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As you walk south from La Boquita, Bahia de Santiago takes on several other names for specific areas of beach. Miramar (View of the Sea), in front of Club Maeva, is marked by a pedestrian walkway over Highway 200. It is a good boogey boarding and surfing area, particularly at the Olas Altas section by Margaritas restaurant in front of the Hotel Vista Playa de Oro. Miramar has thatched roof restaurants, beach umbrellas, boogie boards and inner tubes for rent, horseback riding and numerous open air markets (tianguis) selling all sorts of tourist treasures. Don't forget to bargain!
The road in front of Miramar Beach (where it runs alongside the ocean) will be a paved pedestrian walkway, and the new road will run around Las Penitas lagoon. The lagoon has various water birds, particularly evident at sunset, and even a few crocodiles.
This area has been purchased by Colima Development, a Minnesota-based firm that plans to build executive, low rise hotels, single family homes and condominiums. Their plan is to open the lagoon to the sea on both ends, allowing fresh sea water to refresh the lagoon at high and low tides. They are also building a desalinization plant, the first in all of Mexico.
At the southern end of Santiago Bay is Santiago Beach, one of the oldest tourist sections of Manzanillo, with several inexpensive hotels. Usually the water is clear and calm, and the flavor of the area is typically Mexican. The Hotel Playa de Santiago, at the end, was originally constructed of wood. Built in the '40s, sans air conditioning and without screens, each bed had mosquito netting surrounding it. The Rockefellers would fly from New York into Manzanillo in their private DC-9, and party there with the locals.
A charming, usually tranquil cove that divides both bays is Playa Audiencia. It was the original site of all the beach scenes from the movie "10," with Bo Derek and Dudley Moore. That was before the 5-star Hotel Tesoro (formerly Hotel Sierra) was built 17 years ago. The Tesoro has one of the most beautiful locations in all of Manzanillo, and this beach has a variety of water sports. Jet skis, kayaks, boogie boards, inner tubes and banana boat rides are available on the beach. Both sides of Audiencia, near the rocks, are great for snorkeling and diving. On the north side is a seafood restaurant with prices for a plate no higher than $9. There are umbrellas, sling-back chairs and tables for rent right on the beach; just place your order at the restaurant and they'll deliver it to your selected shady spot. If you want souvenirs, or "Bo Derek mini-braids" (trensitas), visit the small tianguis market near the street entrance.
Playa La Audiencia got its name from a meeting, or "audience," that Hernan Cortes' trusted right-hand man, Gonzalo de Sandoval, held with a local Indian chieftain in 1522.
Club de Yates
Club de Yates (Yacht Club Beach) is really called Playa Perla (Pearl Beach) on most local maps. Located on the left (south) side of Playa La Audiencia, it offers a tiny bit of sand under a shade tree, and excellent snorkeling and diving. This is a very popular place for night dives because of the giant sleeping parrot fish in the shallows on the left side of the bay. Club de Yates Drive is located on the right side of the entrance to Las Hadas on the Peninsula de Santiago. Follow the road down to the bottom, all the while bearing right until you reach the large parking area surrounded by a white wall. At the end of the parking lot are stairs to the beach.
Playa Las Hadas
Playa Las Hadas is a man-made beach on the south side of the Las Hadas marina, and officially starts Manzanillo Bay. It can only be accessed by Las Hadas guests, or guests of other hotels with Las Hadas privileges. It is normally a very calm beach, due to the construction of a jetty around the marina. Sailboats often anchor in the protected harbor just off the beach. You can pay for a "day pass" and have access to the Las Hadas hotel and beach. Depending on the time of year, prices range from $20-50 USD for the pass. The money you pay can be used up in Las Hadas services, such as food and beverages.
Playa del Tesoro
"Treasure Beach" has changed recently, with the development of a new, 5-star hotel called the Karmina Palace. The 18th hole of the Las Hadas golf course and a restaurant built on the small Peninsula de Salagua have changed the once pristine area. The little beach area in front of the Karmina is sandy on one side and rocky on the other. Perhaps in a few years, with proper ecology, the rocks will host coral colonies, and colorful fish. To the right of the Karmina is Playa Salagua, where the Salagua River meets the sea. The latest hotel in that area is the Camino Real, and beyond, where the road ends, is Manzanillo's small, 5-year-old turtle sanctuary.