Explore Mexico on $430, Part 3: Manzanillo!


This is the continuing saga of Dick’s and my cruise of some of the coastal cities of Mexico.

The cruise ship itself turned out to be quite a world-wide representation of every nationality imaginable, which was quite interesting in itself.  We found ourselves engaged in some very interesting conversations throughout the cruise.

Now, here’s our stopover at Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico:

The sun was just starting to peak out from behind a cloudy sky, the day we arrived in Manzanillo, Mexico.  With all the water around, the sun seems to shine brighter in the coastal areas of Mexico.  The weather was about 85 degrees, with 70% humidity – but with the ocean breeze, it was perfect. 

Dick and I decided to take the city bus tour, and after having room service for breakfast, we proceeded off the ship and into the line that was headed by a guide holding a large sign proclaiming “Manzanillo City Tour”.   By now, the sun was shining bright!  We relaxed and enjoyed the whole day, letting the tour guides take care of us.  And they did a great job, chauffeuring us around to many points of interest, in a very nice air conditioned bus, complete with rest room!

Manzanillo Malecon

Manzanillo reminds Dick and me very much of Mazatlan – we think it’s lovely.  And while there are Expats there and Expat organizations, it doesn’t have a very large population of Expats – yet.  The rainy season is mainly during June and July and for some reason, it usually rains at night – convenient!  Basically of course, the weather is very warm and humid, being right on the ocean…there are banana plantations in Manz – pretty tropical.

It is quite possible to live on about $1000 a month in the Manzanillo area, while for $2000 a month, you can live very, very well.  Again, I stress, to live on the lower figure means you will truly embrace the Mexican culture and food, and style of living…Natives live on much less.  Dick’s and my main problem is it’s quite a drive back to the States – but possible – and there is always the planes.  Playa de Oro International Airport serves Manzanillo and is about a 40 minute (20 miles) taxi drive from Manzanillo.

From Guadalajara, it’s 6 to 12 hours on the free road, but only about 3 hours on the quota (toll) road, which I always suggest tourists use.  Plans are to make the road, or at least a portion of it, eight lanes.  From Puerto Vallarta, to the north, it takes about 4 hours to travel to Manzanillo.

Manzanillo is industrialized

Manzanillo is one of the most prosperous communities in Mexico, with a growing population of 200 thousand.  Much is being done to improve the port even above what it is now, to handle larger “super” ships.   The area is increasing the amount of railroad tracks from the present one to possibly three or four, which will aid in moving all the cargo from the ships.  So, things are looking good for Manz in the long run!   The Mexican government has approved a dam to be constructed on the Marabasco-Cihuatlan River, to provide additional irrigation for the agricultural community and to generate additional power for the area.  Unemployment is extremely low and income comes from the port, agriculture, and from the Casino and tourism – in that order.  Yes, there is even a casino – one of, I believe, only eight in the country.  Because of good employment, crime is almost non-existent in Manz.

Housing Development in Manzanillo

Housing can range anyplace from 50 thousand and less for a modest, small house, to – well – just like anyplace – into the multi-millions.  The usual amenities exist, such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Domino’s and KFC handy for the ExPat.

Mountains and volcanos in the area


north of

Manzanillo are

two volcanoes –

one inactive

and one, the Colima volcano, is

the most active volcano in


You don’t have to travel clear across the ocean to Hawaii to see volcanoes – they exist right here in Mexico.  The Colima volcano is about 90 miles from Manzanillo.  There are tours to view the areas and you’ll be able to peer down into the crater, see the glowing lava flows and experience the beautiful valleys and canyons surrounding the volcanoes.  Earthquakes also occur in this area.

I want to include this email, that I received after the last article I wrote, mentioning earthquakes in Mexico:

The writer, Robert, wrote:
You mentioned that ” Acapulco also has the questionable honor of being named as one of the most earthquake-prone areas in Mexico !”  This brings up the question which retirement area(s) are the most environmentally stable?  That is, least likely to be hit by earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, lack of drinking water, etc..

My answer:
For earthquake info: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/year/eqstats.php  
Make sure your home – structure is sufficient to stand up to the quakes that may happen – and they happen all the time, world-wide…did you know that earthquakes hit Yellowstone a LOT!  But, as most earthquakes, they are small and pretty much harmless.  Earthquakes cannot be forecast at this time.

hurricanes:  http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/reports/weather-events.html
Hurricane tracking makes you aware and gives you time to clear out.
floods:   http://www.floodsafety.com/national/life/statistics.htm
Don’t live in any designated flood zone.
The rest, droughts, lack of drinking water, ….  That’s up to the powers that be also.
Pick someplace where the cost of living is what you’re looking for, visit it, study it (read all my articles) and see what makes you happy.  There are lots of people in Acapulco living quite contentedly – also in the Yellowstone area – also along the Mississippi River (big fault there too).
And my writer replied with this:
Thanks for taking the time to get this info.  I just thought it might make an interesting paragraph or so in a future article you write.  Media has a way of distorting everything, particularly if it is news outside of our borders.  I do volunteer work in Reynosa each summer and you would think the place had been washed away, or everyone died of swine flu or getting shot by drug lords, or you name it.  It is like you say, do your homework. Thanks again. Robert

After our day of touring and exploring, and soaking up more information, we headed back to the ship for a wonderful dinner in the beautifully appointed dinning room, and then off to our cabin to finally fall asleep, still talking about our fun, exciting, interesting day in beautiful Manzanillo, Mexico.

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4 Responses to Explore Mexico on $430, Part 3: Manzanillo!

  1. Brenda

    March 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Hi Barbie – we would love to hear information specific to Canadians, such as how much yearly health insurance would cost, given that we in Canada don’t have to pay for it. Most of the books I’ve read on retirement in Mexico are targeted at Americans. Any idea where there is a good source for information on Canadians moving to Mexico? Thanks – really enjoy your blog!

  2. Barbie


    March 15, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    The health care amount is the same, no matter what nationality you are…as are the requirements for moving to Mexico. It’s approximately $25 a month for the Mex. National Health care – all the info is included either in my blogs or in my newsletters – http://www.retireinluxury.com and http://www.moneymexico.wpengine.com. Barbie

  3. Richard

    June 4, 2010 at 9:21 am

    While many of us would welcome a Home Depot in Manzanillo, the nearest one to date is in Colima – about a 1 hour drive.

  4. jerry dodson

    May 25, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Manzanillo, it’s the Mexico’s busiest port and also the most efficient port for tuna landings in Mexico. It is the second-largest community in the state, after Colima, the capital. It’s the best tourists destinations in the country. A lot of adventures to be with.

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