If life is really stressful and you feel a need to step off the grid, El Paraiso may be the place! It’s located midway between Manzanillo and the capital city Colima right at the Pacific Ocean. Only 6 km from the State’s major highway, when you’re here, it seems a world away. This village personifies what `laid back`is all about! El Paraiso’s residents’ blood pressure ratings never exceed 100/70! We can`t verify this but hear it often. Conversations point to a relaxed lifestyle as a major factor in choosing E.P. as home. These roadway entrance guardians set the tone.
Looking for an All-Inclusive Experience?
Most of us who endure a cold winter hope for a tropical getaway. What that experience looks like varies on many personal preferences. The all-inclusive vacation in Mexico is a popular choice. Luxurious accommodations, great service with food and drinks available at all times is a dream for many. Little is left to think about other than getting up, dressed and eager and ready for fun and pampering.
El Paraiso, however, isn`t the place for you if that’s the type of vacation you’re seeking. El Paraiso doesn’t offer luxurious accommodations but serves up clean, comfortable and affordable accommodations with attentive service. The two renovated hotels are generally uncrowded with the exception of holidays and many weekends when No Occupancy signs are always up.
The outdoor playa restaurantes offer a delicious variety of daily fresh seafood. El Paraiso`s rustic enramada restaurants are famous across the State. Many highway travellers in the know gladly travel the 6 kilometres, bougainvillaea-lined roadway to enjoy the food, activity and ambience.
Drinks are served at all beachfront outlets but caution is suggested. Leaving El Paraiso is a little confusing when you reach the main highway. A clear head is needed or you’ll find yourself heading in the wrong direction and facing $10 highway toll at Cuyutlan before a turnaround is possible.
Priced to Please
Fresh ingredients, beautifully blended arrive at your table in a timely fashion. Shrimp, mahi-mahi, snapper, ceviche, scallops and catch of the day frame an extensive menu. Spanish sticky rice, potatoes, veggies, fruit, salsa, guacamole accompany all meals. Spicy or lime beer-chilidas help to light up your tastebuds.
The hardest task is choosing a meal. It’s great for groups to order a variety and share so everyone benefits from the many wonderful flavours. Whichever way you choose you’re sure to enjoy the taste, be filled and happy with the small hit to your wallet!
A Profile of El Paraiso
The community is primarily a fishing village with tourism coming in second. It’s the centre for residents of a wide geographic area. The area around El Paraiso comprises mainly two profiles of residents. One is landowners who live and work in the broad agricultural community. The other is rural home-owners who work in urban centres 40-100 kilometres away.
Large numbers of talented residents create products for sale. The quality and cost of these products are both exceptional. One problem is that many large items require special transport to bring them back to Canada. Many others are only truly useful in a setting like tropical Mexico.
Throughout El Paraiso, products are for sale to take home or to step right up and enjoy. The folks at the kiosks are warm and friendly. English is infrequently used here at the beach and adds to its charm. Our novice Spanish, hand gestures, menu pointing and phone translation apps are all active during our visits.
Dare or Drive?
Groups of younger residents have been leading residents making significant improvements to the town with the support of the municipal and state governments. The roadway into town is now first-rate. Smooth walking and bike paths with tasteful light standards have been built and parallel this roadway. Storefronts are fresh and attractive. Hotels have all been renovated to some extent.
A few years ago, however, a stop in El Paraiso wasn’t an easy decision. Dare or Drive? Enter the town or pull a U-turn? Our first trip was with a local resident making the decision easy for us. We greatly enjoyed the people, the food and the atmosphere and returning to El Paraiso with friends is always on the schedule.
It had been our devilish pleasure to gauge the reactions of friends we were bringing to El Paraiso just as we make the turn into town. With all the great improvements, sadly, a lot of the fun in that silly game has been lost but replaced with the fun of a different mode.
Playing At the Playa
The ocean at El Paraiso is part of 25 kilometres of internationally famous surfing lore. Major surfing competitions are staged at neighbouring Pasquales and El Real due to insufficient infrastructure at El Paraiso. Increased numbers of accommodations, food outlets, services and shopping will put El Paraiso into the international surfing rota in the years to come.
Families flock to these beaches for weekend celebrations in huge numbers. The restaurants are full day and night, sales of goods sky-rocket. Beaches of black volcanic sand extend for kilometres. The safety of swimmers is carefully maintained with a flag warning system and marshalling.
The great variety of activity taking place and the unique cast of characters is a large part of the attraction of these beaches. Buying fresh fruit and veggies, oysters on the shell or riding a saddled wide-horn, evening fireworks and more are all here to enjoy.
Of course, the “laid back” atmosphere is predominant and we all love it so much. There’s lots of beach dancing and together with Spanish music, you’ll also enjoy a little Jimmy Buffet or Beachboys from time to time.
Nibblin’ on sponge cake
Watchin’ the sun bake
All of those tourists covered with oil
Strummin’ my six string on my front porch swing
Smell those shrimp they’re beginnin’ to boil
Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my long lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s nobody’s fault
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Doug from Vancouver was last week’s winner. Thanks to all who returned answers.
We will be back with our next blog on March 29! Enjoy the emerging warmer weather and thanks sincerely for checking in.