Although by itself it is less striking than the beaches, Cihuatlán is the starting point of the route, since that is where "Welcome to the Costalegre" is announced.
The climate is excellent throughout the year. During the rainy season, which is recorded from June to August, it is humid but still hot. The winter change is not defined and it is very common that during the Christmas holidays the tourism abounds since the atmosphere is usually pleasant. The average annual temperature is 26.5ºC (79.7ºF).
Vegetation is tropical. Mangroves, coconut palms, ceibas, bananas, mangoes, papayas, tulles, lilies, water beetles, duck flower, oyamel, mahogany, cedar, ash and walnut.
Wild boar, nightingale, blackbird, toucan, deer (white tail), iguana, parakeet, armadillo, badger, tlacuache, iguana (green and black), raccoon, heron, pelican, seagull, quela, carrica, ticus, macoa island (boa) , chirrionera, lizard, tilcoate, moyo (crab with particularly wide pincers) and sea turtles.
The Cihuatlán Cultural Week is at the end of April, on May 3 the Santa Cruz is celebrated and then the Bullfighting Fair that lasts twelve days approximately.
The festival dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is also of great importance, which is usually the Friday following the Feast of Corpus Christi and changes every year according to the provisions of the liturgical calendar. Normally it is 60 days after Easter Sunday, at the end of Holy Week and Easter.
On October 28, Saint Jude Thaddeus is celebrated. In Barra de Navidad, Saint Anthony of Padua is celebrated in a special way on June 13 and Christ of the Cyclone.
According to traditional beliefs on September 1, 1971, this Christ saved, lowering his arms, to Barra de Navidad and the coastal region of a cyclone, and since then no one has arrived in the area.
Objects derived from coconut and shells that abound in the region. Hats and palm bags are also woven. Textiles are embroidered. They are carved in wood, embossed and engraved wood.
The characteristic dish is the shrimp prepared "a la diabla", the garlic sauce, breaded, etc. The shellfish (natural or prepared). The zarandeado fish, scallops in its shell, seafood soup, fish and shrimp ceviche and the birria. The Birria restaurant at 12 "Beto" Chaires is famous. Sweets and coconut water are delicious.
Red Cross Delegation Cihuatlán: 315 5 23 00
Municipal Public Security: 315 35 5 20 23.
Tourist Police: 044 315 100 89 87, 315 100 74 51
Municipal Civil Protection: 315 35 5 43 08
State Civil Protection: 315 35 5 63 75, 35 5 63 76
Brief History of Cihuatlán
Cihuatlán comes from Nahuatl and means "place where there are women". The place was founded on the banks of the Marabasco river.
In 1535, Fernández de Híjar, in his outpost from Villa Purificación, discovered the Puerto de la Navidad, a place that would become very important in the years to come because the expedition that conquered the Philippine Islands in 1565 set sail from there.
The ships of the crossing were in charge of Andrés de Urdaneta and Miguel López de Legaspi.
Main square of Cihuatlán
Almost entering the town, the church rises on a hill, of uncertain style, but it has the grace to be so open that the wind runs freely, and offers a refuge to the intense heat.
Its austerity and simplicity give it a unique touch. Crosses made of hand-painted dry ice are decorated with strips of stapled colors, and as wooden benches are not enough, individual plastic chairs are added on Sundays.
The altar is flanked by palm trees and ferns. Under the feet of the church is the Plaza, known locally as "The Park", with only a few trees, palms and ficus mainly, to its center is a modest quarry fountain representing a mermaid. Although you can not see the sea yet, nor reach the beach, the atmosphere announces that it is already close.
Barra de Navidad
64 km (39.7 mi) northwest of Manzanillo. More than 200 km (124.2 mi) South of Puerto Vallarta.
Picturesque fishing village with an extensive beach of 2 km (1.2 mi) ideal for surfing and other water sports. It also has a beautiful lagoon that is distinguished by its mangroves and varied species of birds. In front of Barra de Navidad, on Isla de Navidad, you can visit a luxurious tourist complex on the beach of Colimilla.
Fishing in the area
The activities of the locals focus on fishing and tourism. The abundance of fish makes this one of the main occupations of the men of the town.
Various species are collected, including sierra, red snapper, snapper, curel, bonito, lobster, octopus, clam and oyster, and even snail, although it is prohibited.
There are important international deep sea fishing, marlin, sailfish, dorado and tuna fishing tournaments.
This is not a vacation destination for those who appreciate silence. Almost every day of the week, including Sundays, music from different dance clubs is heard far into the night. Of course, for those looking for fun, there is a great offer.
Activities and entertainment
Other activities that can be practiced are surfing, snorkeling, and other types of non-water sports such as bicycle rides. An interesting visit in the area is to banana plantations, although the orchards do not offer direct access, it can be arranged through local tourism agencies.
For those who like to buy handicrafts, there are several stores in the center, and although little is local production, there is a wide range of jobs that are carried out throughout Mexico.
The beach of Barra de Navidad
The wide beach of Barra de Navidad stretches for 2 kms. The somewhat dark, almost brown sand is soft to the touch and makes the barefoot walks enjoyable.
