Most of Mexico is either warm or hot, what makes it not hot is any kind of breeze (especially a breeze off the ocean) or living in a high elevation like the mountains.
In parts of down town La Manzanilla sometimes it gets to hot for me. But once again, living up on the mountain has its benefits, we get a nice breeze starting in the early afternoon and lasting till sunset. It makes a world of difference!
Hurricanes hit some areas hard and some never get more than allot of rain. La Manzanilla fits into the latter of the two due to its position on the Bay of Tenacatita. I did some research at http://weather.unisys.com/hurricane/e_pacific/index.html and found that there were no Hurricanes to hit La Manzanilla (with the exception of hurricane Lilly 1971) since they started keeping track in the 1949! Places that are not protected like we are, even as close as Tenacatita, Melaque and Bara de Navidad (see links) get hit much harder than we do.
With the location of my land being right next to a hill I am even more protected. All I really have to do is stay on top of the water situation and I am pretty much in the clear.
Is their reliable service? Is it a toll call to the closest Internet Service provider? Here in La Manzanilla (and most of Mexico) Telmex is the only Telephone Company around so we really do not have much to choose from. I do use a call back service for calls outside the country.
The beach is not just the beach it is the coast. Some places have no sand and only rocks, others have a lot of sand but they also have tons of bugs to contend with. Others have beautiful white sand with no bugs but have problems with different animals in the water. Some are dangerous to swim in others are not. Some of the things to consider are
How rough is the water? Is it open Ocean or a protected Bay?
Does the water get deep gradually or quickly?
Is the area known to have sharks, jellyfish, or stingrays?
How much does the beach change throughout the year?
Is the sand rough gravel or fine white powder?
Are there a variety of sections on the beach, places you can go to be away from it all?
Are there places you can go skinny-dipping?
What is the water temperature at different parts of the year?
How is the fishing?
Is it tourist orientated with four-wheel motorcycles on the beach, jet skis, Para sailing etc.?
How far does the water typically come up during a tropical storm?
How far did the water come up during or after the last earthquake?
Here in La Manzanilla we have the Bay of Tenacatita, which is basically divided, in the middle (around Blue Bay) by an outcrop of rocks. The beach we use is approximately 3 miles long.
Near town the water is normally not rough with a gently sloping beach that is very conducive to playing in the water with children. This area almost always has people around with Palapa restaurants for a cold beer and food. There is usually one of the fishing boats with a yellow Banana thing tied to it to give the kids rides but you cannot always count on that happening.
There is no Para sailing and you cannot rent jet skis. Once in a while there will be vendors walking the beach selling different things but it is not a bothersome thing like it can be in some areas where almost every other minute someone is asking you if you want to buy something. All in all it is a pretty laid back beach.
As you head north the beach becomes less and less populated. Around the half way mark you can find all the privacy you desire but the water becomes a little more rough and the entrance to the ocean a little steeper. This is not a good place to bring children for a day at the beach.
Further north still you come to the old Hotel, this part of the beach is so deserted you can do what ever you feel like. The entrance to the water once again becomes gentle; as well do the waves.
Further north still is Boga de Iguana. This beach has a campground that attracts many recreational vehicles and tent campers during the peak season of November to April. It has the gentlest of entrances to the ocean and the water is usually calm. Even when the water is a little rough with the large distance between the waves and the shore you can still enjoy the water. This is a great place to come with children, just as long as they do not go way out in the ocean. There is some kind of a current out there that takes a few lives a year, so stay relatively close to shore. Also be careful to keep the very young children and small dogs away from the Lagoon, as there are some large Crocodiles there.
As far as the fishing goes it is fair from shore and good out in a boat. Some of the locals use the throw nets and then once in a while group up and string a net along the shore which they then pull in and share the bounty.
Are you looking for a placed to retire? Would you like other retires to associate with in the area? For example, are you from Canada and desire that other Canadians be around? This can play an important part in the decision on where to move.
It would make little sense for a person who is retiring and wants to take it easy and just relax in tranquility to move to some hot spot resort area. True there are persons who want an active retirement and that choice would be more in line for them, but be sure you do not move to a place that has lots of action and then complain when the action gets going.
Here in La Manzanilla (and in Mexico in general) the Mexicans love their music and they play it loud when and where they feel like it, weather its late into the evening or very early in the morning and where I live there is no one going to tell them not to. God I love Mexico!
