Things to do

A Great Vacation

You’ll find much to enjoy in this picturesque village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Between its lush, jungle-covered hills and the tranquil Bay of Tenacatita, La Manzanilla offers the best of both worlds: modern convenience flavored with old Mexico charm. Plus, because we’re so small, everything is within walking distance.

La Manzanilla’s crescent of golden sand beach is bathed in sunshine and lined with graceful palms swaying in soft tropical breezes among colorful palapa-covered restaurants. The gentle surf of Tenacatita Bay is perfect for all ages, whether you’re interested in splashing, swimming, kayaking, snorkling, boogie-boarding, fishing, or just kicking back.

In the village you’ll find several excellent restaurants, wi-fi service, shops with fresh produce and fish, a number of small grocery stores, boutiques for mementos, a pharmacy, even art galleries and a book store. La Manzanilla also is part of the Costalegre’s extensive eco-tourism program, and our mangrove lagoon featuring dozens of caimanes (American crocodiles) is a must see.

Why do people keep coming – and coming back! – to La Manzanilla? It’s a great spot for weddings, honeymoons, and romantic get-aways. Families find it a safe environment for children, as well as an idyllic retreat from everyday stress. They come for a variety of reasons, but mostly because La Manzanilla is as naturally tranquil as it is beautiful.

La Manzanilla, Costa Alegre, Jalisco

La Manzanilla is a small fishing village on the Pacific coast of Mexico, one hour north of Manzanillo and three hours south of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco in an area called Costa Alegre, which means Happy Coast. The neighboring towns around La Manzanilla are Cihuatlan, Melaque, Barra de Navidad, Isla Navidad, Tenacatita, Boca de Iguanas, Los Ingenios, Emiliano Zapata, Rebalsito, Careyes, El Tecuan, and Tamarindo.

La Manzanilla’s crescent, golden sand beach is bathed in sunshine and lined with graceful palms swaying in soft tropical breezes among colorful palapa-covered restaurants. The gentle surf of Tenacatita Bay is perfect for all ages, whether you’re interested in splashing, swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, boogie-boarding, fishing, or just kicking back.

In the village you’ll find several excellent restaurants, wi-fi service, shops with fresh produce, tortillas, and fish, a number of small grocery stores, boutiques for mementos, a pharmacy, even art galleries and a bookstore. La Manzanilla also is part of the Costalegre’s extensive eco-tourism program, and our mangrove lagoon featuring dozens of caimans (American crocodiles) is a must see.

Beach Walk
Enjoy a peaceful walk along the beach to Boca de Iguanas (3.5 miles).   Relax and have an espresso at Boca de Iguanas before heading back.

Golf
There are two world class golf courses nearby – Isla Navidad at the Grand Bay Resort in Barra de Navidad (phone: 52 314-331-0500) and El Tamarindo Golf and Beach Club (phone: 52 315-351-5031; Website

Bike Rentals
There is a bike rental and store about a block South of the Jardin on Calle Tamarindo.

Open Mic
At Palapa Joe’s restaurant (Website). Once per month during high-season. Got some talent and want to present it in front of an audience or watch others perform? Great fun!

Book Store
“Manos ayudandose” – a great little non-profit store selling used books. It is staffed by volunteers and all proceeds go to the local schools and health clinic. Mostly books in English. Near the Jardin. Opening hours are posted on door.

Gallery
Is a very nicely designed and appointed Gallery with some nice art and occasional artist’s openings. Located just up the side street from Palapa Joe’s on Calle Perula Sur # 83.  Website

Spanish Classes
Offered by Irma, a dedicated teacher. One on one classes or groups. Phone: (315) 351-5596

Standup Paddleboard
Dave Collins offers standup paddleboards and other recreational equipment. Located…

La Catalina Natural Language School
One to four-week Spanish language courses for beginning to advanced students. Held at the Cultural Center. Phone: (315) 351 5362  Website

Artesian Market
Every Friday morning at the Jardin.

Yoga Classes
Bending Tree Yoga Website

Deep Sea Fishing
Several “Launchas” are available for hire for snorkeling or fishing. Inquire at El Cato Restaurant.

Eileen’s Cooking Class
Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican dishes. Please check her website for scheduled classes. Website

Las Joyas
Visit the waterfalls and basins after the rainy season. Approximately a one hour hike from the riverbed on the South-side of the village upward.

Dancing
Monday Night. Live-music at Jolanda´s restaurant. Great ambience and great fun! During high season.

Tours
La Manzanilla is located on the Bay of Tenacatita, which has some of the best fishing in Mexico including huachinango, tuna, dorado, jack, and sailfish. It also provides safe harbor for many sailboats and power yachts.

