall, Parotas, and Vista Playa de Oro are excellent alternatives. Each of them offers good services and amenities.

Where is Miramar Beach? In Santiago Bay, between Olas Altas and La Boquita.

2. Olas Altas Beach: One of the best for surfing

beaches manzanillo

Olas Altas is one of the best beaches in Manzanillo for surfing enthusiasts.

Also, you won’t find many restaurants, hotels, or vendors here, so its atmosphere is much more quiet.

The sand at Olas Altas is dark golden and medium texture, while the swell is quite intense.

If you don’t have much surfing experience or swimming in the ocean, then you will have to take precautions when going into the water.

You may want to read: Explore Colima Mexico’s Hidden Cultural Wonders

Keep in mind that in addition to having a lot of waves, the sea at this point is deeper, and strong currents are common.

Anyway, that does not mean that you cannot go to the beach for a walk, sunbathe, or enjoy the scenery.

3. La Boquita Beach

beaches manzanillo

La Boquita is at the northernmost point of Santiago Bay and is another of Manzanillo’s beaches that I suggest you visit.

It has a calm swell that makes it safe to go with children. In fact, on weekends it becomes a very popular destination for families vacationing in Manzanillo.

In the surroundings of La Boquita Beach you will find different services and you can enjoy activities such as boat rides, horseback riding, diving, and snorkeling.

The beach also has several huts that make the best regional seafood dishes.

The zarandeado fish, shrimp cocktails, and ceviche are among the most popular. They offer umbrellas, tables, and chairs for rent.

To get to La Boquita you have to go through Miramar Beach and continue to the main entrance of the Club Santiago subdivision.

There you will have to ask for permission to enter the beach and drive a stretch of dirt road.

4. La Audiencia Beach

manzanillo beaches
La Audiencia Beach (one of my favorites)

La Audiencia is another popular beach in Santiago Bay at the end of the avenue of the same name, it is the perfect destination for swimming and water sports, featuring moderate waves.

The transparent and crystalline waters of this beach make swimming, diving, or snorkeling the favorite activities of its visitors.

Private operators in the area even offer diving tours to feed octopus and eels.

If you prefer to snorkel on your own, you will find an abundance of tropical fish and colorful marine vegetation.

Kayaking and windsurfing are other popular activities to do in La Audiencia. Although my recommendation, is to go on the boat rides on Santiago Bay.

This way you can access better snorkeling areas and see famous rock formations up close, such as the elephant rock or the bufadora.

Another option is the Fiesta Boat, which leaves every day from this beach and offers its users a fun-filled trip.

Interesting fact: La Audiencia is the first of Manzanillo’s beaches to be recognized as “Colima’s Clean Beach.” Due to its water quality, safety, environmental care, and flora & fauna protection.

5. Santiago Beach

santiago bay colima

Also known as “the pier,” Santiago is recommended for families because of its fine sand, calm waves, and varied services.

The best activities to do in Playa Santiago are swimming, boat rides around the bay, and speed rides on the banana boat.

The tours along the coastline are one of the most sought-after, since you will be able to see close-up rocks and green cliffs.

Very close to the beach is the town of Santiago, whose main attractions are the Palacio de las Conchas y Caracoles (Palace of Shells and Snails) and the El Colimense Market.

The latter is perfect for buying handicrafts, such as bracelets and necklaces made with shells and sea snails.

6. Las Hadas Beach in Manzanillo Bay

manzanillo beaches
The majestic Las Hadas Resort by Las Brisas

One of Manzanillo’s premiere beaches is Las Hadas (The Fairys). Its name honors the majestic landscape, which looks like something out of a fairy tale.

Located east of Manzanillo Bay, between Salagua and La Escondida beaches, Las Hadas is the perfect place to relax and forget about everything.

It features super calm waves and moderate slope into the sea. In addition, the waters are transparent, so swimming there is a real pleasure.

Las Hadas Beach is one of the most famous tourist complexes in the city. Here you will find luxury hotels, golf courses, private yachts, and all kinds of amenities.

7. San Pedrito Beach

san pedrito colima

San Pedrito features calm waters ideal for swimming, coastal walks, water sports, and eating local dishes in its palapas.

Despite being small, you can do many things and enjoy beautiful views of the city with the green hills behind.

If so much activity whets your appetite, you will find delicious ceviches, seafood, shrimp, crabs, fish, and other local delicacies.

