Are you debating whether to visit a place with beaches or a place with swamps and waterfalls? Well, visit Manzanillo and you’ll get both! Or visit Patawalk and virtually get both, as well.
Manzanillo is a port city that lies on the Pacifi Ocean. In the 1500’s, while in search of a safe harbor and an excellent location for shipbuilding, the Spanish Explorer Hernan Cortez along with his tripulation landed on the shore of what is now known as Manzanillo. Interestingly, Cortez also used this site as the parting place to go in quest of the Phillipines. This only proves what an important point of departure Manzanillo was for the Spaniards upon their arrival. It was the Spaniards who baptized this beautiful bay with the name of Manzanillo due to the abundance of Manzanillo trees found here. Also of importance is the fact that this tree was specifically used to build ships. Nowadays, the port of Manzanillo maintains its place as an important harbor. It has become a stopping point for cargo ships all over the world, so much that it is the largest port on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
But Manzanillo isn’t just all harbor business; it is an excellent adventure destination as well as a resort destination. Don’t forget that Manzanillo is the “Sailfish Capital of the World!” Multitudes of fishing tournaments are held throughout the year on the pristine and magnificent beaches of Manzanillo. Upon disembarking on the beautiful Manzanillo coast you should head to one of the local scuba shops and submerge into a full-blown underwater adventure. For starters you should try some snorkeling or scuba diving. The waters of Manzanillo are so clean and clear that make them an ideal location to snorkel or dive. Not only this, but Manzanillo is filled with lots of natural coral and fish. While snorkeling, don’t forget to ask your guide to show you The Aquarium, which is a 10,000 year-old reef and it it but 3 to 7 feet under the surface. This particular reef is huge and can almost be compared to the size of a football field, about 100 yards or about 300 feet. Another must-see while snorkeling is San Luciano, which is a 300-foot-long shipwreck. This is one of the many ships that were wrecked during the 5 storm category hurricane of 1959. This ship is completely made of metal, and has become a “man-made” coral reef, for it is now filled with all types of marine life from octopuses hiding to aquatic plants wrapped around it. Roca Elefante (Elephant Rock) is a true natural wonder; this is an underwater rock in the shape of an elephant, which is where the name comes from. I was told that at one point a piece of the rock was in the shape of the trunk running upwards, but that it was destroyed during an earthquake. Nevertheless, the rock still maintains it’s similarity to that of an elephant but now with a trunk facing downward or in a resting position. The shape of the rock isn’t the only interesting component of it; in addition, the rock forms what we know as a blow hole, or as they call it in Manzanillo a “bufadora,” which blows water up to several feet in the air. Another natural wonder that can be observed in Manzanillo is the Green Flash Phenomenon. This is when you’re able to see a green light coming at a distance only over the ocean. It is seen on the line that divides the ocean from the sky. The best time to observe this is between sunset and sunrise; this is definitely worthy of a picture.
The underwater adventure is only a piece of all the activities and fun that Manzanillo provides to its visitors. Along the beach you’ll find areas where you can go horseback riding. Imagining that: horseback riding along the beach, it’s like something out of a romantic Hollywood film, right? If you’re into something more exiting and adrenaline pumping, then rent a few jet skis and race onto the ocean. You can also go kayaking or simply bring your boogie board and enjoy the soft ocean waves cradling you along the coast. However, the further into the ocean you go the more likely you’ll be to encounter ocean life. In fact, Manzanillo has an enormous dolphin population. So if you’re lucky enough, you might just encounter a dolphin swimming right next to you!
Kayaking is even more exciting when done in a mangrove. All you have to do is take a small trip about 15 to 30 minutes from the city and you’ll arrive at some of the most incredibly scenic mangroves ever. These mangroves will take you around the lagoon; here you’ll have the opportunity to observe a diversity of bird species. This is quite a unique experience for the bird aficionado. After this really neat experience you’ll have to treat yourself to the 100-foot waterfall, called El Salto (The Jump), which is also withing a 45 minute trip north of Manzanillo. Getting there is pretty much an awesome vehicle ride along with some walking; it is quite the best way to include some exercise in your day. The place surrounding the waterfall is virtually untouched by civilization is one of the few spots around the world boasting of being a true natural beauty. It literary is a jungle-rainforest combination; it might even seem like you’ve travel back in time, for a place like this is hard to believe it still exists in today’s society. Note that the best time to visit the waterfall, that is if you wish to swim in it, is between November through May. During these times the waters are pristine and very calm. During the rainy season, it is not recommended, for it might become dangerous due to possible mudslides.
If you’d like to take a small break from the ocean adventures and visit the city, then I must recommend the Museo de la Perversidad (Museum of Perversity). But don’t get the wrong idea based on its name. In actuality, the museum is much like a house of horrors based on historical facts. The museum features “scenes” of torture and artifact or tools of torture. It’s important to mention that all the artifcats including the mannequins were created by local artisans. Nevertheless, the museum is more than just a scary house straight out of a horror movie; its purpose it is bring consciousness to the public about humaneness; this museum was created to promote and bring to life the issue of human rights.
As you shop through the streets of Manzanillo, your attention will be caught by the fact that all of the shops have small sculptures of a particular hairless canine. You’ll find images of this dog throughout the city. The fact is that, the hairless dog known as Techichi or Escuincle is the national dog, although it has been concluded that this was the first native dog of the American continent. The dog was named during pre-Hispanic times by the Aztecs after the pagan god, Xolotl, who was the twin brother of the more well-known god Quetzacoatl. Escuincle comes from the Aztec word for dog, or itzcuintli. The Aztecs used this dog for several purposed including watchdog, healer, and most interestingly as a food source. The Mayans believed that the Xolotl dog were guardians of the afterlife and so they mummified them and put them in tombs with their owners, talk about man’s best friend being a true companion. Its popularity was such that not only are their images throughout the city, but even great artists such as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo feature them in their art.