Research and assess Manzanillo as a location for living, working or retirement in Mexico
The port town of Manzanillo is situated on the Pacific coast of Mexico, about a four hour drive from Guadalajara and a five hour drive from Puerto Vallarta.
This authentic Mexican resort town has two principal areas: the resort bays either side of the Santiago peninsula, and the busy commercial area downtown, on the southside. Although Manzanillo is a busy and important port town on Mexico’s west coast, it still retains a tranquil, laid back atmosphere with an authentic Mexican feel about it.
Location Type: Beach/Coastal
Population: c.160,000 (2020 Census)
Elevation: 20 meters (30 feet) above sea-level
Time zone: Manzanillo is on Mountain Time
Annual temperatures: 69F/21C (Nocturnal, Winter), 89F/32C (Daytime, Summer).
See temperatures in Manzanillo by month (Google)
Rainy season: Manzanillo rainy season runs from late May to October each year, with tropical storms, and on occasions hurricanes, landing here especially in late summer
Hurricanes: Manzanillo is subject to Hurricanes from the Pacific Ocean
Local economy: Commercial sea port, fishing; naval base, tourism
Foreign resident prevalence: Low*
Cost of living: Lower.* See the cost of living section of this guide for details.
Manzanillo on the map:
Discover Manzanillo on the map (Google Maps)
Travel guide: Guide to Manzanillo
*Relative to other foreign expat communities in Mexico
Manzanillo is situated on the Pacific coast in Mexico’s state of Colima. It’s a 90-minute drive to the state’s capital, Colima city, and about a five-hour drive north to Puerto Vallarta; or a four hour drive east to reach Mexico’s second largest city—Guadalajara.
Although it’s a resort town, particularly popular with Mexican vacationers, Manzanillo doesn’t have the commercial feel of the country’s popular resorts and instead offers a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere that, similar to Mazatlán further north, exudes an authentic Mexican feel about it.
The historic downtown area is also the focal point for the town’s principal economic engine: it’s sea port. As you travel north, you begin to discover the resort areas and main shopping and social attractions located along the two principal bays that are separated by the Santiago peninsula—host to one of the most famous resorts of the town as well as some residential developments.
As you continue to travel northwest, past the Santiago peninsula, you’ll discover several pleasant beaches and reach the Club Santiago area and nearby Juluapan peninsula, that demarks the northern reaches of Manzanillo. Take a look at the map for perspective.
Manzanillo is accessible via highway 200, the scenic highway that hugs much of Mexico’s Pacific coast from Chacala (near Sayulita) in the state of Nayarit, to Salina Cruz in the southern state of Oaxaca. Three mountain highways connect Manzanillo to the state’s capital, Colima (about a 90-minute drive), and highway 98 crosses the mountains inland to Mexico’s second largest city, Guadalajara. There’s an airport in Manzanillo about 25 miles north of the historic downtown district that offers flights to Mexico City and various US and Canadian cities (most international lights are operated during the high season only). Check FlightConnections.com for current routes.
Attractive alternative to Mexico’s popular resorts
Manzanillo is not a one of Mexico’s better-known destinations; most of the tourism is domestic or from seasonal visitors in the US; neither is it well known as a place where foreign residents live—and that is one of its key attractions for people seeking places off the well-beaten track.
Manzanillo offers an affordable and authentic Mexican lifestyle by the coast without the high concentration of foreign residents that nearby Puerto Vallarta has, and without the higher costs that are often associated with places in Mexico that are already popular with foreign residents.
The climate here is similar to Puerto Vallarta’s: comfortably warm in the fall and winter, increasingly hot and sultry during the spring and summer. Manzanillo’s foreign resident population increases in the winter and falls in the summer, like many other coastal towns and cities. For those who enjoy year-round warmth and don’t mind the summer heat (air conditioning is essential in the high summer months) Manzanillo offers great value at a location that retains a genuine Mexican feel and atmosphere.
The town’s shops and amenities provide adequate coverage for most people’s everyday living needs, with several large stores and supermarkets situated in town. Colima city, the state capital, is about a 90-minute drive away and where residents in Manzanillo repair to when they need bigger stores or more services.
When you’re looking for somewhere quaint and tranquil to live by the coast and that doesn’t have the higher costs and concentration of foreign residents that now popular places like Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Riviera Maya have, consider Manzanillo.
The cost of living in Mexico is typically lower in Mexico than it is the USA, Canada and Western Europe, although precise costs depend upon where you live and your lifestyle choices.
Living or retiring in Manzanillo is affordable; property prices are among the most affordable on Mexico’s Pacific coast and while house prices have risen across the board in recent years, you can still find property across a range of prices in this area—from small and comfortable family homes, to marge mansion houses offering commanding views of the ocean and surrounding area.
Local shops, stores and prices in Manzanillo are generally lower than popular beach resorts in Mexico and smaller budgets stretch further here, especially when you learn to shop locally at the small markets, in the small town of Santiago, for example.
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Manzanillo offers an ample range of property types, from small comfortable casitas to large mansion homes set atop the hillside offering commanding views of the ocean and surrounding areas.
There are four principal areas where foreign residents typically buy or rent homes in Manzanillo:
- the Las Brisas area, north of the historic center and the naval docks;
- the Santiago peninsula, host to Las Hadas residential area as well as a highly exclusive residential area known as La Punta;
- Club Santiago, situated on north-western edge of Manzanillo near a country club; and
- the Juluapan peninsula which also hosts the Santiago marina.
The Santiago peninsula is a popular area for living in Manzanillo as it’s the closest to most of the shops and amenities, the Las Hadas golf course is nearby, and it’s the center point between the northern limits of Manzanillo (where the airport is situated) and the historic downtown district which leads to highways out of town connecting Manzanillo to the cities of Colima and Guadalajara.
Smaller properties can be purchased from around US$100,000; and property rentals start from around 6,000 Mexican pesos (US$300) per month; home in the more popular areas with foreign residents rent from 10,000 (US$500) pesos a month.
Meet our real estate partner in Manzanillo, Candy King Real Estate
Candy King Real Estate is a long-established realty agency in the area that offers discovery visits and an experienced and professional bilingual team that can help you find your home in Manzanillo.
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In addition to Mexico’s state sponsored healthcare provided via the country’s national health service IMSS, good quality healthcare services offered through private clinics with US-standard healthcare services exist in Manzanillo.
The privately run out-patient clinics available locally are ideal for day-to-day ailments, sprains, broken bones and other health matters which would normally be diagnosed and treated by a General Practitioner of medicine.
Doctors: Manzanillo is well served by doctors on call, many of whom speak Spanish and English. They can refer you to local (private) clinics, specialists and hospitals.
Dentists: There are plenty of dentists to choose from; ask locally for a recommendation.
Opticians: There are several optometrists available offering eye tests, treatments and some also offer laser surgery. Ask locally for details.
The city of Colima (about a 90-minute drive away) and the city of Guadalajara (four hour drive) offer additional medical services and healthcare specialists.
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Manzanillo enjoys a yearly average temperature of around 84F/28C. There is no significant fluctuation in temperature between winter and summer, although winter months feel cooler and are much less humid.
Further insights about weather and climate:
- Manzanillo monthly temperatures and rainfall (Google)
- Seasons in Mexico
- Climate and weather in Mexico
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Manzanillo is served Playa de Oro international airport (ZLO) situated about 30 miles (50 minute road trip) north from the historic downtown district.
Check FlightConnections.com for current routes.
Connect to the Manzanillo Essentials section on our travel guide
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