With clear turquoise waters and golden sandy beaches, Playa Maruata is the most beautiful beach in Michoacán. The Nahua fishing village has a bit of a hippie reputation, attracting beach bums from all over. It’s a tranquil, friendly place to hang out with your sweetie or a large stack of paperbacks. It’s also a prime nesting site for green turtles (nightly from July to December).
Maruata actually has three beaches, each with its own unique character. The left (eastern) is the longest, a 3km pristine crescent-shaped beach with creamy yellow sand and calm waves perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The small middle arc is OK for strong swimmers. It’s sheltered by a climbable rocky headland riddled with caves, tunnels and blowholes, and marked by the unusual Dedo de Dios (God’s Finger) formation rising from the sea. The far-right (western) beach is known as Playa de los Muertos (Beach of the Dead), and for good reason: it has dangerous currents and ferocious waves. During low tide you can scale the rocks on the far right side of Muertos to reach a secluded cove where discreet nude sunbathing is tolerated. But don’t get stuck here when the tide comes in. A crucifix on the rocks serves as a stark memorial to the people who have been swallowed by the sea.
Maruata is an extremely poor pueblo (village), though a couple of recent infrastructure projects now stand in the town center. You'll find shops and simple eateries around the semi-derelict plaza. The enramadas (thatch-covered, open-air restaurants) on the left beach serve fresh seafood and are also your best bet for camping: most charge from M$50 per person to pitch a tent or rent a hammock. There are rustic cabañas for M$300 to M$400, but the best accommodations are at the Centro Ecoturístico Ayutl Maruata.
Lázaro Cárdenas-bound buses from Manzanillo will leave you at the town entrance on Hwy 200, from where it's a short walk into town.