On the Pacific coast, halfway between the U.S. and Guatemala, Manzanillo, Mexico, has blossomed into a prime resort destination in just a few years. It can be unbearably hot in the summer, however, and is popular with Mexicans and spring-breakers from the U.S. and Canada; it's packed on weekends and holidays.

The area encompasses two large bays: Manzanillo Bay to the south and Santiago Bay to the north, which are separated by the Santiago Peninsula, where many fine resort hotels are located. The town is on the south end of Manzanillo Bay. It has a pleasant downtown seawalk, and there's a park along Santiago Bay.

The wide beaches on the bays are the big attractions. The town calls itself the "Sailfish Capital of the World," and deep-sea fishing is excellent November-May. Located 130 mi/210 km south of Guadalajara, Manzanillo is also the largest container port on the west coast of the Americas.

Side trips may be made to the largely undiscovered coast to the south and to Barra de Navidad, an hour's drive north of Manzanillo, which has good surfing beaches and a lagoon (and a huge resort). Less-developed beaches farther north are popular home rental areas for snowbirds escaping the cold weather up north.

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