Tuesday, September 2, 2008

La Manzanilla Costalegre

Roughly 40 minutes north of the Manzanillo international airport on the Costalegre, steamy jungle meets creamy sand beaches in the Bay of Tenacatita. The beaches along the Bay of Tenacatita are relatively unpopulated expanses dotted with palm trees and palapas (thatched roofed buildings), providing the perfect spot for quiet relaxation and meditation.

On the interior of the Bay of Tenacatita is a five-mile arching beach of fine sand that connects the town of La Manzanilla with Boca de Iguanas. Boca de Iguanas is nestled on the north end of the La Manzanilla beach in Tenacatita bay amid a protected mangrove estuary in an area which is more tropical than most of the Costalegre.
The town of La Manzanilla is small: one main street runs parallel to the beach and loops around at the far end of town where several expansive homes rise above the bay. La Manzanilla is fast becoming an escape for North Americans seeking a laid-back lifestyle and stunning surroundings; the thriving expat community already supports a New York style art gallery, cultural center, language school, humane society and several restaurants (Mexican, American Style & even Pan-Asian).

Further on along the bay, the wide creamy sand at Boca de Iguanas provides plenty of opportunities for gathering shells and interesting rocks that are washed up by the gentle surf. At the north end of the beach, enter the cave with an altar to the Virgen MarĂ­a. Explore the mangroves that knit the local river system, a body of water teeming with wildlife of the swimming and flying sort. Relax on the beach and watch as fishermen work their trade in the frothy waters.

The small village of La Manzanilla (1,000 population year-round), is located 10 minutes south by car (or a 35 minute stroll on the beach) of Boca de Iguanas, has experienced incredible growth of North American tourism in the last few years. Also nestled along this large bay are two very different vacation properties: the all-inclusive Blue Bay and Punta Serena resorts and the exclusive 2,000-acre El Tamarindo Golf & Beach development.