Manzanillo offers adventure, fun for entire family

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

To help parents make the critical decision of where to go for spring break, Columbus Parent Magazine's January and February issues will offer suggestions for vacations that the whole family will love and remember forever. Both are in Mexico, and they are a world apart.


Last June I was invited on a press trip with travel writers from all over North America to the Tesoro Resort in Manzanillo. "Tesoro" in Spanish means "treasure." The name gets no argument from me. It is indeed a treasure, and the most beautiful spot on the Gold Coast I've ever seen. I've been to Mexico many times, but somehow I missed Manzanillo, pronounced mahn-zahn-EE-yo.

The hotel is right on the beach of a beautiful cove called La Audiencia. A semi-circle of mountains and huge craggy rocks enclose it before its waters flow into the Pacific. The cove provided a perfect hiding place for long-ago pirates, who raised their skull and crossbones and pounced on unsuspecting merchant ships passing by.

The travel writers had so many one-of-a-kind adventures, it was hard to pick my favorite. But our trip to the mountains that enclosed the cove was right up there with the best of them. We took a sunset cruise hosted by Pacifico Watersports, and watching the surf crash into the cliffs was breathtaking. We had been laughing and talking all the way out, but as we sailed close to the misty rocks, no one said a word. In the parlance of the times, it was awesome. I've never seen anything like it.

The boat dropped anchor and we jumped into the water to swim and snorkel. Everyone wore a life jacket, which we had been given before the boat sailed.

There was another adventure that I've never had before going to Manzanillo. The van picked us up and took us to the Hectours Ground Transportation site. We were given some instruction on the operation of an ATV. Before I left Ohio, my family had seen the trip itinerary and told me to steer clear of the ATV ride. What more incentive does a right-thinking grandmother need? We were given helmets, goggles, and a bandana. I asked what the bandana was for and Juan Jose, the writer from Mexico City, said it was to cover our faces, because there would be more dust than we've ever seen.

I was a little scared, but I wasn't the only first-timer. We zoomed down a sandy road, took a short-cut through the jungle where a big palm frond nearly knocked me off. On the other side of the jungle was a beautiful, deserted beach called Pena Blanca. We rode up and down the beach and stopped to have some water. My bandana had slipped down around my neck, and I discovered my mouth was full of sand. I was so thirsty I took a big gulp anyway and let the water wash it down. I just hope it was low-calorie sand. The ride was definitely a high-quality adventure.

Now, about the resort itself. It's a huge stair-stepped building that literally shines as one drives the cobblestone road leading to the hotel. It is stark white and can be seen from several vantage points along the winding path carved into the Sierra Madres.

The hotel is luxurious, and very comfortable; the rooms are large and every service you can imagine is provided. It was my first experience with an all-inclusive hotel. What a concept! I loved it. I realize the genre has been around for a long time, but my knowledge of all-inclusive vacations up to this point was aboard cruise ships.

Except for off-site visits, you can leave your wallet behind. Drinks, food, even soft drinks are all included. The pools are fabulous, the grounds beautiful, and there are five restaurants and four lounges. All are different: some formal with dress codes, some casual, some poolside, some outdoor buffets, one with a stage show that will knock your eyes out. Disco dancing and other activities are offered for teens.

Little kids will have a terrific time. The Corsarios Kids Water Park is open every day and children from 4 to 12 years old can be left in the care of professional counselors for the day. In addition to the water slides and the pools, kids can play games, watch movies, go on beach scavenger hunts, and enjoy snacks and games. Babysitting service is also provided.

I can't say enough about Tesoro Manzanillo. I'll never forget it, and you won't either. Please see Columbus Parent Magazine's Web site. There is much more information there and as many slides as I can squeeze in.

Go to the resort's Web site: