The guidebooks have pages dedicated to the large tourist traps up and down Mexico's Pacific Coast, and whilst you will undoubtedly find pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, you will have to share the vistas with countless other travellers and some deckchairs. Travel off the beaten track, along the dusty roads of the Michoacan coast and you will discover something else entirely - Maruata.
This small community is perched upon the most beautiful beach we have found, shared only with local fishermen and the odd vacationing Mexican; those looking for a real Robinson Crusoe experience need look no further.
Pitching a tent at the ocean's edge, cooking up a fresh fish on an open fire and enjoying a view you have almost to yourself. The turquoise sea is perfect for snorkelling and ideal for swimmers, and the beach ideal for a late-afternoon siesta. In fact, between the hours of 2 pm and 6 pm, the locals appear to do little else, with every hammock filled with a slumbering child or adult gently swaying in the breeze.
If venturing this far north, there is little reason to avoid this slice of paradise. Even for the most die-hard party fan, it is difficult not to rapidly adjust to the pace of life and truly relax, even if just for a night or two on your way to somewhere else with more action.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Dotted around town are a couple of motel-like accommodations but our recommendation would be to head to the beach. Almost every place has space for camping, charging approximately $30 pesos per person, but there also a number of (very basic) cabanas. The going rate seems to be between $200 and $300 pesos per night for a double room but given that this town sees very few tourists it may well be worth trying to haggle, especially if staying a few days.
WHERE TO EAT
For those not travelling with their own stove and pots and pans, the dining out options are pretty limited here. There is one main seafood restaurant on the beach, with prices a little higher than are strictly required for a town so frequently devoid of tourists. In the town are a couple of comedors selling more reasonable local fair and traditional breakfasts.
To get here, take any bus travelling between Lazaro Cardenas and Manzanillo. There are two companies travelling this route, both second-class and serving Maruata every two hours.
You will dropped off on the main highway, from where it is easy to identify the towns entrance. The beach is approximately a 15 minute walk from the main road. Just ask a local to point you in the right direction.
Heading on from Maruata, although there is some sort of timetable in play, as is often true in small towns, this is not always reliable. There is a small cervezeria at the side of the road, ask here for the time of the next bus, buy a beer and get comfy!
BUDGET BREAKER OR MAKER
Particularly if camping, Maruata will never break the bank, but if relying on overpriced restaurant food for every meal, the pesos may well rack up. Our recommendation is to visit the well-stocked shop in the village and enjoy a few beach-side picnics, saving for a much-enjoyed sunset beer on the most beautiful beach in Mexico.
going up the pacific coast? check out some of these other posts!