Manzanillo, Colima

Population: 112,000

Time Zone: Pacific Standard

Airport: Playa de Oro International (ZLO)

Elevation: Sea Level

This major port town and commercial center lacks the in-town tourist infrastructure found in other beach resorts, and has never become a primary tourist destination. Though Manzanillo is occasionally mixed up with Mazatlán and passed over for Puerto Vallarta, it needs to be appreciated for what it is: a simple, economical and “real” Mexican beach experience.

The focal point for tourists is the Santiago Peninsula, a rather understated stretch of hotels and restaurants that lie between two bays, Bahia de Manzanillo and Bahia de Santiago. The lack of a huge central hotel zone or tourist specific area sets it apart from its popular neighbors, but its down-to-earth energy gives it a personality all its own. Highlighted by thick, green jungle hills and stunning, uncrowded beaches, the landscape surrounding the town rivals anywhere in Mexico for its beauty,

The port is Mexico’s busiest, attracting trade from all over the world. It is also one of Mexico’s friendliest and safest towns, which has attracted a growing expat population who have bought homes and villas along the two bays just north of town. There are several large resorts in the region, primarily offering both European and all-inclusive plans.