Why go to Manzanillo?
The city is extremely walkable, offering a mix of gritty cement buildings and historic architecture
Some attractions -- beaches and the city market -- require a cab ride; drivers often price gouge
A stroll along the Malecon to the Monumento al Pez Vela (the blue sailfish) is essential
Manzanillo Cruise Port Facilities?
There are no services where ships are berthed. Passengers walk down the pier to leave the port area, and taxis and shore excursion providers are plentiful near the exit. There's also a small market set up when ships are docked; it features local arts and crafts like pottery, crocheted items, wood carvings, dolls, cigars and soaps, as well as consumable products like coconut candy and organic coffee.
Good to Know?
Manzanillo is located in Colima, said to be the safest (and most highly educated) state in all of Mexico. Here, as in other tourist destinations throughout the coast, there's an obvious police presence. Tourism is the area's third-largest economic contributor, after the commercial port and iron ore production, and officials want to keep it that way by making sure the port is safe. That said, it's always good practice to avoid wearing flashy jewelry or watches or carrying excessive amounts of cash. Also, when you are on shore, it's best to steer clear of tap water or ice and to observe the cardinal rule when it comes to street food: Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it.
By Taxi: Taxis line up just outside of the port gates. Drivers generally speak decent English and can take you to most points of interest -- including beaches, resorts and shopping centers -- for no more than $20 each way, depending on the distance. Fares aren't set, so be sure to negotiate and settle on a price before getting into the cab.
On Foot: Avenida Mexico, the main drag, is perpendicular to the waterfront malecon, or walkway. Within walking distance are a church and lots of little restaurants and shops. The Monumento el Pez Vela is located just outside the gates to the pier -- about a five-minute walk from the ship.
By Shuttle: An independent tour company runs shuttles directly from the pier into town for just a few dollars and to Miramar Beach for less than $15. The local guides onsite can also make arrangements for deep-sea fishing, snorkeling and kayaking expeditions.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Mexico's currency is the peso. Visit www.oanda.com for current rates and a handy conversion chart that fits neatly into a wallet. ATMs tend to be the least expensive way to acquire pesos, and there are several in the town center. However, there's no need to bulk up on local currency. Most sidewalk vendors, taxis, restaurants and shops accept U.S. dollars; some even take euros. Credit cards are widely accepted, as well. (Note: On our 10-night cruise along Mexico's Pacific coast, we used dollars and a credit card exclusively -- no pesos.)
Spanish is the official language, but at least some English is spoken by vendors, cab drivers, restaurant owners and shopkeepers in the area near the port.