If you are looking for something more authentically Latin in terms of a long stay vacation, take a look at one of Mexico’s best kept secrets.  How long it remain a secret after this gets published, we don’t know.  If staying in a small fishing village on the coast and living the Latin American way of life is what you have in mind, you might just find it in a place called La Manzanilla in Mexico.  From November to the month of April, those who know of this gem, head south.

Anybody who’s headed south to Mexico understands what attracts people to this southern destination:

“And that’s why God made Mexico
A place where we can lay low
And the Cuervo goes down nice and slow
And the warm wind blows
That’s why God made Mexico”

from the song “That’s Why God Made Mexico” lyrics by Tim McGraw

As a rule, if you’re seeking a long stay vacation in Mexico or any other country for that matter, there are basically three ways to go about it.  You can organize the holiday on your own, you can book with a travel agency which specializes in long term vacations, or you can look for companies which offer long term rental properties in the place you would like to visit.  You can also go by word-of-mouth from friends who’ve previously visited the destination. There are plenty of rental properties in Manzanilla if you’d like to visit on your own.

La Manzanilla is a small fishing village in the state of Jalisco in an area known as the Costa Alegre, or “Happy Coast.”  This charming little village is on the Pacific coast on the Bay of Tenacatita.  La Manzanilla is three hours south of the resort town of Puerto Vallarta and just north of the larger town of Manzanillo.  How to get to La Manzanilla?  Fly into the Manzanillo airport Playa de Oro International Airport (ZLO) and then rent a car, take a bus or taxi (more expensive) north to Manzanilla.  It’ll take about an hour by bus or car.

It’s a seasonal town like many similar destinations that fill up with retirees. People who live in la Manzanilla for half the year begin showing up in town in November and stay until the late spring. It won’t offer you the entertainment of a resort in Mexico because it’s just that, a quiet little fishing town. The town has plenty of bars and good restaurants for dining and socializing.  If you love nature, fishing, hiking or need the beach, Manzanilla just might be your kind of paradise.

As far as safety is concerned, the town is safe, even for solo female travelers.

There’s an abundance of activities that boomers can enjoy on a long stay vacation in Mexico.  After all, retirement gives you time to really savor the town, the surrounding area, and maybe pick up some Spanish while you’re at it.  There are activities in the town and in the surrounding area.  There’s hiking to the waterfall, touring the mangroves with a guide at the lagoon. Nature lovers will see alligators, heron, ibises and egrets in this federally protected zone.  Other activities in and around Manzanilla are horseback riding, snorkeling, hiking, mountain biking, and even yoga classes.  For relaxing, long walks on the lovely beach. You might want to rent a car to be able to explore further than the town.

If you love fishing, the area is a year-round fisherman’s paradise.  There’s good fishing and the catch will include huachinango, tuna, dorado, jack, and sailfish. For the devoted, boat charters are available.  Kayaks can also be rented for a fun afternoon.  The harbor of Manzanilla offers a sheltered, safe port for sailboats and power yachts.

Great golfing is nearby in both Isla Navidad and Tamarindo.  Nearby Tamarindo, a mile south of La Manzanilla, offers a nine hole golf course for golf enthusiasts.

Where to stay in Manzanilla?  Manzanilla has its fair share of hotels. There are also plenty of rental properties available for anyone desiring a longer stay vacation.  You’ll find plenty of properties to rent whether it’s on the beach or in the town or a with a view of the bay.  Properties can be rented for as little as $350 a month.  Apartments for rent, room rentals at lower rates can be found the town. For the more adventurous, there’s camping facilities.

Shopping for food is easy and cheap from the local markets.  Two people can eat well for about 250 to 300 pesos a week if you buy and cook your own food.  That’s about $10 to $15 US.  Not bad for those minding their budget on a long stay vacation.

Mexico is known for its stunning beaches and the beach of La Manzanilla is no exception.  There’s an abundance of nature sea mammals such as such as whales, porpoises, and frigates. For birdwatchers, you’ll spot kingfishers, pelicans, and cormorants.

One of the best things about these types of long vacation stays for retirees is that one has plenty of time to explore not only the culture, the town and the beach area, but also beyond the area of Manzanilla. If you don’t wish to rent a car, local tour guides can be hired for nature and culture tours along the Pacific coast of Mexico.

La Manzanilla gets our vote as Mexico’s best long stay vacation paradise. It’s one of those places where “we can lay low, the Cuervo (tequila) goes down nice and slow and the warm wind blows.” Perfect for relaxation and exploration when the mood inspires you.

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