Melaque and Barra de Navidad
Two towns about 20 minutes south of La Manzanilla with restaurants, shops, and a bank. Barra has small tourist boardwalk if you are interested in shopping. You can take the bus to Melaque and then hop another to Barra.
Los Angeles Locos/La Vena
Just north of La Manzanilla, 10 minutes by car you’ll find the turn-off for Los Angeles Locos. Head off the highway down a cobblestone road for another 10 minutes and you’ll come to a gated entry, the “guard” will take your license plate number and your driver’s license. Go though the gate and follow the road past the resort and then along a dirt road paralleling the beach, go to the end of the road and you’ll find a campground, day picnic area and the restaurant, La Vena.
The beach here is gorgeous! The water is crystal clear. You’ll find lots of small shells on the beach and a small outcrop of rocks provides some interest if snorkeling is on your agenda.
The only services are the restaurant La Vena, beer, sodas, seafood all the standard beachside restaurant fare. Bring our own snorkel. On weekends and holidays you’ll find lots of Mexican families enjoying the river and beach.
You can kayak up the river, go while the tide is coming in and you get a free ride. Not sure about crocodiles but I’m sure the further you venture up river and the more lush the mangrove you might find a crocodile or two.
Colima and Comala
Ok- this is better as a weekend trip. Colima is about 2.5 hours from La Manzanilla by car. The central part of Colima hosts many lovely plaza’s where you can find live music and dancing on the weekends.
Comala is considered one of the region’s most beautiful towns, is also known as “America’s Town of White” because of its picturesque white houses with tile roofs standing out among orchards of exuberant vegetation. There is a wonderful bed and breakfast in Comala, your hosts Júpiter Rivera y Mara Ballesteros are very knowledge about the area and Jupiter offers tours of the Comala including the volcano, cultural tours, coffee plantations and more, English or Spanish. Casa Alvarada is highly recommended for an overnight or two.