SUPlaneta Eco-Adventures include birding tours in the mangrove, whale watching, and stand-up paddle lessons. Website

La Manzanilla Restaurants

There are some truly terrific restaurants in La Manzanilla. Not just those restaurants frequented by the 300 or so gringos but over 30 restaurants in La Manzanilla. – Map

Quinta Valentina

This is a great beach location with lots of beach tables at this popular restaurant. The food and service are both terrific. It is located past the crocodile mangrove on the beach.

Restaurante Jesus, Maria y Jose

Great dinner with delightful Mexican fare including their signature chilli relleno. A favorite among guest at Casa Carmen. 315 107 0216

Bahia Azul

Beach front restaurant which is quite popular in the heart of the pueblo. The food is great as is the atmosphere. Authentic Mexican and some of the best ribs around.

Aztec

Great food and detailed Aztec themed decor makes for a memorable evening out. The restroom has a surprise so fill up on your favorite beverages. 😉

Xacalli

Located across from Lidia Market is a terrific place for dinner. The pecan crusted fish is an excellent choice among many wonderfully prepared dishes. Dine in or take-out pizza is a great option.

Boheme

Beach front restaurant which features Italian and Mediterranean kitchen. Pizza available from 6 pm to 10.00 pm. Reservations at: 351 5576.

Palapa Joe’s

On the east side of main street about a block north of town center. Nice airy street level setting. Serving pizza, hamburgers, fresh seafood and casual mexican selections. Open Tuesday – Saturday 12 PM – 10 PM. Ask for their Open-mic-nights. Reservations at: 351 5348.

Lora Loka’s

Great spot for Mexican dinners and watching the sunset. In the evening she offers one or two special dishes that usually change daily. Reservations at: 315 351 5333.

Lora Loka’s

Great spot for Mexican dinners and watching the sunset. In the evening she offers one or two special dishes that usually change daily. Reservations at: 315 351 5333.

Los Titos

At the triangle where the main road divides in two. Chinese food, pizzas, salads, hamburgers and sandwiches.
Home delivery at: 315 351 5701

Restaurant Cato’s

One of the most popular restaurants from Tenacatita now in La Manzanilla, Enjoy great seafood dishes on a quieter corner of the beach.

Martin’s

Just past the bridge South of the main plaza. Upstairs dining with nice view of the Tenacatita Bay. Open every day except Tuesday. Ask Martin for anything cooked table side from a salad to entree. He’s a terrific cook and host. They also sell coffee beans from a co-op in the mountains. Reservations at 315 351 5106.

Tacos Mr. Chop-Chop

Right on the main street (can’t be missed when open) is the local thriving taco stand. Excellent tacos on handmade tortillas and great salsas. Open most evenings around 7 PM. Not to be missed!

Crocodile Bar

This outdoor beachfront bar and restaurant is a fun place to watch the sunset on the bay of Tenacatita. Locals and expats alike enjoy Crocodile just off the Jardin over the walking bridge.

Chantli Mar

A long walk up the beach or a drive on the backroad takes you to this beautiful oceanfront restaurant and bar. Many of our guests write about Cantli Mar being a favorite.

Mi Casita

Right at the main plaza. A variety of Mexican lunches. A La Manzanilla mainstay and a great lunch spot.

Pollo Asado “Mele”

Mele’s BBQ Chicken is the bomb. Go grab some for lunch and bring it home. Located at the beginning of the beach access road.

Melaque Reataurants

Click here for a map of Melaque (pdf).

Alcatraz
Upstairs, near trailer park. Try their Chicken Special (Pollo Estilo Alcatraz) slices of sautéed chicken, onions, green peppers, served in a hot stone bowl. Also excellent, garlic shrimp (with or without shells). Dine in their upstairs palapa while watching the world go by in the streets below. Recommended.

Restaurante Aurora’s
Great lunches; try the shrimp salad. Recommended.

Restaurante Ava
Corner of Gomez Farias and Alvaro Obregon.

Bigote’s Palapa
On the beach. Restaurant and bar. Happy hour 2pm – 9pm and Bingo on Tues and Fri afternoons. Open late. Good food, popular.

Cafeteria La Marina
San Patricio
Gomez Farias 55 and in front of the beach. Mexican food.

 

Ceasar’s y Charlie’s
(315) 355-5699. Located in the back of a little shopping center on Av. Gómez Farías, next door to Hotel Monterrey. Walk through the hotel and it’s right there. Good happy hour. Recommended. (11/05) 
Club Dorado – located on the beach in a large palapa. Open all day, live music sometimes, somewhat pricier than others. Popular.