Even in the mornings, you will see local fishermen selling fresh products.

Around the beach, there are also good lodging options, such as the famous Zar Hotel. On the other hand, here you will find the facilities of the Manzanillo Sport Fishing Club.

San Pedrito is one of Manzanillo’s beaches closest to the historic center, making it easily accessible, so you have no excuse not to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this beautiful beach!

8. Playa Azul

playa azul colima

At 1 km long, Playa Azul is the largest beach in Manzanillo Bay.

Therefore, it is one of the busiest and best-serviced beaches in the city.

It is between Salagua and Las Brisas beaches and extends along Manzanillo’s boulevard, which concentrates most of the restaurants, shopping malls, bars, and nightclubs.

Playa Azul is a very popular beach to walk in the evenings, wait for the sunset, and have a drink at a bar while enjoying the sea breeze.

The sunset is a magnificent spectacle that is very well contemplated from here.

Its name is given by the color of its waters, which are calm from December to May. In the remaining months, however, it is a very popular beach for surfing.

During this time, it is not recommended for swimming due to strong sea currents. In that case, La Audiencia and Playa Boquita are better alternatives.

9. Manzanillo Bay Beaches: Las Brisas

manzanillo beaches
Las Brisas Beach

Las Brisas is a clean, safe, and unfrequented beach, which is why many consider it the most beautiful beach in Manzanillo.

Las Brisas is located within Manzanillo Bay and is characterized by its medium-textured light brown sand, gentle slope, and moderate waves that make it safe for swimming.

It does not have many services, so I suggest you bring your umbrella and deck chairs. You will find some food stands and hotels at good prices.

The best activities to do in Las Brisas are bottom fishing, beach volleyball, skiing, and more.

What else is there to do in Manzanillo?

manzanillo beaches
Visit Manzanillo’s Parish on the main square

Manzanillo is divided into two parts: the more touristy and beachy part, located on the Santiago and Manzanillo peninsulas; and the downtown commercial area.

The calm, relaxed, and authentically Mexican atmosphere is felt in both.

Therefore, in addition to relaxing on the beach, practicing water sports, or deep-sea fishing (the popular pastime of the locals), you can also stroll through its zócalo and discover the colonial architecture of the historic center.

The latter is a must-do in Manzanillo. The historic center full of colonial buildings reminiscent of the city’s Spanish past is one of the most beautiful areas.

Recently renovated, it dazzles with the beauty of its white buildings and the tranquility of its streets.

manzanillo colima
You can’t miss taking a picture with the famous Sailfish sculpture

This unique work of art is 28 meters high and the landmark of Manzanillo. Best of all, it’s not the only one you’ll see.

Along the boardwalk, there are more than 12 sculptures that adorn this promenade from which you can enjoy the best views of the beaches of Manzanillo.

Don’t miss the main square or zocalo, which is surrounded by colonial-style houses and small streets that wind in and out of it. Restaurants, bars, and handicraft stores will make your tour even more enjoyable.

Golf in Manzanillo

karmina palace golf manzanillo
Spectacular Golf Course at the Karmina Palace Hotel & Resort

Manzanillo has much more to offer. Golf is also a big attraction, as the city is home to two prestigious golf courses, the most sought-after is at the fabulous Karmina Palace Hotel & Resort.

Gastronomy and Cultural spaces

I cannot finish this article without talking about the city’s culinary tradition.

Going out to eat good fresh fish and seafood in the beach-side restaurants is another must-do activity in Manzanillo.

Sipping a cold beer while waiting for the sun to set is one of the greatest pleasures in this town.

After lunch, if you feel like doing something different, a visit to the Archaeological Museum is ideal.

This precinct tells the history, traditions, and way of life of the pre-Columbian peoples through its collection of more than 200 pre-Hispanic pieces.

Best Manzanillo Beaches: Conclusion

In conclusion, Manzanillo’s beaches stand out as gems along Colima’s coastline, offering an unparalleled blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and endless recreational opportunities.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a breathtaking escape, the beaches of Manzanillo beckon with their warm sands, clear waters, and inviting atmosphere.

From the tranquil shores of Playa La Audiencia to the lively energy of Playa Miramar, each beach offers its own unique charm, ensuring an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first coastal getaway, Manzanillo promises to deliver an unforgettable slice of paradise on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and prepare to discover the very best of Colima’s coastline in the sun-kissed haven of Manzanillo.

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