Las Hadas, Bahia de Manzanillo
25 January 2011
We made the arduous 5 nm trek across Bahia Santiago, around Punta Santiago and into Bahia de Manzanillo to anchor behind the point in the anchorage area adjacent to and sheltered by the Las Hadas Marina breakwater in about 25' of water on a sand bottom. The anchorage was pretty crowded, it's small to begin with and when you add a dozen boats swing room gets pretty tight. We put out 140' of anchor rode, because we were backed up to the beach area on the east side of this little hidie-hole with nothing between us and the swim beach, but the rope buoys that designate the Dolphin Hotel's swim area. On the other hand, it was convenient because the hotel management there was "cruiser friendly" and allowed us to row our dinghies into the swim area to use their beach and "Paradise Restaurant" for food and refreshments, and what a great view of the anchorage and bay from up there. One would think the cruisers would be favoring the fabled old Las Hadas resort because they have a marina and dinghy dock. Unfortunately not, the management there sees us as a revenue stream and is now charging $200 pesos a day to land your dinghy for the privilege of using their hotel pool and purchase beverages from their over-priced bar. I mean come on, $45 pesos a beer? This area is also fairly isolated in that it is out on a peninsula of some length and is quite hilly, which requires either a cab or one of the infrequent busses, the R-8, that services this area. Being the frugal soles that we are pretty soon we figured out the marina staff's schedule and found that we could land at their dock in the evenings and on Sundays without being dinged. Marisa, myself and Mike from So Inclined took advantage of the opportunity to walk some of the area, good views of this bay and back towards Santiago from atop the hills behind the hotel. Also, the Las Hadas Hotel was where the movie "10" with Bo Derik and Dudley Moore was filmed back in the 1970's. It still has a lot of charm, but was pretty empty. We did enjoy the pool on Sunday with some of the other cruisers from the bay. The marina is odd for this part of the world, more European with a single floating dock around the inner break water and quay perimeter and all boats are Med moored, that is tied stern to the dock and individually anchored bow out, there are no finger piers between boats.
We stayed one day longer than planned to allow us to go back into Manzanillo Centro with our group to visit the "Social Club" as it is called in the cruising guide. We caught the R-8 bus to get off the peninsula to the R-1 route into town. I'm starting to sound like a local! The Social Club is actually a bar dating back to 1950 when it was founded. The founder's son, "Mike" still runs the place and it maintained in the same style as when dad opened it and serves the same menu. They don't serve meals, but serve all you can eat free appetizer plates as long as you are there. We ate our fill of cevieche, refried bean dip, hickama and cucumber slices seasoned with paprika, chips, salsa, guacamole and a really good potato salad. They take your empty beverage bottles and place them on a ledge or chair rail to keep track of your tab. When you're done you just count up the empties and pay. Pretty simple system. We will be posting some photos from there and of the group; the crews from So Inclined, Sirocco, ourselves and Russ from Liberty out the San Francisco area. His girlfriend, Kaersten, opted to use the resort pool and skip the excursion.
At the conclusion of 'lunch' we made a second visit to the market area in Centro, then caught the R-1 bus back to the Mega for final provisioning and another whole rotisserie chicken. A trip to the mall would not be complete of course without stopping at Thrifty Ice Cream, "made in the USA" and one of Lee's favorite things to do! Then finally the R-8 back to Las Hadas to carry everything to our dinghies, load all our stuff up and get back to the boats before dark. Another fun filled cruiser day.
Marisa and I dined on fresh rotisserie chicken then got Pacifico ready to go and weighed anchor at 2230 for Zihuatanejo, some 200 nm south of Manzanillo. That will be an underway post to our blog and a short one!
A final observation: Bahias Santiago and Manzanillo were great places to visit. Las Hadas is limiting because of the isolation and transportation issues, yet you're in the middle of a vast upscale resort complex. I think we will hit Santiago on the way back up, time allowing and take the bus back into Centro. I enjoyed Centro much more this second trip. Gee, I wonder if that was because of the Social Club?