Costalegre: Las Hadas Resort Anchorage – Beautiful!

Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Las Hadas Resort.

Las Hadas (

"The Fairies" ("Las Hadas").

Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Las Hadas Resort and the marina basin.

Manzanillo's main port is on the horizon.

Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Las Hadas.

Barceló Resort and Playa Salahua, Manzanillo, Mexico

Barceló Resort and Playa Salahua.

Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Las Hadas Resort.

Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Playa La Audiencia.

Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico Las Hadas Resort (Las Hadas anchorage), Manzanillo, Mexico

Las Hadas Anchorage.

s/v Groovy anchored off Las Hadas Resort in Manzanillo, Mexico

Groovy hangs out by the 18th hole.

Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Iguana sunning on the rocks.

Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Monkeys at the back of a restaurant.

Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Whimsically pruned bushes line the waterfront.

Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

A tribute to a bygone era of


Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Corn tortilla "factory."

Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Street percussion.

Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Pineapples are tossed and loaded onto a handcart.

Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

A wheelbarrow load of body parts goes to market.

Las Hadas Marina, Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

Xilonen V, a 162' megayacht fills the marina.

Las Hadas Marina, Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

The megayacht dwarfs the boats

on either side.

Hobie kayaks Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Fellow Hobie riders.

Hobie kayaks Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico Hobie kayaks Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Ready for the brochure.

Hobie kayaks Las Hadas Resort, Manzanillo, Mexico

Hobies lined up on Playa La Escondida ("Hidden Beach")

A slot canyon in the ocean.

Las Hadas Anchorage, Manzanillo, Colima Mexico


Early February, 2011 - Las Hadas Resort at the northwest end of Manzanillo Bay is so

picture perfect that anyone with even the simplest camera in hand will find it easy to

take perfect pictures.  We enjoyed this spot so much we couldn't stay away.  For

several weeks we alternated between this breathtaking cove, embraced by the

enchanting Las Hadas resort, and the soaring openness of the expansive anchorage

over at Playa La Boquita a few miles away in Bahía Santiago.  Motoring from one

anchorage to the other, we would take advantage of having the engine running both to

make fresh water and to heat the water in our hot water tank.  On a few occasions we

had a blistering sail when the afternoon winds kicked up.  Groovy heeled nicely while

the knot meter park itself in the mid-8's.

Las Hadas begs to be explored on foot,

and with each foray onto the cobbled

paths that climb the steep hillsides, we

found more discoveries.  "Las Hadas"

means "The Fairies" (the origins of the

resort's name are explained here), and

we found two rather stern looking fairies

just beyond an underpass leading to the

resort's front door.  I'm not sure if these

two gals were knighting

some obedient resort

workers or granting

three wishes to

incoming guests.

Hiking further up the hill, the views grow ever larger, until you can

see clear across the resort, it's anchorage and the marina to the

smoke stacks of Manzanillo far across the bay.  The road twists

and turns in exhilarating switchbacks that leave walkers panting

and some bus riders wishing they had worn seasickness bracelets.

Next door to Las Hadas is the Barceló Karmina Palace resort.  It is

much more modern and swank, offering visitors a truly high end lap

of luxury.  But its mammoth marble and glass-filled foyers and grand

open spaces lack the otherworldly prettiness, coziness and charm of

Las Hadas.  As we trudged higher and higher over the hilly peaks we

paused to catch our breath and marvel at the beauty spread out

below us.

The Las Hadas

anchorage is rimmed with restaurants overlooking the

cove.  One has a huge sign offering discounts to

boaters (along with their wifi password), and we

treated ourselves to an afternoon of gazing out at the

anchorage and Manzanillo's busy port across the bay.

Banana boats, water skiers and jet skis zig-zagged

among the boats, throwing white wake patterns


We discovered the source of all this action on the water was

Mexico's Constitution Day weekend.  It seemed that half of the

huge inland city of Guadalajara had come to vacation on this bay.

This national holiday celebrates the signing and approval of

Mexico's constitution on February 5th, 1917 and, like the Fourth

of July, is clearly fully worthy of an afternoon of being towed at full

speed across the water followed by a raucous evening of happy

partying to loud music.

While walking the beach we

came across an iguana

sunning himself on the rocks.

