The Finger of God at Maruata Beach in Michoacán.

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Playa Maruata

Top choice in Central Pacific Coast

With clear turquoise waters and golden sandy beaches, Playa Maruata is arguably 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).

Lázaro Cárdenas–bound buses from Manzanillo will leave you at the town entrance on Hwy 200.

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, 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$350 to M$450, but the best accommodations are at the Centro Ecoturístico Ayutl Maruata.

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