The Trip to Manzanillo

Click on the city name for a virtual city tour!

Last Saturday, February 5, I threw a bunch of stuff in the back of my truck, picked up my friend Jonnie and her stuff, and headed west.   Like Balboa, we were seeking the Pacific Ocean, and like him, we found it.  But it only took Jonnie and I about five hours to catch the first sight of it.

There are three reasonably direct ways to get from Jocotepec, Jalisco, where I live, to Manzanillo, Colima, where we were headed.  There’s the northern scenic route which runs through the towns of Tecolotlan, Union de Tula, and Autlan de Navarro.  [The names just flow off your tongue, don't they?]  And then there are two southern routes through Colima city, which pretty much run parallel to one another.  The difference being that one is a free road and the other is a toll road, or cuota as it is called here.

Because Jonnie had never driven to the coast on the northern route, we ignored the advice of everyone to take the “safer” route and that’s the way we chose to go.  Not only is it more scenic, as I mentioned, but it’s more fun to drive, assuming you find driving through the mountains on a twisty two lane highway with almost no shoulder fun.  Which I do. 

Getting to Manzanillo from here via Highway 80 takes six or seven hours, depending on how long you get delayed by road construction and how many slow moving trucks you get caught behind in the mountains.  It took us about six and a half hours from my house to the condo our friends Kathi and Warner have rented just north of Manzanillo. 

That included the normal pit stops, as well as a picnic lunch in some little pueblo along the way.  Roadside parks, such as those you find north of the border, are pretty much unknown in Mexico … at least in the eight Mexican states I’ve been in.   So when I glimpsed a public park with a few picnic tables about three hours into our journey, I immediately pulled in.

Apparently it is an infrequent occurrence in the pueblo to see two blond gringas sitting in the park eating turkey sandwiches on white bread while sipping on cups of Coke and munching on potato chips.  I say this because of the relatively large number of local folks who walked past or drove their pickups and tractors by us in an otherwise deserted park.

Refreshed from our repast, we set out for the climb up the Sierra Madre Occidental, the mountain range that extends from the Mexican state of Sonora down through Jalisco.  Here are a couple of shots of what it looks like:

Oh, and don’t let that sturdy guardrail in the second picture fool you.  That’s probably one of maybe only three on the entire road.

But once you come out of the Sierra Madre, you drop with alacrity into the fairly narrow coastal zone, the Costalegre, full of coconut palms and banana trees.  Even in early February, you can feel the temperatures and humidity rising rapidly.  So I threw in a Jan & Dean CD, we rolled down the windows, and Jonnie and I sang surfing songs as we hit Highway 200, the coastal road, and turned south toward Manzanillo and our friends. 

More about the trip soon!  Here’s a teaser….the view from Kathi and Warner’s patio:

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About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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4 Responses to The Trip to Manzanillo

  1. Jonnie says:

    I especially like the special touch of surfer music to set us in the mood just as we were coming over the last mountain with a view of the Pacific. What a bud!!! WooHoo, vacation time!!!

  2. Barbara says:

    totally, dude! in fact, that was the song that started playing just as we caught our first glimpse of the Pacific. now get your butt down to your sailboat and get it down here and park it in La Manzanilla’s harbor….about which I will write soon. remember you said you owed me a favor for the use of my printer? well, that’s the favor i want!! a place for me to live in La Manzanilla for a few months a year. get crackin’!!!

  3. Gigi says:

    I like the use of the word ‘alacrity’. Showoff! And don’t correct my possibly inaccurate punctuation!
    Seriously, I’m just jealous about the whole trip!

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