Recently we were able to get away from work and visit with some of Dave’s family. His twin sister Kerry and her husband Tom rented a family home from a friend down in Manzanillo, Mexico and we had an amazing adventure. Dave’s mom came as did Dave’s nephew Trevor and his girlfriend, his niece Kelly and her husband James, which all made for a fun group of nine. I brought my laptop to do some site editing as it underwent the December re-theming and an update, but wasn’t planing on any cooking unless enlisted or to pitch in. James did quite a bit of cooking and one afternoon even brought Trevor and I fresh from the oven, baked tostadas right to the waters edge, now that is living!
In reading about the trip I found some interesting items. Many of the hotels and self-contained resort communities like where we stayed in Club Santiago, are built on the De Santiago peninsula. There were two crescent shaped bays, each about four miles in length with white, clean, sandy beaches and the sunrises were incredible. The city of Manzanillo is in the state of Colima and well known internationally for deep-sea fishing, as well as the warm water. I can attest to that as each morning I waded straight out into the water for a salt water wake up session. It was so relaxing and warm. Beautiful to float and have some quiet time watching the sunrise, seeing some fish swim and the horizon of tree covered hills. One afternoon some of us watched pelicans dive after dive for fish, just several feet away from us floating in the sun and water.
Manzanillo is also known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. From what our local guide and captain said, Manzanillo has hosted national and international fishing competitions since 1957. Pretty cool.
The city is a destination resort for many Americans, Canadians, locals from Mexico City and from what our taxi driver said Guadalajarans, “Guadalajarans look down on us” which surprised me. It was nice for once to hear Americans weren’t the only vacationers who left a slightly bad reputation in their wake. Apparently Guadalajarans looked down on Manzanillians, who knew?
The house had a caretaker who asked if we wanted to go to a local market for supplies so several of us jumped in the car and went exploring. I love to go to markets and see the local flavor of how things are set up, what is available and in general take stock in what other countries do for their day to day living. The fresh produce was bountiful.
Seeds and nut treats we really big and the variety was copious.
In the bakery fresh bread was made as well as tortillas and the different kinds of rolls, baguettes and loaves displayed had such variety- from sweet to savory.
These ones in particular caught my eye with fried sage and a strip of meat on the tops.
Walking down the beach from the house we came across a wonderful restaurant called the Oasis and not only was the food amazing and the presentation superb, the price was right. We dined there often for lunch, like these fresh-from-the-sea, mahi mahi fish tacos one afternoon that were served with fresh from the grill corn tortillas.
One evening I had the Fried Chicken in Bleu Cheese gravy and it was so good I had it one other time. It’s an evening picture, so sorry for the bad quality.
One day a couple of us walked down the beach and hopped on a bus to town and just walked around to get the local vibe. I love when I travel to not necessarily hit the tourist spots and see where the locals go, hang out, live, and eat. Using public transportation is the best too for getting the lay of the land. Walking down one street we came across an open pit of grilling meats. The heat was intense and the smells were wonderful.
Turning down this street and then the next we stumbled around in the heat and took it all in. We decided on trying this one local spot for a snack and it ended up being so good we made it a meal after a neighbor at the table next to us suggested we try the Cochinita. I knew the name as I had previously done a recipe on Cochinita Pibli and it was simply delicious.
When we got back to the house James was working away at getting a coconut open and the meat ready for eating. There is nothing like fresh from the shell coconut, so different and not as intense of a coconut flavor as I’d expected.
Here is the gang at the most beautiful, relaxing spot on the beach.
We were told that our area of Santiago Bay had the best snorkeling, and scuba diving and there was even a cargo ship which had sunk in a hurricane in 1959. Dave tried to get a mask and snorkle, but the guide just had two that day for Trevor and himself. He even got some fish there with a speargun!
We rented a boat another day and the entire family took off with our guide to the opposite side of the cove to where downtown Manzanillo was located for a little scenery and local fare. On the docks were fisherman and their fresh catch for sale.
We walked around, had an amazing lunch and we sat watching the scene. A circus was in town as live lions and tigers and other exotic animals cruised by in front of us in cages on the backs of trucks.
It was a beautiful spot on Earth. Tranquil, peaceful and warm, something our family from up North wanted desperately as the Portland cold winter was upon them. We had a great time laughing, eating and watching sunsets. Isn’t that what vacations with family are all about? Oh and sunrises too!