Just a few weeks later we

discovered these guys can

swim, and we watched one

make its way across a

stretch of calm water, its

head bobbing up every so

often to get some air and

look around.

This is an easy climate for keeping

an exotic pet caged outdoors, and

we have seen loads of parrots,

parakeets, canaries and doves

caged outside all kinds of stores from flower shops to small groceries

to beachwear boutiques.  The squawk of a macaw drew us to the back

of a restaurant we were passing, and to our surprise, in addition to the

huge colorful birds, we found three large cages filled with monkeys.

They nimbly and silently climbed up and down the cage bars and

nibbled on fruits while staring us down.

The resorts and villas around Las

Hadas and Sanitago are the most

scenic parts of Manzanillo, but we took

the bus into the more gritty downtown area for a change of pace.  Manzanillo is a bustling port

with an urban heart, however whimsy and history can still be found.  The road leading into

town is lined with creatively pruned bushes, and we passed bushes shaped as hearts and

anchors and dogs.  A ficus tree pruned to look like a small boat caught my eye, as did the

bronze sculpture of a seaman at the helm of ship from another era.  Four hundred years ago

the Spanish used ports along this southern Pacific coast of Mexico as a link for trading goods

with the orient via Manila in the Phillipines.

I have gradually come to realize that

Mexico is a true blend of indigenous

Indian and foreign Spanish heritage,

beautifully expressed by the rich dark

complexions and lively Spanish

language of the people we encounter.

At one street corner in Manzanillo I said

something to a street vendor-beggar in

my passable American accented

Spanish, and she shook her head at me with that blank look of "No hablo

español" that is so familiar on gringo faces here.  There are pockets of

people throughout Mexico, especially in the southern areas, who speak

only their indigenous language, not Spanish.

Music is a universal language, however, and we found street musicians playing

wonderful tunes and rhythms on xylophone and drums.

Growing up and living in

the sanitized world of

saran wrapped

supermarket products

that have been delivered

by tractor trailers on the

interstates, it is always

surprising to encounter

other methods of food

distribution.  Here on the

streets of Manzanillo we

watched three people

unload a pickup truck full

of pineapples into crates on

a handcart to roll into the central

market.  They tossed the

pineapples to each other with

ease.  Does our food really get

thrown around like that?  A little

further on, another wheelbarrow

full of what appeared to be

lambs' heads, shanks and

backbones was ready to be

rolled into the market as well.

At the far opposite end of the reality scale, a megayacht pulled into the

Las Hadas marina, dwarfing all the boats around it.  Xilonen V is 162 feet

long, and when it was med-moored to its spot (tied to the docks at the

stern with a bow anchor thrown into the middle of the marina basin), the

bow of the ship was plunk in the center of the marina.

We had seen a couple float by the back of our boat on matching yellow

inflatable Hobie kayaks, just like ours, and we joined them to get a closer

look at this megayacht.  Xilonen V is staffed by a captain and crew of

11 people, and three of them were busy polishing the decks when we

floated by.  Of course all we could really see up close from our vantage

point was the waterline!

Lots of cruisers carry a hard-shell kayak or two on their

deck, but we haven't seen any other inflatable Hobies.

These new friends of ours have a condo in the area, and

when they bought their Hobies their neighbors all

thought they were so cool that they bought Hobies too.  Now the

building's kayak rack is filled with seven bright yellow inflatable

Hobie kayaks.  It looks like the final inspection and shipping

department at the Hobie factory.

We landed the kayaks on a private little beach, Playa La Escondida

("Hidden Beach") around the corner from the resort and took some

photos we thought worthy of a Hobie ad.

At one end of the little beach there is a kind of slot canyon that fills with

swishing waves as the tide rises and falls.  When the water swept back to

reveal the soft sand bottom, I walked in a little ways.  Suddenly a wave

roared in behind me and rushed around my legs and out the other side,

nearly knocking me off my feet.

It was finally time to venture to some new grounds, so at long last we left

Manzanillo Bay and putted 25 miles north to Barra de Navidad.  More and

more cruisers had started reaching this part of the coast during their winter's

cruising in Mexico, and on that brief trip we saw five other sailboats, a record.

Find Manzanillo on Mexico Maps

Visit Anchorages on the "Mexican Riviera" (northern Pacific coast) to see more cruising posts from this area!