La Manzanilla is located on the pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Jalisco, approximately a 3½ hour drive south of Puerto Vallarta or a 45 minute drive north of the Manzanillo Airport.
As you exit off the Coastal Highway 200 at KM marker13 and head down toward the beach, you’ll pass several houses, small tiendas (grocery stores), lavandería, and the secondary school. As you come to the end of the road, turn left. You are now on the main road into town, Maria Asunción. It parallels the water and will take you through the center of town to a large plaza (the Jardín) and a church.
La Manzanilla does not have a bank, ATM machine, or a reliable casa de cambio. Most businesses do not accept credit cards or currency other than pesos. You will need to arrive with enough Mexican pesos for your stay or plan a trip to Melaque to replenish your stash of cash. Pesos are the currency used in Mexico. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500, and $1,000 pesos. Coins are in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, and $20 pesos and 10, 20 and 50 centavos. The exchange rate fluctuates daily.
Internet in La Manzanilla
Wireless Internet abounds at many restaurants and there are a few Internet cafes that come and go. Lots of folks come to La Manzanilla equipped with a laptop; it’s an easy way to stay connected. If you are staying at a vacation rental, inquire with the owner about the availability of wireless Internet, as many rentals have it.
There is a well-stocked pharmacy in the main part of town and a small clinic located just off the main road into town. The clinic is staffed with a newly-graduated medical student who serves a year internship and he/she usually speaks English. The clinic is clean and the doctor lives above it so someone is always available. Keep in mind it is a clinic not a western-style hospital.
La Manzanilla’s weather is sunny and beautiful all year long. During the high season from November through March, when the tourist population is at its highest, the daytime temperature ranges from 75˚ to 85˚ F (24˚-30˚ C).
During the summer months the weather is hotter and more humid, in the high 80’s and low 90’s F (30˚-32 ˚C) with 95% humidity.
The rainy season typically starts in June and lasts until early October with afternoon showers and occasional thunderstorms that tend to cool things off for the night.
The dress in La Manzanilla is casual. Shorts and T-shirts are the order of the day. In the winter months, bring a sweater for evenings. Sun hats and cover-ups are a good idea as well. Mexico, in general, is rather conservative, so topless bathing is not all that common in La Manzanilla. Although beachwear is perfectly acceptable on the beach, just use common sense when strolling down the street or when shopping for the perfect Mexican gift to bring home to the family.
In most of the gringo-owned restaurants, the wait staff speaks English. However, at the taco stands, tiendas (grocery stores), and palapa restaurants on the beach, Spanish is the main spoken language. This is part of the charm of La Manzanilla, but it’s changing quickly as more and more tourists find their way here! People are friendly; don’t be embarrassed to give your Spanish a try. Word to the wise: Speaking English louder and slower will not make them understand you better.
Drink only bottled water. Most restaurants and bars use purified water, but feel free to ask to be sure. When cooking or preparing vegetables for salads, use products such as “Microdyn” to purify the water you use to clean them. You can purchase Mircodyn at all the local grocery stores.
When staying in a vacation rental the proprietor will usually have one or two five-gallon bottles of water for you to use. If you run out just listen for the horn of the water delivery truck, flag him down and for a few pesos you can purchase a five-gallon bottle of water.