Flor Morena
On the square, open 5 pm – 11 pm. Melaque’s most popular restaurant. No seafood except shrimp, pozole (soup/stew) on Sundays. The pozole is inexpensive.

El Guerrillero
Alvaro Obregon, 4 blocks from the beach. Homemade tortillas, grilled chicken and steaks. 
Hamburgesa Maui  – Tortas, hamburgers and fries.

 

Los Hornitos
Located on Hwy 200 at the main entrance to San Patricio Melaque. Pollos asados, barbeque chicken. English spoken. (5/06)

Las Palmas
Located on the beach. Good seafood, hospitality, and economical. Open until sunset. 
Pedro’s Grill – Vincente Guerrero #6a, near Restaurante Avas. (was Pedro’s Fish & Chips) Fresh fish, prawns, chicken, homemade fries. Recommended. (11/07)

Market
The village market is located on R. Corona at Lopez Mateos. This is a block from the zócalo toward the beach. Small stands serve inexpensive meals including sushi

Roosters
Popular for breakfast. Open Wednesday-Sunday for breakfast and dinner. Recommended.

 

La Salamandra
Abel Salgado #382. (315) 355-6479. Good food. Service is often slow.

Señor Froys
On Abel Salgado St., one block off the beach. (11/05)

Siete Estrella
West side of plaza. Breakfasts, burritos, guacamole, hamburgers, etc., and very good fresh fruit liquados (milkshakes). Reasonable.

La Terraza
Located about 2 blocks from the bus terminal toward Villa Obregon. Good breakfasts, homemade bread, sticky buns, English spoken, ocean view.

Thrifty Ice Cream
Near the plaza. Lots of flavors.

Barra de Navidad Restaurants

There are a lot of restaurants in Barra de Navidad.

Alcatraz Bay
On Veracruz on the lagoon near El Manglito. Known for its molcajetes (lava bowl meals). (5/08) 
Los Arcos de Jalisco – new restaurant located near Esperanza restaurant. Recommended, moderate pricing.

Bananas
In the Hotel Barra de Navidad. (315)355-5554. Opens early, best breakfasts in Barra. (2/06) 
Casa Chips – 198 Miguel Lopes de la Gaspi. (315)355-5555. Restaurant, & bar. Open til 8. 
Cenadura Esperanza – Av. Veracruz. Chinese food. Recommended.

Café Barra
Mazatlan #122, 1/2 block from Posada Pacifico and a little hard to spot. Open in the high season.

Coco Cabañas
On Playa de Cocos on the Isla de Navidad road. (335) 004-2686. Thai cuisine. Dinner only.

Colimilla
Isla de Navidad, accessed by lancha. Family restaurant. Recommended.

Restaurant Felix
On Jalisco across from the church.

Fortino’s
Just out of town along Isla Navidad (take a water taxi).

Isadora’s
Yucatan #47, on the lagoon. (315) 355-8520. San Francisco cuisine. Somewhat pricey. Romantic, some people like it.

El Manglito
On Morelos where the boats dock.

Margarita’s
2nd story, palapa roof, gorgeous view, sports bar on street side, outdoor bar on ocean side. Run by Jorge Morett (Sea Master family).

Mary Tierra
Located on Avenida Lopez de Legazpi on the east end of town. One of the nicer restaurants in La Barra.

Mariscos Nacho
On the beach, north end. One reader reports having the best fish ever.

Maxim’s
Is a real hot spot for nightlife and music. Second story with ocean view, second to last place before the malecón.

Mozoka
On Veracruz on the lagoon, just south of Yucatan. Excellent food at reasonable cost. Recommended.

Restaurante Pati
On Calle Jalisco. BBQ chicken, carne asada. Inexpensive.

Piper y Lover’s
López de Legaspi #154A. (315) 355-6747. Same great prices, music, pool table and Piper. Food often available.

Ramon’s
On Av. Lopez de Legazpi across from the Hotel Barra de Navidad. Recommended.

 

Veleros
On Veracruz on the lagoon near Isadoras.  Somewhat pricey.

Popeye’s
Located at the east end of Avenida Lopez de Legazpi near the jetty. Popular with beachgoers during the day. Less crowded at night. Their specialties include avocado piled high with shrimp or fish salad (very good) and shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. Great margaritas. Have gotten a couple of negative visitor comments though.

Roctavios
Restaurant/bar near the malecón.

Seamaster’s
Located on Avenida Lopez de Legazpi on the beach side. Good service, bland food, strong drinks, happy hour.