Seen from the sea, the appearance of the town of Barra de Navidad would not attract much attention. The eclectic mix of facades includes all kinds of colors and styles, and only very few constructions are accompanied by palms, and as a result of a strong tremor in the 90s, what they have in common most is an aspect of being half built.
There is a religious image located on the altar of the temple of San Antonio de Padua where on September 1, 1977 it is said that a miraculous event took place.
Hurricane Lily was close to the area of the coast of that region and at the last moment the faithful congregated in the temple asking for the protection of the image of the Christ.
The electricity had been interrupted and in the gloom there was a noise coming from the image and they saw with surprise that the arms had been detached from the cross and were hanging on the sides, which is how they are currently.
Inside the temple, calm reigned, wind and hurricane changed their course, touching land far from Barra de Navidad.
Isla de Navidad
When you leave the road and take the small route to the island, you can see an impressive horizon of banana plantations and coconut palms.
On the island, which is rather a peninsula since it is only separated from the land by a stream, lizards lurk. After traveling a little less than 11 kilometers (6.8 miles), there are dunes that separate the sea from the road, and in the middle of this desert landscape, fragments of what will become tourist complexes and beach mansions appear.
In the middle of the aridity, the exuberant entrance to the luxury hotel Grand Bay Resort rises to the north. Inside the complex, a marina, golf course and lake complement the offer of great tourism in the area.
On the main street a modernist and simple monument rises with some pride to the Spanish ships that in 1548 ventured to conquer the Philippines.
The streets of the center have been arranged with good taste, of cobblestone cement, plants and trees everywhere and small pedestrian friendly walks, make the interaction with the town a pleasant experience.
Along the way you will find various gastronomic offerings, from the typical ones of the coast, to elegant samples of international cuisine. On the main road there are various craft and souvenir shops.
There are several pangueros cooperatives with a wide variety of options for boat rides. If you want to leave the beach and be closer to the water without having to get wet, this is a good option. With luck and dolphins may be spotted or one or other jumping fish.
To the north of the Bahía de Navidad, one of the most beautiful on the Pacific coast, it is very touristy and can become very crowded during holiday periods.
An earthquake in 1994 left several of its modern buildings turned into ruins. A lot of hotels on the beach have been transformed into timeshare apartments.
While resting on the beach, ladies who stroll along the beach will come to offer necklaces, bracelets, rosaries and other objects made of shell or wood in the area, and may even find hammocks and blankets of wool from southern Mexico .
If what you want are rather chandeliers or details made with shells and snails, you can visit the various shops located in the center of town.
You can have a look at the crafts of the country, in the Museo Oligerano Ramírez, with objects from different regions including samples of Olinalá and alebrijes among others.
The biggest charm of Melaque is its somewhat coarse sandy beach, crystal clear water, strong and fun waves on the shore. Swimming there is a pleasure.
The most beautiful is the view, a couple of rock formations at the northwest tip of the peninsula form a strange relief against the sea horizon.
Along the coast there are several restaurants and street vendors, so it is not a very peaceful place to lie down to sunbathe.
This square is so particular that it is worth visiting. The church is painted in bright colors, orange and green, contrasting strongly with the surroundings of a town rather parish in its shapes and tonalities.
The kiosk is the typical one found in the towns of the coast, with stairs for the space where the band plays, and below, a commercial space available where in some cases, it is occupied by an ice cream shop.
Around the square there are restaurants of all kinds, various businesses, such as Internet cafes and souvenir and craft shops.
Bahía de Cuastecomates
At the junction of roads 80 and 200, the short deviation to Cuastecomates. In just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) you will find a landscape very different from the developed and bustling Melaque.
From side to side of the beach, small restaurants of local charm offer a wide variety of dishes with a wide variety of fish and seafood. The typical palm roofs, colorful wooden chairs and tables, and pale umbrellas on the beach, serve an unthinkable number of people.
This small and intimate bay, only 250 meters (820 feet) long and 20m (65 feet) wide, is protected by rock formations, giving a great gentleness to the waves, and making it an ideal place for families with young children.
Thus the same virtues of the bay are transformed into its weaknesses since there are no currents, the garbage of the crowds stagnates on the shore.
At the western tip stands the Royal Costa Sur hotel, with large palm trees and a wall built into the rock formations of the area. The hotel, of a discreet pale yellow color, integrates with its surroundings.
On the long route that runs along the coast, there is a single gas station on Highway 200, at the junction with the 80. To change money the last ATM in operation is in Cihuatlan.
In Melaque there is also one, but it can be out of service at times. It is recommended to take advantage of the offer of services in Melaque before continuing with your tour.
The Cuzalapa organic coffee plantation is located within the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve. During the month of December you can participate in the collection of red beans, and observe the process of peeling, drying and roasting in the hands of the semi-indigenous population, as well as tasting good coffee, organic honey or fruit jams from the region .
To get there take the deviation leaving Melaque by highway 80 towards La Huerta and from there take the deviation to Cuautitlán and later to Cuzalapa.
This huge peninsula of 900 hectares was named a biosphere reserve, and for years it was an exclusive resort.
Now part of the Yellowstone Club World private clubs and unfortunately you cannot get know the beaches, flora or fauna that inhabit it, even if you were willing to consume in the bar or restaurant.