These small towns are 30 miles southeast of the downtown area of Manzanillo. There are fishing villages and there are several good seafood restaurants in the area. I like this area compared to the city of Manzanillo because it has more of a Mexican flavor. It is off of the beaten path from most of the tourists; this is a popular spot for Mexican families vacationing here. Many of these families are from Guadalajara.
Cuyutlan like several of the small towns in this area has very nice beaches. The beaches in this area are comparable to the wonderful surf that is present along parts of Southern California’s coastline. You will find many large umbrellas in the sand along the beaches in this area. These umbrellas can be rented sometimes by the hour, or for half a day, or for a full day from the local vendors who own the umbrellas. Often times there are vendors walking the beaches selling cooked items. I never tried this food for fear of getting sick but saw plenty of locals purchasing. However there are some excellent beach front seafood restaurants. There are several in which the tables and chairs are sitting directly on the sand and you are served your meal under a thatch roofed hut.
I noticed many young children selling either small chocolates or hammocks close to the restaurants. The children selling chocolate would come and plead with you to purchase some of their candy. Often times they would come back again and again and only leave if you bought something.
If you didn’t buy they would leave and then sneak back a few minutes later and deposit a handful of the candy on the corner of the table. They would quickly walk away. This was done as a last ditch effort to make you buy their chocolate. I guess any money that you left would more then pay for this candy.
There are many boogie boards, surf boards and other water related “fun items” for rent. The waves here and at the other unprotected beaches both north and south of Manzanillo are larger then those in the more protected bays of Manzanillo. As a result, these beaches are very good for surfing.
While at Cuyutlan I did some boogie boarding. I was told by the lifeguard that in all his years of working the beach he has only had to swim and save 2 people from drowning. Most of the main beaches will be marked with flags indicating whether the water is safe to swim in. Red flags indicate the water is unsafe and white flags indicate the water is safe. There are several other color flags indicating various degrees of safeness. To be most safe go where most of the other people are swimming. These flags are spaced fairly close together and I saw areas where there was a safe zone directly next to an unsafe one.
Cuyutlan is famous for the “ola verde” (green roller) which appears in April and May. Physically this is a huge green wave that continuously comes crashing into shore during these months. It is caused by the phosphorescence given off by small ocean dwelling phytoplankton. This is really neat to see at night when all is dark except this “mysterious” green glow coming from the ocean. If you have the chance to walk along the surf during this time of year at night you may see an increase in phosphorescence near to where you are walking. As you disturb these organisms they increase their light output.
I saw an interesting sight at one of the beaches in Paraiso. About five children were burying their grandfather in the sand. They spent quite some time digging a trench, and then they rolled him into it. Then they covered him with sand until only his head was showing.
Cuyutlan is connected to Paraiso by a paved road. They are about 4 miles apart. They are located approximately one half way between Colima and Manzanillo. This means they are about 1 hour from Colima and also one hour from Manzanillo.
One other neat thing about Cuyutlan and Paraiso is the coconut statues being sold on the streets. The husks of the coconuts are used to carve small faces. One in particular stands out in my mind. It is a carving of a bearded wild eyed sailor. The small hairs in the husk are used as his beard and there is a red bandana over the top part of the husk.
One thing I should mention is the vast acreage of coconut palms. If you have never inspected a coconut palm or a coconut close up, I recommend stopping by the side of the road somewhere and looking at them. I have never seen so many coconut palms in my life.The drive between Cuyutlan and Paraiso to Manzanillo goes through nothing but these palm trees.
Cuyutlan and Paraiso have several hotels located as close to the beach as you can possibly be without being in the ocean. Some have steps that drop you down from the pool into the surf. These hotels are much cheaper then those in Manzanillo. This area is off the tourist path and beachfront accommodations are often quite affordable.