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Mexican Riviera

Manzanillo Tourist Attractions: History, Water and Volcanoes

Colima volcano
Volcán de Colima. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Cruise visitors will find that the best Manzanillo tourist attractions require some travel time.

Many of the attractions are spread out among four diverse geographic areas: Manzanillo itself, Colima, Cuyutlan and Isla Navidad.

Cruise visitors with limited time may stick to Manzanillo. The other destinations will take anywhere from one to one and a half hours each way.

They all lie in different directions, so anyone with more time may choose one of them, but more than one will be a challenge.


Manzanillo itself offers some attractions with historical value such as the old town plaza.

Another popular destination is the Miramar Flea Market on Manzanillo Beach with items for sale by local artists and craftsmen. Avenida Mexico, the main street in the city, also has an open-air marketing.

The city has been named the “Sailfish Capital of the World,” according to the Mexico Tourism Board. The waters offshore are known for sailfish, marlin and other sport fish.

The El Salto waterfall, tallest in the state at more than 100 feet, is located about 50 minutes north of Manzanillo. It is accessible via local excursion operators.

Beaches Near the Cruise Port

Manzanillo beach
Manzanillo beach. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Manzanillo’s Santiago Peninsula creates two bays with Santiago Bay to the northwest and Manzanillo Bay to the southeast.

Santiago Bay has four named beaches and are the best near Santiago, the Mexico Tourism Board says. Audiencia Beach is one of the best beaches for swimming and snorkeling. Miramar Beach at the other end of the bay is best for watersports such as windsurfing.

Manzanillo Bay has three named beaches. San Pedrito is closest to Manzanillo city is often more crowded as a result. Azul and Las Brisas are farther away and better options for avoiding crowds.

Golf Courses

Manzanillo Beach also has two golf courses with ocean views—Las Hadas Golf Resort and Santiago Country Club.

The La Mantarraya Golf Course at Las Hadas, designed by Roy and Pete Dye, is an 18-hole course. Golfers will play more than half of the holes over water.

Isla Navidad Country Club has a 27-hole course designed by Robert van Hagge. The course offers 13 lakeside holes, two holes over the lagoon, and eight holes on the coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Colima: History and Vocanoes

Anyone who wants to venture outside of the city should consider Colima for a wider variety of things to do.

Colima, about 80 minutes east of the port, is capital of the state and known for its Old World history, architecture and regional museum. Founded in 1523, Colima was the first colonial city west of Mexico City.

Visitors will be able to see two active volcanoes in the distance. Local excursion operators offer visits to the top of Volcan de Nieve, the least active volcano, which is 13,000 feet tall.

Other tours offer an educational trip that goes within four miles of the other volcano that is occasionally active. Expect to pay $100+ per person.

Anyone with more time can go to the nearby ruins at La Campana, which is the largest architectural site in the state.

Cuyutlan and Isla Navidad

Cuyutlan is about one hour southeast of Manzanillo on the southeastern end of Cuyutlan Lagoon.

The area is known for surfing because of waves that reach up to 15 feet and black sand beaches that developed over time from volcanic eruptions.

The El Tortuguero turtle sanctuary is located on the route to the nearby town of El Paraiso.

Isla Navidad is one hour north of Manzanillo. It is a peninsula dominated by a resort, but it also offers a golf course, beaches and marina.