Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Mexican Riviera

Manzanillo Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions, Weather

Fishing is a popular attraction in Manzanillo.
Fishing is a popular attraction in Manzanillo.

The Manzanillo cruise port is a popular destination on the west coast of Mexico, although it is more popular for resort visitors than cruises.

This large commercial port along the Mexican Riviera overlooks the two bays of Manzanillo and Santiago. It is known for its recreational activities including beaches and marlin fishing.

The best months to visit are during the dry season that goes from November through May each year.

Where is Manzanillo? It is about 175 miles south of Puerto Vallarta and more than 400 miles north of Acapulco. Manzanillo attracts cruise ships on Panama Canal cruises and longer Mexican Riviera cruises. It is not visited as often by seven-day cruises out of San Diego or Long Beach, California.

Quick Tips

  • Manzanillo is a commercial port that is becoming more tourism focused.
  • Beach lovers will find many options for swimming and snorkeling.
  • The city and nearby attractions emphasize Spanish and Mayan historic sites.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

Walking Around Attractions

Manzanillo Cruise Port Map

The Manzanillo port does not have quite as many points of interest for cruise visitors on foot as some other cruise ports. It has more to offer with longer shore excursions that require transportation.

Still, there are a few worthy attractions within the city. Cruise visitors can make a brief visit to the small but pretty and picturesque Alvaro Obregon Garden, just to the right of the cruise dock. The sailfish statue there is one of the most important monuments in the city.

The refurbished historic city center has a pedestrian boardwalk, a main plaza that overlooks the Manzanillo bay, shops, bars and restaurants.

Dining emphasizes fresh seafood. One beverage unique to the region is agua de tuba, which is made from fermented corn beverage and juice of coconut palms.

Shore Excursions

A simple guided city tour starts at about $50 per person and includes transportation. Some include a brief visit to a local beach.

Volcan de Fuego
Volcan de Fuego towers over the horizon near Colima. Credit: Wikimedia

One of the best attractions is the colonial city of Colima. Colima, capital of the state, is a 90-minute excursion bus drive from Manzanillo that offers historic charm and quiet city plazas. The city was founded in 1523.

Visitors will see two famous volcanoes in the distance. Nevado de Colima is 14,200 feet tall and Volcan de Fuego is more than 13,000 feet.

Colima also offers access to the famous Pyramids of La Campana. The pyramids are the largest archeological site in western Mexico. Prices for this six- to seven-hour tour start at about $100 per person.

Fishing is a major attraction because of the large numbers of marlin, sailfish and other sport fish that are found in the waters offshore. Fishing is so popular that the city hosts international tournaments every year, the Mexico Tourist Board says.

Golfers will find the 18-hole Mantarraya Golf Course at Las Hadas resort and a 27-hole course at the Grand Bay Resort on Isla Navidad. Las Hadas is three miles north of the city on the Santiago Peninsula with views overlooking the bay. Isla Navidad is 30 miles north of the city and also overlooks the bay. Golf shore excursion prices start at about $200 per person.

Cuyutlan is an hour south of Manzanillo. It has black sand beaches, good beaches for surfing, the Salt Museum and El Tortuguero turtle sanctuary. The turtle sanctuary is the largest in Mexico and home to iguanas and crocodiles. Prices for this five- to six-hour tour start at about $70.

Nearby Beaches

The Las Hadas resort is a safe shore excursion option offered by some tour operators for about $60 to $70 per person.

Otherwise, beach lovers will find 40 miles of them. Some of the best beaches in Manzanillo line a five-mile segment around the Santiago Bay to the west of the Santiago Peninsula, the Mexico Tourism Board says.

They include Miramar Beach, Olas Altas Beach, Santiago Beach and Audiencia Beach. Audiencia has calm waters and is a good choice for swimming, snorkeling and waterskiing. Miramar has more wind and draws windsurfers, kiteboarders and other watersports enthusiasts.

Cruise Weather

Manzanillo monthly rainfall
© 2022 Scott S. Bateman

Like most destinations along the Mexican Riviera, Manzanillo weather has a dry season and a rainy season.

The dry season lasts from November through May with average rainfall of one inch or less per month, according to historical data from the country’s National Water Commission.

The wet season occurs from June through October as a result of the Pacific hurricane season. Average rainfall climbs to more than four inches in June and reaches a high point of more than 10 inches in September.

Average high temperatures range from 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 Celsius in January to 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius in July and August.

Other Tips

  • U.S. dollars are no longer accepted by most Mexican businesses. Use credit cards or find the nearest ATM or currency exchange office to pay with pesos.
  • Check taxi rates before getting into the cab. They do not carry change.
  • The hotel zone is four miles north of the city and has many more beaches.