Melaque 2000

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  The Manzanillo airport looks like it's inland on the map but one wing is over the beach as you land. Was surprised at the overcast. Very warm and humid at 4:00pm. Same time zone as D.F. which surprised me since it is so far west (central US time). There was no money exchange (casa's de cambio) at the airport and the taxi stand took US money. $29 to Melaque. They give you a ticket for the taxis outside.

Arriving in Melaque the banks close at 1pm (9-1) so needed a motel/hotel that would accept US dollar, most will. The nightly prices of hotels in the central beach area was $32-12. Most people that are staying for awhile rent by the month and those range from $100-300 for a 1-2 bedroom apartment, usually within two blocks of the beach.

The town is oriented east-west rather than north-south. The sun rises on one end of the beach and sets on he other. Melaque is a working class town and the majority of beach tourists are Mexican. Barra de Navidad is smaller but looks more like a tourist destination with more trees, newly paved streets and a larger ratio of hotels, bars and tourist shops. The beach has been washed away (it's coming back) in Barra so there are less beach vendors. Melaque has quite a few but they are mellow and tend to remember you (saying no) after a few days.

The places to meet people (Canadians and Americans) are Bigotes any time after noon and Bananarama. Bigotes is a beach restaurant/bar with happy hour from 1-6, good music, nice family that owns it ... and good food. Bananarama is a breakfast place open from 7am-1pm with good coffee (Starbucks they say), fruit bowl or various egg breakfasts.

Things to do:

A day snorkel trip with Ray ($100 pesos) in the back of his pickup to Tenicatita (about 40 minute trip), minimum 5 people - we went with 8. Very nice beach, good food at the palapas. He brings you back via Boca de Iguanas for body surfing and La Manzanillo to see the Crocodiles (caimans). Ray has reasonably good snorkeling equipment included in the price. He also rents mountain bikes. Ask about him at Bananarama.

Walk the beach to Barra, about 2 miles.

Walk over the hill to Cuastecomates.

Take Spanish lessons with Sharon three times a week (Mon, Wen, Fri). Beginners start about 10am - for 1.5 hours for 30 pesos. I just walked in look for it and they asked me to sit down. The "school" is on the grounds of La Paloma, about 5 blocks east of downtown. She also has intermediate and advanced classes.

Surfo Bar has good service and an active pool table.

Bring lots of cotton clothes but laundries (lavandaria) are cheap and good. Easy to go through 2-3 sets of clothes a day.

Meal and beer costs;

Average dinner is $6-8

Lunch $2-5

Beer 50-120pesos

One night we bought a half chicken, beans and rice (togo) for about $5 - and took it to Bigotes to add the beer. It fed four with a beautiful sunset.

So am I going back .. you bet!

Still scratching my mosquito bytes ... so yes they are there!!

Viva the Costalegre