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Dive Review of Playa de Santiago in
Mexico (Western)/Manzanillo Bay, Colima

November, 2009, an Instant Reader Report by Karen Elaine, ca, USA (1 report)
Report Number 5284
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
0-25 dives
Where else diving
16-logged dives in Maldivas/South Georgia/Argentian Antactic; dozens of
dives around Vancouver Island, British Columbia; hundreds of dives in
Southern California & Channel Islands; also dives in Fiji, Bonaire,
Papua New Guinea, Yucatan, etc.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
85   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
No limits except for computer and air supply.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
My UWP friends are going to LOVE this place!  Highlight of the two dives I
had was crusing in and around 1959 'Jose San Luciano) shipwreck (bottom
depth 21-feet!).  Wreck filled with corals, seafans, large grouper,
hundreds of fish INCLUDING seahorses.  Easy beach entry, I dove it wearing
double AL 80's, swimming into engine room.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
4 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
I did a really thorough search before heading to the water as I was on a
non-dive business trip to Guadalajara which is a 4-1/2 hour bus trip away,
and I had a total of one day to play in the water.  The research started
with UC Chapbooks and former issues, but I got no help for either altitude
diving around Guadalajara or suggestions on ocean sites.  Facebook was my
next resort, and I got suggestions from fellow divers on shark cage diving
(which I am against), and a tech oriented shop in downtown Guadalajara.  I
sent an e-mail to the Guadalajara shop, but after two weeks of silence I
responded to a new FB friend, Dianne Johnson (, who
exclaimed 'Come dive Manzanillo!'  Dianne has a PADI Divemaster rating and
is personal friends with the owner/operator of SCUBA SHACK, Susan Dearing. 
Dianne picked me up from my very charming hotel (Hotel Playa de Santiago,
balcony and two double beds with ocean waves gently lapping 20-yards away
for USD$40.00 per night), whisked me off to breakfast at Juanito's
Restaurante (100-yards east of the dive shop, meal for two including tip
came to USD$10.00), and then we picked up tanks from the shop (KM 15 Miguel
de la Madrid Blvd., tanks rent for 7-pesos/USD$5.60 each).  Dive #1 at
Manzanillo Bay Club de Yates, depth 50-feet, rocky reef & pinnacles,
hundreds of SCHOOLING porcupine puffers, giant coronet fish, turtle,
Seargeant Major damselfish guarding nests, guineafowl puffers in mating
colors, angelfish galore- best part was on our return, two 1-inch long
golden trevally fish took turns swimming in our hair!  Dive #2 at Santiago
Bay's Playa la Boquita de Miramar, entering at Ramada Marildo's exquisite
palapa restaurante where we parked, placed our order for barbequed fish (it
is an hour-long prep & WELL worth it!), then walked about 20-yards to
the water entry.  150-yard swim wearing doubles was easy for me in this
sheltered part of the bay, but for those not interested in the swim there
are plenty of small boats ready for hire right there.  A giant, colorful
grouper greeted us as we made our first entry into this freight vessel,
nudibranchs on outside ridge, spotted tiger eel snake feeding in sand,
not-shy school of large surgeonfish nibbling at algae on wreck, Titon
trigger and another giant coronet fish Darwin around, beautiful shapes and
shadows created by sunlight and mostly intact ship structure.  I can't wait
to come back with my camera!!!
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