I have heard of people moving next to the Jardine (a place where people gather) in town and then complaining when the parties get going. I think it is probably best to hang out a while and see what happens on the holidays before you make the final decision.
It is exactly for that reason I have chosen to live a little ways out of town, up on the mountain and back in the Jungle where most of the sounds of the town are not heard at all. Although I must admit that during Samana Santa ( a week long religious holiday) even I hear the music, they play it that loud!
As far as the Ethnic make up, in La Manzanilla it is overwhelmingly Mexican. This is a fishing village; it has been one for a long time and will remain so in the foreseeable future. Many of the families that live here have been here for generations. Most of the tourist that come here are Mexican and come from Guadalajara and other nearby cities to use the beach and for the religious holidays. Other than that there are a Few Canadians, a few Americans, a few Germans and a few others who live here year round. During the peak season we have many Canadians and you can add a few to the other totals as well.
The age group here is fairly evenly spread out between 50 plus and under 50. This is not just a retirement community nor is it a hot spot, it has a very special balance.
In fact if you were looking for nightlife you would be better off doing the 17-kilometer drive to Melaque or Bara de Navidad. There is fun here but it is usually a family kind of fun around the Jardine on the weekends, a wedding or a 16th birthday party kind of thing.
BUYING OR RENTING?
I will not go into this subject, as there is far too much to cover here. Most of what you need to know is in the web site links listed at the end of this article, the rest you can get from the locals that live in the location you are considering.
As for La Manzanilla we are just now going through the regularization process, it will not be long before the Gringos will have their land in a bank trust via fideicomiso.
THE SURROUNDING AREA
It depends on where you are living but you might be cautious if the general store, hardware store or the Schools are a distance from your house. This can be very tiresome when doing projects like building your home or even going to get groceries. Be sure there is frequent reliable bus service.
In La Manzanilla we have several small grocery stores, a couple of hardware stores, a pharmacy, and schools. We have fresh fish daily in town and a tortillaria. We do not have a post office, barbershop, hair salon, ice cream store, gas station, auto parts store, dentist or things of that nature. We kind of have a doctor sometimes.
La Manzanilla does not have paved streets; you would have to go all the way to Cihuatlan before you will see the one and only stoplight between Santiago (near Manzanillo) and Puerto Vallarta! No wonder they call this particular section of Mexico Costa Alegre (Happy Coast), I love it!
Almost everyone has a day that they go to Melaque (about 17 kilometers from here) either by bus (which runs frequently and often) or by car to do the serious shopping, to pick up mail or go to the dentist etc. Some go as far as to drive to Puerto Vallarta or Colima to go to the Sams club for those special stateside items.
Melaque is a good place to get things done and what you cannot find there you might find in Bara De Navidad (night life) Cihuatlan, or Manzanillo (almost everything) which is about an hour to the South.
I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, all of the descriptions listed here are the result of my personal experience, so take everything I say at your own risk.
Getting used to things
A good article on moving anywhere and the work that goes with it.
MEXICO WEB SITES AND FORUMS
The Peoples Guide to Mexico is a very well organized and extensive web site covering almost all of the aspects of moving to, living in and traveling to Mexico and only Mexico (almost). Be sure to pull up the TABLE OF CONTENTS to get a full view of just how extensive this site is.
There are some links I will duplicate with a listing of my own just to make sure you dont miss them, but for the most part I will not list links that are listed on this and other sites. To get to a great list of links on peoples guide go to the left column on the main page under FOR MORE INFORMATION and click on MEXICO WEB SITES then click on GENERAL INFORMATION. Actually this whole page is full of good links as is the TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Mexico Connect Forum is one of the best forums on Mexico, available with a searchable data base for information on specific topics.
LA MANZANILLA LAND AND REAL ESTATE
Costa Alegre Properties can help you find the Mexico property and real estate for sale you are looking for. The web site has many listings with panorama photos so you get a very good idea what the property looks like.
LA MANZANILLA RENTALS
Most of the available rentals are located on www.lamanzanillavacationrental.com Daniel Hallas will gladly do a search for you if you contact him at the email address located at the bottom of this page.
PHOTOS OF LA MANZANILLA
These are assorted photos of La Manzanilla that I ran across on the Internet in my searches.
There are lots of photos of the town, people beaches and more with links located on the home page of www.lamanzanilla.info
Costa Alegre - AREAS AROUND LA MANZANILLA
Tomzap is a very extensive web site covering everything surrounding (and including) La Manzanilla and more. This is a must see!
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