The ideal way to explore hard to reach locations along the coast is via kayak. The Centinela River north of Manzanillo's international airport is a fantastic body of water running parallel to a miles-long stretch of open beach and fields of coconut plantations. Drift by under the watchful gaze of wise old pelicans as the sound of crashing waves echoes in your ears.
Paddlers also have the unique opportunity to view wildlife up close and personal without disturbing the beautiful sea creatures. Be prepared for close encounters with sea turtles, mantarrays, and friendly dolphins.
One lucky group kayaking the quiet Bay of Buena Esperanza one day in early December came within meters of a small pod of dolphins feeding in the bluey-green still waters.
Kayaking by sea will also introduce visitors to sights unreachable by land, such as uninhabited isles, tiny coves, secluded beaches, spectacular rock formations and arches.
The winding hills stretching away from the ocean in Manzanillo afford adventure-seekers with excellent opportunities to get down and dirty off the trail on mountain bikes.
A drive just an hour inland from the beach leads explorers to wonderfully diverse land rich in flora and fauna — perfect for HIKING, CAMPING, exploring and mountain biking.
Take an organized tour through the forest of towering trees dripping with vines and ride hard across terrain full of challenging hills and streams. There's always time to take a dip in the tributaries that flow to the lagoons behind Manzanillo and cool off after a hard day's ride.
Two dolphin-like dorsal fins sliver simultaneously out of the water about 50 feet to the right of our double kayak. “Dolphins at starboard!” I shout and we pick up our paddling rhythm toward the craggy shore to get a closer look. Our eyes focus on the disappearing wake at the surface and shift slowly, reluctantly downward toward a black disk approaching in a leisurely fluid pulse. Before we can make any movement, two horns direct the blackness beneath us until it is all we can see. My intellect is catching up with my senses—we are poised above a 15-foot-wide manta ray!
It’s no wonder that these creatures have earned the name “devilfish” but like many names ascribed by humans for what frightens them, this misnomer is undeserved. Mantas are docile beings of the sea. With recorded “wingspans” of up to 30 feet (9.1 m.) and weights of 3,100 pounds (1,400 k.) they do not invite petting. However, many bold divers have gone so far as to catch a ride on their monolithic backs.
Not I or my paddling companions, Milora and Lobacita (a Mexican dog about half the size of one of the manta “horns”)! We’re already closer than we ever planned, gawking at the passing graceful colossus below that is languidly opening the black window shade once again to blue water. “Gentle giant” is the thought running through my head, and it is what keeps me calm throughout this day.
- The Only Tours Costalegre (315) 355-6777 (voice/fax). Ray and Eva, located next to La Paloma in Melaque, Jalisco. Snorkeling trips, tours to Colima City, Volcano Tours via surburban. Snorkeling gear, boogie boards, and Mountain bikes for rent. Email: email@example.com. (11/05)
- Sea to Sierra Outdoor Adventures Avenida Veracruz #204, Barra de Navidad, Jalisco. (315) 355-8582. Mountain biking tours; helmets, gloves, water, bikes provided. Excursions via suburban and taxi including tours to Colima and the Volcano. Scheduled Yacht trips; Tuesday Tenacatita snorkel and beach w/Jungle River Tour and Friday Sunset Cruises. Fishing, Yacht and boat charter. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Small Town Adventures Mexico Melaque, Jalisco. Tours and accommodations for La Manzanilla, Melaque, Barra de Navidad and more. email@example.com.